It took three months to reach the first 100,000 cases of COVID-19 but only 12 days to double that, to reach over 200,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“Every day, COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists, revealing that the agency had received reports of more than 210,000 cases and over 9,000 people deaths.

While stressing that “every loss of life is a tragedy”, he maintained that it also provides “motivation to double down and do everything we can to stop transmission and save lives”.

Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared, as data from many countries show that those under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

“Today, I have a message for young people: You are not invincible”, the WHO chief stressed. “This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.  Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else”.

Power to reverse the pandemic

WHO is concerned if COVID-19 should gain a foothold in countries with weaker health systems, or with vulnerable populations, noting that it could lead to significant sickness and loss of life.

“But that is not inevitable”, said Mr. Ghebreyesus. “Unlike any pandemic in history, we have the power to change the way this goes”.
Citing that Wuhan, where coronavirus originated, reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started, he said that that “provides hope for the rest of the world, that even the most severe situation can be turned around”.

Nuts and bolts

While WHO is working actively to support all countries, the collapse of the personal protective equipment (PPE) market “has created extreme difficulties in ensuring health workers have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively”, said the WHO chief.

Fortunately, producers in China have agreed to supply WHO with PPE and arrangements are underway for shipments.

“We are also working hard to increase the global supply of diagnostic tests”, he said, noting that WHO is working to evaluate new diagnostics and secure the supply and equitable distribution of tests.

‘A new reality’

For challenged health systems, WHO’s guidelines help provide life-saving treatment without compromising the safety of health workers and include practical information on screening and triage, referral, care standards and more.
 

“We also have advice for individuals around the world, especially those who are now adjusting to a new reality”, he said, urging everyone to look after their physical and mental health. “This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fightCOVID-19if you get it”.

And to increase access to reliable information,WHOhas launched with WhatsApp and Facebook a new WHO Health Alert messaging service to provide the latest news and information on COVID-19, including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself.

Available only in English now, it will be introduced in other languages next week. To access the service, dial +41 798 931 892 on WhatsApp, and send the word “hi”.

In closing, Mr. Ghebreyesus acknowledged that “COVID-19 is taking so much from us”. 

“But”, he concluded “it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together”.

Practice self-care

•    Eat a healthy and nutritious diet to help your immune system function properly. 
•    Limit your alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks.
•    Don’t smoke as this can increase the risk of developing severe disease if infected with COVID-19.
•    Exercise 30 minutes each day for adults and one hour daily for children. 
•    If working at home, get up and take a three-minute break every half hour.
•    For good mental health, listen to music, read a book or play a game.
•    Speak to friends and loved ones.
•    Try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious.
•    Get information from reliable sources once or twice a day.
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In a press release issued as the World Economic Forum gets fully underway in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said that the right to health “is eluding the poor and people trying to lift themselves out of poverty are being crushed by the unacceptably high costs of health care”, with at least half the world’s population unable to access essential health services.

“The richest one percent benefit from cutting-edge science while the poor struggle to get even basic health care,” she added.

The independent international Forum (WEF) in Davos is an annual gathering, committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders in reshaping the economic agenda.

100 million pushed into extreme poverty

Every two minutes a woman dies while giving birth, said the agency, with vulnerable women, adolescents, people living with HIV, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people, migrants, refugees and the poor, among the billions being left behind.

Nearly 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty (defined as living on $1.90 or less a day) because they have to pay for health care, and more than 930 million people – around 12% of the world’s population – spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health care, said UNAIDS.

In many countries, people are denied health care or receive poor quality health care because of unaffordable user fees. Stigma and discrimination denies poor and vulnerable people, especially women, their right to health.

Women and girls most vulnerable

Every week, 6,000 young women around the world continue to become infected with HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, four out of five new HIV infections among adolescents are recorded among girls, and AIDS-related illnesses are the biggest killer of women of reproductive age in the region. Despite significant progress in reducing AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections, there were 1.7 million new HIV infections in 2018 and nearly 15 million people are still waiting to receive HIV treatment.

“Publicly financed health care is the greatest equalizer in society,” said Ms. Byanyima. “When health spending is cut or inadequate, it is poor people and people on the margins of society, especially women and girls, who lose their right to health first, and they have to bear the burden of caring for their families.”

