Active Citizens

‘Toasting the World’s Most Natural Talent’: UN Museum Campaign Recognizes NATURE’s Contributions to Music

Spearheaded by the Museum for the United Nations, a new campaign brings together music and ecology to spark people's interest and engagement in environmental conservation through consciously listening to music.

Solar Power and Biogas Empower Women Farmers in Brazil

A bakery, fruit pulp processing and water pumped from springs are empowering women farmers in Goiás, a central-eastern state of Brazil. New renewable energy sources are driving the process.

Rural Entrepreneurs Thriving Against All Odds in Zimbabwe

With heavy sweat drenching his face and his shirt soaked in the sweat, 39-year-old Proud Ndukulani wrestled with a homemade knife, which he dipped in some used oil, before turning the glistening knife upon a rather tough and dusty tyre obtained from what he said was a forklift. His assistant stood by his side as he (Ndukulani) cut some tough rubber from the giant tyre lying outside an open shade roofed with aging asbestos sheets at Juru Growth Point, located 52 km east of Harare in Zimbabwe’s Goromonzi district in the country’s Mashonaland East province. 

Can Preserving Goa’s Khazans Address Climate Threats?

Growing up in a khazan ecosystem, the traditional agricultural practice followed in the south-western Indian state of Goa, Elsa Fernandes would love sitting in a koddo, a woven bamboo structure for storing paddy. Her family members would pour paddy around her and with the growing pile, she would rise to the top and then jump down with joy.

Why Farmers in India and Pakistan Are Shifting to Natural or Regenerative Farming

Nine years ago, farmer Sultan Ahmed Bhatti gave up tilling the soil and using most fertilizers and pesticides on his farm in Doober Bhattian, Pakistan. His brothers at first derided him. But soon, his first experiment with growing wheat on raised beds was a runaway success. “We produced more wheat than what we grew on ploughed, flat land,” he said.

Revival of Hope: How a Remote Indian Village Overcame Water Scarcity

The people of Patqapara Village, a hamlet in India's West Bengal State, were until recently reeling under absolute distress due to water scarcity. The lack of irrigation facilities in this far-flung and inaccessible hamlet had resulted in a steady decline in agricultural activities. With a population of around 7,000, as per government estimates, the village primarily depends on agriculture for its livelihood. However, in recent years, drastic changes in weather patterns, including unseasonal rainfall, delayed monsoons, and soaring temperatures above normal levels, led to the drying up of irrigation canals and wells in the village. This left the local population in chaos, as their cultivable fields were bereft of any irrigation facilities.

Global Governance: Time for Reform

At last the UN Security Council has passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. While stopping short of demanding a permanent end to the violence, it goes further than the world’s peak peace and security body had so far managed since the start of the current brutal phase of conflict in October. But the time it’s taken to get to this point signals an ongoing failure of global institutions to uphold human rights.

Abandoned Children Growing Problem in Northern Syria

Wael Al-Hassan was returning from work in the Syrian city of Harim when he heard the sound of a baby crying. He was returning from work on December 10, 2023. He stopped momentarily, turned on his mobile phone flashlight to investigate, and spotted a baby girl, around one month old, wrapped in a white blanket, lying by the roadside.

Building Resilience and Mental Health Capacity of Youth

Sri Lankan lawmaker Hector Appuhamy, in conversation with IPS ahead of a two-day conference aimed at educating  and involving university students in mental health issues, said parliamentarians were concerned about gaps in the programmes and financing for youth mental health. They were looking beyond the country's health budget for support in ensuring that youth were able to access mental health facilities in a supportive environment.

Women’s Land Rights in Farming Need Further Recognition

In the developing world, land rights for women remain tenuous in the agricultural sector. But if women farmers are recognized as landowners in their own right, it can lead to greater economic empowerment and be a positive step towards eradicating poverty. This formed part of the wider discussions that are being hosted during the 68th session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW68) in New York. The leading theme of CSW68 and its side events is the effort to accelerate gender equality by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions.

