Big Pledges for Childhood Vaccines

GAVI, the global vaccine alliance, held a pledging conference in Berlin yesterday to raise $7.5 billion between 2016 and 2020. The response? Donors pledged even more that what was requested. The Gates Foundation kicked in $1.6 billion. The UK about the same. The USA donated $800 million and Norway $989 million. Even China contributed! These investments mean 300 million children may receive vaccines against preventable illness, potentially averting 6 million deaths. This was an extraordinary, and possibly unprecedented showing of global solidarity. (GAVI And NPR produced a handy chart of the major donations.

Child Soldiers Freed…The United Nations has secured a pledge for the release of about 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, in what it called “one of the largest ever demobilizations of children”. (Reuters


Liberia’s president announced the closure of an Ebola treatment facility which lay at the epicentre of the virus’s worst outbreak in history, as the disease’s spread has slowed in the country. (AFP

The three West African countries worst hit by Ebola risk a “double disaster” unless a multi-million dollar plan is put in place to help their economies recover, Oxfam said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A recent sharp drop in new Ebola infections in West Africa is prompting scientists to wonder whether the virus may be silently immunising some people at the same time as brutally killing their neighbours. (Reuters

The international emergency response organization, International Rescue Committee, warns caution should be used when interpreting what the declining Ebola case numbers really mean. (VOA


International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has warned that African economies could be hurt by a slowdown in China’s economy and an imminent hike in United States interest rates. (Reuters

Plague has killed 57 people out of 213 known cases in Madagascar and more deaths are feared after recent flooding forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and set rats on the run, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. (Reuters

United Nations peacekeepers in the northern Malian town of Gao killed at least one person when they used live rounds to disperse protesters outside a base in the town, two witnesses said. (Reuters

The Niger government has lifted a ban on refugee camps in the south of the country as record numbers flee Boko Haram attacks in neighbouring Nigeria. (Reuters

Protests that blocked a reform which could have extended Congo President Joseph Kabila’s rule have exposed deep rifts in his ruling coalition and galvanised opposition, increasing the chance of further unrest ahead of elections due next year. (Reuters

Traditional markets sell more than 85 percent of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa, and rather than replacing them with Western-style supermarkets, governments should train local vendors to improve food safety, researchers say. (TRF

Most of Zimbabwe’s white farmers were stripped of their land in often violent evictions that started in 2000. Now the remaining white farmers are on edge because of threats of new evictions linked to the country’s long-running political turmoil. (AP

In Uganda stories of people dying because of medical neglect are all too common. But with the country plagued by a shortage of health workers, anger is mounting over government plans to “export” at least 241 medical workers to Trinidad and Tobago. (AFP

 The United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Tuesday condemned the brutal killing of 11 civilians in a roadside ambush in Western Bahr el Ghazal. (VOA


The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday that it cannot afford to repair Gaza homes damaged in last year’s war with Israel because donors have failed to pay. (AFP

The African Union might grant a mandate as early as this week for a regional military force to combat Islamist Boko Haram militants, a vital step towards securing U.N. Security Council backing, a diplomat said on Tuesday. (Reuters

Denmark has earmarked 60.9 million kroner over the next three years for programs to de-radicalize Islamic extremists, including those who have fought with jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq. (AP

Kurdish fighters expanded their offensive Tuesday after driving Islamic State militants from the Syrian border town of Kobani the previous day, to retake dozens of surrounding villages still held by the militants, activists and officials said. (AP

The United Nations human rights chief said Tuesday he was “deeply disturbed” over the killing of 20 Egyptian protesters by security forces in clashes over the past few days. (AFP

In a rare success amid Syria’s civil war, the United Nation’s World Health Organization says there hasn’t been a new polio case reported in the war-torn country for the past year. (AP

A food crisis is unfolding in southern Iraq, where thousands of internally displaced refugees who have moved there from other parts of the country do not have enough to eat, a United Nations agency said on Tuesday. (TRF


Philippine officials asked lawmakers Tuesday not to withdraw their support from a new government peace deal with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group after some insurgents were involved in a clash that killed 44 anti-terror police commandos. (AP

Crises in other parts of the world are causing the United Nations to lower emergency relief aid to North Korea this year. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has allocated about $100 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to boost relief work in 12 countries, including North Korea. (VOA

The Americas

President Cristina Fernandez called on Congress to dissolve Argentina’s intelligence services in the wake of the mysterious death of a prosecutor, strongly denying his accusation that she had sought to shield former Iranian officials suspected in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center. (AP

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday her government was preparing the second phase of an ambitious education reform, hours after Congress approved the first set of changes. (Reuters


Despite first conviction, female genital mutilation remains common in Egypt (GlobalPost

When will we reach Peak Inequality? (From Poverty to Power

On the upcoming Nigerian elections (An Africanist Perspective

iGay, iLesbian, iBisexual – Xhosalisation of English (Queer Consciousness

MissionCreep #6: Women, grit and celebrities (WhyDev

The sound of Africa in 2015 (The Guardian

Credit or no credit? Is that really the question? (Development that Works

Education and development: limitations and unintended consequences (Devpolicy

Pathway to a Better Life for Haiti’s Disabled (Center for Financial Inclusion blog

Preventing the Next Sheldon Silver (The Global Anticorruption Blog


Riot police and protesters fought running battles in the Kosovo capital Pristina on Tuesday as anti-government protests erupted into the worst unrest since the former Serbian province seceded in 2008. (Reuters

Issue 63 – Humanitarian Exchange Magazine: The Typhoon Haiyan response (Humanitarian Practice Network

Background to Nigeria’s Elections (CSIS