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Report from Aleppo: Working to Provide Relief as Violence Intensifies

I have just travelled back from Aleppo, where the situation continues to plummet to even greater lows.

When I was there nearly 100 mortars fell on west Aleppo in a couple of days. While at the same time, only a few hundred meters away we witnessed the unrelenting bombardment of the eastern side of the city.

My colleagues told me that they hid in bathrooms and basements as the attacks continued. There was little sleep that night. The very same staff came to work in the morning with the same energy, as if it was just an ordinary night.

A Plea from Aleppo: "Please Save Us"

"Please save us."

This is the only message we received from our Syrian colleagues in Aleppo in the last days. Hearing no news from them last weekend, we were concerned as the humanitarian situation deteriorated and the government gained control of the city. The message they sent did little to reassure us.

"After this, we don’t know what will happen or how we can survive," wrote a Syrian humanitarian worker.

Beyond #GivingTuesday: Start a Relationship of Impact

In 2013, just after super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, I attended a benefit reception to support an NGO that had been working in the Philippines since 1985, called Handicap International. At that time I was a friend of Handicap International, and this was my first #GivingTuesday action on behalf of any organization.

Beyond #GivingTuesday: We Can't Help Everyone. But Everyone Can Help Someone

Natural disasters are overwhelming. For those directly impacted whose lives are shattered. For the humanitarian landscape responding to the devastating needs on the ground. For all of us at home watching as the extent of the chaos and tragedy unfolds. It is so very easy to turn a blind eye, to perhaps send sympathy and a quick prayer but to otherwise remain inactive and swiftly return to our own daily lives.

Beyond #GivingTuesday: Amplify the Voices of the Poor

Donors to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) know their gifts improve the lives of millions of people in over 100 countries. Their donations build up local partners, directly benefiting children, women, and men who are poor and vulnerable. But that generosity does more — it also amplifies the voice of so many, the poor of the world who are so often ignored by governments, corporations, and international organizations.

Beyond #GivingTuesday: Why Cash Is Best

Global need has rarely been greater. Today, a disparate population of 65 million souls forced to flee armed conflicts and natural disasters in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, live transient lives with uncertain futures as displaced people far from their homelands. Roughly half are children.

Agricultural development, transparency and co-operation: The Nigerian perspective

Agricultural investments in Nigeria are critical to transition our agricultural sector from largely subsistence small holder farming to commercial agriculture enterprises. The sort needed to stimulate local economies and enable Nigeria to reduce its food import bill.  While Nigeria’s agricultural sector has seen an unprecedented flow of development aid in the last decade, a great concern has risen with regard to the effectiveness of this aid.

Urban Sanitation: A Messy Problem for Habitat III

As we approach Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, one of the most essential topics that must be addressed in the New Urban Agenda is urban sanitation.

Open Data and Agricultural Aid: The Next Step in Tackling Hunger

In 2011, Publish What You Fund’s chief executive, Rupert Simons, was working in Ethiopia on a program to get better seeds to farmers. His program was one of several run by different government agencies, NGOs and donors. Despite great effort, the results were disappointing. It took several years to fully understand why – the seeds from government farms had been contaminated by inter-breeding.

Even “Snowflake” Foundations Collect and Share Data on Agricultural Investments

Sometimes we hear philanthropic foundations described as “snowflakes.” They each have their own unique set of strategies, their own orientation towards change, their own impact measurements, their own proposal formats, and even their own unique language for describing the work they do, (as one foundation so succinctly told me, “ag funding isn’t just ag funding”).

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