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Waiting for Human Rights Day

December 10 is Human Rights Day. It happens sometimes that we are reminded of an international celebration that very same day and we miss some good opportunities. That is why we remind you of Human Rights Day ten days earlier the official date, so that you have all the time to prepare, reflect upon and organize in order to take part to events and activities promoted by the UN in occasion of the anniversay of the Universal Declaration of human rights (1948). That’s right, on December 10 we celebrate the day the UN General Assembly adopted the document that, by using the words of professor and defender of human rights Antonio Papisca, “contains the ‘genetic code’ of a juridical, political and cultural revolution” (translated from here), since it inspired human rights’ Conventions that are part of the new International Law. The Declaration is also the most widely translated document, since you can find it in more than 500 languages. To read it in English you can click here.

Sometimes it is common to think that human rights are something that regards “others”, like people living in far away countries, migrant people and refugees.  Still, human rights by definition belong to the human family as a whole. They are always something that concerns us all. The official hashtag for human rights day, #StandUp4HumanRights, reminds us of our duty to protect and promote the human rights of all.

Kito Onlus staff takes advantage of this occasion in order to reaffirm its commitment towards human rights. Our activities especially concern with the right to have an education, by rebuilding schools like the one in Banilad, and the right to an adequate standard of living, for example by providing sanitary support to the communities we work in. But we do not stop here. Our latest project concerns the construction of a polyfunctional center in Caldarola, a municipality in Macerata that was severely damaged by the earthquake that hit the Central Italy in 2015. There, together with Architects Without Borders, we aim at creating a place where young people can meet and have fun while being and feeling safe. If you would like to be a part of the project you could participate in our crowdfunding christmas dinner, buy our 2018 Calendar, or simply donate here on our website!

Your support is fundamental.

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©United Nations

World Children’s Day

World Children’s Day takes place on November 20, the day when, in 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. It was again on November 20 the day in which the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The latter is the most widely ratified human rights treaty.

The point of this day is that of encouraging children to stay and play together, recognizing and appreciating the differences existing among them. It is also an occasion for the governments of the world to pay particular attention to the welfare of children. According to Unicef’s data, there are currently 385 millions of children living in conditions of extreme poverty, 264 millions of kids and young people do not attend school and 5,6 millions of children under 5 years of age die every year due to causes that could have been avoided. And Kito Onlus knows though direct experience how indeed school frequency can be put at risk because of environmental conditions and how malnutrition is still today a widespread issue in many parts of the world.

Apart from the necessary reflections upon the conditions of children and adolescents in the world, November 20 is supposed to be a fun day, made by children for children, who should take over the social media in order to make their voice heard. Regarding this, on November 16 in Italy Unicef organized a kids’ takeover at the Chamber of Ministers, within an event called “Designing policies for children and adolescents: a Country made for children”.

If you’d like to know more about children’s aspirations, the events taking place today and the celebrities and world leaders involved, you just need to use the hashtags #KidsTakeOver, #WorldChildrensDay and #KidsTakeOverSchools!

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Kids from the Banilad Elementary School in Pinamalayan. Photo by Architect Anna Orlando, Kito Onlus’ Field Assistant.

Kito Onlus and the Charter of Trento – Part 2

In this article, of which you can read the first part here, we keep on evaluating Kito Onlus’ activity at the light of the Charter of Trento and the Millennium Development Goals.

5 and 4. Improve maternal health and reduce child mortality

The Charter of Trento consider together the Development Goals 5 and 4, reminding us how much the health of mothers-to-be and child mortality are strictly connected issues, as well as the threats they have to face: mortality and disability of mothers and children are present in high numbers. Moreover, it is not only an individual issue; the Charter in fact underlines that “investment in maternal health not only improves the health conditions of the woman and of her family, especially of the daughters, but has significative and positive repercussions in terms of reduction of poverty” proving therefore to be an essential component for the development of communities.

During the years Kito Onlus took the problem of the health of mothers and children very seriously, proposing vaccination campaigns and trainings aimed to promote better individual behaviours, spreading hygiene, nutrition, prevention, contracception and birth control practices. Results have shown up! Through the promotion of Family Planning in 2016 the Kito Health Unit (whose main sectors of interventions are maternal health and nutrition, as you can read here) registered a lower maternal rate, especially among teenagers, that went down from 0,76% in 2014 to 0,29% in March 2016, and a higher percentage of children in good health conditions, from 66,53% to 73,11% (if you wish to know more abot how data relates, read here).

3.Promote gender equality and empower women

The Charter of Trento explains that women’s participation to the political, economic and cultural life does not only improve the life of the single woman but it enriches the whole community. We have already talked about the attention given by Kito Onlus to the women in the health sector, so here we remind that our organization is committed in involving women in community’s activities. An example can be found in the construction of the Health Center in San Francisco, to whom the women of the community partecipated by working the bamboo.

2.Achieve universal primary education

Education is “fundamental all life long and touches every sector in an existence full of dignity”. Especially those who have been following us lately, will know that Kito Onlus is currently committed in guaranteeing children their right to have an education, through the reconstruction of the Banilad Elementary School, which after being severely damaged by a thypoon in 2015 could not provide kids with scholastic continuity.

1.Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Poverty and hunger are among the major challenges for international cooperation in the next years, since their eradication is a necessary condition in order for the other goals to be reached”. Among the actions proposed by the Charter the ones that mainly relates to the work of Kito Onlus are the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of renewable energy. We already talked about it in relation to the developent goal 7 (ensure environmental sustainability) but we repeat it here as well: Kito Onlus designs and builds structures that respect the environment, promotes the usage of local materials – also in order to save energy and resources in trasportation – and energetic sustainability: this is a modus operandi that can truly improve the life of the communities in which it works!

