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E. coli outbreak alarms Germany as young women sicken

E. coli outbreak alarms Germany as young women sicken

first_imgHealthLifestyle E. coli outbreak alarms Germany as young women sicken by: – May 25, 2011 Share Tweet Share 44 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Samples are being studied at the UKE laboratory in HamburgGermany is alarmed at the scale of an E. coli food poisoning outbreak which is thought to have killed three people and may have infected hundreds more.At least 80 people ingested EHEC, a dangerous strain of the bacterium, over the past two weeks and there are a further 350 suspected cases.The number of EHEC infections for the whole of 2010 was only about 1,000.This outbreak is affecting young women in particular, and one theory is that it is spread by contaminated salad.While medical tests have yet to establish the exact cause of death, the three suspected victims were all women, two of them in their 80s and the third aged 24.‘More deaths likely’E. coli is a bacterium commonly found in the gut and most strains are harmless, according to the World Health Organization.It is transmitted to humans primarily through consumption of contaminated foods, such as raw or undercooked ground meat products and raw milk, as well as by animal faeces getting into water and food, and by cross-contamination during food preparation.The EHEC strain may cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is characterised by acute kidney failure and can lead to seizures, strokes and coma.Reinhard Burger, head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute which monitors epidemics, said the country usually saw between 50 and 60 cases of HUS annually, whereas it had recorded about 80 during the current outbreak.“The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified,” Mr Burger said on Tuesday.“We have to say clearly that we have to expect more fatalities in view of the high number of cases.”The head of the country’s national disease control and prevention agency added that the age groups affected were “atypical”.‘Untypical’So far, most of the suspected cases have been found in northern regions. Some 200 were found in Schleswig-Holstein, 100 in Lower Saxony and nearly 50 in Hamburg.In Bremen, where the youngest suspected victim died, health authority official Werner Wunderle told reporters that the 24-year-old had not belonged to normal risk groups for EHEC.“Affected are mostly young women, that is untypical for EHEC,” he said.“Normally this bacterium affects children and youth. Every year we have cases of EHEC in Bremen and more than 80% are under 18 years old. It’s very untypical that mostly adults are concerned and predominately women. Also, it’s predominately women who are health conscious.”A Reuters news agency report suggests that the infection may be spread through contaminated vegetables, and the high number of affected young women points to a product more often bought or prepared by women.Susan Huggett of the Medilys laboratories in Hamburg advised against eating pre-packaged or prepared salad, which might contain the bacterium.She also recommended standard hygienic procedures such as washing hands before eating or cooking.BBC Newslast_img read more

Fertility ‘predicted by mother’

Fertility ‘predicted by mother’

first_img Sharing is caring! Share 14 Views   no discussions Share Tweetcenter_img Fertility peaks between 18 and 31 years of age, say expertsWomen may be able to better gauge their own fertility based on the age their mother went through the menopause, a study has concluded.Women whose mothers had an early menopause had far fewer eggs in their ovaries than those whose mothers had a later menopause, a Danish team found.Women with fewer viable eggs have fewer chances to conceive. The study, of 527 women aged between 20 and 40, was reported in the journal Human Reproduction.Ovarian reserveResearchers looked at two accepted methods to assess how many eggs the women had – known as their “ovarian reserve” – levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC). Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. These are released from the ovary cyclically, usually one every month after puberty, until menopause. The AFC and AMH give readings doctors an idea of how many yet-to-be released eggs remain in the ovary.In the study of female healthcare workers, the researchers found both AMH and AFC declined faster in women whose mothers had an early menopause (before the age of 45) compared to women whose mothers had a late menopause (after the age of 55).Average AMH levels declined by 8.6%, 6.8% and 4.2% a year in the groups of women with mothers who had early, normal or late menopauses, respectively. A similar pattern was seen for AFC, with annual declines of 5.8%, 4.7% and 3.2% in the same groups, respectively.Start youngPast research suggests there is about 20 years between a woman’s fertility starting to decline and the onset of menopause. So a woman who enters the menopause at 45 may have experienced a decline in her fertility at the age of 25.Lead researcher Dr Janne Bentzen said: “Our findings support the idea that the ovarian reserve is influenced by hereditary factors. However, long-term follow-up studies are required.”Also, having fewer eggs does not necessarily mean that the woman will go on to have fewer babies. Dr Valentine Akande, a consultant gynaecologist and spokesman for the British Fertility Society, said the findings were helpful, but that women should not be overly concerned if their mother did have an early menopause. “There is a huge amount of variation among women. Some will have more eggs and some will have less.“Whilst it is assumed that lower egg number is associated with more challenges at getting pregnant this study did not look at that.“Currently there is no test that can accurately predict fertility. “The advice remains the same – the younger you start trying for a baby the more likely you are to be successful.”He said, in general, women are most fertile between the ages of 18 and 31. BBC News Share HealthLifestyle Fertility ‘predicted by mother’ by: – November 7, 2012last_img read more

