Seeking answers on campus sexual assault

first_imgOver the past year, the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault has been gathering information to lay the groundwork for interventions to lower the incidence of sexual assault, harassment, and other misconduct at Harvard, as well as for improvements in supporting students who have experienced such misconduct.This week, the task force is launching its most far-reaching effort yet, sending out a Web-based survey to 20,000 members of the student body, targeting all degree candidates as part of a national effort involving 28 universities to understand the extent and nature of the problem, both on their home campuses and across the country.The task force’s work is just the latest effort to get a handle on the problem at Harvard. Last year, the University adopted policies and procedures to address sexual assault and harassment and opened a new Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution. In addition, the issue has been discussed by different Schools. Last week, for example, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study sponsored a panel discussion on how government policies affect the incidence and tolerance of gender-based violence.The Gazette sat down with the task force’s chairman, Steven Hyman, a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, and David Laibson, the Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics, who participated in the survey design. The two discussed the survey, what students can expect to be asked, and the potential benefit of taking a hard look at a difficult issue.GAZETTE: The Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault is sending out a survey to students. What is the task force hoping to learn and why is the survey needed?HYMAN: First, the mission of this task force is twofold: one is prevention of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, and the other is making sure we do our best to support people who have experienced sexual assault and misconduct.In order to prevent these unwanted behaviors, we have to know what the risk factors are that contribute to their occurrence. We also have to know how many episodes there are each semester in order to have a chance of knowing whether our interventions are succeeding.To design effective preventive interventions for the Harvard context, the task force has undertaken three complementary efforts. One endeavor was a very intensive effort to listen within small and large meetings involving many different groups across Harvard’s schools. Stephanie Khurana took the lead for the College and provided important intellectual leadership.A second effort was to review the academic literature to determine what was really known about assault and harassment. Lisa Berkman of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health took the lead. This effort was complemented by hearing reports from other universities, including Brown and MIT, and interviewing experts at other Universities.The third effort was to design and implement the survey that is about to be released at Harvard. Not only is this a way to learn about our own institution, but also to benchmark ourselves against similar institutions. Among many advantages of surveying multiple institutions with the same instrument is the possibility of learning from differences and understanding best practices for intervention.“First, the mission of this task force is twofold: one is prevention of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, and the other is making sure we do our best to support people who have experienced sexual assault and misconduct,” said Steven Hyman, the task force’s chairman. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerGAZETTE: How many institutions are involved with the survey and what kinds of things will you be asking?LAIBSON: The survey is a collaboration, primarily with the AAU, the Association of American Universities, which is a consortium of 62 research universities in the U.S. Twenty-eight will be participating in the survey.We participated in every stage of the process of creating the survey. We had a set of local conversations and convened an Ivy Plus consortium group, which is a conversation among the Ivies and a few additional schools.There were three bids from external survey research firms, and Westat emerged with the strongest bid. Then a survey design committee organized by the AAU took over. That committee, which we participated on, met once to twice a week working with Westat to design the survey. The design process started in October and continued until just a few weeks ago.We were the first school to pretest the survey, and we did that in January. The word “pretest” is a little bit odd because on the one hand it sounds like people actually took the survey, but we didn’t want that. We really wanted students to react to the questions and tell us whether they were clear, comprehensible, personally relevant; appropriate in every conceivable way.GAZETTE: Can you describe the content of the survey? How long is it, how many questions, and what kind of topics do the questions cover?LAIBSON: Length is better summarized with time than by a number of questions, because it’s conditional. If people are reporting incidents of an assault, we’re going to follow up on that. So if you say yes, that opens up more questions.We’ve thought a lot about good survey methods and the burden on our respondents. Since we would like a high response rate, we wanted to create a survey that wouldn’t drive people away because 45 minutes into it they’ve got to go to dinner. We worked very hard to keep the survey down to 20 to 30 minutes for a typical respondent.We also want to emphasize that confidentiality — really anonymity — is important. We’re sending people a link. When they click on that link, any identifiers — to email or to name — is severed.HYMAN: At no time in the process does Harvard University possess any identifying data, like IP addresses. The survey is performed on the Westat site and we get data back stripped of all identifiers. Even the emails to students are sent from Westat and not from Harvard.GAZETTE: What should students expect? And if it’s not from Harvard, how does it get through spam filters?LAIBSON: We have been “white-listed” in the Harvard email system, but of course it cannot be white-listed in every email system. So that means if someone is forwarding all their emails to Hotmail, it could get spammed in Hotmail. So if students didn’t see it in their inbox at the end of the day on the 12th, they should check their spam filters, particularly if they’re forwarding their mail to another service.It’ll come from Westat, they won’t see Harvard.edu. It’ll contain an invitation from Drew Faust to participate, but it won’t be from her address. There will be a link, they’ll click on the link, and at that point their identity is severed from the survey. All we will know is what we collect on the survey.We’re going to ask them about demographics, about their living situation, many things about the climate at Harvard. We’re trying to cover a lot of territory. First we’re going to be asking about sexual harassment and, of course, about sexual assault. We’re going to be asking about intimate partner violence, and about stalking.Sexual assault is very complex and problematic, so we’re not going to ask generic questions like, “Have you been the victim of a sexual assault?” We’re instead going to be very explicit and talk about very particular situations with very precise wording and ask, “Did this happen to you?”