UNIFEM partnership aims to empower women -Focus Oct09 AUSaid


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AusAID and the United Nations
Development Fund for Women
(UNIFEM) have signed a partnership agreement that is aimed at empowering women and achieving gender equality in the developing world.Australian Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan signed the partnership agreement with UNIFEM Executive Director Dr Inés Alberdi on 12 August during her recent visit to Australia. Through the partnership,
Australia will provide more than
$17 million to support UNIFEM in its work to advance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the next six years.
“There is much work to do,”
Mr McMullan said. “Almost 100
countries remain off-track to achieve the MDG of eliminating genderdisparity in all levels of education by 2015. More than 500,000 women in developing countries die annually in childbirth or from maternity-related complications. Globally, one in three women experience violence. Almost two out of three employed women are in vulnerable or unpaid jobs.”
ABOVE: Dr Inés Alberdi and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan sign the partnership framework in Canberra. Photo: Angus Braithwaite, AusAID

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UNIFEM partnership aims to empower women -Focus Oct09 AUSaid

  2. 2. Calendar of About AusAID theme days The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) manages Australia’s overseas aid program. The aid program Poverty is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We know that The Australian Government, poverty not only blights the lives of through AusAID, provides official individuals but contributes to national development assistance to countries instability and conflict. mainly in Australia’s own region, the Australia’s development assistance Asia–Pacific, but increasingly also focus on poverty is guided by the in Africa. Development assistance is MDGs and Australia’s objective to assist delivered as part of well-planned, long- developing countries to reduce poverty term sustainable programs across a and achieve sustainable development in range of sectors—health, education, line with our national interests. infrastructure, gender equality, law Australia’s standing as a good and order, rural development and the international citizen is critical to environment. promoting and advancing Australia’s In times of emergency, AusAID foreign policy and national interests. has both the flexibility and expertise A strong and effective aid program to respond swiftly and effectively. The advances Australia’s reputation and agency has a proud record of delivering our influence in the international October to December humanitarian assistance to vulnerable community. 5 October UNESCO World Teachers Day populations caught in conflict zones or It is strongly in Australia’s 11–17 October Anti-poverty Week natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods national interest to support stability and earthquakes. 15 October International Day of Rural and economic development in our Women region and throughout the world 16 October World Food Day Reasons for giving aid through assistance to the people and governments of developing countries. 17 October International Day for Australia is committed to helping Eradication of Poverty developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) The way AusAID works 24 Oct–1 Nov Children’s Week (Australia) AusAID competitively contracts 24 Nov–1 Dec AIDS Awareness Week set out below. These aim to alleviate aid delivery work to Australian and 1 December World AIDS Day world poverty by 2015. international companies and non- 3 December International Day of Persons Millennium Development Goals government organisations (NGOs). with Disabilities These bodies work in partnership with 10 December Universal Human Rights Day 1 END HUNGER & POVERTY local people to implement projects and, 20 December International Human most importantly, to help transfer skills. Solidarity Day 2 UNIVERSAL EDUCATION This approach maximises the chances of activities continuing long after the 3 GENDER EQUALITY ABOVE: Teacher Ms Invanh helps students Mek contract has expired and the Australians and Nek, Ban Dakduang, Dakcheung, Lao PDR. and others have gone home. 4 CHILD HEALTH Photo: Jim Holmes, AusAID 5 MATERNAL HEALTH Size of the aid program In 2009–10 Australia plans to spend 6 FIGHT DISEASE $3.8 billion on official development assistance. This is 0.34 per cent of 7 ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY our gross national income (GNI). The Australian Government is working towards 8 GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP a target of 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015.
  3. 3. contents 19 20 28 2 AID MATTERS 7 AID IN FOCUS 7 Pacific Islands Forum pushes for progress by Kim Biedrzycki, AusAID 8 Giving heart to sick kids by Andrew Gavin, AusAID 10 Growing organic rice reaps rewards by Heather Ellis, Plan International Australia 12 Microfinance transforms lives by Constantine Carluen, PACAP 13 Catalysing the movement to end poverty by Hugh Evans, The Global Poverty Project 14 Spotlight on aid by Cathy Reid, AusAID 20 ON THE PACIFIC 22 Working together for a better future by Dominic Morice, AusAID 25 Thinking locally about a changing climate by Dr Sarah Park, CSIRO 26 Pain in paradise Government aid in focus: Australia’s overseas aid program is by Ajay Chhibber, UNDP committed to reducing poverty and advancing the Millennium 28 Nurturing young women leaders Development Goals in the Asia–Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. by Julie McKay, UNIFEM 29 What are you thinking? COVER: Many communities depend on the sea for a living but experts warn global by Tom Perry, RAMSI warming may cause migratory patterns of fish to change as they seek cooler waters. Photo of Kiribati fishing family by Lorrie Graham for AusAID 30 Sport for development by Kylie Bates, Australian Sports Commission 32 AusAID scholarships making a difference by Rachel Ingwersen, AusAID 33 Preview of Pacific economic survey 2009 by Elizabeth James, AusAID 33 GLOBAL EDUCATION FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 1
  4. 4. Improving road safety in Vietnam for motorcyclists, footpaths and safe crossing points. This was followed by a five-day intensive training course where participants from Vietnam roads and research agencies developed their expertise in safe road design and assessment of the digital images using specialised software. The information collected will form a valuable resource for asset management engineers, road safety engineers and the road safety research community in Vietnam. It will also be used to produce road safety star ratings for car occupants, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists. A 1-star road will represent a road with very poor road Each day 3,500 people are killed in road design. Worldwide, iRAP inspects high- safety conditions, while a 5-star road will crashes worldwide, nine out of ten of risk roads to identify where affordable represent a road with very good safety them in developing countries. programmes of safety engineering can conditions. In Vietnam, a developing country prevent thousands of deaths and serious A detailed economic analysis of spanning more than 3,000 kilometres injuries. potential road safety counter measures from north to south, more than 30 Launched in March 2009, the iRAP is planned to identify treatments that people a day die in road crashes. Most project in Vietnam is funded by AusAID will save lives across the country. The are motorcyclists and many are young through the World Bank Global Road people aged between 10 and 24. Safety Facility. It involved a team of crash costs avoided by these treatments Australia is helping to tackle the local and Australian