From the Field

ECOSOC Awards FSD with Special Consultative Status by FSD

Recently, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recognized the Foundation for Sustainable Development’s service and commitment to long-term sustainable development by granting special consultative status to the organization. With this honor, the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) will be able to amplify the voices of our partners and contribute to dialogue around sustainable development policy at the UN.

Read more about it here.

Dependents' Day by Benjamin Zimmerman

kids.JPGIn the past two weeks I have been lucky enough to join my boss for meetings with representatives of both UNICEF and the World Bank. I am sure many of you are aware of these organizations due to their global presence. The media seems to be pretty polarized in their opinions regarding the results of interventions sanctioned by large International actors like the WB, so I was pretty excited to get a small dose of both of the entities to see what I could gather about what they have to offer.

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Children by Kristen Casella


November 22, 2010:

“Mzungu! Mzungu!” An excited squeal rises up from the other side of the fence, I have been spotted. There is a frantic thudding of small feet on the Earth as the child on the lookout races to alert the rest of her discovery. More excited yelps float through the air as the once abandoned looking shacks seem to come to life with their voices. The sound of feet smacking against the Earth is louder now as...

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Street Dogs and Special Offers by Gudmundur


"Hi I am Sunidhi Chauhan and I invite you to enjoy my music. Just dial 51234600 toll free" I received this text message to my phone every day last week.I have to say I am honored that Sunidhi offers me personally to enjoy his music and when I knew it was toll free I didn‘t have to think twice – Now I have been listening (and more importantly: enjoying) his music for hours and hours every day… on the phone. I don‘t mind spending the rest of my student loans on the phone bill as long as it is something that makes me happy and his music does that for sure...

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The Mine Labour Protection Campaign by Sara Bufkin


August, 2010

Since arriving in Jodhpur (has it been a month already?), I have come to appreciate the NGO that I work for, the Mine Labour Protection Campaign, for the wealth of experience and the wide variety of outreach and aid initiatives that it has brought to the impoverished, marginalized, and voiceless community of the Rajasthan’s mineworkers. At first, among all of the union formation and organization, awareness campaigns on occupational health and safety issues like asbestoses and silicosis, and the legal aid camps that MLPC runs in mining areas around the state, I felt a little lost. How could I—a white, nonHindi female with only one year of university under her belt—be of use to MLPC and create a project that would constructively impact the mineworkers and their families?

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Penguins by Paul Hemminger

July 14, 2010:

Imagine if a penguin just started walking down the street in the middle of your town. What are you thinking about that penguin? Where did it come from? Well it could come from anywhere really, I guess your first thought would be a zoo, then maybe someone owned it as a pet and lost it, perhaps the last thing you think of is that it came straight from Antarctica or the North Pole, or the highest parts of Canada. Either way, you stare. You wonder. What is the penguin thinking?

I am a penguin, I like it here, it’s warm and sunny, I’m a different kind of penguin, not a cold penguin, but a penguin that enjoys the heat, there are many like me, but we are located all over, and not that many people know about us, but some do. However, everyone is still staring at me, everyone wants to either help me, protect me, or captivate me and put me somewhere where I don’t bother people, or they want a picture with me, or to hug me. In the back of the penguin’s mind it remembers when it was with all the other penguins. No one really noticed him as someone different except for friends and family, social groups etc. Here, everyone knows who I am, I’m not a penguin, I’m the penguin. Here, I feel like the penguin.Not all the time, but most of time I am stared at with wide eyes. Without speaking to the Kenyan people it’s hard to first know thoughts or motives.

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Click Here to Support Paul Hemminger's work in Kenya

Women's Empowerment in Jodhpur by Jacqueline Woo

June 30, 2010:

There are many small non-profits like MSS that teach young women trade skills like bag making and henna decoration. Many organisations also sell the products made by women, a program MSS is slowly developing as well. Each non-profit usually targets a particular colony [neighbourhood]. Most of these women who attend MSS are part of the scheduled Meghwal caste, which migrated from the rural areas to the city. As a result, they typically have little education and are low-skilled workers: drivers, construction workers, packers. Due to their poverty and the extreme gender discrimination present in their culture, a Meghwal family’s resources are usually diverted away from the women and to the men. Megwal women are thus uneducated and unskilled.

This situation is slowly changing as men begin to see that investing in their female kin can relieve their own financial burden. Of the six families we visited, many men, struggling to make ends meet as the sole breadwinner of a large family, supported their wives’ and daughters’ participation in MSS’s programs. I wonder, though, about the other men we will visit in two days.

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Taxi Ride by Dan O'reilly

June 25, 2010:

It was if being in a clown car with 10 other Ugandans was not enough of a challenge. Sandwiched between and the driver, my right leg pinched between the gear shift and the driver’s hand, my right upper appendage crossed holding for dear life to the plastic handle. A horn blowing into the African air beckoning for more passengers--if there was still room in the taxi to breathe, there was room for another customer. Cars swerving in and out of traffic, avoiding gas tankers, vehicles traveling too slow for the crazed taxi, pot holes, boda boda drivers, human beings...

As I walked down the path from COWESER, Uncle, Mister, etc. Dick taught me the word goodbye, Weeraba. I practiced several times aloud, followed by whispered and then again several times in my head. Weeraba, weeraba... weeraba. I challenged myself not to forget this word, although the only word I had no problem memorizing was tugende, “we go.” As you may suspect, it has not gotten me too far.

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