“The survey is a collaboration, primarily with the AAU, the Association of American Universities, which is a consortium of 62 research universities in the U.S.,” said Professor David Laibson, who participated in the survey design. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerHYMAN: We want to know about specific experiences and behaviors, not how people have labeled them, because labels can be understood very differently among the members of our community.LAIBSON: Sexual assault can take many forms: through force, through attempted force, through incapacitation, so all of these different channels will be measured.Then we’ll follow up and ask detailed questions about the characteristics of the event, the reporting, follow-up, etc. We want to get a relatively full picture of the circumstances and context of the incident, and then how the incident was or was not followed up and whether those follow-ups were satisfactory.So we’ll have a pretty complete picture of the characteristics of each incident plus an overall measure of prevalence by category.GAZETTE: Are there any questions aimed at perpetrators?LAIBSON: We decided not to ask those particular questions because we were concerned about length of the survey and we didn’t think we’d get honest answers. There may be ways to ask those kinds of questions, but not on this type of a survey.HYMAN: We think it’s very important. It’s been alleged based on some research that a small number of repeat offenders are responsible for a substantial fraction of assaults. It would be very important to know if that is true, but that would require a very different survey.GAZETTE: Is there a concern that the survey might be painful for someone who has had a bad experience and been assaulted?HYMAN: I would describe the survey’s language as direct and precise. If we were to focus overmuch on the risks of upsetting people, we would not be able to obtain the information we need. We would then be sacrificing the ability to make the situation better for others. So we hope that students will be poised enough to understand that even if it’s unpleasant, it’s important.LAIBSON: I want to reiterate that point. In getting student feedback during the pretest, one of the concerns was how they reacted to the language. And across the wide swath of the student community, including activist groups, there was uniform support for the approach that we took.There is also a link to reporting and support services directly from the survey. Anyone who’s feeling traumatized in taking the survey is encouraged to stop if they want to. Our goal is not to make people take it who don’t want to take it.GAZETTE: But at the same time, it’s important to get an accurate view of what’s going on?HYMAN: If we don’t get a large and representative sample, it will be very hard to know how to design preventive interventions and very hard to know whether they have been successful. It’s just of critical importance that our students participate and take this seriously.After we design and the University implements specific, preventive interventions, we cannot assume that they will improve the situation significantly. We must be able to measure whether we have made a difference in the incidence of assault and harassment. To do that we need good baseline information and then follow-up data over time.GAZETTE: So, in addition to talking in fairly blunt language about what happened, there are questions also about where, when, who?LAIBSON: Yes, we address that, including alcohol.There are also Harvard-specific categories of responses, reflecting, for example, the organization that provides support and reporting services. At Harvard it would be OSAPR [the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response], which obviously wouldn’t exist at another school. We ask about OSAPR here.There are idiosyncratic organizations or living arrangements here and maybe not at other schools, like Houses, so these response categories will vary across all 28 schools in this initial wave of the survey.GAZETTE: How many surveys are going to go out to the Harvard community?LAIBSON: The decision AAU and Westat made is to survey degree candidates. There are 20,000 degree candidates at Harvard. And all of them are going to be surveyed and all will be offered a $5 Amazon card if they participate in the survey.GAZETTE: What do we know already about sexual assault here at Harvard?HYMAN: We simply do not know the true prevalence. Our goal is to gain a good estimate of the behaviors that constitute assault and harassment and to learn how best to increase honest reporting when such events occur.GAZETTE: What are the factors that make the issue such a black box right now? Why don’t we know?HYMAN: Across cultures and populations, sexual assault is underreported. Very often, those who have experienced assault or harassment don’t feel safe reporting for fear of stigmatization, retaliation, or of being retraumatized by an investigation. We have students coming from cultures where women who report having been assaulted may be harmed or marginalized for life.We understand the disincentives to reporting are deeply ingrained in many cultures, including ours. Having a technology that allows people to take a survey and have their identities truly and credibly protected is an important recent development.LAIBSON: This is the first time that an effort like this, with national scale, has ever been conducted. The survey will also give us the ability to compare across schools and identify successes. One thing that might emerge is that we find some schools or subpopulations within schools that have much lower rates of sexual assault. And, if that’s the case, I’d like to learn more about those environments and the mechanisms, the correlates, of that success.If we discover, just as an example, that 24 of the 28 schools have a very high rate of sexual assault but four of the 28 have a very low rate of sexual assault, the first thing I’m going to want to do is call up that community and find out what’s different. It may take a few years to get to the bottom of that, but I think this could be a very important channel for learning about the mechanisms that reduce the problem.HYMAN: We also hope to be resurveying at intervals to learn what has happened and to know whether we are on the right track.GAZETTE: When will results be announced?LAIBSON: Harvard will be releasing its results during the fall semester and I believe that the national results will be released around that time.It’s important for us to be transparent about the results. We’ll be discussing with the community both the national Westat results and the Harvard-specific results. We’ll be transparent about what’s happening here and in comparing our outcomes with the outcomes in the national sample, the 28 schools.For more information about the survey, visit the Sexual Conduct Survey website.last_img read more

