This is our weekly roundup of good news from around the world. If you'd like to get this in your inbox, you can subscribe for free below.
Give a damn
We recently heard about a really clever initiative from an NGO in Turkey called Imece. They invented a 10,000 MAh phone-charging powerbank with a torch, charging cables for all types of phones, and its own little solar panels. They've trained Syrian refugees to make the powerbanks - giving them employment and income - and are distributing the devices to other, newly arrived refugees.
We're sending them US$5,000, which will pay for 100 powerbanks. They'll be distributed in February 2023 to refugees on the road of exile in Bosnia. Last time the organisation was there most people were coming from Afghanistan, but by next year there will be other nationalities in need. The people receiving the devices are extremely vulnerable, and being able to charge their phones will allow them to keep contact with their families, use Google Maps and call rescue services in case of emergency, which apparently happens very often.
A big thank you to all of our paid subscribers for making this possible. These devices will make a real difference to many hundreds of people who have lost everything.
Good news for people
Tanzania is winning its fight against tuberculosis, the world's deadliest infectious disease. Cases have fallen from 306 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 208 per 100,000 in 2021, and annual deaths have declined from 55,000 to 25,800 in the same period. This is really good news - Tanzania has the sixth highest TB burden in the world. The Citizen
Brazil's Ministry of Health has reported a 28% decrease in malaria cases, falling from 194,979 ijn 2017, to 140,385 in 2021. Across the region of the Americas, overall cases have fallen from 1.5 million to 650,000 in the last two decades, and there's been a 56% reduction in deaths from the disease. Outbreak News
Five years ago, half of Kenya's babies were born without a skilled attendant. Today, 90% are born under the care of a trained health professional, and child mortality has fallen to less than half of what it was 20 years ago. Nation
Two years after its launch, a program to eliminate cervical cancer has reached its target of treating 90% of all women identified with pre-cancerous lesions in project sites in seven countries - Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda and Senegal. That's seven years ahead of schedule. Unitaid
Reading used to be a luxury reserved for a few in Latin America. Now, it’s the standard. Although there is still some way to go before every child in the region can read, it's clear that there has been substantial progress towards becoming a region of literate citizens, bringing a new promising era of prosperity. Latinometrics
The Gates Foundation just announced it will spend $7 billion over the next four years to support African countries in confronting hunger, disease, gender inequality, and poverty. “The big global challenges we face are persistent. But we have to remember, so are the people solving them."
Reproductive rights advocates around the world can look to Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina for perspective, strategy, and hope. All three countries have enshrined a woman's right to choose in the last two years thanks to a multipronged approach: grassroots organizing, strategic litigation, and most importantly, changing the narrative. Yes Magazine
Crime has plummeted in the United Kingdom. Compared with the year before the pandemic, burglary is down 28%, robbery down by 23%, vehicles offenses have fallen by 19%, knife crime by 9%, firearm offenses are down 10%, and homicides have decreased by 5%. Overall crime is now at its lowest level since the 1980s. ONS
As the dust settles on the midterms, and the USA pauses for Thanksgiving, there are plenty of reasons for hope. In blue and red states, voters made choices that reflected care and concern for their fellow citizens, choosing to protect public health and use the levers of government to extend dignity to people in extreme poverty, crushing debt and imprisonment. The Hill
The governor of Oregon is granting a mass pardon for state-level marijuana possession offenses, removing 47,144 convictions, forgiving $14 million in fees and fines, and eliminating barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible.
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Thomas Gamauf, Austria
Good news for the planet
Belize is doubling its marine protected areas as part of a 'blue bonds' agreement that swaps national debt for conservation. The trailblazing approach has proven successful in Seychelles and similar negotiations are underway in the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. “It’s like a bank agreeing to refinance a home if the owner promises to put the savings toward improvements.” Nature Conservancy
We have a responsibility to the planet and future generations to conserve as much as we can. We can show that conservation is good business and that it can have a direct impact on the people most affected by climate change.
Prime Minister of Belize, Juan Antonio Briceño
The largest dam removal project in the world has been approved, and will restore hundreds of kilometres of salmon habitat along the Klamath River, the second-largest river in California. The project has been championed by Native tribes and environmentalists for years and is part of a growing trend in the US that has, to date, removed 1,951 dams. NPR
Good news for sharks! 88 countries have voted to expand fishing regulations to protect 95% of shark species fished for their fins. The decision is a “landmark in not only the number of species it covers, but in the amount of the trade that is going to be regulated." Meanwhile, trials of a new battery-powered device called SharkGuard has been shown to reduce shark bycatch in fishing gear by 91%.
Nepal’s forests are flourishing thanks to a government policy adopted over 40 years ago that handed large swaths of national forest back to local communities to manage. Forests now cover 45% of the country, and a third are managed by communities, allowing endangered plants and wildlife, including the tiger and one-horned rhinoceros, to thrive. NYT
Young Rohingya refugees have reforested over 600h ha of Kutupalon, the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. 2,500 ha of forest were cleared to deal with the humanitarian crisis and now youth groups inside the camps are giving back - driving waste management, planting, and education initiatives to combat climate change. Mongabay
South Korea has achieved almost zero food waste thanks to a mandatory composting scheme. It’s a staggering achievement considering in 1996, the country recycled only 2.6% of food scraps. Residents buy designated food waste bags for around 20c a piece - creating a 'pay-as-you-throw' tax to help pay for the process. Guardian
Efforts to save the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly in Oregon have reaped double rewards - quadrupling not only the population, but saving its host plant, the Kincaid’s lupine, from extinction as well. The butterfly is slated to be downlisted from endangered to threatened, making it the second insect in the history of the Endangered Species Act to ever recover. HCN
In one of our previous paid editions we featured a story about Paolo Fanciulli, a fisherman in Italy who created an underwater sculpture gallery to stop bottom-trawling along the coastline. Today Paolo’s anti-trawling sculptures span from Porto Santo Stefano to the Ombrone River, protecting 137 km2 of seagrass meadows and fish habitat. “It’s small but it’s remarkable given the lack of any official backing or funds.” Wired
That's all, thank you again to all of our paid subscribers for making this week's donation possible. We're looking forward to updating you all when the powerbanks get into the hands of their intended recipients.
We'll see you next week.