engineers travelling will be many times the cost of road traffic crisis in Vietnam by along 3,500 km of high-risk roads in a implementing them. funding an International Road vehicle equipped with the latest digital For more information on iRAP and Assessment Programme (iRAP) that is imaging technology. the project in Vietnam, visit www.irap.org. inspecting and assessing the condition The team collected video images ABOVE:Nine out of ten people killed on Vietnam’s of more than 3,500 kilometres of at 100 metre intervals of 30 design roads are motorcyclists. Preventing accidents Vietnamese roads. features that are known to influence through projects like iRAP Vietnam is also iRAP is a not-for-profit organisation the likelihood of a crash and its severity. central to AusAID’s disability strategy. dedicated to saving lives in developing They include intersection layout, road Photo: Cao Hoàng Can, Vietnam Roads countries by promoting safe road markings, roadside hazards, facilities Administration (VRA) Rebuilding Afghanistan’s education system Afghanistan has one of the world’s program that will equip them to educate lowest school attendance rates and other teacher trainers when they return correspondingly low literacy rates. A to Afghanistan. training project for Afghan teachers Australia has committed $1.7 million marks the beginning of a partnership to the project, which is expected to between Australia, Malaysia and strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s Afghanistan aimed at rebuilding the teacher training colleges, swell the country’s neglected education system. numbers of qualified teachers and Under the Malaysia Australia improve the quality of teaching and Education Project for Afghanistan, learning in the country. 30 Afghan master teachers, including LEFT: The Afghan master teachers arrive in Kuala three women, travelled to Kuala Lumpur Lumpur. Photo: Sue Majid, GRM International to take part in a 14-week education 2 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  5. 5. AID MATTERS Better radio reception for PNG UNIFEM partnership aims to empower women Radio remains the most accessible form of communication in Papua New Guinea (PNG), so a new satellite system launched in Port Moresby last month by Australian High Commissioner to PNG AusAID and the United Nations “There is much work to do,” Chris Moraitis means the PNG National Development Fund for Women Mr McMullan said. “Almost 100 Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) is now (UNIFEM) have signed a partnership countries remain off-track to achieve at the cutting edge of technology. agreement that is aimed at empowering the MDG of eliminating gender The satellite was funded through women and achieving gender equality disparity in all levels of education by AusAID’s Media for Development in the developing world. 2015. More than 500,000 women in Initiative (MDI) and promises to deliver Australian Parliamentary Secretary developing countries die annually in Radio NBC much more clearly and for International Development childbirth or from maternity-related easily to more Papua New Guineans Assistance Bob McMullan signed the complications. Globally, one in three than ever before by increasing the partnership agreement with UNIFEM women experience violence. Almost two reach, reliability and quality of the Executive Director Dr Inés Alberdi on out of three employed women are in signal sent the length and breadth of 12 August during her recent visit to vulnerable or unpaid jobs.” PNG and beyond. Australia. Through the partnership, ABOVE:Dr Inés Alberdi and Parliamentary “This is a great outcome for NBC but Australia will provide more than Secretary for International Development more importantly it’s a great outcome $17 million to support UNIFEM in its work Assistance Bob McMullan sign the partnership for the people of PNG. As PNG moves to advance the Millennium Development framework in Canberra. Photo: Angus forward so must communication Goals (MDGs) over the next six years. Braithwaite, AusAID keep pace,” said Communication and Information Secretary Henao Heduru at the launch. AusAID farewells Bruce Davis Meanwhile AusAID and the Media Bruce Davis has assistance to 0.5 per cent of gross Council of PNG signed an agreement left AusAID after a national income by 2015–16. He played valued at $500,000 to continue training 30-year career with a key role in setting up the Regional PNG journalists and focusing on building the agency and ten Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands a strong, skilled media. years as Director (RAMSI) and the Australia-Indonesia ABOVE:AusAID Democratic Governance team General. During Partnership for Reconstruction and members with Henao Heduru, PNG Department that time he was Development. AusAID wishes him well Secretary for Information and Communication responsible for significant changes, such in his future career. (standing 5th from left) and Chris Moraitis, as presenting and implementing the Peter Baxter, formerly of the Australian High Commissioner to PNG (standing White Paper on Australia’s aid program, Department of Foreign Affairs, is now 7th from left) with a gift from NBC. Photo: setting up the Office of Development acting Director General. Francina Thomson, AusAID Effectiveness and progressing the LEFT: Former AusAID Director General Bruce Davis Government’s commitment to increase built a strong, influential aid agency. Photo: AusAID Australia’s official development FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 3
  6. 6. Inaugural World Humanitarian Day In 2008, 260 aid workers were killed, kidnapped or seriously injured. On 19 August—the inaugural United Nations World Humanitarian Day—Australians reflected on the contribution of aid workers throughout the world. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith said, “Six years ago, on 19 August 2003, the United Nations office in Iraq was bombed and 22 people lost their lives. Among them was Brazilian United Nations diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary- General to Iraq. Australians recall his exceptional work in our region as the UN Transitional Administrator in East Timor. “To honour the sacrifice of Mr Vieira de Mello, his 21 colleagues in Iraq and humanitarian workers around the world, on 11 December 2008 the United Nations General Assembly passed a Resolution designating 19 August World Humanitarian Day. World Humanitarian Day allows us to reflect on the contribution aid workers make to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest, and the ultimate sacrifice made by some,” Mr Smith said. Mr Smith noted that over the past five years Australia had responded to more than 60 humanitarian MDG stickers symbolise aid commitment emergencies. In the past year, Australia had provided $180 million Australia is sticking to its commitment to the “Even though our own economy is under for humanitarian emergencies, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as pressure,” he said, “withdrawing or reducing including Pakistan’s internally displaced reflected by the set of eight brightly coloured aid would be the worst thing we could do. populations and conflict-affected areas icons that now adorn the front of the AusAID That’s why the Australian Government has in Somalia, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, building in Canberra. increased the aid budget. We also have a the Democratic Republic of Congo and The MDG stickers were launched on a cold responsibility to communicate the urgency Gaza. In the same period, Australia had and wintry morning by Parliamentary Secretary of the Millennium Development Goals to the provided more than $91 million to the for International Development Assistance Australian public. These icons will remind World Food Programme. Bob McMullan who said that with the global people about global poverty and the Australian recession forcing more people into poverty Government’s commitment to the MDGs.” Australia is even more committed to achieving ABOVE:Mr McMullan reflects on Australia’s these international goals. commitment to the MDGs. Photo: Angus Braithwaite, AusAID 4 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  7. 