This week the international youth organization ‘World’s Youth for Climate Justice’ has been awarded the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize at the Peace Palace. The global youth movement received the prize for its dedicated efforts in fighting climate change by means of international law and for advocating climate justice.
“The link between climate change and peace might not be the first one that comes to mind. However, it is a strong one. Consequences of climate change include an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, more frequent floods, wildfires and drought, that can lead to food insecurity, destruction of land and livelihood, and increased displacement – factors that foster conflict”, said Quint van Velthoven and Marijn Vodegel, from World’s Youth for Climate Justice, during their winner’s speech.
The event took place at the Great Hall of Justice, Hague, Netherlands, normally used as courtroom for the United Nations International Court of Justice, where more than 120 students, diplomats and representatives of international organizations gathered on December, 7th.
Jan van Zanen, mayor of The Hague, the international city of peace and justice, concluded the ceremony by underlining how important it is for young people’s voices to be heard: “Especially on a topic directly related to the future of today’s young people and generations to come. Young people should be at the table, locally, nationally and internationally.”
The Carnegie Foundation, owner and manager of the Peace Palace, and the Youth Peace Initiative award the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize every two years in order to garner best practices from young individuals or youth-led organizations and to put them in the spotlight. The prize recognizes the work of young peacebuilders and aims to encourage others to start their own projects.
Project aiding homeless receives £1.4m research grant
Researchers working to transform the infrastructure of support available for people experiencing homelessness have been awarded £1.4m from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The three-year project, led by Northumbria University, aims to better connect the care system and expand it to include creative health approaches such as art, crafts, sports, gardening or cooking to provide holistic support tailored to individuals.
At present, support services are not always integrated and often try to address in isolation the issues which can contribute to homelessness – such as abuse, trauma, addiction and mental or physical health challenges.
But in reality, these complex and varied health and social care needs can rarely be treated in isolation, explained Professor Monique Lhussier, one of the lead investigators of the research from Northumbria.
“When available, support for homeless people is often only for a short time, not coordinated with other services and fails to meet all of a person’s needs,” said Professor Lhussier, a social scientist with expertise in marginalisation, welfare and wellbeing.
Fellow lead investigator Dr Christina Cooper, from Northumbria’s Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing, said: “While most services see people who are homeless as having lots of needs, few also see them as people with strengths, talents, resilience, and aspirations. Despite evidence showing the positive impact of creative initiatives, these assets have not typically been considered a core part of support services.”
The project aims to grow the care system, so it includes creative health approaches, with the research informed and guided by people recruited as experts by experience.
“This is about working in direct and equal collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness so that all people can have access to the support they need, when they need it, and in the way they need it,” added Professor Lhussier.
“What we want all support services to be working collectively on is enabling that growth for each individual. To be thinking about people in terms of their future potential rather than as a list of problems that can’t be figured out.”
Driven by six key organisations – Tyne Housing, Groundswell, Alphabetti Theatre, Art Gene, Chilli Studios and Helix Arts – a network of housing providers, arts organisations and healthcare services from across the North East and Cumbria will participate in the project. The research will also be supported by two regional community interest companies, Media Savvy and Roots and Wings design, making the project highly collaborative and grounded within the kinds of organisations it aims to engage.
The aim is to develop a model which supports the move from siloed working and crisis management to collaborative partnerships for early intervention and prevention. This will inform the development of an evidence-based regional policy for homelessness and a website featuring details of all support services available in one place.
Dr Cooper added: “Bringing together organisations from creative industries and the wider homelessness sector is important because it offers people who need it opportunities to be part of something which supports them to grow, and to reintegrate into society in a positive way. And to shed some of the very negative labels which are often placed on them through no fault of their own.”
Artistic and Executive Director at Alphabetti Theatre, Ali Pritchard, is a Northumbria University graduate and founded the theatre, which is now a registered charity, in 2012 with the belief that the arts should be accessible for all.
He said: “Alphabetti Theatre is now an established community hub in the city of Newcastle which is already engaging with diverse audiences. I’m delighted that we can offer further support to people who need it most by being one of the cultural collaborators on this project.
“We’ve never been afraid to do things differently, while championing the development of performing arts in the region, and recognise how lives can be enriched by opportunities to interact with the creative industries.”
Community Engagement Coordinator at Alphabetti Theatre, Audrey Cook, is taking the lead on the theatre’s contribution to the project. They said: “It is an exciting prospect that arts and culture is included as a necessary tool for improving wellbeing and eliminating stigma. Alphabetti Theatre is a dedicated warm space as well as a vibrant hub for local art and culture for absolutely anyone.
“The inclusion to prioritise exposure to art and creativity within this project alone, contributes to the necessary conversation that art shouldn’t be treated as a luxury. I am eager to see what creative outcomes come in the coming years of this project and I’m endlessly grateful to be apart of it. Not just myself, but all of us here at Alphabetti.”
