You are currently browsing the blog archives for October, 2012.



GROW: Lost in Translation

By evad5735

Food for Thought: (deadline: Friday at midnight)

Here is the film clip Melinda and I mentioned during our GROW training today. It specifically pertaining to the Perceptual Acuity skill set (the ability to communicate and understand non-verbals). If you were in the actor’s position what are some things and/or action steps that would better help you to understand and/or address this situation?

More Food for Thought:

Think about the CCAI skill sets and how they come into play within your day. Self-reflect this week and think, was there a time during the week that one or more of the skill sets,(Emotional Resilience, Flexibility/Openness, Perceptual Acuity, and/or Personal Autonomy) came to the forefront of your mind? Was being conscious of the skill sets helpful or insignificant within your situation?



ghU reading for 10/24: human rights from a political perspective

By edohm

This is our final week of globalhealthU track 1 and looking at various perspectives of the origins and discussion surrounding human rights. In lieu of the debate tonight and the election coming up, as well as our transition to track 2, which focuses on whether or not health is a human right, we thought we would conclude track 1 with some of the politics of the human rights debate. Check out this article from 2010. It summarizes some of Obama’s second annual address at the UN General Assembly, namely highlighting his call for a foreign-policy shift, one which focuses more human rights.

While reading, consider some of these questions:

-What action following this speech would make this declaration successful?

-Do you agree that the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world”?

-Do you think that human rights have been compromised for economic reasons? If not, why do you think Obama cites this as the reason for neglecting human rights?


Extra: If you have time… On September 28, 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt addressed delegates of the UN and thousands of French citizens regarding the acceptance of the UDHR. At this time, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, and the U.S.S.R. refused to accept the rights laid out in the UDHR. Check out Eleanor’s speech, “The Struggle for Human Rights.”

Something to think about: Why does this conference exist if democratic countries are giving other countries the “freedom to make their own mistakes”? How do democratic countries give this freedom while not allowing compromises in issues of human rights?



Reflecting back on Anil’s visit

By edohm

By Ramya Palaniappan

A couple of weeks ago GlobeMed was lucky enough to host Anil Parajuli, the director of Himalayan Healthcare. I was amazed at Anil’s immense amount of humility and compassion for others. I had heard that throughout the villages in Nepal, everyone always knew Anil, and after this talk, I understood why. Anil was kind, funny and down to earth. He is very intent on helping others help themselves and this focus on sustainability is what makes Himalayan Healthcare so successful. He began the evening by recounting the story of how he got kicked out of college and wasn’t sure what to do with his life until he began accompanying his brother on service treks. The first village that Anil visited was Tipling, a remote mountain village in Nepal. I was struck by how he described the state of the villagers. Anil recounted how everyone had a full head of lice and a comb was not even available to them. I was intrigued by the fact the while Anil went there initially to assist the villagers medically, the project evolved into so much more and turned into what we know today as Himalayan Healthcare. Now in those regions of Nepal, there are education, women empowerment and income generation programs put in place so that the villagers are able to sustain their community. Anil explained that passing around medical supplies was not enough because it was only a momentary fix. By training villagers and teaching them how to take care of themselves, Himalayan Healthcare has helped create a more sustainable community. Talking with Anil after his presentation made me even more excited to be part of GlobeMed. It was nice to put a face to Himalayan Healthcare and to see that the money we have fundraised is going towards small-scale solutions that actually help the villagers maintain their own lives.



GROW: Knowledge of the ‘Other’

By evad5735

Food for thought:
Think back to the previous GROW post, “Is One Story Enough?” and think how the idea of this clip relates to contributing to that single story. How do we see these concepts within our lives today? Any examples that come to mind? (Dominant news stories chosen, large scale’European’ ideologies, even common stereotypes…ect.)

Conclusion within  Sheppard’s A World of a Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development

“The problem of Eurocentrism, and hence the problem of development, is thus the problem of knowledge. It is a problem of discovering Other ways of knowing, being, and doing. It is a problem of how to be human in ways Other than those of Europe. It is also a  problem of how the West could liberate its true self from its colonial history and moorings.”




ghU thought of the week: Is human nature fundamentally selfish or altruistic?

By edohm

Check out this interesting article about human nature and whether it is fundamentally selfish or altruistic.

