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New Webinar Series To Strengthen Social Welfare Workforce

In a post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Kristen Wenz and James Orlando of USAID describe a July 14 webinar that was the first in the PEPFAR/USAID Social Service Workforce Strengthening series, which is “intended to encourage the sharing of information, expertise and promising practices for addressing the needs of the social welfare workforce…

Members Of U.S. Delegation To Horn Of Africa Discuss Response Efforts

The August 8 visit of a U.S. delegation to the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “was important in terms of shedding light on the important efforts that are under way and the importance of continued support from the international community,” Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Eric Schwartz said on Tuesday during a briefing on the trip, IIP Digital reports (Babb, 8/9).

More Than 9M Afghans Facing Food Insecurity, WFP Says

The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that 1.5 to 2 million more people in Afghanistan likely will be pushed into food insecurity later this year because of ongoing drought in the northern, northeastern and western parts of the country, IRIN reports. Seven million people in the country already are facing food shortages, according to the article.

Obama Administration Announces Additional $105M For Humanitarian Efforts In Horn Of Africa

“President Obama has approved an additional $105 million for ‘urgent humanitarian relief efforts’ in the Horn of Africa, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced in a statement Monday afternoon,” Politico’s “Politico44” blog reports (8/8). “Carney says the money will help provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation and health services to those in need,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (8/8). The money will come out of the Emergency Relief and Migration Assistance Fund, Carney said, adding that the U.S. has provided about $565 million in humanitarian aid so far this year, Reuters notes (8/9).

U.S. Should Continue Funding Maternal Health Programs In Afghanistan As Troop Drawdown Begins

The success of the Afghan Safe Birth Project, funded by HHS, and the Community Midwife Education program, supported by USAID, in helping reduce maternal mortality in Afghanistan “is in jeopardy – not because of security threats, but because of a fiscal one,” authors Isobel Coleman and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, both fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations, write in a Bloomberg opinion piece.

Jill Biden Leads U.S. Delegation To Kenya To Assess Conditions In Horn Of Africa

Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith arrived in Kenya on Monday to assess and raise awareness of the famine conditions in the Horn of Africa, Capital FM News reports (Kaberia, 8/8). “Biden’s trip is the highest-profile U.S. visit to drought-stricken East Africa since the numbers of refugees began dramatically increasing in June,” according to the Associated Press (Straziuso, 8/8).

Delays In Procuring Food Aid, Funding Hampering Relief Efforts In Somalia, Aid Agencies Say

“Famine relief efforts in Somalia are being hampered as much by delays in procuring food aid and raising funds as by difficulties in accessing Islamist-controlled areas, according to humanitarian organizations working there,” the Guardian reports. Staff from several aid agencies working within al-Shabab-controlled areas “say the major problem in responding to the crisis is the time it is taking to buy food abroad and to transport it to the worst-hit areas,” the newspaper writes (Rice, 8/4).

ONE Hosts Discussion About Somalia Famine With USAID, WFP Officials

“ONE Blog” features an audio recording of a conference call the organization held on Wednesday with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran and Somali advocate Ali Ali about the famine in Somalia. During the call, Shah said his recent visit to the Dadaab refugee camp…

Panel Discusses Global Health Approaches And Sustainable Results

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “ScienceSpeaks” blog describes a panel discussion, which took place at last week’s Society for International Development 2011 World Congress, that focused “on vertical and integrated approaches to global health [and] addressed the question of how best to achieve sustainable results in the field.” Participants…

Foreign Aid Being 'Held Up' By Congress

In a Foreign Policy opinion piece, FP staff writer Josh Rogin lists foreign aid as one of “the top eight foreign-policy items currently held up by the do-nothing 112th Congress.” According to Rogin, “Everyone agrees that the foreign aid system is broken. Over-outsourcing, poor monitoring, and a lack of cohesion and accountability have plagued the U.S. aid system for decades. However, nobody in Congress agrees on exactly how to fix it. … The result is a nasty stalemate – a familiar feature in Congress as the country heads into the 2012 presidential season” (8/4).