7. AID MATTERS Calling the community to action AusAID is enlisting the Australian community’s support in the fight against global poverty through the Community Call to Action initiative. Launched by Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan at the One Just World public forum in Brisbane on 22 July, this pilot initiative aims to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and global poverty. Mr McMullan stressed the important role that community organisations not traditionally involved in development assistance could play in spreading the anti-poverty message. “The Community Call to Action will provide up to $1.5 million in small Disaster risk reduction a safe investment and medium grants to community organisations wanting to help raise Disaster risk reduction can save greater investment in disaster risk awareness of global poverty and lives, protect livelihoods, safeguard reduction. The new policy aims to the United Nations Millennium development gains and reduce the cost reduce vulnerability and enhance the Development Goals (MDGs) within their of responding to disasters in our region. resilience of countries and communities communities and will support the global AusAID launched a new policy, to disasters. It provides a framework push to halve extreme poverty by 2015,” Investing in a safer future: a disaster to integrate disaster risk reduction Mr McMullan said. risk reduction policy for the Australian into the Australian aid program, assist The types of activities likely to be aid program, on 15 June at the Global developing countries to reduce disaster funded under the initiative include Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction risk, support and enhance leadership networking events, conferences, in Geneva. This event was attended by and advocacy on the issue and seminars, workshops and special events more than 300 international disaster coordinate policies and programming run by community groups, professional risk reduction professionals including for disaster risk reduction and climate and peak bodies, membership-based Margareta Wahlstrom, the United change adaptation. not-for-profit networks and small Nations Assistant Secretary-General for ABOVE:AusAID’s Lisa Staruszkiewicz at the Global business. Successful applicants are due Disaster Risk Reduction. Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva. to be announced in mid October 2009. Australia is at the forefront of Photo: Anna Dorney, AusAID international efforts to encourage Relief in sight wins award An AusAID touring exhibition, Relief in Australia’s compassionate response to sight—Australia’s international disaster disasters in our region. It was a huge response in pictures, has won first place in success, reaching 6,411,290 people the Australian Capital Territory section through the media, attracting 180,000 of a major public relations award run website visitors and 698,000 exhibition by the Public Relations Institute of visitors and engaging thousands of Australia (PRIA). school students. The 22-month campaign, which ran In the light of this success, AusAID from February 2007 to November 2008, is now in the running to win a national put a human face on the suffering PRIA Golden Target Award. natural disasters cause and highlighted FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 5
  8. 8. Training gives PNG mine workers job security In a global climate where tens of thousands of mine workers have lost their jobs, electrician Philip Benial feels his training at the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) has ensured his future. “I have job security,” he said. “I have done all I can to be at the top of my profession and provide for my family.” Philip is one of 80 PNG mine workers who recently graduated from a two-year APTC course. The workers now Reducing violence against women, have internationally recognised trade reducing poverty certificates in diesel fitting, fitting, boiler making, carpentry, electrical, plumbing The Australian Government has and refrigeration. launched a new framework for action Their training has benefited from a to reduce violence against women in partnership between Ok Tedi Mining Melanesia and East Timor. It follows Ltd and AusAID that recognises the the AusAID Office of Development importance of business in achieving Effectiveness report featured in the development outcomes. last edition of Focus which found that violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor is severe, pervasive and constrains development. Violence against women severely limits women’s social, political and economic participation and puts significant strain on national economies. Australia’s framework for action—set out in the new Stop Violence: responding to violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor report—will support Papua TOP: Detail of artwork prepared by participants at Electrician Philip Benail with his wife Mathilde, the Women for Peace conference hosted by the New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, son Laurie and Australian trainer Ian Strachan at Alola Foundation in Dili. Vanuatu and East Timor to stop violence the graduation ceremony at Tabubil, PNG. Photo: AusAID, Port Moresby against women. You can download the report from www.ausaid.gov.au. Making a stand against poverty On Saturday 17 October, the business and religious groups and International Day for the Eradication of non-government organisations have Poverty, the United Nations Millennium been organising millions of people to Development Campaign is hoping to Stand Up against poverty for the past set a new Guinness world record for the three years, with 23 million people most people to stand up against poverty participating in 2006, 47 million in in 24 hours. 2007 and a record 116,993,629 people Poverty History. Free public events “Stand Up” is a unique global action participating in 2008. are planned for Adelaide, Brisbane, aimed at raising awareness about AusAID is supporting Stand Up Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth poverty. Across the world, groups of 2009 through a partnership with the and Sydney. For more information go to people representing community, school, Australian Stand Up organisers, Make www.standupagainstpoverty.com.au. 6 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  9. 9. AID IN FOCUS Pacific Islands Forum pushes for progress Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is keen to see progress on the Millennium Development Goals in the Pacific. by Kim Biedrzycki, AusAID uring his year as Chair of the progress towards the Millennium in sport and achieve improved health D Pacific Islands Forum, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is determined to see real progress Development Goals by driving more effective coordination of all development resources—both donor and social outcomes > a $25 million four-year funding commitment for initiatives in clean being made towards countries in the and government—in the Pacific and affordable energy through the region achieving their Millennium > the Pacific Leaders’ Call for Action framework of the Pacific Regional Development Goals. The 40th Pacific on Climate Change for world leaders Infrastructure Facility Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting to redouble efforts to secure a > the signing of three Pacific was held in Cairns in August 2009, successful agreement at the United Partnerships for Development, with and brought together leaders and Nations Climate Change Conference Tuvalu, Tonga and