We had the honor of having Anil Parajuli, the co-founder and director of our partner HHC, here with us last week. He spoke about altruism and how some people simply have an innate (or perhaps even a developed) sense to help others. He also, though, spoke about the way in which taking action to solve poverty is also taking action towards self preservation. One-third of the world is still living in poverty, and more countries than ever are asserting themselves in some way or another (attacks, wars, strikes, protests, etc). By the time the world’s population reaches 9 billion (a time not too far off), we will surely find ourselves in a dire situation…

What do you think–is human nature fundamentally selfish or altruistic? Is our “highest moral purpose” to achieve our own happiness or is it to look beyond ourselves and help others? Doesn’t, though, this desire to help others suggest that we believe that the happiness of each individual is the most important achievement? What does that mean for this discussion?



Vaccines linked to Autism?

By MegMc

This weekend my mom mentioned in passing that she had read an article about Boulder’s low vaccination rates…so I had to take a look.

The article that was printed in The Parade illustrates the national trend that parent’s are refusing or delaying vaccines for their children. It pinpoints the original cause of parental refusal to vaccine to an article published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield. Basically, Wakefield did VERY poor research and ended up linking vaccines (perhaps the small amount of mercury) to Autism. Once his article was published it instilled fear into the hearts of parents so they quit vaccinating and this trend has continued even after his article was retracted.

The article states “Some of the lowest rates occur in affluent, well-educated communities like Boulder, Colo., and Marin County, Calif., where parents are often focused on being environmentally conscious and paying close attention to every aspect of their children’s development.” Herd immunity is the concept that if most of the population is vaccinated then it protects those that aren’t for whatever reason. If more and more parents are refusing vaccinations then this lowers the herd immunity and therefore, makes people without the immunity more vulnerable to disease.

This article brings up some very important aspects of public health. Firstly, do we know all of the risks of vaccination to children? Secondly, which demographics are most affected by parent’s decision to not vaccinate? And lastly, should we be concerned with the LOW vaccination rates since we all live in Boulder?



GROW: Is one story enough?

By evad5735

Food for Thought:

How does the first ten minutes of this clip, “The danger of a single story” relate and/or differ from Shresta’s own reflection? (below the video) What lessons can we learn from both?

An excerpt from Becoming a Development Category, by Nanda Shresta 1995

To my innocent mind, poverty looked natural, something that nobody could do anything about. I accepted poverty as a matter of fate, caused by bad karma. That is what we were repeatedly told. I had no idea that poverty was largely a social creation, not a bad karmic product. Despite all this, it never seemed threatening and dehumanizing. So, poor and hungry I certainly was. But underdeveloped? I never thought nor did anybody else that being poor meant being ‘underdeveloped’ and lacking human dignity. True, there is no comfort and glory in poverty, but the whole concept of development (or underdevelopment) Was totally alien to me and perhaps to most other Nepalis.
There is a word for development ín the Nepali language: bikas. Following the overthrow ofthe Rana autarchy in 1951, the word began to gain currency. A status divide emerged between the bikasi and the abikasi. Those who had acquired some knowledge of so-called modern science and technology identeifed themselves as bikasis (developed), supposedly with a ‘modern’ outlook, and the rest as abikasis or pakhe (uncivilîzed, underdeveloped, or backward). There was money in bilans, and the funding for bikas projects, mostly through foreign aid, was beginning to swell. Development was thus no longer just a concept. It became a practice which fortified, and even exacerbated, the existing class hierarchy. The wealthy, the powerful, the more educated embraced bikas, becoming bikasis. The garib (poor) were abikasis. As the logic went, the poor became poor because they were  they impeded bíkas. Bikas was generally associated with objects such as roads, airplanes, dams, hospitals, and fancy buildings. Education was also a key component, essential to build human capital. Education could salvage the abikasi mind, but only if it was ‘modern,’ emphasizing science, technology, and English, the language of bikes… Many students felt ashamed to be seen in public with their parents.
The new education gave us the impression that our parents’ manual labour was anthetical to bikas. So we sneered at manual work, thinking that it was something only an abikasi or intellectually ‘underdeveloped’ mind would do. It was not for the high-minded bikasis. The new educational system was producingg a whole new way of thinking about the value of labour. Bikas existing labour use system, traditional bonds, and knowledge base, rather than building on them. Before development, hard manual labour was a common way of life. The vast majority of people did it from early childhood, from the time they were 7 or 8 years old. Now the delusionary vision of bikas had made it an anathema. The new attitude toward labour created a backlash against education in general. My father opposed my education although I always did manual labour. Many children were actually pulled out of their schools by their parents before completing their elementary education. In an agrarian society llke Nepal, children formed a vital source of labour or economic assets, but they had developed an aversion to manual work as a result of education.
So what good was their education if it meant depriving the family of much needed family labour and potential supplementary income the children would generate when hired by others? Such a calculation was particularly important among the poor parents who did not see much prospect for their educated children’s employment in the civil service  the principal source of salaried employment for the educated. To most poor parents, their children’s education did not mean an investment in future prosperity; rather it entailed, at in the short run, lost labour and potential income.



