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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Inbox Local NGOs ‘starved of funds’ Relief efforts on a local level make better use of funding, yet receive less of it Local NGOs should receive a greater proportion of international aid funding, as they are often better positioned to deliver effectively on the ground, an aid summit in Geneva heard. Speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit in October, Stephen O’Brien, the UN humanitarian affairs chief, said: “In Syria, the Arab Red Crescent risk their lives every day to help. In West Africa, during the Ebola outbreak, community leaders succeeded, where international actors had failed, to persuade local communities to change traditional burial practices and help to end the transmission of the disease.” He told the conference that more than 60 million people around the world have been forced to abandon their homes due to violence and persecution this year, half of whom are children. At the moment, less than two per cent of all humanitarian funding is given to local NGOs, with the vast majority going to big international organisations. One source from a local NGO told the Guardian: “Without money, without funding, we are so constricted. “We are told persistently that the main issue is risk aversion, accountability, corruption. But you can’t do risk management without funding.” Gareth Price-Jones, senior humanitarian policy and advocacy co-ordinator at Care International, tweeted during the conference: “That’s a critical question – how do you channel $2–5bn to local actors? millions of small grants? bigger risk appetite?” Summit chief Jemilah Mahmood welcomed a proposal for 20 per cent of funding to go to local NGOs. Brothers build own web browser Brothers Anesi and Osine Ikhianosime, aged 13 and 15, have built a web browser that can act as a faster alternative to Google Chrome. Their creation, Crocodile Browser Lite, has a shorter loading time than Chrome and is better-suited for a broad spectrum of smartphones. The two boys, who hail from Nigeria, had learned to code shortly beforehand, having taught themselves using resources from their school – Greensprings School, part of Anthony Campus, Lagos – and other tools. Anesi told the website Black Media Scoop: “I learnt to code by myself. I started in 2013, I used sites like Code Academy, Code Avenger and books like Android for Game Development and Games for Dummies”. A key trait of the boys’ new browser is its ability to run efficiently on lower-end smartphones, whereas Chrome tends to work well only on higher-end models. This could make Crocodile Browser Lite a useful tool for smartphone users in the developing world, where expensive phones are less common. At the ages of seven and nine, the boys had aspirations of starting their own technology company, and decided to name it Doors – taking inspiration from Microsoft’s Windows. Later discovering the name was taken, they re-dubbed their company Blu Doors, which stuck. Crocodile Browser Lite is available through Google Play, and currently has more than 50,000 downloads. The boys hope to see that number grow. Bronze Age warrior discovered in Greece Archaeologists have uncovered the grave of a Bronze Age warrior in Greece, who was buried around 1500 BC. Excavations at the ancient city of Pylos, led by a team from the University of Cincinnati in the USA, led to the discovery of the body of a 30-35 year old man with a metre-long bronze sword and a collection of gold jewellery. The grave was uncovered because it was close to the site of an ancient palace, though the warrior’s remains are several centuries older than the nearby building. The archaeologists were astonished that the grave had not been discovered earlier, particularly since the top of the walls surrounding it were at ground level. “It is indeed mind-boggling that we were first,” Jack L. Davis, one of the lead archeologists, told the New York Times. “I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. So many walked over it so many times, including our own team.” Left: interior of the ancient palace in Pylos, close to the site of the Bronze Age grave www.global global four th quar ter 2015 -br ief ing.org l 5 © Olecorre CC BY-SA 3.0 © Chameleon’s Eye Shutterstock.com


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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