The research, Making every community asset count: improving health and reducing inequalities for people experiencing homelessness, is part of the third phase of projects funded through the Mobilising Community Assets to Tackle Health Inequalities programme. The UKRI programme is led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in collaboration with and the National Centre for Creative Health.
It builds on an earlier award of £250,000 which saw Northumbria academics working with Tyne Housing to create a virtual directory of 192 support services for those facing homelessness across the wider region. Both awards have been obtained in collaboration with Newcastle University, building on a longstanding, collaborative relationship between the two organisations.
London Air Ambulance raises £1.2 million in charity gala
A Black and White Gala event in London has raised over £1.2 million for the London Air Ambulance, surpassing all previous galas promoted by the charity.
The event was attended by a number of VIP guests, including US actor Tom Cruise, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Grammy-award winning band Sister Sledge who performed during the evening. Generous supporters bid for the several money-can’t-buy prizes throughout the auction.
“As a former pilot for East Anglia Air Ambulance, I know just how vital the work of air ambulance teams across the country is and the truly life-saving difference it can make to deliver urgent medical care wherever injury strikes. Here in London, the current aircraft have served magnificently. But our capital city needs a new fleet. And we are Up Against Time. The clue really is in the appeal’s name. By September, we need the two new red birds – decked with the latest kit such as night vision – in our skies,” said His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, William who attended the evening and met with some of the London Air Ambulance’s medical and operational crew.
Funds raised will be used towards the replacement of two aging helicopters, for which the charity needs £15 million.
Also speaking at the gala was Milana Hadji-Touma, both a patient of the service and a member of the gala committee. She said:
“I am best placed to say that this really can happen to anyone. I wouldn’t wish it to happen to anybody ever. But if it does, we need to make sure London’s Air Ambulance can be there to save their life too. Together, tonight, we can make sure that London’s Air Ambulance Charity is able to give another person that chance.”
Aid Pioneers awarded for innovative humanitarian efforts
Aid Pioneers, a young NGO committed to making a difference in low- and middle-income countries, has been awarded the prestigious 2024 HIM Award for their humanitarian efforts throughout the past year. Presented by the Hamburg Initiative for Human Rights (HIM), this award recognizes individuals, organizations, and initiatives that go above and beyond in upholding, protecting, and promoting human rights.
Founded by a group of passionate humanitarians, Aid Pioneers believes in harnessing the potential of local, on-the-ground visionaries already leading effective initiatives within their communities. With a strong understanding of their community’s unique needs, local leaders are well-equipped to launch projects with profound and lasting impacts. Yet, they often lack crucial resources for their work, like medical or solar equipment. Aid Pioneers serves as a bridge maker by connecting global corporations, volunteers and donors with local organizations to supercharge local changemakers’ impact without pushing them out of the driver’s seat.
Julian Adler, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Aid Pioneers, emphasizes the importance of collaboration and connections. “Aid Pioneers aims to create lasting impact by leveraging local structures in crisis areas, steering away from implementing external solutions devoid of a deep understanding of the local context,” says Adler. They have created a lean, efficient method for enacting change by channeling global resources to the most effective local initiatives. “Our objective is to enhance the effectiveness of the non-profit sector by opening it up to any corporation, donor or volunteer eager to contribute, emphasizing collaborative international efforts that resonate with our local partners, rather than imposing our own,” continues Adler.
Aid Pioneer’s key strategy is investing in locally-led initiatives because local visionaries understand the unique needs of their communities, leading to a more profound and lasting impact. Their partnership with Tuyoor Al Amal, a local organization in northern Lebanon, is an excellent example of how these projects bear strong local buy-in and thrive even after global attention has shifted to new crises. In this case, the school faced significant energy expenses and unreliable electricity supply challenges. Aid Pioneers stepped in to help supply schools and hospitals with affordable solar systems, ensuring the community’s right to education and healthcare.
Aid Pioneers’ collaborative approach has yielded remarkable results, with the value of goods and services provided to local visionaries increasing fivefold, surging from $1 million in 2022 to an impressive $5 million in 2023. These achievements include vital medical supplies shipments to conflict areas and the installation of solar power systems in partner organizations grappling with energy crises.
Prof. Dr. Susanna Hegewish-Becker, the founder of HIM, applauds Aid Pioneers’ innovative approach.
“Their way of working is courageous, intelligent, and unconventional and is therefore more effective than the often outdated methods used by established organizations,” says Dr. Hegewish-Becker.
As they move forward, Aid Pioneers remains dedicated to creating sustainable development across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, aiming to unlock healthcare, education, and gender equality for communities most in need. Their ongoing commitment to creating meaningful change through supporting local leaders and fostering collaboration is increasingly gaining recognition. Aid Pioneers serves as a shining example of the profound impact a team driven by passion, dedication, and persistence can achieve.
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