Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kujali international

ku-jali (swahili verb): 1. to care for; 2. to give heed to; 3. to honor

Kujali international is a US 501(c)(3) public charity that partners with local communities to help establish free and low-cost private schools that provide orphaned & vulnerable youth with the tools, resources, and opportunities to overcome poverty and become agents of change in their communities.  Kujali schools are linked to social enterprises that help generate sustainable revenue to off-set operating expenses, while also providing business skills training to students and quality goods and services to the community.

In this way, Kujali endeavors to join grassroots, community-driven efforts as partners and advocates, working together to harness the power of education and social enterprise to alleviate poverty, empower vulnerable youth, and build a more equitable and sustainable world.

- from

Learn more about Ujenzi Trust at

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Non-profit tip of the day: Google for Nonprofits

Uploaded by googlefornonprofits on Mar 15, 2011

A short video from Google which explains some of the benefits Ujenzi Trust has gained from the program.

Apply today for the Google for Nonprofits program and get access to exclusive products and resources to help your organization expand its impact. Learn more about how free Google tools can help you reach more donors, improve operations, and raise awareness.

Make a change:

Learn more about Ujenzi Trust at

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

100 Best Blogs for Learning About Africa

Here's a great list of blogs from Alisa Miller.

By Alisa Miller
The continent of Africa is the second-most populated in the world and has 53 countries within its bounds. With so many people and nationalities, it should be no surprise that the diversity found there is enormous. While poverty and war are a part of Africa, so is technology, bustling cities, and unique culture found nowhere else on Earth. These blogs bring together the richness and diversity that is Africa with voices covering specific countries, experiences across the borders, news, technology, art, and culture.

Best practices for building Internet capacity in Liberia

Here's an interesting post from the Google Africa Blog on building Internet capacity in Liberia.

Friday, March 25, 2011 | 1:07 PM
En Fran├žais 

(Cross-posted from the blog)

Over the past year, several Googlers have made trips to Liberia, one of the world’s poorest countries with a per capita GDP of $500. As shown in the figure below, Liberia has one of the lowest volumes of Internet traffic per capita in the world, and ranks in the bottom quintile within Africa.

Historically constrained by slow and expensive satellite connections for Internet connectivity, the country expects to connect to the ACE submarine cable in 2013. This international connectivity will enable the deployment of low-cost infrastructure and accelerate the adoption of inexpensive Internet-enabled devices. As such, Liberia has an excellent opportunity to harness the Internet for economic and human development gains over the next few years.

Read the full post

Learn more about Ujenzi Trust at

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reaching (way) out

Here's a reprint of a great Boston Globe article about Ujenzi Founder Dr. Thomas Burke.
Dr. Thomas Burke with a pediatric
patient at Sagam Community Hospital,
Sagam Village, Kenya 
(image courtesy of
MGH doctor takes fight for healthcare, rights overseas
By Sam Allis
January 11, 2009

What you see pictured on this page is the copper jacket of a bullet transformed into a cross by a man named Michael. Michael lives in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. He lost a leg and a foot in the vicious civil wars that rolled through the country in waves from 1980 to 2003.

Michael converts these fragments of carnage into symbols of hope and sells them for a dollar each to feed his family.

Tom Burke gave me one. He's the guy in the other picture who ran into Michael as Michael pounded copper on a street in Monrovia late one evening last year. Burke has been in Liberia countless times since he founded something now called the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Global Health and Human Rights in late 2006.

This outfit is one of the few hospital-based global health centers in the country. Its goal is obvious, given its name: to improve healthcare and human rights in poor countries, including the fight against global trafficking of sex slaves. (His plan is to teach healthcare workers to recognize sex slaves when they come in with infectious diseases and work with authorities to free them.)

I confess that my eyes glaze over at the legions of do-good outfits performing stupendous acts of humanity in Africa, but Dr. Thomas F. Burke caught my eye. He was approached by the presidents of both Liberia and Zambia to alleviate the deplorable quality of pediatric and maternal care in their respective countries.

Guess how many pediatricians there were in Liberia when he began work? Try zero. Nearly 1 in 4 children there will die by the age of 5.

