November 2015

The road to Paris

Starting November 29th until December 11th, Paris will be once again at the center of the stage of global affairs; this time, however, it will fortunately be for good. The 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place. COP21 for friends.

Why is this COP so important, and why is it getting so much attention from media compared to the previous editions?

COP21

COP21 is in the spotlight because everyone is expecting the adoption of a new binding global agreement, which shall include all countries of the international community, from the industrialized and majorly responsible for CO2 concentration in the atmosphere ones (such as the United States and the European Union), down to the developing and emerging countries (such as Brazil, China and India), which have considerably increased their greenhouse gas emissions in the last few years. The ultimate purpose is to find an agreement that will allow to maintain the level of global warming within the 2°C threshold, as recommended by the scientific community.

To have more information on why the Paris COP is so central in the political and social debate, check out this short video.

For what concerns the Philippines, they are one of the countries that are most hardly hit by consequences of climate change. Natural hazards keep increasing over the years in both intensity and frequency, and the Philippines are experiencing ever growing disastrous events. The last of these has been Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the country exactly while the COP19 was taking place in Warsaw, two years ago.

Back then, the former Filipino delegate Yeb Sano brought the world to tears with his reflection on climate change and its consequences, inviting everyone to take action in order to bring about change, and avoid a dramatic climate crisis in the short-term.
The same Yeb Sano is today a great environmental activist, starting a movement named the People’s Pilgrimage, which will reach Paris by feet from Rome. You can follow his progress here.

If you are interested in what will happen in Paris in the upcoming weeks, you can keep updated by following the many formal and informal platforms that are following the event.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a day that Kito always wants to remember. After sharing with you the story of the Mirabal sisters (read the story here), this time we would like to report some data, in order to better draw this repugnant worldwide phenomenon.

In the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the 1st article gives the definition of violence against women.

“(…) the term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

According to figures collected by UNWOMEN (click here), 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence. What is worse, it seems to be evident that some women’s characteristics and certain contextual factors make them more vulnerable. For instance, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability, as well as being experiencing humanitarian crisis, and so conflict and post-conflict situations, it is likely to increase vulnerability of women to violence.

The issue appears to be particularly hot in the Philippines. In fact, as reported by the Philippine National Police (PNP), an increase of Violence Against Women cases occurred, rising to 49.9 percent from 2012 to 2013. However, this aggravate a situation that National Statistics Office had already depicted as tragic in 2008, stating that one in every five Filipino women aged 15 to 49 had experienced violence.

Kito Onlus is everyday committed to working with the most vulnerable groups, especially women. Today we all want to dedicate a thought to all those women who are victims of violence, and we invite you to share, promote and advocate to eradicate all forms of gender-based violence.

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Recovering after typhoon Lando

Several campaigns took place in San Fernando La Union in October, most of which related to Typhoon Lando which hit the Philippines during that month.

First of all, Kito Onlus decided to participate to and promote Rescue and Clearing activities, together with Barangays Officials and residents of the interested parts of the city. Since various houses had been destroyed by the calamity, it was decided to provide residents with temporary roofing materials. Moreover, relief good were handed out to the needy people.

In order to make roads accessible, clearing operations were taken on. In fact, mud and other materials were removed, and vehicles were finally able to pass through.

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When these activities ended up, Kito Onlus found appropriate to launch a feeding campaign. As we know, food scarcity can be particularly severe during a natural disaster. The campaign was mainly targeted to children: nutritive food was provided to the participants.

Children were also the main target of our Oral Hygiene and Hand-washing trainings, which were divided into two modules. During the two meetings, a total of 45 students were involved, and it was shown to them how to properly brush their teeth and wash their hands. The environment was playful but, as they demonstrated at the end of each day, the goal was reached and they got what Kito taught them!

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El Niño: what is it?

Everybody knows it as El Niño, and it was expected to arrive in 2014. Nonetheless, its first signs were announced only in March, 2015. First of all, it is worth specifying that its name is associated to Christ child in Spanish, due to the fact that usually it arrives during the Christmas period, and it was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America who noticed a higher temperature of the water. In fact, it is a climatic phenomenon that is linked to the Pacific Ocean warming and can happen every 2 to 7 years and its presence can lasts between 9 to 12 months (click here to know how it works!). Usually, it takes place along the Pacific costs of America and in the South East Asia, but its effects are also able to reach Africa.

Thus, what now we should wonder is: why is El Niño so important? Even if it is very common to hear of it, to know what it exactly causes might seem hard. Unfortunately, its reputation is definitely not positive, since hunger, droughts, floods and cyclones are the most common El Niño’s side effects. Between 1997 and 1998, when one of the stronger El Niño was recorded, consequences were disastrous. For instance, according to PEGASA, 68% of the Philippines experienced droughts, which triggered a decline in rice and corn production respectively of 27% and 44%. Water shortages were widespread, and forest fires destroyed 9,400 hectares of natural forests.

This year, El Niño is expected to be one of the strongest to occur in history, and what would make the phenomenon more dangerous is climate change, which increases El Niño’s impact. In fact, droughts and floods may be more intense, forcing the interested countries to face very serious losses in terms of agriculture and fishing. It would be particularly risky for those communities living off these activities, such as several Filipino ones.

Another side of the coin is definitely the worrying probability that it will create typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes in the Pacific, as it was the case of hurricane Patricia which mainly hit Central America.

To conclude, El Niño is a climatic phenomenon that has always existed, but because of climate change it is getting worse. This is why this issue has to be tackled internationally, and we hope that it will be one of the topics rising during the COP 21, the Paris Climate Change Conference, which is going to start on the 30th of November.

Kito Health Center’s performance

Kito Health Center in San Fernando La Union is keeping performing well! According to data collected in October, even this month our center helped people treat several patients. In fact, a total of 846 people benefitted of our services during last month. As usual, the nutrition campaign and the dental and medical missions have been particularly successful, interesting respectively 141 and 133 people. While the former is realized mainly by handing out vitamins and ferrous, the latter aims to offer medical checks and therapies of various nature. Nonetheless, treatments of diseases as diarrhea, cough, fever, diabetes and others pains’ typologies still are core activities of our Health Center.

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To conclude, as we are going to build a new Health Center in San Francisco-Camotes Islands, we hope it will impact as positively that community as it does in San Fernando La Union!

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