Breakfast linked to ‘healthy heart’

Breakfast linked to ‘healthy heart’

first_img Tweet Share HealthLifestyle Breakfast linked to ‘healthy heart’ by: – July 23, 2013 Sharing is caring! Sharecenter_img 16 Views   no discussions Share Could a bowl of cereal help your heart?People should eat breakfast to keep their hearts in good condition, according to researchers in the US.Their study of 27,000 men, in the journal Circulation, showed those skipping breakfast were at a greater risk of heart problems.The team at the Harvard School of Public Health said missing the meal put an “extra strain” on the body.The British Heart Foundation said breakfast helped people resist sugary snacks before lunch.The men, aged 45-82, were studied for 16 years. During that time there were more than 1,500 heart attacks or cases of fatal heart failure. However, people who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have heart problems than those who started the day with a meal. The researchers adjusted for other lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and exercise.Researcher, Dr Leah Cahill told the BBC: “The take-home message is eat in the morning when you wake up, preferably within an hour.“The results show that something is better than nothing, but it’s always better to have something healthy and balanced.”She said the timing of the meal seemed to be key and waiting until lunch rather than “breaking fast” may be straining the body over time. She said this could be increasing the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes which could in turn damage the heart.“Don’t skip breakfast,” Dr Cahill concluded.Victoria Taylor, a dietitian with the British Heart Foundation, said: “These researchers only looked at men aged over 45, so we would need to see further research to confirm that breakfast has the same impact on the heart health of other groups of people.“What we do know is that a healthy and filling breakfast can make that mid-morning biscuit less tempting, as well as giving you another opportunity to widen the variety of foods in your diet.“Wholegrain toast, or cereals like porridge with low fat milk are a good way to start the day. Try a sliced banana or dried fruit on top and you’ll be on your way to five-a-day before you’ve even left the house.”BBC Newslast_img read more

OECS Competitive Business Unit Facilitates Formation of National Fashion Associations

OECS Competitive Business Unit Facilitates Formation of National Fashion Associations