Egyptian Judge accused of ‘sexual bribery’

first_imgThe public prosecution filed a claim on Saturday evening accusing the head of a misdemeanor court in Nasr City, Cairo of demanding sexual favors in return for biased rulings in cases he was presiding over, according to judicial sources.  The Supreme Judicial Council approved the resignation submitted by the judge on Sunday morning, the sources added. The claim filed by the public prosecution against the judge included the testimony of four people, among whom a woman who said the judge had tried to bribe her sexually, one week ago.The accused judge had previously ruled in public opinion cases, including the acquittal of host Ahmed Moussa over the defamation of Free Egyptians Party leader Ossama Ghazaly Harb and the head of the Central Auditing Organization, Hisham Geneina.He was also involved in a case where he rejected an appeal made by five female students on sentencing them to five years of hard labor and a fine of LE100,000 each.As part of his work at the Misdemeanor Court of Nozha, the judge presided over several more cases, such as when singer Hatem Fahmy was accused of fraud, or when a man claimed to be a prophet.The judge, R. A., meanwhile denied the charge in a phone call with Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday evening.He also denied submitting his resignation, adding that he is being subjected to a smear campaign by the Muslim Brotherhood.last_img read more

Efforts to construct a new Wesley High School has suffered another setback

first_img Share Tweet 20 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! LocalNews Efforts to construct a new Wesley High School has suffered another setback by: – July 8, 2011center_img Share Share Present location of Wesley High School. Photo credit: Flickr.comChairperson of the Methodist School Board Reverend Calvin Greenaway says land earmarked for the construction of the Wesley High School has been deemed inappropriate.He told a graduation ceremony that after many years of trying “we still are not able to say that a new Wesley High school is around the corner. There have been many setbacks and only a few weeks ago we learnt of another setback. The biggest happen to be allocation of the land,” he said.He said “we have gone through many locations which we have signed off on with government but each one was earmarked for something else that somebody had missed,”He said many are losing hope but they should hold on.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