Nauru, bringing government representatives from in Copenhagen in December 2009 the total number of partnerships across the Pacific. > agreement to commence signed to eight in 12 months. The main agenda items discussed negotiations for a new trade and The final Forum Communiqué included better development economic integration agreement with complete details on the Forum coordination in the Pacific, the effects of with Forum countries through outcomes can be downloaded from the the global economic crisis and climate the Pacific Agreement on Closer Pacific Islands Forum 2009 website at change, a new trade agreement between Economic Relations (PACER) Plus http://www.pif2009.org.au/. Pacific countries and the success of > maintenance of the strong line on ABOVE:Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd the Regional Assistance Mission to Fiji remaining suspended from chaired a successful 40th Pacific Islands Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The key the Forum and a continued call Forum leaders’ meeting in Cairns on 5–6 August outcomes were: for the country to return to a 2009. Photo: Department of the Prime Minister > the development of the Cairns democratic government and Cabinet Compact on Strengthening > a $26 million funding commitment Development Coordination for grassroots and higher level sport in the Pacific, to accelerate in the Pacific to boost participation FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 7
  10. 10. Giving heart to sick kids by Andrew Gavin, Communications Officer, AusAID Australian medical volunteers in Papua New Guinea are repairing heart defects in children and building up local health services. lizabeth Turmut finds it difficult Before the operation, Joyline ABOVE LEFT:Sydney physiotherapist Kate Henschell E to express her gratitude to the Australian and Papua New Guinean doctors who saved her struggled to play and was not growing as quickly as she should have been because her heart wasn’t circulating helped three-year-old Sophia Antonette start moving again after her heart operation in Port Moresby during Operation Open Heart. Photo: Rocky Roe, AusAID daughter Joyline’s life. “Thank you enough oxygenated blood to her body. ABOVE RIGHT: Elizabeth Turmut’s baby, Joyline, for operating on my baby,” she says She was vulnerable to infections and is breathing better after heart surgery. haltingly, breaking into a smile. “My would probably have died as a teenager Photo: Andrew Gavin, AusAID baby is happy.” at her Manus Island home, 800 km Joyline is sitting up and playing with north of Port Moresby, if not for a teddy bear just two days after her Operation Open Heart. heart operation in Port Moresby General Hosted by Sydney Adventist Hospital, Papua New Guinea (PNG). A Hospital and supported by a range 5 cm scar on her back is the only sign of organisations including AusAID, of the procedure that repaired a blood Operation Open Heart brings teams of vessel defect in the 18-month-old’s heart. Australian volunteer doctors, nurses, 8 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  11. 11. OPERATION OPEN HEART BRINGS TEAMS OF AUSTRALIAN VOLUNTEER DOCTORS, NURSES, PHYSIOTHERAPISTS, PATHOLOGY TECHNICIANS AND BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS TO PORT MORESBY EACH YEAR TO PERFORM VITAL HEART SURGERY. ABOVE: Dr Noah Tapaua, left, performs open heart surgery with assistance and mentorship from Dr Graham Nunn, right. Photo: Rocky Roe, AusAID LEFT:Operation Open Heart builds skills and friendships for Australian and Papua New Guinea nurses Leah Harvey, left, and Naomi Tuba, right. Photo: Rocky Roe, AusAID physiotherapists, pathology technicians In 2009, the Australian and PNG within five years. He said, “The PNG and biomedical engineers to Port surgical teams operated on 57 people. doctors and nurses are growing in Moresby each year to perform vital The PNG doctors, led by Dr Noah ability, skills and knowledge. One of heart surgery. During their ten-day Tapaua, performed 25 operations, ten of the highlights of the visit this year was visits, the Australians also train and them open heart surgery which involves to see the local team being passionate mentor PNG surgeons and nurses to stopping the heart and putting the about forming their own cardiac team perform heart surgery and care for patient on a heart-lung bypass machine. in Port Moresby.” people with heart conditions. It was the first time a local surgeon had The Australian medical staff are Before the program began in PNG, performed such a large number of open amazed that the children recover from children like Joyline were not generally heart operations during an Operation the heart surgery in days compared diagnosed with a heart condition. Of Open Heart visit. Previously, Australian to weeks for patients in Australia. those who were diagnosed, only two a surgeons performed most or all of these Physiotherapist Kate Henschell, who year were chosen to travel to Australia procedures. helps the children start moving after for surgery. Operation Open Heart has Dr Tapaua said Operation Open surgery, said it restores energy to the visited PNG 17 times and transformed Heart provides valuable training for youngsters. “A lot of the time they the lives of more than 450 children and PNG doctors, nurses, pathologists and didn’t really realise why they were so 150 adults through surgery. AusAID other medical staff. “Apart from giving sick. Now that they breathe better, support for the program since 2002 this service and helping our patients, everything is a lot easier,” she said. totals more than $580,000. there is a lot of transfer of skills to the For Dr Tapaua, the most rewarding Sydney nurse Russell Lee brought local team. We are being trained in how thing was the difference Operation Operation Open Heart to PNG in 1993. to do this type of surgery. It improves Open Heart had made to the lives Born in PNG and a regular visitor to pathology, the nursing side of things of the children. “Seeing the patient, the country, Russell had known there and intensive care, and equipment is putting a smile back on their face and was an unmet need there to repair donated,” Dr Tapaua said. seeing them go home—that is the congenital heart defects. In its first Russell Lee hopes that PNG health finest thing,” he said. year, the Australian team performed services will be running their own 15 heart operations. sustainable program of heart operations FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 9
  12. 12. Growing organic rice reaps rewards by Heather Ellis, Plan International Australia Farming families in the Philippines are reaping rewards from bumper rice harvests after changing to low-cost organic farming methods. “WHEN MY FATHER WAS USING COMMERCIAL FERTILISERS, HE SPENT TOO MUCH MONEY IN BUYING THESE FERTILISERS SO WHEN HARVEST TIME CAME, THERE WAS LOW PROFIT... NOW WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THE GREAT CHANGES IN OUR LIFE.” hese are the words of Maria, the T daughter of a farming family from Isabela district, north east Luzon, the Philippines. The new prosperity enjoyed by Maria’s family is the result of a four-year sustainable livelihoods project run by Plan Philippines and its local partners, MASIPAG and UMFI, and supported by Plan International Australia. It started with a grant of $325,000 from AusAID and just over $280,000 in additional donations from the Australian public, including the Greenlight Foundation. In many rural areas of the Philippines, most families are subsistence farmers. They are often trapped in poverty by a cycle of ongoing poor rice yields, depleted soils and indebtedness to moneylenders to pay and is due to finish in July 2009 has can be done at a fraction of the cost of for chemical fertilisers, pesticides and empowered 3,700 farming families by growing hybrid rice from commercially hybrid rice seeds. improving their nutrition, especially bought seeds using chemical fertilisers Plan saw organic farming as the that of their children, and improving and pesticides. answer to empowering farming families household incomes. The 3,700 farming families in Isabela to improve their livelihoods and lift The farmers were supported to are now growing native rice organically them out of the poverty cycle. Its increase their crop yields by growing on just a few hectares each. They are sustainable livelihoods project which native rice using organic fertiliser made also enjoying increased incomes and started in Isabela in August 2005 mostly from buffalo manure. This enough food to eat all year round. More 10 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  13. 