first_img Sharing is caring! BusinessLifestyleLocalNewsRegional  OECS Competitive Business Unit Facilitates Formation of National Fashion Associations by: – February 7, 2020 Share Share Tweetcenter_img 100 Views   no discussions Share                                                                     Fashion Association of Dominica(OECS) As a means of stimulating the growth and development of the fashion and design sector in the region, the OECS Competitive Business Unit through its Creative Industries Sector Programme, has helped to facilitate the formation of National Fashion Associations in the Commonwealth of Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Associations aim to become viable entities operating in the fashion industry’s regional and global marketplace.After months of various interventions by the Competitive Business Unit to support groupings of designers in these two OECS Member States, along with the support of local partners including the Intellectual Property Offices; Invest SVG; and the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA), national associations have now been established in each of these Member States — with the recent registration in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the election of an executive body in the Commonwealth of Dominica.A grouping of designers in the Commonwealth of Dominica have been working on the process towards the formation of a national association there, with the support of the Competitive Business Unit and other stakeholders. As a step towards the registration of the grouping into a legal entity, the group held its elections of officers recently, with designer, Deborah Mikkie Graham of Bellanoir Fashions emerging as the first-ever president.The full executive reads:Deborah Mikkie Graham – President Vanessa Winston – Vice PresidentAvena Prince – Secretary Vilma Samuel – Treasurer Melinda Seraphine – Assistant Secretary/TreasurerRuth Augustine – Public Relations Officer Nominated members: Reena Polydore, Sonia Akpa and Alisha Florent The newly elected president of the Dominica Fashion and Design Association (DOFA), Deborah Mikkie Graham says, “…there are significant numbers of persons who are interested in pursuing careers  in the industry and are hesitant to do so due to severe limitations. We needed a body to advocate on behalf of designers and the industry in general. We are extremely thankful to the OECS CBU for taking on the effort to help us form an association over the past two years, and are thankful also for the many opportunities they have created for local and regional designers thus far.  It was however critical to establish an organisation dedicated to supporting the work of fashion and design in Dominica.”Graham is hopeful that her association will continue to work with other stakeholders to improve on the situation of the industry in the Commonwealth of Dominica and to assist the association and its membership to develop brands to compete internationally.She too is hoping that, “through skills training and education, interested designers and other professionals within the industry will be exposed to new areas of competencies and skills to allow for a larger number of persons to embark on career paths in the fashion industry.”The CBU plans to work with Business Support Organisations (BSOs) in both islands to assist the two associations with the creation of strategic plans and to begin focusing on areas of collaboration that would help enhance the competitiveness of the fashion industry in these two Member States, while it pursues work on building other national associations in the remaining Member States in the coming months.Following the registration of the Fashion Association of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (FASVG), the newly elected president, Peta Odini Sutherland, noted, “The idea of a Fashion Association was something which grew …as we started seeing the various opportunities available that could become more accessible via the creation of an association.”She further emphasised that “Funding agencies and other partners were more prepared to deal with a grouping than with individuals and have shifted their resources to supporting cluster type projects.  An association therefore was the obvious next step that we would have to take in order to make the industry in St. Vincent more viable.”Sutherland and her colleagues envision that the Association will serve as a means to bring the collective talent and skills of local designers together to solve the myriad of issues and challenges which impact the industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the rest of the OECS.Design by Dominican Fashion Designer and President of the Fashion Association of Dominica – D. Mikkie Graham, owner of Bellanoir Fashion.Design by Dominican Fashion Designer – Kimara Matthew, owner of Finesse Beauty House of Fashion.last_img read more

Bishop Malzaire Makes Suggestions for the Celebration of Holy Week Liturgies at Home

Bishop Malzaire Makes Suggestions for the Celebration of Holy Week Liturgies at Home

