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Fighting climate change TOGETHER in Uganda

Sara Bedford  |  September 2, 2015

Longorok Lolen looks down with a frown and adjusts the red Karamojong woven cloth hanging over his shoulder. “All of the old men say that it didn’t used to be like that.” He is talking about changes in the weather cycles essential for his livestock, farms and his own health. He is talking about climate change. Lolen lives in a remote region of Uganda, about an hour’s walk off the nearest sub-county road that can barely be meandered by car, through a rough dirt road across a sizeable river.

On the walk to our destination: a micro-watershed site that is part of the TOGETHER program implemented by CWS, MAP International and ECHO and supported by the St. Mary’s Methodist Church Foundation. Lolen passes two cows that lie dead from a tick-borne disease on the road. For the Karamojong, their cattle are the lifeblood of culture: a source of livelihood, assets, pride and a centerpiece to any community activity. Families are already dangerously short on food with crops not due until this later this month. The community chooses to deal with diseases that may result from eating the meat instead of facing continued hunger.

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For many parents, the start of school means a return to good nutrition

Mary Catherine Hinds  |  September 1, 2015

Facebook is full of “first day of school” pictures and updates about how happy everyone is to be finally sending the kids back.

My fellow working parents and I are breathing a collective sigh of relief that we managed to cover child care all summer long. On the flip side, stay-at-home parents are looking forward to getting their homes back during the day. We are all excited to be back on a schedule with routine.

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The stories of Nyarugusu Refugee Camp

Jason Knapp  |  August 28, 2015

As I walked slowly through the camp, the crowds of refugees would quickly gather around me. The kids squeezing in first, the men and women gathering quietly around them. A community leader would soon narrate the enormous difficulties of daily life here in the camp, the horrors of the past weeks and months.

It’s now well over 86,000 new refugees from Burundi that have packed into Nyarugusu camp in Western Tanzania since April. These, in addition to the 62,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, all in a camp designed for 50,000 people.

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Who'll stop the rain?

Matt Hackworth  |  August 26, 2015

Franklin Elementary School looks like any other in New Orleans, surrounded by shotgun homes and a small playground where once colorful ladders and slides have faded and weathered under years of happier memories. Just inside the gray, two-story building is a place where the children who survived Hurricane Katrina re-visited the terrors that come with surviving the storm.

“Class stops every time it rains,” one teacher told me in 2007. “They’re scared the storm’s coming again. The children hide under their desks and cry.”

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Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Donna Derr  |  August 25, 2015

Although many colleagues will tell you that I often have an adverse reaction to the "anniversary" events around major disasters, they are, in fact, often a time of reflection for me as I think about how such events highlight both the weaknesses in our response systems and the best of our humanity as we respond to our neighbors in need.

As we approach the 10th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it has been another moment of reflection for me.  I am reminded of how our evacuation and shelter systems in the US were not up to the task of responding to the massive impact of Katrina.  More significantly however, I am reminded of the many instances of neighbor helping neighbor, of people from around the US and globally offering support and encouragement to those who had been impacted by Katrina, and by the extreme outpouring of compassion for others that is so often absent in our day to day moments. Hurricane Katrina at its worst exposed the weaknesses in our own systems in the face of such a catastrophic event.

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These shoes were made for walking

Middletown CROP Hunger Walk Committee  |  August 21, 2015

In Middletown, New York, one of our CROP Hunger Walk participants has developed a unique yet practical approach to communicating his participation in the Walk.  He purchased a pair of neon orange running shoes dedicated specifically for fund raising for the Walk. Ten months out of the year these shoes reside in their box in his closet.  Each September, one month before the Walk at announcement time, these shoes, now dubbed his “CROP Walkers,” come out of hibernation and initiate the annual CROP Walk fund raising activities for his church congregation.  
My friend says that the shoes are so bold that everyone who sees them has to make a comment.  He uses that entree as a way to introduce others to the CROP Hunger Walk, explain his participation, and help his fund raising efforts.  Within his congregation his CROP Walkers have become an easily recognized symbol for the Walk and have helped spur his team to increase their fund raising efforts for each of the past several years!  A few weeks after the Walk, when the final efforts of their team has been tallied, again at announcement time, the CROP Walkers come off his feet and go back into the box to hibernate once again until next year’s Walk.

A pair of running shoes dubbed the

Responding to floods in Myanmar

Ye Htwe  |  August 18, 2015

I arrived in Tamalo village located in the Ayeyarwady Delta region of Myanmar (Burma) with staff and volunteers last week.  Although the village had already begun to flood, we knew the situation would become much worse with the forecast of more rain in the coming days. CWS is working in the Delta region to educate villagers on emergency preparedness and to provide food and hygiene materials to be used if needed at the designated evacuation center.

CWS partners with the YMCA in Myanmar to educate villagers on disaster risk reduction.  When the flooding began, we knew it would only be a matter of time before our project villages also flooded.  Earlier this year, CWS began working to set up disaster risk reduction committees, so that the communities would be prepared in case of a disaster.

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Flooding along the Ayeyarwady Delta region of Myanmar.
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