Is poverty simply a statistic?

By tess.zangara

I really enjoyed the second video about the economic side of poverty.  I thought it was really informative in showing past development.  However, it was inaccurate in its portrayal of how countries will continue to develop.  From there, I looked to the first video which spoke about extenuating circumstances of poverty.

I agree with Justin DeLeon when he says poverty is more than one’s income.  He and I have similar perspectives in that we have both been to rural parts of the world and experienced poverty firsthand.  Being impoverished does not only mean you have a low income.  These poor villagers whom I met in Ecuador and Kenya (I went to build schools in the summers of 2008 and 2009) had so much more to worry about than their incomes — they had to make difficult decisions regarding healthcare, education, etc.  Their poverty was not solely defined by the amount of money they made.  The poverty extended into all facets of their lives, affecting every family member’s future and creating a vicious cycle of low income and hard decisions.

Despite their drastically harsh living conditions, low incomes and for lack of a better description, simply hard lives, they were so much more grateful than me or any of the other participants of the trip.  They were happy to walk three miles to get “clean” water for their families and they were SO excited when I gave them a pencil to use at school — they guarded those things as if they cost a million dollars.  They were confused when we said we had more than one pair of shoes, hurt when we spent our leisure time listening to iPods instead of talking to them and excited to see us every day.  It may sound cliche, but they really taught me that in the face of poverty, they were a so strong — much stronger than I would be, i’m sure.

Their poverty is a vicious cycle that will last all their lives, as well as generations to come.  Poverty affects every single component of their lives.  We cannot simply give money and expect change.  We must implement projects (like Himalayan Healthcare does) and produce change ourselves.  The only way the overall quality of life (which I believe is what poverty affects the most) can improve is by growth of the community itself.  I never want to be the strange visitor who goes to a community to improve it — I want to give locals the skills to improve it themselves.



Are human rights inherent or socially constructed?

By edohm

By Erica Duffy

Michael Boylan raises an important question in his New York Times article “Are There Natural Human Rights?” He asks: are these rights something everyone is born with or are they ideas created along the way?

Boylan discusses how some argue that human rights may have emerged from ideas developed during the European Enlightenment and that they may just be social constructs.  This documentation that dates before the Enlightenment does not define these “rights” that most people in Western Europe and the United States think of today as “natural rights.” This question of whether rights are inherent creates turbulence especially for organizations and groups, like the United Nations, that advocate and fight for what they define as fundamental rights. Boylan argues that if these rights are constructs, countries can treat their citizens in any manner they wish.

After explaining the basis of the constructed idea of natural rights, Boylan advocates for the idea that there is a “logical, objective, and concrete” basis for human rights. Of this idea that human rights come from a logical basis are two subsets, “interest-based” approach and “agency-based” approach. In the interest based approach the question arises as what conditions are necessary to ensure wellbeing in a society, whereas the agency approach promotes the capacity for individuals to act in the interest of their own being.

Personally, the end of this article was, for me, the most thought provoking. If you choose to read only one section of this article, it should be the end. This is mostly because it will make you feel compelled to go back to the beginning and read it all. Boylan poses questions about how the reader views human rights, how they feel about these views and what group of thought their views lie in. He challenges the reader to analyze not only their own beliefs, but also to challenge the people around them to think about how they view human rights.

So to pass this on, I challenge you.  As the reader, think about your own opinion on human rights. Are they given at birth or are they social constructs?