Governments must do better

Delivering health care for all is a political choice that too many governments are not making, said the agency. For example, Thailand has managed to reduced mortality rates for children under the age of five, to 9.1 per 1000 live births, while in the United States of America the rate is 6.3 per 1000 live births, even though Thailand’s gross domestic product per capita is about one-tenth of that of the United States.

That success can be attributed to Thailand’s publicly financed health-care system that entitles every Thai citizen essential health services at all life stages and leaves no one behind, UNAIDS maintains.

South Africa had just 90 people on antiretroviral therapy in 2000, but in 2019 had more than 5 million on HIV treatment. The country now has the largest HIV treatment program in the world.

Price of tax avoidance

And tax avoidance on the part of the top one percent, and the wealth that they control, continues to deny resources to healthcare the world over, the agency maintains.

“It is unacceptable that rich people and big companies are avoiding taxes and ordinary people are paying through their ill-health,” said the UNAIDS chief. “Big companies must pay their fair share of taxes, protect employee rights, provide equal pay for equal work and provide safe working conditions for all, especially women.”

African debt burden

Debt is also posing a serious threat to Africa’s economy, health, and development, resulting in big cuts in social spending to ensure debt repayment, the agency notes.

According to the International Monetary Fund, as of April 2019 half of low-income countries in Africa were either in debt distress or at a high risk of being so. Beyond low-income countries, in Zambia, there was a 27% drop in health-care investments and an increase of debt servicing by 790% between 2015 and 2018. Similar trends were seen in Kenya, where debt servicing increased by 176% and health investments declined by 9% between 2015 and 2018.

Rights denied

Another driver of ill health is the denial of human rights, said UNAIDS. According to the World Bank, more than one billion women lack legal protection against domestic violence and close to 1.4 billion women lack legal protection against what they term, domestic economic violence.

In at least 65 countries, a same-sex sexual relationship is a crime, with a knock-on effect in formal legal rights to healthcare, including hospital and insurance access. In recent years in some countries, crackdowns and restrictions on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people have increased. Sex work remains a criminal offense in 98 countries, notes the agency.

Progress can be made

“In the next decade, we can end AIDS as a public health threat and achieve universal health coverage”, said Ms. Byanyima, calling on governments everywhere to “tax fairly, provide publicly funded quality health care, guarantee human rights and achieve gender equality for all—it is possible.”

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Image result for asylum prison

Today, Amnesty International condemned the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the Trump administration’s asylum ban to temporarily proceed. Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, stated:

“The asylum ban the Supreme Court has upheld could be a death sentence for people in search of safety and protection. The asylum ban is grounded in an ideology of hatred and xenophobia, and it cannot stand.

“Every person has the right to seek safety: this is a moment that will prove itself infamous when the country turned its back on those it used to welcome and chose to ignore people’s humanity.”

Next week, Amnesty International will travel to South Texas to seek access to the secretive port courts that have been built for assembly-line proceedings for asylum-seekers subject to the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy, under which the U.S. government forces people to stay in Mexico while they ask for asylum in the United States.

Every person has the right to seek safety: this is a moment that will prove itself infamous when the country turned its back on those it used to welcome and chose to ignore people’s humanity
Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA
Background and context:

Amnesty International has documented the dangers that people seeking asylum face, not just in their countries of origin, but also on their journeys to safety. We have previously found that LGBTI-identifying asylum-seekers from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras face tremendous risks of sexual assault, violence, and harm on their journey north. The ban could mean that LGBTI-identifying people would be forced to seek protection in places where they are at grave risk of harm.

Amnesty International has also found that Mexico’s asylum system is ill-equipped to respond to the number of people who could be forced to seek protection there. Amnesty International’s investigation found that far from providing asylum-seekers safety, the Mexican government instead routinely detains them and deports them into harm’s way. Recent actions by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, including the deployment of National Guard troops throughout the country to crack down on asylum-seekers, have made the situation even more dangerous for asylum-seekers. According to official numbers, Mexico’s deportation numbers increased from 53,747 January to June 2018 to 71,376 in the same period in 2019.