first_img Sharing is caring! April 11: Easter Vigil – Mass at Cathedral Chapel at 7:00PM. CoronavirusFaithLifestyleLocalNews Bishop Malzaire Makes Suggestions for the Celebration of Holy Week Liturgies at Home by: – April 5, 2020 Dominica Catholic Radio – 96.1FM; FLOW TV – Ch. 958; Digicel TV – Ch 52;Dominica Catholic Radio Facebook pageDiocese of Roseau Facebook pageDiocese of Roseau website – dioceseofroseau.org;Dominica Catholic Radio website – dominicacatholiradio.org; &ComeSee TVHere are some guidelines which could help enhance your participation in the broadcast liturgies during the Sacred Triduum:Everyone home stop and gather as family;Setting up an altar in your home with lighted candles and holy pictures;Follow the celebration with your Sunday Missal and make the appropriate responses during the celebration;You may even consider dressing up appropriately for the liturgies;Follow the appropriate gestures during the celebration – sitting, standing, kneeling, etc.Turn off/silence your cell phones during celebration;On Holy Thursday, family members may consider washing each other’s feet at home.On Good Friday the family can do the Stations of the Cross together by following it in the Moments of Celebration HymnalTouch the Crucifix at home during the veneration of the CrossOn Holy Saturday, perhaps the family can have a special candle, decorate it and light it during the Vigil Mass.Some element of home decoration on each day including the use of the appropriate liturgical colour: Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday (White); Friday (Red); Sunday (White & Gold).My dear friends, as much as this period has inconvenienced us, it can serve as a means to draw families closer together. It certainly can help us better appreciate our faith.A happy and Blessed Holy Week to everyone. Share Tweet Following are the media links via which the Masses and Services will be followed: Share April 9: Holy Thursday – Mass at Cathedral Chapel at 3:00PM April 5: Palm Sunday – Mass at Cathedral Chapel at 9:00AM April 12: Easter Sunday – Mass at the Cathedral Chapel at 9:00AM Share               Bishop Gabriel MalzaireDear Brothers and sisters in Christ,In our attempt to work earnestly towards the curbing, preventing and eventually eliminate the presence of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) in our midst, the entire nation is called to do whatever is necessary to achieve that end.His Excellency the President has proclaimed a state of Emergency in the country, effective from April 1 to April 20, 2020. Between those dates a curfew will be effective from 6:00PM to 6:00AM, Monday to Friday, and a total lockdown from 6:00PM on Friday to 6:00AM on Monday. In that regard, there will be no weekend liturgies in any Church or Chapel in the Diocese. Therefore, the Holy Week Liturgies for the faithful will be spent indoors – at home.You are therefore invited to follow the Masses and services from the Bishop’s Chapel and the Cathedral Chapel on the various days as indicted in the following schedule: April 10: Good Friday – Ceremony of the Lord’s Passion at the Cathedral Chapel at 3:00PM. 49 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

Former foes endorse Martelly

Former foes endorse Martelly

first_imgNewsRegional Former foes endorse Martelly by: – March 14, 2011 Share 32 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring!center_img Share Tweet Five candidates who were defeated in the first round of Haiti’s presidential election have given their support to pop singer Michel Martelly in the second round run-off.Mr Martelly will face former first lady Mirlande Manigat in the 20 March vote. The five candidates said Mr Martelly was the candidate most likely to promote democracy and development. But they said the best solution would have been to annul the first round because of widespread fraud.In a joint statement, defeated candidates Josette Bijou, Wilson Jeudy, Genard Joseph, Chavanne Jeune and Eric Smarki Charles praised Mr Martelly for the “spirit of openness” he had shown in his campaign. “We urge all our supporters in all corners of the country to go out and vote in mass for Michel Martelly to become president on Sunday 20 March,” the statement said.ControversyThe Martelly camp also received a boost at the weekend when hip-hop star Wyclef Jean performed at a campaign-rally concert for the candidate in Gonaives, Haiti’s third largest city. But the candidates added that the “best solution for democracy” would have been to annul the “masquerade” of the first round. Ms Manigat won the most votes in the first round, but opinion polls give Mr Martelly a slight lead ahead of next weekend’s decisive vote.The election to chose a successor to outgoing Haitian president Rene Preval has been mired in controversy. International observers said the first round on 28 November was marred by fraud and intimidation.Violent unrest broke out when Haiti’s electoral authorities announced initial results that put the governing Inite party candidate Jude Celestin in second place.Pressure from abroadThe second round was postponed, and experts from the Organisation of American States and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) were called in to assess the result. They found there had been large-scale fraud in Mr Celestin’s favour, and recommended he withdraw. After sustained international pressure, the electoral authority announced new results which put Mr Martelly through to the run-off against Ms Manigat.Whoever wins the election faces the task of rebuilding Haiti after last year’s huge earthquake, which killed around 230,000 people and left the capital, Port-au-Prince, in ruins.Source: BBC Caribbeanlast_img read more