13. AID IN FOCUS money means families can afford to and also exchange native seed varieties send their children to school and then with other farmers. on to college and pay for their household But converting to organic rice and farming needs. As well as making farming is a gradual process. Yields more money, the farmers and their from a native rice crop can be lower families say their health has improved. than some hybrid yields at first, since The humble Asian water buffalo or it takes about two years for the organic “kalabaw” has played a key role in this fertiliser to build up nutrients in the new prosperity. Farmers learnt how to depleted soils. produce a low-cost, nutrient-rich organic “During the transition from fertiliser by composting the abundantly chemical-based to organic farming, the available buffalo manure and other farmers do struggle to make ends meet,” animal manures mixed with rice husks says program manager Katie Ramsay and other plant products. from Plan International Australia. FAR LEFT: Native rice grown with organic buffalo Plan’s partner MASIPAG—a “While hybrid rice seed can yield up manure fertiliser has produced bumper crops Philippine-based organisation that to 120 tonnes per hectare in the first for Isabela farming families such as the brings together farmers and scientists year, gradually it depletes the soil, and Gancena family. in research on sustainable agriculture— more and more fertiliser needs to be ABOVE LEFT: Vegetable gardens like this one are supplied the farmers with native rice applied. Over time, organically grown an important source of nutrition and secondary seed from their stock of 1,800 varieties. native rice can match or even surpass income for the Magbual family. Selecting the best seed varieties that the yield from hybrid rice and it is TOP RIGHT:Organic rice produced by Isabela suited soil and growing conditions not sustainable long-term,” Katie explains, farming families is marketed in Manila as “high only meant higher yields but also that adding “and all this for only a fraction fibre” rice. the farmers could harvest several crops of the growing cost!” BOTTOM RIGHT: The Gancena family grows native a year. “The first couple of years are hard rice and a diverse range of vegetables using Instead of being locked into going,” she says. “The farmers and their organic farming methods. purchasing hybrid rice seed from families really have to pull together and commercial seed companies, farmers support each other until the rice Photos: Plan International Australia now use seed from the previous harvest yields improve.” FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 11
  14. 14. But the comparison should not be made on tonnage alone, according to Katie. “In Manila, where demand Microfinance transforms lives outstrips supply, organically grown by Constantine Carluen, Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP) native rice is marketed as ‘high fibre’ rice and sells for double or triple the price of hybrid white rice. As more people realise that organic rice is more nutritious, grown chemical-free and a lot more filling, it is expected that the demand will increase further.” Organic farming, which was first introduced to Isabela by Plan Philippines in 1998, is only one aspect of the sustainable livelihoods project. Farmers also have access to micro- finance loans and training in farm management and business planning for new farming ventures such as fish farming, raising pigs and growing organic vegetables. These are all important secondary n the bustling metropolis of Manila needs and not enough to save for the incomes for families and they have mostly been developed and managed by women using loans and surplus income from rice harvests. I with its population of 20 million people, microfinance is a simple yet powerful tool that can lift the future. “In the little spare time I had, I sold assorted groceries,” she said. Four years ago, the microfinance entrepreneurial poor out of poverty. loan from TKI gave Sally the capital she Technical advisors from Plan’s Sally lives in one of Manila’s poorer needed to quadruple her income and partner, local NGO Upland Marketing communities. She expanded her “sari- she earned enough to buy an industrial Foundation Inc. (UMFI), have also sari” or small groceries store into oven, making it possible for her to start provided farming families with a home-run bakery with help from a home-run bakery. marketing support, especially to supply Tindig Komunidad Inc. (TKI), a local “The bakery’s profits have helped me the increasing market for organic high microfinance institution supported by help my children. Without the business fibre rice in Manila. Plan Philippines the Philippines-Australia Community I wouldn’t be able to afford to pay their has also helped to establish farmers Assistance Program (PACAP). boarding fees at college or buy their cooperatives that mill, transport and sell As one of Australia’s longest- textbooks. The low interest rates and not the rice to guarantee that more profits running development initiatives in the being part of a group payment system are returned to the farmers. Philippines, PACAP has been providing was also very attractive to me. I enjoy Following the success of the four- opportunities for economic growth the freedom of working from home and year Isabela project, AusAID is now to poor communities for more than know that one day all my children will helping to fund the project’s expansion 23 years. go on to be college graduates.” into five municipalities in Northern The initial microfinance loan of just PACAP supports microfinance Samar, Samar Island, about 600 km $130 helped Sally realise her dream of activities all over the Philippines south of Isabela. sending her children to college despite and has recently produced books on Northern Samar is one of the poorest immense financial hardships. Microfinance and Social Enterprise provinces of the Philippines and the After the birth of her third child Development to assist NGOs in the prevalence of child malnutrition there 15 years ago, Sally gave up her career as implementation of their projects. is high. Over the next financial year, 125 a laboratory assistant to look after her See www.pacap.org.ph farming families in Northern Samar will family but, she recollects, “I couldn’t just ABOVE:Sally used her initial $130 loan to receive training in growing organic rice stay at home and look after the children establish a small home-run business and after and other produce, assisting them to while my husband worked long hours.” years of hard work was able to live her dream achieve a sustainable livelihood. Sally knew that her husband’s of sending her children to college. Photo: earnings would only be enough to Constantine Carluen, Philippines-Australia support their growing family’s everyday Community Assistance Program (PACAP) 12 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  15. 