Under the “Remain in Mexico” program, Amnesty International has found that asylum-seekers who are forced to wait in Mexico are subject to grave harm, including kidnapping, assault, and extortion by the very authorities who are supposed to protect them.

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Anti-extradition bill protesters rally at the departure hall of Hong Kong airport in Hong Kong, China August 12, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

After two consecutive days of chaos at Hong Kong International Airport, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet expressed her concern and condemned “any form” of violence or destruction of property and urged the demonstrators to “express their views in a peaceful way”.

The High Commissioner is “concerned by the ongoing events in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), and the escalation of violence that has taken place in recent days”, her spokesperson, Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

“She notes the Chief Executive’s commitment to ‘engage as widely as possible’ and to ‘listen to the grievances of the people of Hong Kong’”, said Mr. Colville. “She calls on the authorities and the people of Hong Kong to engage in an open and inclusive dialogue aimed at resolving all issues peacefully”.

The protests began with a proposed bill that would have enabled China to extradite individuals from Hong Kong to be tried on the mainland. Although the extradition bill was suspended in mid-June, the protesters want it officially withdrawn.

The major economic hub was under British control until 1997, when it was handed back to China under the governing principle known as “one country, two systems”. Despite being under the authority of the Chinese Government, voters in Hong Kong elect their own Legislative Council.

According to news reports, Tuesday’s protest came a day after demonstrators occupied arrival and departure areas inside what is one of the world’s busiest airports. While service resumed on Tuesday morning, protestors returned, and flight cancellations increased, causing tension between protestors and some travelers.

Ms. Bachelet is staunch in her belief that “the only sure way to achieve long-term political stability and public security” is by creating channels for people to participate in public affairs and decisions affecting their lives, said Mr. Colville.

“The rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and the right to participate in public affairs are expressly recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which is incorporated in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR”, the human rights chief maintains.

Mr. Colville said that there was “credible evidence” of law enforcement officials using some anti-riot measures which are “prohibited by international norms and standards”.

As an example, he said that officials have been seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, “creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury”.

“The Office would urge the Hong Kong SAR authorities to investigate these incidents immediately, to ensure security personnel comply with the rules of engagement, and where necessary, amend the rules of engagement for law enforcement officials in response to protests where these may not conform with international standards”, Mr. Colville stressed.

Moreover, OHCHR urged the authorities to “act with restraint” and to respect and protect peaceful protestors while simultaneously ensuring that law enforcement officials respond to violence and in conformity with international standards on the use of force, “including the principles of necessity and proportionality”.

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The number of executions worldwide has dropped by almost one-third, Amnesty International said in its latest review of the death penalty.

At least 690 people were executed globally in 20 countries in 2018, compared to 993 in the previous year, the organization said in the report released April 10.

The statistics assess the use of the death penalty worldwide except in China, where the number of people executed each year is a state secret. The figures “show that the death penalty is firmly in decline, and that effective steps are being taken across the world to end the use of this cruel and inhuman punishment,” it said.

Amnesty International also recorded commutations or pardons of death sentences in 29 countries last year.

While “global consensus is building towards ending the use” of the death penalty, “with more than 19,000 people still languishing on death row worldwide, the struggle is far from over,” the organization said.

Last August, Pope Francis ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which now says that “the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

The death penalty is a cruel violation of the basic right to life and robs people of the chance to repent and make amends for the crimes they have committed, the pope said in a video message to participants at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty Feb. 27.

The Amnesty International report said while “thousands of people are sentenced to death and executed each year” in China, 78 percent of all reported executions in 2018 took place in just four countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq.

Following a change to Iran’s anti-narcotics laws, the country’s rate of executions dropped by half, from at least 507 in 2017 to at least 253 in 2018.

In Pakistan, 14 executions were recorded in 2018, down from 60 in 2017. The number of executions in Somalia dropped to 13 from 24.

At the end of 2018, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes, and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice, the organization said.

Last year, Burkina Faso adopted a new penal code that effectively abolished capital punishment, while Gambia and Malaysia both declared an official moratorium on executions.

Also last year, Washington became the 20th U.S. state to outlaw capital punishment when a court banned it. The state’s Catholic bishops applauded the October ruling that its use is arbitrary and racially biased.