All Saints University refutes claim that it is closing down

All Saints University refutes claim that it is closing down

first_imgAll Saints University School of Medicine Dominica Campus. Photo credit: allsaintsuniversity.orgOffshore Medical School All Saints University is refuting reports in the media that it will soon close its Dominica campus.The Sun Newspaper in a recent publication reported that the All Saints University was closing its Dominica campus and moving to another Caribbean island.Registrar at the All Saints University David Abia-Done said business will continue as usual and the school is not closing its doors.“That is all the information you are taking from me that it is not closing down. We are here in operation. We will continue to operate in Roseau, Dominica. Whatever the newspaper is reporting, this is the truth I am telling you that we are not closing down. We will continue to operate. I am saying that our students are in school and we are in full operation. We are not closing down,” he said.The All Saints University School of Medicine, Dominica Campus which was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to providing its students with a solid medical background so that they may succeed as medical professionals. All Saints strives to ensure that it produces broadly and thoroughly educated graduates who realize that the medical profession denotes a sense of social responsibility.Dominica Vibes News Share Sharing is caring! Share Sharecenter_img 292 Views   one comment Tweet LocalNews All Saints University refutes claim that it is closing down by: – September 20, 2011last_img read more

“After the Honeymoon”

“After the Honeymoon”

first_img Tweet Share 34 Views   one comment Share Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! EntertainmentLocalNews “After the Honeymoon” by: – September 23, 2011 Cast members in “After the Honeymoon” scene. The New Dimension Theatre, 27 years of quality productions is bringing the Dominica public its latest dramatic production entitled After the Honey Moon. Another hot-number from prolific playwright and Director Steve Hyacinth premiers at the Arawak House of Culture on Friday 23rd September 2011 at 8.00pm and runs until Sunday 25, 2011.The play which runs for the weekendtakes us on a journey through the lives of a married couple (Tomas and Abigail) after their honeymoon.It has been said that every married couple looks forward with great anticipation to their honeymoon –the fun, excitement, joy and frolic. The question that lingers on in everybody’s mind is not so much what happens during the honeymoon but what happens after the honeymoon. How much of that special moon of romance is their when the Honey is done?Tomas the Husband– maybe influenced by his period of socialization or driven by his ambitions to follow his father footstep or through his possessiveness and stubbornness tries unceasingly to force his wife toabandon her professional ambitions and surrender more willingly to performing traditional roles.He felt that his satisfaction as a husband and selfrespect was hinging on his capacity to hold her in such a role. In thepursuit of his goal, he tries doing all things possible to get his wife to do things his way and to comply to his life style, beliefs and standards.Abigail would either rebel or bow down to his resistance, his dominance and selfish and egoistic desires.The dramaturgical statement is that when our ’true colours’- the varying personalities,moods swings and attitudes begin to shine or come to light in a relationship,they evoke a strong feeling of happiness or disappointmentand the reaction is unpredictable and at times inevitable.After the Honeymoon features only four characters in its intriguing plot!!! Donille Blackmore as Abigail, Lloyd Benjamin as Tomas, Jerry Coipel as El and Mellisha Joseph as Pudding. After the Honeymoon is crafted with countless comical and farcical moments and spiced with laughter and thought provoking. In fact Indeed it will hold us spellbound and provide us with an opportunity to laugh at ourselves the simple thing “WE” do.We guarantee that you will be thrilled, amused and immensely entertained. At the same time, we hope it will enable us to reflect upon the larger message that is being imparted. Show your true colours….It is one for anyone in a relationship to see.Press ReleaseNew Dimension Theatre Companylast_img read more