Reggae Boyz Score Historic Win Over Honduras in First Gold Cup…

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz secured a surprise win to cap off their historic hosting of a Concacaf Gold Cup doubleheader with a 3-2 win over Honduras.The match, held at the National Stadium in Kingston on June 17, was the first time a Gold Cup finals match had been held in the Caribbean. A total of 17,874 spectators, many of whom came out to see Bayer Leverkusen striker Leon Bailey make his debut for the national senior team, witnessed the historic victory.Honduras went into the match as the top-ranked group seed and firm favourites. But host team Jamaica, who have been the losing Gold Cup finalists in 2015 and 2017, have a habit recently of reserving their best form for this competition. They opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Dever Orgill headed home from close range.In the 41st minute, he doubled the lead, finishing off some sharp passing inside the box by the Jamaicans. This was followed by Honduras’ first goal, scored when Alberth Elis broke free to slide a pass across goal for Antony Lozano to convert.Jamaica responded just a few minutes later with a header by Damion Lowe extending the lead to 3-1 in the 56th minute.Honduras battled on and substitute forward Rubilio Castillo pulled a goal back in stoppage time to make the final score 3-2.The Reggae Boyz are scheduled to leave the island on Tuesday at 1 pm via charter for Houston, Texas for their next game against El Salvador on Friday.The 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup is scheduled to run from June 15 to July 7. The bi-annual tournament will primarily be hosted in the United States, with Costa Rica and Jamaica also hosting doubleheaders in the first round of matches in groups B and C, respectively.last_img read more

