Child marriages spike among Syrian refugees
The young teenage daughters of Syrian refugees in Jordan are increasingly being married to older Syrian men — against the laws of both countries — as a form of financial and other security against a backdrop of conflict and instability. “We’re concerned about early marriages — using that as a coping mechanism,” said Dominique Hyde, a representative in Jordan for the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Virulent malaria is adapting to beat vaccines
The malaria parasite is evolving to overcome vaccines in mice, infecting even those who have been immunized and emerging as an even stronger disease, especially for those who have not been vaccinated, according to researchers. “We are a long way from being able to assess the likelihood of this occurring in human malaria populations, were a malaria vaccine to go into widespread use,” writes Victoria Barclay of Pennsylvania State University.
Promoting clean cookstoves as rape deterrent
At a school for the disabled in the Ugandan village of Nkokonjeru, residents are being taught how to build more efficient cookstoves. The stoves use less wood, which is better for the environment, reducing the frequency with which women must venture into nearby forest to collect wood — thus reducing, in turn, the potential for rape and sexual assault.
Victory to end polio is in reach
The endgame of the massive 24-year global effort to eradicate polio depends upon high immunization rates in all countries, not just the three in which the disease remains endemic — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, write Jay Winsten and Emily Serazin. Although geopolitical issues continue to pose barriers to eliminating polio, the biggest challenge is a $945 million funding shortfall, or nearly half the original budget through 2013.
Gender bias is sidelining women over climate
Rural women the world over are being excluded from decision-making and management of increasingly scarce resources, including water and forests, even though they are “the foot soldiers of climate change adaptation,” says Kusum Athukorala, who leads two women-oriented water organizations.
Yemeni children on brink as food aid slows
Half of all Yemenis are malnourished, but one million of the country’s children are especially at risk — and some 250,000 could die — because their parents cannot afford to buy food, according to the World Food Programme, Oxfam and Islamic Relief. “Whilst we have a food-security issue, you have food in the markets. So, the issue is not an issue of availability, the issue is an issue of access because a large segment of the population does not have the purchasing power,” said Ramiro Lopes Da Silva, World Food Programme deputy