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Reflections from the Office Corner

Banzaid Gift StoreWhy

I am Zena and I have been helping out a bit in the Banzaid office. The Development world is an area of interest for me, and I have 10 or so years of experience in the field. I wanted to continue my involvement with development things and get some experience of what happens in the development sector at the New Zealand end so offered to be helpful. My first task toward the end of last year was to bundle up some gifts for the new online gift-store which was a fun way to start.

My job finished in February and I was quite aware that it might take some time until I found something suitable. I needed to do something to mitigate boredom, keep my mind working and use the time to contribute to some greater good so I became a temporary fixture in the corner of the Banzaid office.

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Update - Nepal Earthquake

Earthquake damaged houseIt is more than a month since the initial earthquake and the urgent need for substantial shelter that will withstand the monsoon wind and rain is  increasing. There are still more than 500,000 Nepalese living without a roof over their heads. The BReaD Network (Baptist Relief and Development Network) found that it would take around US$6,000,000 in order to replace all the houses that have been destroyed in two small areas of the Dhading district alone. It has been hard to source enough tarpaulins for temporary shelter for people affected by the initial 7.8 earthquake on April 25. It is also expected that to obtain enough corrugated galvanised iron sheets, necessary for the construction of more substantial monsoon appropriate shelter, will be equally difficult. Shelters made out of corrugated iron can provide room for 5 family members, allow windows, ventilation and provide a liveable space that is expected to last at least 2 years. Shelters such as this survived a heavy storm in the Kathmandu Valley on May 23 and are considered a top priority for thousands of homeless to survive the monsoon season.

The monsoon rains are expected in June, and alongside worries surrounding the lack of shelter, monsoon rains will hamper relief and recovery efforts and possibly cause landslides in areas with already destabilised land. Continuing aftershocks are having an extended impact on the psychological wellbeing of people and levels of suicide and trauma are increasing.

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Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been proposed as a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire at the end of this year. Poverty eradication is still the greatest global challenge facing the world today, and the SDGs will help governments and NGOs to keep their focus aligned in the right direction.

The MDGs are 8 international development goals which were adopted in 2000. They set an expectation, agreed to by member countries of the United Nations to meet the needs of the worlds poorest but they have been met with varying levels of success. For example, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day has halved. However, the net enrolment rate for primary education has only increased from 88% to 90% since 1990, still falling short of the MDGs target of 100%. Under-fiver mortality rates have also dropped from 99 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 53 in 2012, but not as far as set by the MDGs. Emissions of CO2 have continued to grow despite MDG 8 calling for all countries to ensure environmental sustainability. Despite their varied success, the MDGs have been a good focal point upon which NGOs and governments can base their policies and overseas aid programmes. They also provide a commitment to ending poverty and improving lives that NGOs can hold governments accountable to.

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