OLYMPICS: Musagala into semis, Chekwel and Chesang out

first_img12323171Ayanleh SOULEIMANDJI3:39.25 Q 28022Filip INGEBRIGTSENNORDQ 9930513Ben BLANKENSHIPUSA3:38.92 q 2226893Ronald KWEMOIKEN3:38.33 Q 371527783Erick RODRIGUEZNCA4:00.30 4430223Ronald MUSAGALAUGA3:38.45 Q 5528033Henrik INGEBRIGTSENNOR3:38.50 Q 11220381Ryan GREGSONAUS3:39.13 Q 30627452Brahim KAAZOUZIMAR3:47.39 Q 24021Aman WOTEETHDNS 221121281Thiago ANDRÈBRA3:44.42 23162Abdi Waiss MOUHYADINDJIDNF 33923652Adel MECHAALESP3:48.41 381330131Saud ALZAABIUAE4:02.35 1123013Jakub HOLUŠACZE3:38.31 Q 401229692Augusto SOARESTLS4:11.35 26226902Elijah Motonei MANANGOIKEN3:46.83 Q 241229421Santino KENYISSD3:45.27 231220433Luke MATHEWSAUS3:44.51 16627411Fouad ELKAAMMAR3:39.51 Q 8820943Pieter-Jan HANNESBEL3:38.89 q 10126821Asbel KIPROPKEN3:38.97 Q 341024582Charlie GRICEGBR3:48.51 q 15530561Matthew CENTROWITZUSA3:39.31 Qcenter_img 18822071Charles PHILIBERT-THIBOUTOTCAN3:40.04 q 13424681Chris O’HAREGBR3:39.26 Q 25120092Taoufik MAKHLOUFIALG3:46.82 Q 211024161Florian CARVALHOFRA3:41.87 391128832Paulo AMOTUNROT4:03.96 28421912Nathan BRANNENCAN3:47.07 Q 3327443Abdalaati IGUIDERMAR3:38.40 Q 6628143Nicholas WILLISNZL3:38.55 Q 32828082Hamish CARSONNZL3:48.18 7721773Benson Kiplagat SEUREIBRN3:38.82 q 19928111Julian MATTHEWSNZL3:40.40 201120063Salim KEDDARALG3:40.63 31725192Homiyu TESFAYEGER3:47.44 POSRANKBIBHEATATHLETERESULTS 351330083Ilham Tanui ÖZBILENTUR3:49.02 29523942Mekonnen GEBREMEDHINETH3:47.33 Q 361431233Mohammed RAGEHYEM3:58.99 141024013Dawit WOLDEETH3:39.29 q Ronald Musagala stormed into the Rio Olympics 1,500m men’s semifinal with the 4th fastest time of the heats on Tuesday.The 24 year old clocked 3:38.45 to advance to Thursday’s semifinal. His best time for the distance is 3:35.02 and going by the confidence with which he set the pace in the race, could better this in the semifinals.Earlier, Juliet Chekwel’s misery at the games continued, when she was edged out of contention for a place in the women’s 5,000m final by finishing 9th 15:29.07 in her heat.  The top 15 in both heats qualified, Chekwel was 17th.The stage was a bit too high for Stella Chesang, who faded to 13th  in 15:49.80 in heat 2.Wed August 17 Men’s 5000m round 1 – 4.05pmJacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui CheptegeiWomen’s 800m round 1 – 4.55pmHalimah Nakaayi and Winnie NanyondoMen’s Steeplechase finalJacob Araptany 27330462Robby ANDREWSUSA3:46.97 Q 17723491David BUSTOSESP3:39.73 q ****Algeria’s defending champion Taoufik Makhloufi on Tuesday advanced smoothly to the semi-finals of the men’s 1500m having had just two hours’ sleep after bagging silver in the 800m.Makhloufi, who came in second in the 800m behind David Rudisha late Monday, timed 3min 47.07sec to win his heat.“I had some massage after the 800m,” he said.“I was in my bed at 4 o’clock in the morning and I slept only two hours!“This part between the 800m and the heats of the 1500m was always going to be the most difficult part in qualifying for the semi-finals of the latter.”Makhloufi admitted that he hadn’t been certain that a double was on the cards.“I wasn’t sure about doubling up. I did some training in Algeria and then we took the decision, me and my coach, here in Rio,” he confirmed.“In my head I said I wanted to run the 800m.“I was very pleased with the race, I am so happy with the silver medal in the 800m behind Rudisha. I wanted to win, but I didn’t get much chance in the last 250 metres.”Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, 2008 Olympic gold medallist and three-time defending world champion, easily won his heat in 3:38.97.Also qualifying for Thursday’s semi-finals, with the final scheduled for Saturday, are Kiprop’s teammate Ronald Kwemoi as well as Morocco’s world bronze medallist Abdalaati Iguider, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman and American duo Ben Blankenship and Matther Centrowitz.******Juliet Chekwel’s Olympic debut ended disastrously for her when she stopped running one lap to the end, thinking she had finished the 10000m final on Friday.Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana and the leading pack overlapped many athletes which might have been the cause of the confusion, but Chekwel gets a chance to amend that by qualifying for the 5000m final.In Friday’s race, Ayana set 29 min 17.45sec to smash one of the longest-held records  in athletics to claim 10,000m glory and claim the first gold of the Olympic track and field competition.Chekwel 26,  whose best time in the 5000m is 15:20.15 runs in heat 1 and will be joined by World Mountain running champion Stella Chesang in heat 2.The 19-year-old Chesang looks good to make the final if she can match her 5000m personal best of 15.10 set in May. The top 5 in each heat, plus top 5 losers advance to the final.The former junior ace started her seniors career on a high by winning Uganda’s national cross country championship title early this year.Later today, Ronald Musagala who is better known for his 800m exploits, takes a shot at 1,500m qualification. The 1,500m is one of the most competitive and brutal races on track and field.Tuesday August 16 Women’s 5000m round 1 – 3.30pmJuliet Chekwel and Stella ChesangMen’s 1500m round 1 – 4-30pmRonald MusagalaWed August 17 Men’s 5000m round 1 – 4.05pmJacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui CheptegeiWomen’s 800m round 1 – 4.55pmHalimah Nakaayi and Winnie NanyondoMen’s Steeplechase finalJacob AraptanyThursday August 18 Men’s 1500m semifinal – Ronald MusagalaWomen 800m semifinalFriday August 19 Women’s 5000m finalSaturday August 20 Men’s 1500m finalWomen’s 800m finalMen’s 5000m final 3.30pmJacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui CheptegeiSunday August 21 Men’s Marathon final 3.30pmSolomon Mutai, Jackson Kiprop and Stephen KiprotichShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Actress Felicity Huffman hopes to return to acting after college admissions scandal

first_imgEntertainment Tonight is reporting that Desperate Housewives star, Felicity Huffman wants to return to acting next year after she pays her dues for her part in the college admissions cheating scandal“Like everyone else, Felicity is staying home with her family and quarantining,” a source told ET. “She continues to be very involved with the charities involving prison reform and The Teen Project. Once COVID settles, and as she has said in the past, she will continue the work past the completion of her community service hours. Felicity is also hopeful that she’ll be able to return to acting early next year.”Huffman was indicated in the scandal where several high profile people used their influence and money to get their children and other relatives into colleges that they may not have gotten into on their own.She has since served 13 days behind bars and began one year of supervised release. She is also facing a $30,000 fine and must complete 250 community service hours.last_img read more