15. AID IN FOCUS Catalysing the movement to end poverty by Hugh Evans, Director, The Global Poverty Project A team of young Australians is providing 1.4 billion reasons to take action to end extreme poverty. lobally, one billion, four hundred G million people continue to live in extreme poverty. The mere idea of 1.4 billion impoverished people can seem like an insurmountable situation. It is not. Significant progress has been made already but more needs to be done to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015. That’s why The Global Poverty Project was established. With the help of AusAID and in collaboration with NGOs, the UN Millennium Campaign, academics, a range of development experts, the corporate sector and civil society, we have been taking a presentation around Australia and New Zealand to communicate the realities > our generation can end extreme Whether it’s through donating to an of extreme poverty and what everyday poverty and I can play a part in NGO that you are passionate about, people can do about it. making this happen or volunteering your time and skills In a similar vein to former US > to overcome these challenges, it’s overseas, raising awareness of extreme Vice President Al Gore’s 2007 climate got to be a global movement, poverty in your community, buying fair change film, An Inconvenient Truth, bringing together people from trade products or simply taking the time our presentation, 1.4 Billion Reasons— around the world out each day to read and stay informed reflecting the number of people around > it’s not going to be quick or easy, but about what’s going on in the world, our the world who live in extreme poverty— I am committed to playing my part collective efforts can make a difference. is aimed at educating Australians and so we can achieve our global goals. Since our Australian and New New Zealanders about this major issue of The Global Poverty Project has set our Zealand tours took to the road, there our times. goals high, but through this project we has been a groundswell of interest and The idea behind The Global Poverty aim to: energy gathering amongst people Project is to inspire individuals to take > educate more than 200,000 who think it is not okay that a person action personally and help achieve people in Australia and New dies every three and a half seconds due the Millennium Development Goals. Zealand through live presentations, to hunger. We are doing this by reaching out to deepening and reframing their view If you or your organisation, people in their communities, with of extreme poverty educational institution or social or 45 presentations in 42 days, and in the > reach upwards of 50 million community group would like to get process reframing the media debate on Australians and New Zealanders involved or if you would like to find out poverty. Our aim is to have audiences through media and publicity and where you can see the presentation, go walking away with these thoughts: enhance their awareness of to www.globalpovertyproject.com > extreme poverty and the issues extreme poverty. ABOVE:The Global Poverty Project’s Hugh Evans is around it are important, urgent and Globally, we aim to engage another taking 1.4 billion reasons on the road. related to me 50,000 people to take direct action. FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 13
  16. 16. Spotlight on aid by Cathy Reid, Broadcast Media Manager, AusAID Sky News shone the spotlight on Australia’s aid program in the Asia–Pacific region with a series of special reports produced by AusAID. The five-minute television reports highlighted a range of development issues in our region, from “women-power” in the fledgling nation of East Timor to rebuilding Aceh five years after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The reports were screened by Sky News during prime time news bulletins in mid September. They highlighted Australia’s work assisting some of our poorest neighbours as they progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Some snapshots from the series appear below and you can also watch them on AusAID’s YouTube channel (see www.ausaid.gov.au). “Women-power” in East Timor Australia’s aid program in East Timor has a strong gender focus. An example of this is in the justice sector, where AusAID is supporting civil society organisations that address violence against women and improve access to information and services. However, there are still many problems to be tackled, including high levels of infant mortality, domestic violence, unemployment and alarming literacy rates. While there is still a long way to go, progress towards empowering women is being made, as is evidenced by the actions of women like Fernanda who are engaging with these issues at a Fernanda Borges MP, East Timor’s only female political party leader. Photo: Joao Vas, AusAID political level. “People are now hearing women discuss issues to do with their MDG 3. Promote gender equality lives—international interest, service delivery for the public—and they are s a child Fernanda Borges political parties to ensure women asking good questions because they A witnessed the horrors of war first hand. Now she is one of East Timor’s leading politicians and a are well represented in parliament, enabling issues to be tackled from the top down.” come from a sensitive background of being mothers,” she says. “I’m very confident and hopeful strong campaigner for human rights The other seven leading women because the people of East Timor have and the empowerment of women. As politicians are holding important an aspiration and they are resilient. one of eight female politicians in the positions such as Minister of Justice, If we can eliminate corruption, bring fledgling nation, she says in ten years Minister of Finance, Minister of Social in private sector investment, educate of independence East Timor has and Solidarity, Prosecutor General, our people, have sufficient healthcare made good progress towards gender Vice Minister of Health, Secretary services and have agriculture at a equality. “Prior to independence we of State for Promotion and Equality sustainable level so that there is never had women in Parliament. Now as well as the Vice President of the food security, I think East Timor there is a strong commitment by all National Parliament. can survive.” 14 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  17. 17. AID IN FOCUS Giving back to the people of Kokoda MDGs 4, 5 & 6. Reducing child mortality; Improving maternal health; Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases team of health workers has A trudged for hours on muddy tracks through the mountainous countryside of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to set up a health clinic in Kanga, a village not far from the Kokoda Track. The Kokoda Track has a special significance for Australians thanks to the efforts of the PNG people who carried sick and wounded soldiers out of combat zones during the Second World War. Now Australia is giving something TOP LEFT: Kanga villagers greet the health team ABOVE: Mobile health clinic nurse Bessie Harike back to the people of the Kokoda region. from the AusAID-funded Kokoda Clinic. (left) performs basic health checks for With funding from AusAID, the health TOP RIGHT: A health worker puts up a poster to Kanga villagers. team is setting up clinics all through the raise awareness of tuberculosis (TB), a disease Photos: Roger Wheatley, AusAID area and training villagers in hygiene that, like malaria, is rife in remote areas of PNG. and the importance of basic health care and immunisation. FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 15