However, some countries saw a rise in executions last year, including the United States, Belarus, Japan, Singapore and South Sudan, the organization said. Also, Thailand carried out its first execution since 2009.

Sri Lanka announced it would resume executions after more than 40 years, and an ad seeking hangmen was placed in a state-run daily newspaper.

Also, there was a steep rise in the number of death sentences imposed in some countries, including Iraq and Egypt, Amnesty International said. It noted that Egyptian authorities impose mass death sentences “after grossly unfair trials.”

Last December, Pope Francis said countries that have not abolished capital punishment but have adopted a moratorium on executions also should ban the death penalty as a possible punishment for crime.

A temporary moratorium “cannot be lived by the condemned person as a mere prolongation of the waiting period for his or her execution,” he said.

 

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Children in a migrant caravan

Hundreds of thousands across the Americas are fleeing human rights violations in their countries, seeking protection. Refugees are people who find themselves with no choice other than to leave their lives behind hoping for safety. Many arrive in hostile environments but stepping back home could put their lives at risk. The United States must protect those in need and promote a coherent regional response.

 

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Could the United States have landed on the Moon without help from the rest of the whole world?

It was an American mission to land on the moon. But it would have been impossible without the rest of the world. The Apollo program relied on a global network of tracking stations and their engineers.

Fifty years on from the 1969 moon landing, the emotions still well up. “I was driving home when I stopped on a two-lane road. It was pitch dark, and I got out of the car. I looked up at the moon, and it was like, ‘God, we got two people standing there right now!’ The emotions were very, very strong.” Larry Haug had just finished his shift as a data systems supervisor at one of NASA’s tracking stations at Fresnedillas de la Oliva, west of Madrid in Spain. Madrid was one of three sites, where the American space agency had built radio telescopes to track the progress of its human space missions.

“It was pride,” says Haug down the line from his home in the USA. From the moment President Kennedy announced in 1961 that America was going to the moon, they moved fast. “We had nothing. We hadn’t even put our first man in space,” says Haug. “And in eight years we landed two people on the moon. It was incredible, what we had done.”

An American story of global proportions

The Apollo space program is an American story. Most definitely. It’s a Cold War story, too — of a Free World against a closed, communist world. And in that sense, it’s a global story.   At any rate, the Americans couldn’t have done it without the rest of the world. Not even without the Russians. Americans were the first to put a person in space.

At NASA’s Madrid Tracking Station: Andre Bouvart, Gabriel Jimena and Larry Haug

That was the spur in America’s hind. That was politics. From a technical point of view, the Americans drew on expertise from around the world. Technicians and engineers from Europe and Australia, companies in the UK. And those tracking stations, where local technicians worked side-by-side with the Americans. The other two main sites were at Goldstone in the Mojave Desert, USA, and at Honeysuckle Creek, which is near the Australian capital, Canberra.

Together they delivered 24-hour coverage from the near side of the moon to the Earth. “The moon tracks around with the Earth from east to west, and it takes between 12 and 14 hours to make that transit,” explains Haug. “When you look up at the sky, you don’t always see the moon. The people in Houston couldn’t see it when we were seeing it.”

Madrid was the primary station when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon (while Michael Collins observed from the Command Module above).

As with the others, Madrid tracked the astronauts’ telemetry data – “Armstrong’s heart rate went up to 120, 130 as he was getting ready to land,” recalls Haug. In fact, TV cameras caught sight of this and streamed it live. “We got a reprimand for that because that was medical data and should not have been released!” he adds.  “And when I got off work that night,” he says, “we turned everything over to Honeysuckle Creek for the first step on the moon.”

One giant leap for TV

Who cares whether astronauts ever actually landed on the moon, or whether it was faked in some hidden American studio? If you were in Australia in 1969, all you knew was that those legendary television pictures were being sent around the world via the Australian bush.

There was Honeysuckle Creek, and the Parkes Radio Telescope. Parkes was brought into the loop about a month before the landing once it had become clear from the flight plan that Australia would be in the moon’s line of sight for the astronauts’ “giant leap for mankind.”   Gillian Schoenborn worked in the communications section at Honeysuckle Creek. Schoenborn and her male colleagues passed reams of paper messages, with mission instructions, telemetry and medical updates, through to John Saxon, Ken Lee and Mike Dinn in the operations room.

