By Jessica Anderson and Maureen Vaught, Rotary International News
A literacy project sponsored by U.S. Rotarians in conjunction with the International Reading Association (IRA) is helping Sudanese refugees rebuild their communities by equipping them to teach future generations.
The Southern Sudan Teacher Training Initiative provides refugees of the country's decades-long civil war, who are known as the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, with teacher training materials, guidance, and support to help them teach students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
"People returning from refugee camps to rebuild their lives in Duk County are hungry for books and school supplies," says John Dau, a Lost Boy, humanitarian, and founder of the John Dau Foundation.
The first phase of the project began in August 2009 when members of the Rotary Club of Ellensburg Morning, Washington, and IRA members met with two lead teachers from Sudan and sponsored their participation in the IRA’s Pan-African Reading for All Conference.
"The Sudanese educators benefited from the experience by becoming aware of what is possible and learning what is happening on their continent in the field of literacy," says IRA member and Ellensburg Morning club president Judy Backlund.
The second phase in late 2009 provided literacy assessment tools and basic teaching strategies via Flip Video™ camcorders.
Teacher training will begin in early 2011, when 10 teachers are taught literacy teaching strategies, which they will then share with other teachers. The third phase will include evaluation, follow-up, and support.
The project aims to benefit more than 3,000 students living in Duk County.
Since 2002, Rotary International and the IRA have worked together to promote literacy in communities around the world. Rotary clubs and districts have collaborated with IRA councils at both the community and international levels to create literacy centers in Pakistan, provide books to new parents in the United States, and build schools in Ecuador.
To celebrate International Literacy Day, 8 September, Rotary clubs are encouraged to develop a relationship with their local IRA council.
Clubs can invite IRA members to present at a club meeting, or club members can offer to make a presentation to a local IRA council about Rotary’s Avenues of Service. Learn more about the IRA or find a council serving your area.
As part of its celebration of International Literacy Day, the IRA hosted a one-hour webinar focusing on the role of literacy in improving the lives of women and girls. "Building Support for Effective Reading Instruction" featured Backlund; Richard Carson, Rotary representative to the Organization of American States; and Patricia Edwards, IRA president.
The IRA also planned a panel discussion 8 September in Washington, D.C., with Edwards and USAID Director of Education David Barth on the subject of early literacy instruction and teacher preparation globally
- Source: Ghanaian Chronicle
IOM Press Briefing Notes
IOM and the UK Embassy in Sudan have signed an agreement to kick-start a project that will support effective migration management in Africa's largest country. The agreement, signed by British Ambassador, Nicholas Hays, and IOM Chief of Mission in Sudan Jill Helke, is aimed at strengthening Sudan's capacity to manage its borders with Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
With the programme to be run in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior, Major General Ahmad Atta Allaman, General Director of Migration and Passport, attended the signing.
IOM and the UK have already worked together on migration management programmes in various countries around the world. The £300,000 (USD 462,000) British-funded programme will strengthen and develop border and migration management skills of Sudanese officials. This will be done through training and the provision of essential equipment such as the Personal Identification and Registration System (PIRS) and fraudulent document detection material at key border points.
The year-long project represents a new area of work for IOM in Sudan, where work has traditionally focused on emergency and post-emergency response.
Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)
JUBA, Sudan—The sun was setting at the standard Equatorial time of just after 7pm, and I was bumping along a potholed road with my trusted motorcycle taxi. Another day in Juba beginning to draw to a close. Then, my driver Issa said to me over his shoulder, “Do you have any good news from today?” This is not the first time in the 11 months that I have known Issa that he has said something to me that has struck me as powerful, insightful, or simply startling in its honesty. Since I changed jobs last month and became a journalist, Issa has begun asking me about my reporting almost every day. He’s curious about the status of the high-level political negotiations that will partly dictate the future of Sudan and relations between the country’s north and south. He’s worried about insecurity along the north-south border because he heard things were getting tense in the Abyei region; he knows the people of Abyei are worried they are not going to get their referendum. He wonders why the army has deployed more security resources to the bridge in Juba across the Nile. When he hears something on BBC or from his fellow boda driver friends, he often asks me if I’ve heard the same things. So it wasn’t very unusual for Issa to ask me about the news on that recent evening, but something about the way he said it made me realize that I had very little good news to report to him.
Post-referendum negotiations between the National Congress Party in Khartoum and the South’s ruling SPLM are moving forward quietly on some fronts, while the most contentious aspects of these discussions—related to post-referendum wealth-sharing and citizenship rights—aren’t likely to see progress any time soon, given that both sides will need to cede ground they aren’t willing to give up in order to reach agreements. Meanwhile, with the southern and Abyei referenda just over four months away, voter registration is not yet in sight given the delays in appoint the secretary-general of the southern referendum commission.