Innswood still in charge

first_imgInnswood High stayed atop of Group C in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/FLOW Manning Cup competition after scoring a narrow 3-2 win over Denham Town at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex yesterday.However, Denham Town had their goalkeepers largely to blame, with all three goals coming as a result of goalkeeper errors.Shawn Beckford fired the visitors ahead after 18 minutes, and although Tarrique Campbell equalised on 40 minutes for Denham Town, Ronaldo Grignion restored Innswood’s advantage three minutes later, and Sanjai Nelson extended Innswood’s lead from the spot, 12 minutes from the end.But although Rushane Facey reduced the deficit to one on 90 minutes, the visitors held on for the win and kept themselves atop of the group with maximum 12 points, three more than St George’s.Coach Anthony Thompson says he expected things are getting tougher for his team after their surprise win over St George’s, but after yesterday’s victory he is confident of completing the double against the ‘Georgians’.”It (Denham Town) was a hard game but you saw the fight that we fight and we prevailed,” Thompson commented.”We have to play more aggressively now, and we will have to move the ball more because we are playing some good teams like St George’s on Monday and we have to be prepared for that. Although some injuries are plaguing us we are going to prevail (Monday),” he stated.Innswood went ahead through Beckford, who beat goalkeeper Andrew Brown to a 50-50 ball that Brown looked favoured to win to score in an empty goal. But Denham Town pulled level when Tarrique Campbell beat Tajan Griffiths with a 25 yards free kick. Three minutes later, Innswood was back in front when goalkeeper, Brown, misjudged a ball into the area and allowed Grignion to score from six yards.Twelve minutes from the end, Shemar Guthrie beat Leroy Brooks who replaced Brown at half-time with a free kick from 40 yards though the goalkeeper should have done better.Denham Town got another goal back in minute 90 when Daquan Black was fouled in the area, and Facey dispatched the resulting penalty.last_img read more

Steph Curry sighted with no wrist brace, has message for Dubs

first_imgOver a very wholesome looking meal at home, the couple is rooting the team on and Steph says playfully, “We’re watching you.”Also, if you look closely, the brace that has been a constant on Steph since he broke his left hand during the Oct. … Brace off of Steph’s hand 🤗🤗 https://t.co/yd9AsHhUC6— OG (@IceSchmaltz) December 10, 2019Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry and wife Ayesha posted a message for Warriors and Warriors fans during the team’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.last_img read more