She had recently transferred first from the Navy and then a somewhat “boring” job working with Earth orbital data at Orroral Valley. Apollo, by contrast, was about people. All the world’s people.  “It was monumental. No two ways about it. At the time, perhaps, we didn’t see how significant it would be, because when you’re living history, you don’t realize it, do you?” Schoenborn’s being modest. Genuinely. The world knew exactly the significance of the 1969 moon landing, and they were watching it live. “Everyone in the world was excited,” says Colin Mackellar.

Mackellar runs a trove of Apollo history at HoneysuckleCreek.net. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to community history in the 2019 Australia Day Honors.  By the time he was 12 years old, Mackellar had followed NASA’s Mercury and Gemini missions. They laid the groundwork for Apollo and inspired Mackellar to study science.

“In the late 70s, I hoped that human missions to the planets would happen soon, and that there might be a need for geologists to analyse samples brought back,” he says. “But that didn’t happen.” Mackellar became a minister in the Australian Anglican church instead.

A near ending dream

“But the other thing,” says Schoenborn, “was that we thought Apollo 11 was just the first. We thought they’re going to do it forever.”

Schoenborn left Honeysuckle Creek two months after the 1969 moon landing to travel the globe, ending up in the UK and Germany. Apollo didn’t last much longer after that. The program was shut down in 1972. “It was the biggest mistake to stop Apollo,” says Haug. “Looking back, we had Vietnam. That was hugely expensive, and something had to go.”

Haug says there’s a a history of such pragmatism in the US government.  “They did it with Apollo, the Shuttle program, and they’re doing it with the International Space Station,” he says. “They don’t have the foresight that science needs.” Alumni from the Spanish and Australian tracking stations meet up for anniversaries of the first moon landing, including this year’s fiftieth – they say, it’s like family. “All the tracking stations were tied together in real-time by voice,” says Mackellar. “It was like a virtual community, long before the internet. And there’s still a feeling of their having worked on a great endeavor together.”

And some sadness. Schoenborn remembers the 25th anniversary well. “It was eerie. To have experienced all that vibrancy,” she says. “And then it was just a hillside with a slab of concrete.” In 1981, the dish from Honeysuckle Creek was moved to nearby Tidbinbilla, where it became part of NASA’s Deep Space Network. For Mackellar, a sense of inspiration lives on. “We can be cynical and say it was political. But it wasn’t so much about beating the Russians. And it wasn’t just that the Americans had done it. People — humankind — had done it,” says Mackellar. “It gave people a great, peaceful cause.”

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A friend sent me a link to The Voice of Nonprofit Talent: Perceptions of Diversity in the Workplace, a study produced by Commongood Careers and Level Playing Field Institute. I didn’t read it right away because honestly, most reports about diversity in the nonprofit sector pretty much say the same damn thing and are a total waste of funder’s money.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Nonprofit staff isn’t very diverse. Nonprofit boards aren’t very diverse. Nonprofits need more diversity. Nonprofits don’t know where to find people of color. Nonprofits can’t seem to attract young people. Or gay people.

But this study is a little different. Yes, the study focuses on ethnic and racial diversity in the nonprofit workplace, but it’s the first report I’ve seen that doesn’t focus on the fact that nonprofits are ruled by white people, but instead examines the repercussions of what happens when organizations do nothing to change this reality.

I’m Not Making This Up

The numbers don’t lie, people. The research says it better than I ever could. From the Commongood Careers report:

Today’s nonprofit employees are approximately 82 percent white, 10 percent African- American, five percent Hispanic/Latino, three percent other, and one percent Asian or Pacific Islander. The gap in representation is more pronounced in nonprofit governance, where only 14 percent of board members are people of color. Similarly, in specialized functions such as development, less than six percent of roles are filled by people of color. When examining organizational leadership, the gap persists. According to the 2006 report by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (formerly American Humanics), up to 84 percent of nonprofits are led by whites, and 9.5 out of 10 philanthropic organizations are led by whites.