In Zambia, 10 percent of newborns will die within the first 28 days of life. It goes on.

Liberia teems with the walking wounded after years of war. "Everybody has PTSD," says Burke. To address this situation, he and his team are writing policy for mental health treatment in the country. "Our goal is to train psychiatrists and community-based therapists."

From the start, Burke envisioned a transitional strategy where he and his troops would teach Liberians and Zambians to train themselves as doctors, nurses, midwives, and then vamoose to other countries in need. His goal is, in his words, "to be obsolete in 10 years."

His organization began this training effort in Monrovia last July. There are now two Liberian pediatric residents, three pediatric interns, and a few medical students rotating through from a depleted medical school in Monrovia.

On the other hand, there are now between two and five pediatricians from Burke's group in Liberia at any give time all year. In all, 55 doctors were clinically involved in both countries thus far, 22 pediatricians in Liberia alone. They come from the MGH, the Brigham, Children's, UMass Medical School, the University of Washington, the University College of London.

Some spend a month or so of their vacation time there; others stay for three months or more. Some are doctors, some residents, while others are professors from academic centers here who come to teach.

"People who do this are usually people in their late twenties or early thirties, or the kids are gone or they're retired," says Burke.

I like Burke, a Wenham native, because he's a mensch and because he's got a lot of skin in his own game. He donates 80 percent of his take home pay - not pretax salary - to the center. There may be others out there who take this kind of hit, but I've never met them.

A divorced man with no kids, he lives in spartan fashion and devotes his life to this cause. Only people untethered from family life can make this kind of commitment. They are the engines driving countless relief efforts, but they live single-bore lives.

Burke, 46, was an interesting bird long before he started the Division of Global Health and Human Rights. Trained in emergency medicine, he was an Army doctor for seven years. During that time, he helped build a health plan in 1994 to care for the 28,000 Cuban refugees at Guantanamo.

He directed the emergency department at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, our largest military hospital outside the country, during the Bosnian crisis. He was the doctor attached to the FBI hostage rescue teams at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

By now, everyone knows what happened at these places, and it would take up gobs of space explaining each one.

He has been a senior emergency room doctor for years at the Brigham and now the MGH. The guy has been around. The kumbaya in his soul is tempered by hard experience on the ground.

His organization depends on the kindness of strangers to survive. Foundations and private philanthropy have been anchors to meet its measly $1.6 million annual budget.

It gets in-kind services: The MGH, for example, donated $250,000 in equipment to the operating room Burke is building in Zambia.

He chafes at lost opportunities of other outfits to target those in need. "There is a misalignment of incentives," he says. Rather than devote money to population-based solutions, many organizations - UN agencies are prime examples - spend a great deal on process, he maintains.

More than 80 percent of USAID funds earmarked for help overseas never leave this country, he adds, but instead feed the huge industry here backstopping global relief efforts.

When he's not traveling to Africa, Burke remains in near daily touch with both operations from Boston.

He pauses during our interview to say, "We saved five kids today - three newborns and two infants with pneumonia."

Not a bad day.

Sam Allis can be reached at

© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

Learn more about Ujenzi Trust at

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Film: Lost Boys of Sudan

Lost Boys of Sudan is an Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Orphaned as young boys in one of Africa's cruelest civil wars, Peter Dut and Santino Chuor survived lion attacks and militia gunfire to reach a refugee camp in Kenya along with thousands of other children. From there, remarkably, they were chosen to come to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, a world away from home, they find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia.

Lost Boys of Sudan directed by Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk, won an Independent Spirit Award and screened theatrically in 70 cities across the U.S. to strong audience and critical praise. The film was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV in the fall of 2004 and earned two national Emmy nominations.

An extensive national outreach campaign has brought Lost Boys of Sudan to thousands of community settings to build awareness and support for refugees and the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.  Read More

Learn more about Ujenzi Trust at

Friday, April 8, 2011

Landmines still threaten food security efforts in S. Sudan

The manual mine clearance team of
Sudan Integrated Mine Action Service
(Photo credit:
April 4, 2011 (JUBA) — The urge to boost food security in South Sudan may be a key government priority, but efforts to make this a reality are still being undermined by the existence of landmines in most of the region’s vast areas, local officials say.

