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A new year

Happy New Year! Concern would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued help and support last year.

By comparison to some recent years, 2007 has been a “normal” year without a set of major emergencies, but busy nonetheless, with Concern responding to major floods in both Asia and Africa. 

Floods response

Bangladesh has been hit many times, experiencing a particularly harsh monsoon season, killing tens of thousands of people, leaving many more homeless and severely damaging an already battered infrastructure. More recently, Cyclone Sidr struck and still hundreds of people are missing. Concern, long established in Bangladesh, has been able to respond quickly and effectively to these disasters. 

Up to 17 countries in Africa were affected by floods, the worst in decades. Concern was able to respond in a number of countries, such as Somalia and Liberia.

Closing and opening of operations

2007 saw Concern wrap up its tsunami response, as planned, in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. 

Concern began work in Chad in the summer, which is a new country of operation. The humanitarian situation in Chad, which was previously overshadowed by the situation in Darfur, is now affecting over one million people. Concern’s focus is on management of the camps for the displaced population. 

Community Therapeutic Care

In May 2007 a number of UN bodies (the World Health Organisation, the World Food Programme, the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition and the United Nations Children’s Fund -UNICEF) issued a joint statement on “Community-Based Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition”. In effect, these UN agencies adopted as international best practice the approach to dealing with acute malnutrition which Concern, in association with Valid International, had pioneered and tested over the past seven years: our own Community Therapeutic Care (CTC).*

The very success of CTC poses many new challenges for Concern. More countries want to build it into their public health systems and want Concern to help them do this. There is a growing demand for training in this approach. 

This approach, of linking Concern’s on the ground experience to policy analysis, was a key motivating factor for the strategic partnership which has been developed between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Concern. IFPRI is one of the institutions of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural research and is a world leader in food and nutrition policy. Concern and IFPRI will implement a programme of action research around such areas as nutrition, HIV and AIDS and livelihoods and broader issues such as the link between agriculture and health.

Land rights march in India

In October, Ekta Parishad, one of Concern’s Indian partners, enjoyed great success in their Janadesh campaign, aimed at addressing the pivotal issues of poverty, social distress, violence and inequitable distribution of resources. The campaign culminated in 20,000 people undertaking a 350 kilometre demonstration march. After many days and hundreds of miles the marchers managed to secure victory when the Indian government agreed to ratify its demands for land rights for poor people. Click here to watch a video of the last days of the march.

Web developments

As well as moving to a new look and feel, a number of our sites were redesigned this year, with new features and added functionality.

The new Challenge site allows challengers to create their own personal profiles, helping them update their fundraising events and totals.

In the UK, Concern devised a pilot youth and community project called My Asia Space, primarily for young British Asians with an interest in photography. My Asia Space launched as a website in June 2007. The competition is now closed but the gallery of images can be viewed here.

Concern gifts had a new look for Christmas – called Positive Presents and you are still able to purchase gifts on this site. 

The year ahead

2008 is Concern’s fortieth year of operation. A great pity that this milestone has been reached as it indicates that the inhuman and unacceptable condition of extreme poverty still entraps hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens. The fortieth anniversary of Concern’s founding is thus not an occasion for jubilation. This creates an oppurtunity again,  to thank you for your continued interest and support that has enabled us to carry out our work over the las 40 years.

*Since 2011, CTC has been known as community management of acute malnutrition, or CMAM.