Of course, there is much more anecdotal evidence from my peers which bear this out even further, but there’s a start for folks who don’t see why this is such a big deal.

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

The researchers asked 1,600 nonprofit professionals nationwide what they thought about this whole diversity thing and the response was clear: Nonprofit employees believe that good intentions are not enough when it comes to staff diversity.

More specifically, the study showed that most nonprofit employees perceive that their employers claim to value building diverse and inclusive organizations, but that they do little to back up that claim.

What?! Nonprofits are not walking that warm and fuzzy “everyone is welcome” talk? (Um, how about NO.)

Where it really gets interesting is that the report reveals perceptions of diversity and inclusiveness play a significant role in recruitment and retention of employees, particularly employees of color.

“Until the disconnect between value and action is addressed, there will continue to be negative implications for attracting and retaining diverse employees across the nonprofit sector,” said Level Playing Field Institute Executive Director Robert Schwartz, Ed.D. “Diversity commitments must move beyond a tagline on a website, and must be followed by specific and strategic actions implemented in order to ensure that diversity becomes a reality within organizations.”

This is why even if recruitment is successful, retention can be a challenge. Once people of color join the staff of a nonprofit, they need to feel included and supported within the organization – or else they feel like they’ve been duped. Hustled. Hoodwinked.

The Disconnect

  • Nearly 90 percent of employees believe that their organization values diversity. However, more than 70 percent believe that their employer does not do enough to create a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • More than half of employees of all races—and 71 percent of employees of color—attempt to evaluate a prospective employer’s commitment to diversity during the interview process.
  • More than 35 percent of people of color who indicated that they examine diversity during the hiring process report having previously withdrawn candidacy or declined a job offer due to a perceived lack of diversity and inclusiveness.

The Repercussions

As the study points out, the disconnect between the value placed on diversity and the actions taken to diversify nonprofit organizations perpetuate a cycle with three key negative outcomes (taken directly from the report):

  1. Inability to attract employees of color
  2. In an attempt to create more diverse staffs and boards, many prospective employers seek to recruit diverse employees. As the survey highlights, the top indicator of an organization’s commitment to diversity is the presence of diverse staff at all levels of the organization. If an organization is unable to show diversity on its team, prospective candidates of color may be less likely to join that organization. This is manifested by candidates withdrawing during the interview process, or even choosing not to apply at all.
  3. Increased employee dissatisfaction
  4. If diversity is not represented on staff, employees of color may experience a sense of tokenism or alienation in the workplace. Even within organizations that have multicultural staff, many employees of color have reported perceiving bias in the form of lack of professional development or upward mobility opportunities. Employees that perceive even subtle forms of bias—such as feelings like they are treated differently than their colleagues —are more likely to feel demoralized which can have negative repercussions on employee productivity, output, and retention.
  5. Inability to retain top talent
  6. As the economy begins to improve, the sector will inevitably experience shifts in employee retention, as well as more competition between organizations to attract talent. For professionals of color who place a premium on the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in their career choices, this could mean higher attrition rates amongst previously dissatisfied employees who have been “sitting tight.” As employees leave, organizations experience the financial costs of attrition—up to 150 percent of an employee’s salary—as well as collateral damage to remaining employees’ morale and productivity.

The report also outlines five strategies for organizations to shift from just valuing diversity to actually building and sustaining diversity, which are interesting to think about, though things you’ve heard before: (1) open conversations about race that include executive leadership, (2) effective communications about diversity commitments that include measured results, (3) building partnerships and networks that facilitate effective recruiting, (4) a hiring process free from subtle bias, and (5) taking the time to develop, mentor and promote a diverse staff.

OK. The tools are out there, freely available. The solutions and strategies are not hidden treasure in the depths of the Atlantic. Which leads me to the conclusion that nonprofits aren’t challenged by the “how” of diversity. It’s just that they don’t really care.

Download the full report here: www.cgcareers.org/diversityreport.pdf

I’d love to hear your comments on this issue. Should nonprofits just stop talking the diversity talk if they aren’t willing to walk the diversity walk? Why can’t organizations just be honest in saying they will never prioritize diversity, no matter how many reports get written? (Seems like it would sure free up a lot of HR’s time and make-believe attention being paid to this issue. And future employees wouldn’t be disappointed when they find out that all the warm and fuzzy language about diversity and inclusion they saw on the organization’s website was nothing but lip service.)