South Africa shines at 2010 SEED Awards

first_imgWilma den HartighThe Amatola Wild Trout Fishery providesthe community with an income, and brings visitors to the area.(Image: Amatola Wild Trout Fishery) Claire Reid with her garden on a reel. (Image: Reel Gardening) MEDIA CONTACTS • Constance HybsierSEED Awards programme manager+27 21 808 3374 or +27 83 709 6482 RELATED ARTICLES • Fog project boosts water supply • SA marks Year of Biodiversity • SA store shows new way to farm • Farming in the heart of Joburg• Tapping into ingenuitySix South African entrepreneurs and development organisations have received international recognition for their contribution to building a viable green economy.The SEED Initiative, a UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) project, has rewarded six South African businesses and development projects, that have proved they’re paying more than just lip service to sustainable development and social and economic upliftment, in its 2010 awards programme.The SEED Initiative is a global network that identifies projects and businesses that have innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to sustainable development.It was founded in 2002 by UNEP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to realise the objectives of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals.The SEED Initiative will host an awards ceremony for all the winners, in their home countries. The programme does not offer a money prize, but gives each winner access to business services as well as the opportunity to network and build relationships with new partners. The international exposure and publicity is priceless.Winners also receive business support, based on the specific needs of each project. This includes access to technical expertise and knowledge, finding new sources of finance and the development of business plans.Visit the SEED website for a full list of the 2010 winners.Highlighting African innovationThis year, the organisation’s awards programme emphasised initiatives from South Africa, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal, as well as Sri Lanka, Colombia and China.This focus was part of a larger project connected to UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and was funded mainly by the European Union.The 2010 Seed Awards received applications from about 60 countries, and overall, there were 30 global winners.The South African winners are: the IziWasha hand-held laundry device; the Zondi BuyBack Initiative; Amatola Wild Trout Fishery; Food & Trees for Africa; Claire Reid Reel Gardening; and Mooi River Waste Reclaiming.UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement that the winners “exemplify the strong spirit of entrepreneurship in the developing world and its significance in creating a green economy”.The entries ranged from combined efforts of non-governmental organisations, women’s and youth groups, to labour organisations, public authorities, international agencies and academia.The majority of entries were in the agriculture and rural development sector. However, there was a strong focus on projects dealing with climate change and energy, the conservation of biodiversity, and waste management. A panel of independent international experts selected the winners.Pride of the country The South African winners were selected from a large variety of entrants, but what they all have in common are business models that prioritise improved livelihoods, address poverty and marginalisation, and focus on sustainable natural resources management.IziWashaThe IziWasha hand-held clothes washing device was developed by a South African engineer for people who live in low-income communities and are unable to afford automatic washing machines.“The IziWasha is filling a need that has been ignored and many companies have not seen this as a priority market,” says Rebecca Harrison, CEO of IziWasha Ltd.The device is made from plastic, is fully portable and doesn’t require any running water or electricity to work. Harrison says that the product can make a major difference to the lives of women who have large families and spend many hours washing clothes by hand.“It is physically demanding and time consuming to hand wash clothes. Women also often complain of backache,” she says.The IziWasha is also good for the environment, as a user will no longer have to wash their clothes in rivers. This will reduce water pollution and increase river water quality. The appliance comes with easy to understand operating instructions and guidelines to safely dispose of washing water.“We’ve done some market research in communities and the response to the product has been very positive. People see a lot of value in it,” says Harrison.IziWasha is planning to launch the product to the general market in the second quarter of 2011.Reel Gardening Claire Reid, the brain behind Reel Gardening, never thought that a school science project would turn into a viable business concept. “I realised that cultivating a vegetable garden is time consuming, and it is expensive to buy fertiliser and seed – just to find that the seeds don’t germinate,” Reid says.She developed pre-fertilised seed strips that contain seeds and all the other ingredients needed to plant vegetables. Besides watering, minimal input is needed. The strips carry all the instructions to grow vegetables successfully. The correct depth at which the seeds should be planted is indicated with a coloured line and the seeds are even placed at the correct distance apart from one another inside the strips. The fertiliser soaks up the water and forms a gel, ensuring that the seeds remain moist and germination is more successful, while the paper casing prevents birds from eating the seeds out of the soil. Once the biodegradable paper capsule has served its purpose, it will decompose and become compost for the soil.Each strip is also colour coded for easy identification of vegetables: for example, tomato is red and beetroot is purple. The paper strip is 3.5cm wide and is purchased in metre lengths.The seed strips come with instructions in English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana and isiXhosa. Visual instructions are also printed. The instructions are easy to understand and the product is suitable for any age, from young children to the elderly. “Children love it because the strips are so colourful,” she says.She hopes that the product will encourage more South Africans, including schools, clinics, community centres, churches and rural communities, to cultivate their own food gardens. In doing this, everyone will have a constant source of nutritious vegetables.