  18. 18. Ridding Laos of a lethal legacy “We are exactly like a paramedic with a bit of doctor’s training and we do everything from antenatal care to a bit of surgery,” said Kokoda Clinic health action officer Leon Sime. “We go out on immunisation patrols and do coordinated health care.” The health teams are particularly welcome in the remote villages, where there is a high incidence of tuberculosis, malaria and asthma. Kanga village chief Michael Lucas believes the education programs run by the teams are beneficial. “Trying to educate people, I think that will help us, because too many people still die when they shouldn’t,” he said. In a province where many villagers still believe in witchcraft it is challenging to get them to go to a health clinic rather than a witch doctor. To address this, another part of the program is training community members to become village health volunteers so they can administer basic medical assistance and refer people to clinics and the Kokoda Hospital if necessary. ABOVE: John Daire is a village health volunteer. He is trained to give basic medical assistance and refer people to clinics and the Kokoda Hospital if necessary. Training locals is aimed at addressing a reluctance to go to health clinics in remote areas where many villagers still rely on witchcraft for curing the sick. Photo: Roger Wheatley, AusAID 16 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  19. 19. AID IN FOCUS THERE WERE TWO TYPES OF BOMBS DROPPED ON LAOS: HEAVY IMPACT BOMBS DESIGNED TO DESTROY BUILDINGS; AND CLUSTER BOMBS DESIGNED TO KILL OR MAIM PEOPLE, EUPHEMISTICALLY KNOWN AS “ANTI-PERSONNEL DEVICES.” MDG 1. Eradicating extreme poverty ao villager Naovanglee Norvaly L can’t stop smiling. For the first time in 18 years he is wearing a pair of shoes, thanks to a professionally made prosthetic leg provided by the AusAID-funded Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Rehabilitation Centre. For almost two decades Naovanglee had been hobbling around on a succession of hand-made wooden legs produced by woodcarvers in his remote village in Laos. “The legs would last only six months to two years, depending on the quality of the wood,” he said. The people of Laos are living with a lethal legacy of the Second Indochina War, known in Australia as the Vietnam 1 2 3 4 5 6 OPPOSITE: This sculpture of a mother and child ABOVE (LEFT TO RIGHT): more than 50,000 men, women and children running from a bomb blast is a poignant reminder 1. The clearance of UXOs in Laos was have been killed or maimed by accidental of the lethal legacy of war in Laos. Crafted out of traditionally a male profession but now more detonation of UXOs. bomb scrap metal and located at the entrance women are being trained to perform this 4. Lao villagers use scrap bomb metal in many of the AusAID-funded Cooperative Orthotic and dangerous task. Vilayphone Yengpalong and her ingenious ways, including as raised garden Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Rehabilitation Centre team from the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action beds like this one at Taoun. After being dropped in Vientiane, the work draws attention to the (FSD) methodically sweep a field with metal from a plane this BLU 26 anti personnel device millions of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) littering detectors so that it can be cleared of UXOs and would have split open and fired out hundreds of the countryside of Laos that are still causing death planted with crops. “bombies”. and devastation when disturbed. An estimated 300 2. FSD Provincial Operation Manager Stefan 5. A bombie casing. Hard to see but easy to people are killed or maimed each year from bomb De Coninck inspects an unexploded bomb near disturb and valuable for their metal content, blasts. About 40 per cent of them are children. Sekong, Laos. when detonated these insidious devices blast TOP RIGHT: The estimated 270 million bombs 3. Families gather under a building at Taoun, out hundreds of ball bearings, blowing off limbs, dropped on Laos during the war have created near Sekong as a precaution against flying blinding victims and causing horrific injuries. a moonscape of rural hillsides like this one at shrapnel from a bomb being detonated 6. A COPE Rehabilitation Centre display Dakcheung, near Sekong. Some 30 per cent did kilometres away by an FSD clearance team. simulating a cascade of bombies being dropped not detonate, leaving 80 million bombs in the The bomb was found in a paddock the villagers from a war plane. countryside ready to explode. wanted to cultivate for rice crops. Since 1964, Photos: Jim Holmes, AusAID FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 17
  20. 20. Tackling climate War, when more than 270 million About 300 people are killed or injured MDG 7. Ensuring environmental bombs rained down on the country. in this way each year. About 40 per cent sustainability Some 30 per cent of these bombs of them are children. Farmers and scrap did not detonate, leaving about metal dealers are also vulnerable. iribati President Anote Tong 80 million unexploded ordnance (UXOs) contaminating rice fields, school yards, hillsides, rivers, roads As well as the human carnage, the presence of these UXOs is severely inhibiting the country’s development. K believes that climate change is “perhaps the most challenging task ahead of us as human beings on and paths and even the centres of Australia is amongst a number of this planet.” At only four metres above provincial towns. donors playing a role in the enormous sea level, the small island nation of There were two types of bombs task of ridding Laos of UXOs, working Kiribati is one of the countries most dropped on Laos: heavy impact bombs with international teams to train Lao vulnerable to the effects of climate designed to destroy buildings; and operators in bomb detection and change and sea level rise. cluster bombs designed to kill or maim clearance. Australia is also providing “We are getting severe erosion on people, euphemistically known as support for programs that educate the coastlines,” President Tong said. “anti-personnel devices.” The cluster Lao villagers about the dangers of “In some areas the villages that have bombs contained hundreds of tennis handling UXOs and rehabilitate victims been there for many, many decades ball-sized “bombies.” like Naovanglee. are being relocated and we seem to The bombies are particularly be experiencing higher than usual ABOVE:Naovanglee Norvaly is fitted with a new insidious because of the damage they prosthetic leg by Mr Sommai at the COPE giant tides.” Drought is also an ever- cause when unsuspecting villagers pick Rehabilitation Centre. He will receive ongoing increasing problem and President Tong them up. As soon as they are disturbed support from COPE. Photo: Jim Holmes, AusAID believes that climate change impacts the bombies blast out hundreds of ball could become critical in as few as bearings, blowing off limbs, blinding 20 years. “It seems it might be a lot victims and causing horrific injuries. earlier—2030 might be more realistic. 18 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  21. 21. AID IN FOCUS change in Kiribati Life after the tsunami “PRESIDENT TONG BELIEVES MDG 1. Eradicating extreme poverty THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ommunities have regathered, COULD BECOME CRITICAL IN AS FEW AS 20 YEARS.” C cities and towns are bustling and the people of Aceh are thriving, five years on from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The huge earthquake But the response has to be much earlier and tsunami waves claimed 167,000 than that,” he said. lives, flattened hundreds of thousands of Kiribati’s response involves homes, destroyed 800 km of coastline, TOP: The children of Aceh face a brighter future managing water resources better, washed away 3,000 hectares of land and five years on from the 2004 Indian Ocean monitoring groundwater quality devastated roads, bridges, ports, schools tsunami. Homes, schools and hospitals have and improving sanitation to reduce and other vital infrastructure. been rebuilt and essential services restored. groundwater pollution, with help from While there are still some physical, Photo Rob Maccoll, AusAID. the World Bank Kiribati Adaptation economic and emotional scars, the ABOVE: Concrete pads where buildings once Project (KAP II). Australia is a major reconstruction work is all but complete. stood in the tsunami-affected villages of Aceh contributor to KAP II which has the Australia has contributed significantly now have grasses and bushes creeping across overall aim of reducing Kiribati’s to Aceh’s recovery, rebuilding them. Australia has contributed $252 million vulnerability to climate change and sea infrastructure and assisting people to over five years to help the recovery of affected level rise. rebuild their lives, but much remains communities in Aceh. This formed part of the to be done. Australia is committed to $1 billion Australia–Indonesia Partnership for ABOVE: The island of Kiribati is vulnerable to the supporting Aceh’s success beyond the Reconstruction and Development. This is the effects of climate change. Photo: Jodi Gatfield, single largest aid contribution Australia has ever reconstruction effort and to ushering in AusAID made. Photo: Kirsten Mee, AusAID a new era of prosperity for the province. FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 19