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Kito Onlus and the Charter of Trento – Part 1

International cooperation is a process that requires many rethinking and adaptations in order to face a world which keeps on changing. Acknowledging this many actors in the cooperation to development field decided to create the Charter of Trento for a “better cooperation”. From 2008 to 2015 the Charter dealt with the UN Millennium Development Goals, by advancing for each some thoughts concerning international cooperation. Through this article, that we are going to split in two parts due to length reasons, we are proposing you an evaluation of the activity of Kito Onlus in the context of the Charter of Trento. In this first part, following the order of the Charter, we focus on the development goals from 8 to 6.

8.Partnership for development

Taking into consideration the Development Goal 8 the Charter of Trento remarks how important it is to read the present and depart from there when it is time to act. And the present requires to focus on relationships: cooperation is –or at least, it should be – a process able to involve the community of beneficiaries and local resources, while investing in the social and human capital of all the actors involved. Only in this way transformation can be sustainable, effective and long-term able to last even after the post-emergency or post-war period. The involvement of local people and resources is a constant in Kito’s work. A clear example of it can be found in Cash for Work, a tipology of projects that entails the involvement of local population in works of public utility through which in 2013 were rebuilt some classrooms of the school of tanza, previously destroyed by a typhoon. Such a way of acting is what it going beyond the action (the project) to focus on the process (the relationship). Local population was also involved in the construction of the Health Center in San Francisco (2015-2016) and members of the community are currently committed to the project of reconstruction of the Banilad Elementary School.

7.Ensure environmental sustainability

Being aware of the importance of the environmental heritage, not only simply and obviously because in order to guarantee the survival of human beings on earth but also to preserve an equilibrium within territorial entities, and being also aware of the impact of human activities on nature the Charter of Trento underlines the importance more than ever of imagining a future in which nature is respected: in the field of cooperation environmental protection must become a theme trasversal to every activity. Since it mainly operates in a Country, the Philippines, frequently subjected to natural disasters, Kito Onlus knows well the importance of preserve the equilibrium human beings/nature. A proof? The Kito-Hut was designed to be energetically self sufficient thanks to solar-electric panels installed on the roof. The San Francisco Health Center as well has a photovoltaic system with an energy store and is an example of green building since local materials were used for the construction and it was payed attention to not compromise the characteristic of the local habitat – a model of efficiency and environmental sustainability!

6.Combat Hiv/aids and tuberculosis

Even though the development goal number 6 explicitly cites determined diseases, the Charter of Trento precises how on the other hand it is necessary that “international cooperation focuses on health as quality of life, accessibility and right”. It is about thinking about health not just as absence of diseases but as wellbeing of the person. This should happen by strengthening local sanitary system, focusing on the needs of the community and by the resources locally available, so that every territorial entity has the tools to overcome face its own necessities. Kito Onlus has been active in the health sector for a long time, focusing not only in overcoming emergencies but in providing the beneficiaries with the knowledge necessary to improve sanitary conditions in the long term. From the Kito Health Unit to health hygiene and prevention trainings (2014-2016), to the construction of an health center in San Francisco to the implementarion of the Open Hospital software together with the IT training provided to the medical personnel Kito Onlus has been working by putting the communities’ need at the centre, by providing health education and training, by strengthening local health systems and by facilitating the access to services – therefore in line with the priority actions identified by the Charter of Trento.

Second part of the article coming soon!

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United Nations Day – The UN and the Philippines

On October 24 we celebrate the United Nations Day, to commemorate the United Nations Charter coming into force – 24 October 1945 – and therefore the UN official creation. It could be interesting on this day to underline the key points in the relationship between the international organization and the Philippines.

The interest of the Philippines in the UN is clear from the very beginning: the Philippines are among its 51 original members, the signatories Countries of the UN Charter. Moreover, the Country is also one of the founding members of the G-77 coalition, the intergovernmental organization created in 1964 with the purpose of promote collective economic interests.

The actual collaboration between the United Nations and the Philippines starts very early: at the end of the ’40s the UN starts to send help and assistance to the Philippines in order to sustain the Country in the post war recovery period. A support that persists today: the UN provides the Philippines with technical and financial assistance with an average of 1000 UN professionals working in the Country. On the other hand, many filipinos contribute as well to the activities of the organization, working within its organs and agencies and through peacekeeping missions. Among the most influent filipinos, we recall here Carlos P. Romulo, the first Asian President of the UN General Assembly, elected in 1949.

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©United Nations. Carlos Romulo signs the UN Charter, 26 June 1945.

The relationship between the UN and the Philippines deteriorates with the election of the current filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte: first, in 2016 the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime condemn the extrajudicial murders taking place in the Philippines and sustained by Duterte. Moreover, the President «reacts with anger to the proposal of Agnes Callemard, UN special rapporteur, asking him to be judged by international organisms for its support to the murders, demonstrated through the prizes given to police officers and common citizens killing trafficants and criminals» (translation from this article). In fact, Duterte threatens to make the Philippines leave the UN (a possibility subsequently denied by the filipino Minister of Foreign Affairs), by stating that «maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that insulting, we should just leave. Take us out of your organization. You have done nothing anyway. Except to criticise». Is it the UN  actually such a useless organization? It seems quite the contrary indeed. As this article explains, the dispute between the UN and Duterte underlines the organization’s evolution, since it becomes evident that «the segretary general has the right to criticize a member state when it kills its citizens. This is not something the original UN was conceived for. When it was created in 1945, the II World War was ending and its main objective was that of avoiding similar conflicts in the future» (traslation from here). The recent relations between the United Nations and Philippines show therefore that «the United Nations are not over, on the contrary, they are working better than it is commonly recognized» (translation from here).

So, happy United Nations Day to all of you!

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