Monthly Archives: August 2018

IDPs the humanitarian crisis you don’t hear about

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The United Nations Refugee Agency reports that one person is forcibly displaced from their home every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution. Worldwide, refugees—citizens who flee their own country for another—number more than 20 million. But that number is dwarfed by a more silent and devastating crisis: the over 40 million who are internally displaced.

People who have been forced from their homes but have not crossed an international border are called internally displaced persons, or IDPs. Unlike refugees, they have no protections or formally agreed-upon rules and no international resources or funding. The care for IDPs falls to the local and national government, where more pressing matters take precedence.

Over 85 percent of the world’s displaced people, both refugees and displaced persons, are in emerging nations, mostly in Africa. And there is often a cultural clash between IDPs and the people in the locales where the IDPs temporarily—or permanently—settle. Different populations are suspicious of one another and of their loyalties, especially when IDPs come from areas under terrorist siege. Other pressures hurt integration as well. Sudden population growth from an influx of IDPs strains access to food and water.

“Too often, IDPs are marginalized because of the mistrust,” says Kristen Wright, the director of advocacy at Open Doors USA, a charity focused on promoting religious freedom.

So why doesn’t the UN or any supranational agency coordinate assistance for IDPs? Part of the problem stems from how the structure of refugee law evolved after World War II when European nations constructed laws. These laws deferred to a state’s sovereignty over the welfare of its people, so long as those people did not cross international borders.

[Excerpts from CFR post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School]

Your first job should be a nonprofit job

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If you asked me my freshman year of college where I thought I would be in fifteen years — or even where I would be after graduation — I would not have said “working in the nonprofit sector.” But life often takes you in surprising directions.

My job has given me back as much — and more — as I’ve put into it. So to those college grads who are heading out into the world, allow me this piece of advice: think about taking a nonprofit job as your first job.

I know, it’s not the craziest idea you’ve ever heard. After all, research from Johns Hopkins University shows that, collectively, nonprofits are the nation’s third largest employer, behind only the retail and manufacturing sectors. Here’s my elevator pitch.

There’s plenty of room to grow. The best thing about working at a nonprofit organization is the relative lack of bureaucracy. It’s not that most nonprofit managers will let you take ownership of a project; in many cases, you’ll be expected to.

There’s no lack of opportunities to build marketable skills. When it comes to building marketable skills, new nonprofit employees often are surprised at how quickly they are thrown into the deep end of the pool — I’m talking about everything from writing and editing, to social media marketing, to budgeting, analytics, and project management.

There’s little chance of getting sidetracked. Working at a nonprofit is a good way to gain real-world experience while you are attending, or contemplating, grad school. One reason is that nonprofit employers tend to be more flexible than for-profits about part-time or non-traditional work schedules.

Whether it comes as a surprise or not, one day, like me, you might even wake up and realize the job you thought you would only have for a year or two is a job that you love and hope to have for years to come. 93 percent of survey respondents in the nonprofit sector — nearly three times the national average — saying they are highly or somewhat engaged in their jobs.

[Philanthropy News Digest]

Extreme global weather is ‘the face of climate change’ says leading scientist

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Extreme weather has struck across Europe, from the Arctic Circle to Greece, and across the world, from North America to Japan. “This is the face of climate change,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists. “We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change.”

Climate change has long been predicted to increase extreme weather incidents, and scientists are now confident these predictions are coming true. Mann said, “As a scientist [seeing our predictions come true] is reassuring, but as a citizen of planet Earth, it is very distressing to see that as it means we have not taken the necessary action.”

Prof Mann said that asking if climate change “causes” specific events is the wrong question: “The relevant question is: ‘Is climate change impacting these events and making them more extreme?’, and we can say with great confidence that it is.”

Mann points out that the link between smoking tobacco and lung cancer is a statistical one, which does not prove every cancer was caused by smoking, but epidemiologists know that smoking greatly increases the risk. “For all practical purposes, there is a causal connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and it is the same with climate change,” Mann said.

Other senior scientists agree the link is clear. Serious climate change is “unfolding before our eyes”, said Prof Rowan Sutton, at the University of Reading. “No one should be in the slightest surprised that we are seeing very serious heatwaves and associated impacts in many parts of the world.”

[The Guardian]