Violence against women: Prevention, protection and empowerment in Haiti

Violence against women: Prevention, protection and empowerment in Haiti

first_img Share Map of Haiti. Photo credit: merriam-webster.comPORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — It is a lesser known reality of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010 and left more than 200,000 dead. The merciless disintegration of the Haitian State created a situation of utter chaos for the country’s most vulnerable.In less than 55 seconds of tremors, 1.5 million people were suddenly stranded on rubble-strewn streets filled with the detritus of 80,000 collapsed buildings. Almost two years after the disaster, more than 650,000 people still live in makeshift camps, often in terrible conditions. Even if the election of a new president, Michel Martelly, in May last year gave Haitians hope for the future, the new government faces a highly unstable situation. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies are preparing to shutter the emergency operations they set up in the immediate aftermath of the quake. The transition from emergency assistance to long-term development projects poses a growing challenge as hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still rely on aid to survive. The United Nations has deployed more than 12,000 peacekeepers in the Caribbean nation in an effort to ensure security for the almost 650,000 IDPs.Among the displaced, women are particularly vulnerable as they face a surge in sexual assaults and domestic violence. In addition, precarious living conditions in the IDP camps as well as the overall weakening of local authorities provide criminals with opportunities to offend with impunity.Despite the difficulties, women are slowly beginning to talk, says Celia Romulus, a project manager for UN Women, the agency fighting violence against women.“We are confronted with dramatic situations in which young women are raped in broad daylight in their tents or even young children are being raped,” Romulus says. Sexual assaults are particularly difficult to identify, prevent and punish. As a result, the UN has strengthened its patrols in the camps, fielding more than 8,800 blue helmets, 1,244 members of the UN police force (UNPOL) and 2,337 police officers from formed police units (FPUs). With more than 50,000 inhabitants, Jean Marie Vincent is the biggest IDP camp in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, occupying several hectares of property near the city centre and close to Cité Soleil, one of the poorest and less secure areas of the city.Raymond Lamarre, the UNPOL police spokesperson in Haiti, bluntly describes the difficulties faced by law enforcement: “The gangsters of Cité Soleil commit crimes and then hide in the IDP camp where it is more difficult for us and for the Haitian National Police (HNP) Force to track them down.”To dissuade these criminals, UN police concentrate their efforts along the camp’s perimeter and at its entrances.“Intensifying patrols along the perimeter helps to reduce opportunities for committing crimes and it strengthens security for the IDPs,” says Lamarre, noting that the new measures have led to a significant reduction in reports of sexual assaults.“We have found out that the latrines are particularly dangerous for women at night. That’s why we have decided to install lighting near these places where sexual predators happened to be lurking.”To reduce sexual assaults at night, the United Nations set up solar panels to illuminate the women’s restrooms.Despite the precautions along the camp’s perimeter, violence inside the camp is still widespread, with UN officers coming under threat as well. “For the first time, UN police have been targeted,” notes Claude Mercier, the police officer in charge of an investigation into the recent shooting of UN personnel.“Yesterday, shots were fired in the camp and we immediately dispatched a UNPOL team towards the location. One of the police officers was severely wounded and the culprit managed to escape. The body of a civilian was found not far from that place,” he says.With two police stations overseeing a population of 50,000 people, UNPOL officers admit it will take time to completely secure the camp. The upcoming departure of a large number of humanitarian organizations and the lack of resources available to the national police make the situation ever more fragile. For Lamarre, one of the solutions would be to forge relations of trust with camp residents.“We are not perfect. We need to interact more with the population, forge ties, and create a situation of symbiosis between communities. We are here to build trust. I dare to think that we generate hope and change for the population,” he says.In addition to the horrors of the crimes themselves, the criminals responsible for sexual assaults also have a feeling of impunity within the camps. These predators are often neighbours or associates of their victims and provoke fear of retribution if the victims report the crime. To break this wall of silence, the UN police have established a gender unit with 20 police officers, 15 of whom are women, dedicated to the prevention and the fight against sexual violence in the camps.