“You also don’t need large areas of land – if you live in the city, a small patio garden or balcony is all you need,” she says.The manufacturing hub for the seed strips is based in Illovo in Johannesburg and Reid works with 12 previously unemployed moms, who hand package each seed strip. At the moment 10 vegetables are packaged, but in the future she wants to expand the product line to include flowers and herbs.Even before the SEED award, her invention attracted much attention. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry nominated the reel gardening product for the South African Junior Water Prize as it reduces water wastage by 80%. Reid went on to win this prize, and also scooped the Woman of the Year Award in the Water for Scientific Research “below the age of 35” category. She was nominated for the Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year in Science and Technology, where she came in the top three.Amatola Wild Trout FisheryThe Amatola Wild Trout Fishery is South Africa’s first recreational fly fishery owned, managed and operated by a local community. It is also the only business in the Eastern Cape to receive a 2010 SEED Award.It didn’t take long for Amatola to get noticed. Members of the Cata Village, the Border Rural Committee (BRC) and experts from the Rhodes University Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS) started working on the project only about a year ago.Ashley Westaway, a BRC fieldworker, says that when the idea for the project first came about, recreational fishing and tourism were identified as two sectors with potential in the area. “The Northern Keiskammahoek area, where the project is located, has a good river and dam network,” Westaway says.The Rhodes University DIFS conducted feasibility studies and the findings were positive. Westaway says that the project’s sustainable model for eco-friendly community upliftment put it in the running for a SEED award.  “It strikes a good balance between the environment, social and economic elements. The project is strong in all the components that the judges were looking for.”He anticipates that the fishery will become a well-known tourism destination for recreational fly-fisherman. “The trout we have here is wild and for fisherman, this is very attractive as it gives them more credit in fishing circles,” he says. The area is home to both brown and rainbow trout, which is also a drawcard for fisherman.Qurban Rouhani, DIFS programme manager, says rainbow and brown trout were not indigenous to South Africa, but both species were successfully introduced to the Cata area in the early 1900s. The area has major fishing potential, but it was never developed after the area was expropriated for inclusion in the former Ciskei homeland.The project will run a strict “catch-and-release” system, instead of restocking fish from time to time. Although trout in this area have well-established breeding populations, this policy will help protect indigenous fish species such as the endangered border barb.“The area has so much to offer and the terrain is absolutely magnificent with indigenous forests and a variety of bird life,” Westaway says.Onsite accommodation chalets are also available and have been operational since 2008. As more people visit the area, marginalised communities in the Keiskammahoek area can benefit from much-needed skills training and job creation. “We hope that the market will respond, as there are many perceptions out there about safety in former homeland areas,” he says.He says the fishery project has also invested in human capacity building and training. The fishery has created many jobs for people in the community to clear invasive alien vegetation on the banks of the Mnyameni Dam and Cata River.Other local winnersFood & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is making a positive difference by placing issues such as climate change, greening of urban areas, sustainable resource management and food security under the spotlight. FTFA has, with the support of funders and the endorsement of the government, established many thriving projects such as skills training in natural resource management and the development of organic permaculture gardens for impoverished communities.FTFA has also developed South Africa’s first carbon calculator. The organisation hopes that this tool will help individuals and companies calculate their carbon footprint, and be more aware of their impact on the environment.The Resentse Sinqobile Trust, trading as the Zondi BuyBack Initiative, established a successful buyback centre, which recycles and repurposes household waste such as cans and plastic into products that can be sold. This initiative has helped to reduce litter, provide more employment opportunities and run an educational program.The Mooi River Waste Reclaiming project in the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal provides an opportunity for previously unemployed people to work as waste pickers and earn an income from recycling waste.Co-founder Eddie Griffiths says the surrounding communities have rallied to support the project. Farmers in the area, who in the past always buried their waste products, now support the project by delivering their waste for recycling to the landfill site where the project is based.last_img read more

Resource Discovery: The National Fatherhood Initiative

first_imgThis post was written by Kimberly Quinn, University of Florida M.Ed./Ed.S. Candidate, 1LT Florida Army National Guard.  She is a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. [Flickr, Portfolio of Susanna Avery-Lynch by Susanna Avery-Lych, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015In previous posts we’ve discussed the benefits of father involvement for both fathers and their children. This week’s featured resource is the National Fatherhood Initiative website which aims to equip fathers with education and resources needed to engage in their children’s’ lives. The  website includes information specific to military fathers making it a resource that professionals working with military families can use to equip families at any point in their military life cycle. In its aim to:“…improve well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers…” The National Fatherhood Initiative website houses Quality Resources, Professional Technical Assistance, and Trainings and Workshops for military personnel as well as resources for professionals serving them. Topics in the training program range from becoming a new father to preparing for deployment with young children. In 2010, the National Fatherhood Initiative equipped over 40 National Guard sites with fatherhood resources. They have also distributed pamphlets and information kiosks to active installations across the country.last_img read more