  22. 22. 20 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  23. 23. ocus on THE PACIFIC AUSTRALIA IS WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES TO HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS. OPPOSITE:Boat is a common form of transport on the populous island of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Photo: Rob Maccoll, AusAID FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 21
  24. 24. Working together for a better future by Dominic Morice, AusAID acific island countries face linguistically diverse regions of the Australia and the Pacific are working together to make more rapid progress towards the P a multitude of development challenges, including small economies, limited access to essential world. At the August 2009 Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Cairns, Pacific Millennium Development Goals. basic services, geographic and leaders expressed their determination to economic isolation, vulnerability to make faster progress towards achieving natural disasters and the growing the Millennium Development Goals. impact of climate change. The Pacific At this meeting, leaders agreed to is also one of the most culturally and the Cairns Compact on Strengthening 22 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009
  25. 25. FOCUS ON THE PACIFIC Development Coordination in the Pacific to drive better coordination of the development resources that are provided to Pacific island countries. The Cairns Compact is an important part of the Australian Government’s commitment to work closely with Pacific island countries on all the development challenges they face. It will work in unison with Pacific Partnerships for Development, the central element of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Port Moresby Declaration of 6 March 2008. Since the declaration, Australia has signed Pacific Partnerships for Development with Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu. The partnerships with these countries are based on the fundamental principles of mutual respect and responsibility. Under them, Australian aid to the Pacific will grow over time in line with improvements in governance, private sector development, investment in economic infrastructure and health and education. The Cairns Compact and Pacific AusAID is working closely with affected by seasonal drought, trialling Partnerships will work together to the Australian Department of Climate versatile crop varieties and recording ensure that Australian aid is increasingly Change and Pacific island countries on traditional knowledge about disaster aligned to Pacific island countries’ own this important initiative that will in part: preparation. planning and implementation systems. > work with the agricultural sector to Adapting to a changing climate ensure food security FAR LEFT:AusAID is supporting families like the > protect water supplies and essential The Australian Government is Tuebes in Solomon Islands to stay healthy infrastructure committed to decisive action on through programs like the Pacific Malaria climate change and to supporting > improve coastal zone management Initiative, which has seen the number of cases good environmental outcomes both at > support disaster preparedness and of malaria halve over the past five years. Photo: home and globally. Assisting vulnerable risk reduction programs. Rob Maccoll, AusAID countries in the Pacific to build Another example of Australian ABOVE:The island of Kiribati is particularly resilience to climate change is therefore support in this area is AusAID’s vulnerable to sea level rise. AusAID is helping of critical importance. Vulnerability and Adaptation Initiative, the people of Kiribati prepare for the effects of To address the challenge of climate which covers six Pacific island climate change. Photo: Jodi Gatfield, AusAID change head-on, Australia is investing countries—Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Fiji, $150 million through the International Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga. Climate Change Adaptation Initiative to This program involves replanting help Pacific island countries cope with coastal mangroves to protect shorelines, climate change. constructing rainwater tanks on islands FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009 23
  26. 26. Delivering better health outcomes per thousand people. By 2008, this Cross to respond immediately when had dropped to 82 cases per thousand disasters do strike. We are also working Australia is working closely with Pacific people. In Vanuatu the progress has with a range of Pacific and Australian island countries to strengthen health been even more dramatic. Malaria organisations to establish early warning services and funds a range of programs incidence has dropped from 74 cases systems like the Pacific Tsunami designed to achieve better health per thousand people in 2003 to 14 Warning System. outcomes for the people of the Pacific. cases per thousand in 2008. This is In June 2009, Australia launched These include providing support for a significant achievement of genuine Investing in a safer future: a disaster mothers and children and preventing public health value. risk reduction policy for the Australian diseases like malaria, tuberculosis aid program. This policy provides a and sexually transmitted infections, Preparing for and responding to framework for current and future including HIV. spending aimed at lessening the impact The $25 million Pacific Malaria natural disasters of disasters on Pacific countries. Initiative is an example of the leading As the 2009–10 Pacific cyclone Investing in disaster risk reduction role Australia is playing to combat season approaches, Australia stands not only saves lives and livelihoods but malaria in the region. We are working ready to provide humanitarian also helps reduce the costs involved with the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu assistance to Pacific countries affected in responding to disasters, protects Governments on the ambitious target of by natural disasters. developing economies and safeguards permanently eliminating malaria, island Disasters can undermine and even critical infrastructure like hospitals, by island. reverse hard-won development progress. schools, roads and bridges. In Solomon Islands, Australian AusAID supports work to strengthen ABOVE:AusAID is helping the people of Kiribati support has seen malaria incidence disaster preparedness plans at the address environmental, health and education more than halve over five years. In community level across the region and challenges. Photo: Lorrie Graham, AusAID 2003 there were 199 cases of malaria also funds organisations like the Red 24 FOCUS OCT–DEC 2009