“We forge ties of trust with the population and that allows for female victims to come and see us when an incident of sexual aggression occurs,” explains Nedea Valentin, the gender unit’s deputy chief, who also points out that victims of sexual violence are more comfortable confiding in female officers.As soon as an incident is reported, the female officers immediately engage in the standard operating procedure. First, the assault must be verified by a doctor within 72 hours – the crucial timeframe within which sex crimes can be medically identified and treated – at one of the local hospitals or special clinics set up by the NGO Doctors without Borders. Then, if the perpetrators are found and arrested, the officers bring the case all the way to the courts where they help victims plead their cases to the judge. At the same time, victims are provided with counselling and psychological support. To eradicate the growing scourge of sexual violence, the gender unit dispatches teams of four to different camps throughout Port-au-Prince, conducting awareness seminars with the city’s women. During the daily meetings, the officers discuss the ongoing fight against sexual and domestic violence but also the economic empowerment of women, the overall fight against poverty and family planning. One of the assumptions accepted by the team is that domestic and sexual violence are the collateral effects of the more entrenched economic and social violence suffered by women.During one of the awareness sessions with the women of the Primature camp – founded on the grounds of what used to be the Prime Minister’s residence – the conversation quickly turns to the soaring prices of basic food items, such as oil, rice and beans.“Everything has become more expensive after the goudou goudou,” says a young mother, referring to the local onomatopoeic name for the earthquake.Undaunted, the gender unit’s Nalidjata Soumahoro explains the advantages of the tontine – a cooperative system based on the pooling of common savings.“Each week around 15 women or more meet, each one of them bringing some money with her,” says Soumahoro to the group. “And each week one of the women takes home all the money as capital to start a small business, whether it be selling mangoes, oranges, etc. The following week, another woman takes the pooled money in order to start another small business. This way, all the women receive the money they need to create a livelihood!”For Fredrik Bjerkeborn, the Deputy UN Police Commissioner in Haiti, UNPOL’s approach to dealing with gender issues contributes “positively to changing mentalities in the communities.” Nevertheless, he notes that the road to gender equality in the IDP camps will be a long one because it is a long and profound societal process.One of the most important measures implemented during the recent years of UN operations in Haiti was to increase the female presence among the peacekeepers. The Bangladeshi contingent of the UN police force now includes 108 women and is led by a woman – Commissioner Sahely Ferdous.Beyond the security aspects of the mission, the female presence in the UN police force proves to the locals that women can assume positions of power, and further illustrates that gender equality is possible. Moreover, the female presence in both the UN police force and within MINUSTAH is growing with a current total of 489 women serving in their ranks.“It is important to train the Haitian National Police to make it able to tackle gender related problems,” explains Bjerkeborn. “We provide specific training for the prevention of sexual violence. We explain the situation of women in the camps and we prepare them to answer questions that women in danger could ask and we teach them how to implement proper procedures to act immediately in case of a reported sexual assault.”He further points out that UNPOL aims to create special safe rooms where sex crime victims can express themselves freely, safely and anonymously.Empowerment of womenProtecting women only makes sense if they are ultimately empowered by being able to identify and seize opportunities. For this reason, UN Women, the Organization’s youngest agency, has promoted several initiatives to reclaim areas of IDP camps where women have been regular targets of assault. “We try to eliminate their worst fears: violence in the public space,” says Célia Romulus. “The idea is to turn women into their own security experts in their own environment.”To do that, the agency’s local partners help organize safety patrols in the camp’s neighbourhoods, walking the same routes as the women use to go to school, the market or to the various water pumps positioned around the camp. Along the way, they mark out areas where improved lighting or a police presence would help guarantee better safety.This form of citizen’s awareness has already yielded encouraging results as the women have become increasingly likely to report any instances of sexual violence. “When our mobile teams arrest a suspect, and the wall of silence is broken, we show that sexual violence is unacceptable and that gives meaning to our work,” states Sheila Laplanche, a communications specialist at UN Women’s office in Haiti.“We support the State in its efforts to establish a law on violence against women, and we also encourage female participation in political life as well as the creation of microcredit projects specifically for victims of violence,” concludes Ms. Laplanche.Célia Romulus stresses that UN Women’s emphasis on listening has permitted women to be heard more easily in the aftermath of the earthquake.“Very often, before speaking of the actual sexual violence, the victims first speak of the trauma of the earthquake. Then later, when trust is established they begin speaking about the aggression and the violence they have endured,” she says, underlining that by focusing on listening to the victimized women, some have already begun to heal and rebuild their lives.This gender-focused initiative completes the massive aid operation launched by the UN’s humanitarian agencies in the immediate aftermath of the quake.“Just by simply being there, in the middle of the rubble, and available to hear their stories,” Romulus says, her voice choked with emotion, “the victims have thanked us for helping them get their dignity back.”Caribbean News Now Share 77 Views   no discussions Tweetcenter_img Share NewsRegional Violence against women: Prevention, protection and empowerment in Haiti by: – January 12, 2012 Sharing is caring!last_img read more