The commission for the separate Abyei vote has not yet been formed due to political deadlock between the parties. I could go on, but these are just a few of the challenges plaguing the holding of a peaceful and credible referendum in January. I have no qualms in saying that it seems likely that one of the two parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is responsible for mounting the bulk of the obstacles currently blocking progress toward holding the two referenda votes. This party has historical, existential, political, and strategic reasons for seeing these votes obstructed. Referring to the political dispute over the north-south border, the latest International Crisis Groups report notes that “strategic motives have…been behind NCP delays past and present” in demarcating this contested border. This is arguably the most contested outstanding element of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement aside from the southern referendum itself.
I hope that the record will show that lack of political will, and good will in general, of one of these two parties has stymied implementation of the peace accord since it was signed in 2005. Moreover, this lack of will could hinder the ability of the Southern Sudanese to exercise their internationally-recognized right to determine their political destiny on January 9, 2011.
By Heba Saleh
Washington Post Foreign Service
CAIRO - A previously unknown group of activists in Egypt is putting up posters and collecting signatures urging Gamal Mubarak, the son and presumed successor of the country's leader, to run for president in next year's election.
The campaign appears to be a test of support for the younger Mubarak amid general unease about the prospect of a dynastic succession.
But the Popular Coalition for the Support of Gamal Mubarak says its campaign is a citizens initiative with no support from the man it seeks to elevate, who has often denied having presidential ambitions.
In Cairo's working-class area of Bab el-She'reyya, near the stone walls surrounding the old Islamic heart of the city, the campaign has splashed dozens of Gamal posters on the white tiles outside a cafe.
"Gamal Mubarak is a smart politician," said Magdy el-Kordy, the campaign's coordinator. "He feels the pulse of the people. We have launched the motto, 'Gamal Mubarak, the hope of the poor.' "
That campaign has been accompanied by another proclaiming support for Gen. Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief and another possible contender for the succession.
President Hosni Mubarak, 82, who has been in power since 1981, underwent gallbladder surgery in Germany in March. His absence for several weeks revived talk of his presumed plans for the younger Mubarak to succeed him. The elder Mubarak has not yet indicated whether he will contest presidential elections due next year.
"We feel that the era of Hosni Mubarak is about to end, even if it is not necessarily next year," said Mostapha Kamel el-Sayed, a political analyst. "We are not sure of the succession or of how the political scene will evolve."
He said he thinks the poster campaigns are a possible sign of a division within the ruling National Democratic Party over whether the younger Mubarak should be the next leader.
The posters promoting Suleiman labeled him "the alternative." An online statement presumed to be from the anonymous activists appealed to Egypt's "honorable army" to save the country from "the shame and disgrace of the succession which the president's son seeks."
The posters were taken down within hours by the authorities, who also banned newspapers from reporting on them.
Suleiman, 74, has never expressed an interest in being president and is not thought to be behind the poster campaign on his behalf.
Constitutional changes adopted in 2007 in effect bar independent candidates from running for president. The largest opposition force in the country is the banned Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidates run as independents.
- Financial Times
Calgary police are investigating whether three indecent acts committed early Saturday morning are related.
In each case, young women were groped by a man who exposed himself to them.
Shortly after midnight, two women in their late teens were walking in the area of 13th Avenue and Second Street S.E. when they were approached by a man who exposed his genitals. He then grabbed the buttocks of one woman.
The women screamed and hailed a cab, which took them out of the area.
At 3:40 a.m., a 28-year-old woman was walking southbound on 14th Street toward 22nd Avenue S.W. when a man approached her, exposed his genitals and rubbed against her.
She screamed and pushed him away, at which time the suspect ran northbound.
At about 4 a.m., a woman in her 30s was walking southbound on Fifth Street near 21st Avenue S.W. when she was approached by a man who reached out and grabbed her breast. He appeared to be masturbating.
The woman pushed him away, shouted and left the area. The man was seen walking toward 21st Avenue.
In each case, the victims called police immediately. Officers arrived and patrolled the area but didn't find a suspect.
None of the women were injured.
Calgary police said in a news release that this type of behaviour can escalate if not stopped.
Anyone who may have witnessed these incidents, or who has any information, is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Birdwatch News Archive
The Chairman of Southern Sudan Muslims' Council, Al Tahir Bior, has commended the Sudanese Muslims for advent of Eid El Fittr, wishing a lasting peace to all southerners.
The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) has endorsed the nomination of the SPLM-DC member, Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, as the Head of opposition in the Assembly on Tuesday.