How Women in Ahmedabad Slums Are Beating Back Climate’s Deadly Heat

Seema Mali is desperate. She has no defences against this changing climate’s brutal heat. Mali makes fresh flower garland the whole year, but her summer income has been plummeting by 30 percent over the last 8–10 years due to the extreme heat.

Gender Rights: Resistance Against Regression

Global progress on gender rights has slowed almost to a halt. After decades of steady progress, demands for the rights of women and LGBTQI+ people now play out on bitterly contested territory. Over the course of several decades, global movements for rights won profound changes in consciences, customs and institutions. They elevated over half of humanity, excluded for centuries, to the status of holders of rights.

Beekeeping Offers Opportunity to Zimbabwean Farming Communities

Honeybees quickly react with a sharp and loud buzz sound as beekeeper Tanyaradzwa Kanangira opens one of the wooden horizontal Kenyan top bar hives near a stream in a thick forest in Chimanimani, 412 kilometres from Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The 26-year-old puffs some smoke, a safety measure, as he holds and inspects a honeycomb built from hexagons by the honey bees.

Stepping Up Investment in Latin American Women is Imperative

Time is running out to achieve gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030. The autonomy of women and girls in the region is threatened by hunger, poverty and violence, and countries must urgently step on the gas.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Rural Tajik Woman’s Road to Empowering Women Living with HIV

Born and raised in a rural area in a traditional Tajik family, Takhmina Haidarova managed to finish high school with excellent grades and wanted to go to university. “[But] it was compulsory for my family to give higher education to boys, and girls were trained to be housewives,” she says. Her dream of higher education was instead replaced by an arranged marriage to a cousin.

International Women’s Day, 2024
In a Fearless Gesture, Woman Police Officer Averts Mob Lynching

Since the start of the year, there has been very little to celebrate for Pakistanis. Disrupted social media, escalating electricity, fuel, and food prices, and newly-held elections mired in controversy. But then, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi, did something that brightened the days of despair. The 31-year-old’s courageous overture and foresight in the face of a potentially explosive situation have given Pakistan a reason to stand among the countries on this year’s Women’s Day with pride.

UN Environmental Assembly Call for Action to Address Planetary Triple Threat

The  Sixth United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-6)  ended with delegates calling for firm actions to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss, and pollution. The assembly also reaffirmed its call for “environmental multilateralism” in seeking solutions to the threats, noting that time was running out fast before the threats could besiege the planet and make life a bigger nightmare, especially for the underprivileged.

Female Genital Mutilation Continues Amid Sudan’s Conflict and Forced Displacement

Female genital mutilation (FGM) stands as one of the most egregious violations of human rights, particularly affecting women and girls worldwide. However, when conflict and forced displacement enter the equation, the horrors of FGM are exacerbated, creating a dire situation that demands urgent attention and action. Where instability and insecurity prevail, the prevalence of FGM often intensifies, exacerbated by factors such as displacement, poverty, and the breakdown of social systems.

Parcels for Prisoners: Exiled Myanmar Activists Keep the Revolutionary Faith

Rangoon Nights is rocking. The bar is on its feet and the cocktail shaker is shaking in abandon as the band Born In Burma starts pumping out its beat. Except we’re not in Rangoon or Burma (officially called Myanmar), but in the northern Thai town of Chiangmai which has evolved into a hub for activists, fugitives, and those taking a break from the war tearing their country apart.

Funding, Policy Changes Could Result in Countries Reaping Benefit of Migration

Amid an escalation of global conflict and climate change-induced displacements, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is escalating its donor campaign. For the first time since the organization’s formation in 1951, the IOM says it is "proactively approaching all partners to fund this vital appeal," at a time when the number of migrants making perilous intercontinental journeys has increased.

#UNmute: Over 350 Civil Society Organizations Ask for Real Inclusion in UN Summit of the Future Negotiations

A coalition of over 350 civil society organisations part of the #UNmute initiative, shared concerns over the current engagement mechanisms for civil society at the UN – particularly in light of the upcoming Summit of the Future.

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