Government officials to visit the new Grotto Home for the Homeless project

Government officials to visit the new Grotto Home for the Homeless project

first_img Share Share 24 Views   no discussions LocalNews Government officials to visit the new Grotto Home for the Homeless project by: – April 16, 2012 Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Rotary Club of Roseau members with residents of the Grotto Home for the Homeless during a feeding program at their temporary location on High Street. Community Development Minister Gloria Shillingford and her permanent secretary Esther Thomas will form part of an official site visit to the new Grotto Home for the Homeless which is being constructed in Belle Vue Rawle, Stockfarm on Monday.The officials, according to a press release from Grotto, will receive a tour of the progress of the project thus far and also view plans for the new facility. The government of Dominica “compulsorily purchased” the old Grotto Home and land for EC$546,000 to facilitate the construction of the Windsor Park Sports Stadium and the new wing of the Dominica Grammar School in October of 2007.The Grotto Home was then relocated to the Dominica Club building on High Street where “40 – 50 vulnerable homeless residents are housed, and “a further fifty plus “street people” are fed every weekday evening”. The release explains that “considerable repairs” had to be undertaken on the Dominica Club to make it “sufficiently sound”. The cost for these repairs was refunded to the Grotto Home by the government of Dominica. These repairs included construction of toilet facilities, bathrooms and laundry facilities” costing EC$100,000.00 funded by the British High Commission in 2008.Community Hostels Inc; which managing board of the Grotto Home negotiated with the government for an “allocation of 2 acre of land in Bellevue Rawle. One acre has now been formally transferred to the NGO and the second acre is to be leased from Government”.The construction of the facility is planned in three phases:- • Phase one consists of three dormitories with bathrooms each two sleeping 16 and one 17 for the current residents. Lockable Downstairs Storage Areas will also be built. • Phase two consists of the main Building which will provide supervised inside and outside living space including male and female verandas with washrooms, a dining room, a chapel/meeting area, an Administration office, Doctors room, Staff quarters, kitchen and laundry. The facility is designed to provide hurricane proof emergency accommodation for one hundred in a disaster. • Phase three includes a further three dormitories for those persons who are currently part of the outreach Soup Kitchen program whom it is hoped will be rehabilitated from the streets.The managing board is appealing to the public for donations to assist them with the project as proceeds from the compulsory purchase are being “stretched with donations, discounts and significant assistance from the Prison and visiting teams of Builders from the US whom we contacted through Deliverance Baptist Church” for a project valued at more than EC$2.5 Million.“We appeal to the Diaspora, Corporate citizens, Donor Agencies and individuals as well as Government to assist. Donations can be declared for tax exemption”. The Board is also seeking funds for their “Soup Kitchen” and urges the public to refrain from giving money to “vagrants and street persons” as this is “mostly used for illegal drugs and alcohol”. If you want to help the Homeless, then please donate to this project and to the running costs of the Grotto Home and Soup Kitchen. Donations can be transferred to National Bank of Dominica account number 110000522. The site visit will take place on Monday 16th April at 3pm.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more