Speaking at an occasion to mark international mine awareness day in South Sudan’s capital Juba, Madut Akol, a field coordinator at Sudan Integrated Mine Action Service (SIMAS) said unless these landmines are cleared, achieving food security needs of the southern population may be a myth than reality.

“We are all aware that the biggest numbers of returnees and IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] have already arrived in South Sudan’s 10 states. I would say there is no shortcut, unless land mines are removed to enable local population produce enough food,” said Akol.

SIMAS, he emphasized, has successfully completed mine clearance operation in the region’s worst affected areas of Liria town, located about 40km southeast of Juba. Currently, he added, the organization has embarked on the highly contaminated areas of Loggo east, where some anti-tank landmines have reportedly been detected and destroyed.

Over the years, however, the organization has worked in close collaboration with key partners such a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mine Action Group (MAG) and UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO), among others in providing mine risk education and guidance to various communities.

In 2010, according to UNICEF, more than 80,000 people reportedly received information on protection from mines and the promotion of safe behaviors, while addition 157,000 were reportedly reached with mine risk education through public media.

Akol further cited financial constraints and inadequate technical support as major challenges to the organization’s normal operations, adding that the process of clearing landmines require the collective involvement of all stakeholders, government and partners.

“It’s my hope and indeed the hope of all the national NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] that 2011 will be different and full of good things. We expect that South Sudan Demining Authority will make efforts to provide us with funding,” he said.

Founded in 1999 by ex-Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) senior officers, SIMAS has been conducting mine action campaign up to the time when Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. To-date, the organization remains the only accredited national mine action organization in the semi-autonomous region, after it was fully recognized by the in 2007.

Copyright © 2003-2011 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lost Boys of Sudan Fill in the Blanks of Their Past

Achuil Deng at the AZ Lost Boys Center, where records of the refugees’ early lives are kept.
Published: November 20, 2010

PHOENIX — It has been 10 years since Malek Deng and thousands of other young men known as the Lost Boys of Sudan left war behind for new lives in the United States. But a new digital archive of their refugee records is taking Mr. Deng and the others back to the harrowing days of their youth.

Read full article at

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Awol Manyang reports from Juba on Southern Sudanese Health Care

Sudanese Health
Reporter's File

"Although the government of Southern Sudan has reportedly achieved a peaceful, free, and fair referendum their still facing many challenges. One of the biggest is the provision of Healthcare in the new country." - Awol Manyang reports from Juba

Friday, April 1, 2011

Waging Peace in Sudan: The Inside Story of the Negotiations That Ended Africa's Longest Civil War

Hilde F. Johnson
Trans Pacific Press, 2011 - History - 248 pages

Sudan is at a crossroads. The country could soon witness one of the first partitions of an African state since the colonial era. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement guarantees a referendum on self determination for Southern Sudan, which is scheduled for January 2011. The agreement ended a 20-year old civil war pitting the indigenous population against successive Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum. By the late 1990s the international community had largely judged the war insoluble and turned its attention elsewhere. Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 a peace process between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) took hold.

This book shows how that war, which ultimately claimed two million deaths and twice as many displaced, was finally brought to an end. The talks were facilitated by IGAD under Kenyan leadership, and supported by a 'Troika' of the US, UK, and Norway -- whose intense engagement in the negotiations was critical for reaching the peace agreement in January 2005. Although the cast of characters in this drama ranged from President George W Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to unnamed officials in east African hotels, two figures stood out: the SPLM/A Chairman, Dr John Garang, and Ali Osman Taha, First Vice President of Sudan.

Norwegian Minister of International Development Hilde F Johnson's personal relationships with these two leaders gave her unique access and provided the basis for her pivotal role in the negotiations. She was party to virtually all their deliberations throughout this crucial period of Sudanese and African history. This book describes this process from a unique, insider's perspective. Her account provides a level of detail seldom achieved in works of contemporary African history and diplomacy.

As Sudan soon faces the most decisive moment in its history, this book is indispensable reading.

Find book here