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Equality can be understood as parity in the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, and equality of opportunities with regards to education and work and the fulfillment of one’s potential. Equity relates to a degree of equality in the living conditions of people, especially in terms of income and wealth, that society considers desirable. Reduction of inequalities is then justified by equity considerations.

The 1995 World Social Summit stressed that a people-centered approach to development must be based on the principles of equity and equality so that all individuals have access to resources and opportunities. In the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action social justice, equity and equality reflect the concept of a just society ensuring the equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality of opportunity for all. Public policies have to correct market failures and promote equity and social justice. World Social Summit identified several ways Governments can promote equality and social justice:

◾Ensuring people are equal before the law
◾Carrying out policies with a view to equalization of opportunities
◾Expanding and improving access to basic services
◾Providing equal opportunities in public-sector employment
◾Encouraging formation of cooperatives and community-based institutions
◾Minimize negative effects of structural adjustment programmes
◾Promoting full access to preventive and curative health care
◾Expanding basic education, improving its quality, enhancing access to formal and non-formal learning, ensuring equal access to education of girls

The 24th Special session of the General Assembly reiterated that social development requires reduction in inequality of wealth and a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth within and among nations.

Over the past decades, inequalities in income distribution and access to productive resources, basic social services, opportunities, markets, and information have been on the rise worldwide, often causing and exacerbating poverty. Globalization occurs in the absence of a social agenda, aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of globalization on vulnerable groups of society.

A social perspective on development emphasizes the view that inequality impairs growth and development, including poverty eradication efforts and that equity itself is instrumental for economic growth and development. It aims at providing a better understanding of the effects of economic and social policies on equity in societies and promotes ways of advancing policies contributing to the reduction of inequalities. Policies for both inequality and poverty reduction are mutually reinforcing.

The linkages between poverty and inequality are highlighted in the 2005 Report on the World Social Situation: The Inequality Predicament. The report states that the goal of sustained poverty reduction cannot be achieved unless equality of opportunity and access to basic services is ensured and stresses that the goal of reducing inequality must be explicitly incorporated in policies and programmes aimed at poverty reduction.

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Unemployment and underemployment lie at the core of poverty. For the poor, labor is often the only asset they can use to improve their well-being. Hence the creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development. It is crucial to provide decent jobs that both secure income and empowerment for the poor, especially women and younger people.

Rapid economic growth can potentially bring a high rate of expansion of productive and remunerative employment, which can lead to a reduction in poverty. Nevertheless, the contribution of the growth process to poverty reduction does not depend only on the rate of economic growth, but also on the ability of the poor to respond to the increasing demand for labor in the more productive categories of employment.

Given the importance of employment for poverty reduction, job-creation should occupy a central place in national poverty reduction strategies. Many employment strategies are often related to agricultural and rural development and include using labor-intensive agricultural technologies; developing small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting micro projects in rural areas. Many strategies promote self-employment, non-farm employment in rural areas, targeted employment interventions, microfinance and credit as a means of employment generation, skill formation and training.

Such strategies, however, often address the quantity of employment while the qualitative dimensions, such as equity, security, dignity, and freedom are often absent or minimal. In general, national poverty reduction strategies including Poverty Reduction Strategies do not comment on employment programmes, social protection or rights at work. Neither do they offer an in-depth analysis of the effects of policies on poverty reduction.

A social perspective on development emphasizes the view that the best route to socio-economic development, poverty eradication and personal wellbeing is through decent work. Productive employment opportunities will contribute substantially to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, especially the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

There should be a focus on creating better and more productive jobs, particularly those that can absorb the high concentrations of working poor. Among the necessary elements for creating such jobs are investing in labor-intensive industries, especially agriculture, encouraging a shift in the structure of employment to higher productivity occupations and sectors, and upgrading job quality in the informal economy. In addition, there should also be a focus on providing poor people with the necessary skills and assets that will enable them to take full advantage of any expansion in employment potential.

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