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In the Philippines, recovery continues from Typhoon Washi flooding that devastated communities in late 2011. ChildFund has invested in livelihood skills training for out-of-school youth. They are learning to print T-shirts and bags to raise money to help their families, or fund their return to school.

 How Important Are National Staff?
Kate Mort is an MSF-USA Field Human Resources Officer.
National staff is crucial to every MSF project; they are at the core of everything we do. National staff makes up around 90 percent of all MSF field workers, so they do most of the nuts-and-bolts work that keeps our projects running.
Generalizing is hard, because every situation is different. For example, South Sudan is a very challenging place to find people with the necessary training and expertise. I’ve worked in South Sudan a few times, most recently in 2012. The population has had very limited access to education because of decades of war. There simply aren’t many medically qualified people. In many projects in South Sudan, we train the staff ourselves— which also means we have to send more international staff to work in those projects.
With staffing, it’s all about context. And the individual. When I was in South Sudan in 2004, there was an enormously enthusiastic, motivated, and intelligent guy who started as a cleaner. Over the years, he was promoted to working in the pharmacy, working on pharmacy management, working with dispensing medication and patient care. Eventually, he became a medical officer.

Kenya: Escaping death in Africa’s largest urban slum
“When I came to Kibera for the first time I felt humbled by what I saw. It was hard for me to imagine that it was possible to live in such conditions: in Kibera, an estimated 250,000 people live on a five-square-kilometre patch of land. They live in very small houses made of mud or iron sheeting. 
MSF Clinical officer, Kelly Khabala, recounts his work treating people in Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
Dust and smoke, stench, sewage, waste, and water shortages are common and leave their mark on people’s everyday lives. There are not enough latrines, and if you want to use a toilet, you have to pay five shillings. Some families cannot afford this, and as a result use plastic bags, which in turn are thrown along the narrow paths of the slum.

I was helping make hamburgers and fries with some other Volunteers for some of our Cameroonian friends while visiting my regional capital. I love children here and this young girl seemed amiable enough that I could approach her. She didn’t quite get the fist bump so it turned into a one finger and thus, voila, E.T. phone home!

 Peace Corps Volunteer Janelle Walikonis

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: 27 November 2012
A girl walks through flood waters, the third consecutive year in which millions have been displaced by massive flooding in Pakistan.
The eighteenth United Nations Climate Change Conference, held 26 November to 7 December in Doha, Qatar, aims to achieve accelerated action to curb the increase in greenhouse gases that is threatening the planet. The destructive effects of climate change are felt most acutely by the poorest and will be inherited by all the world’s children.
To see more: www.unicef.org/photography



Hussam, 11, surveys the remnants of his damaged home, in the city of Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. Children throughout the region struggle to cope after the violence. UNICEF and its partners are working hard on emergency projects to get children back to class, despite damage to more than 136 schools and kindergartens. We’re also providing health services, water, sanitation and psychosocial support to children.
© UNICEF/2012/Iyad El Baba
"When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy." - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
"Carry out a random acts of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might go the same for you." - Princess Diana
"If you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." - Dalai Lama
"The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be." - Dalai Lama
"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest times. If one only remembers to turn on the light." - Albus Dumbledore
Random Act of Kindness, how much effort does it take?