|—||Billy Abimbilla, ChildFund’s national director of Liberia and Sierra Leone, speaking to BBC World Service about the Interim Care Center started in Monrovia, Liberia, to assist children orphaned by Ebola. A survivor and center volunteer, 23-year-old Decontee Davis, also speaks about her work. You can listen to the story until Oct. 20 — go to the 44-minute mark to hear it.|
That famous old observation - “Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it” - has reminded me of the ongoing discussions about protecting children from violence.
I believe that it is our moral imperative to see that protecting children against violence - in all its horrific forms - is included among the next set of U.N. priorities beginning in 2015. Read more of my HuffPost article here.
Billy Abimbilla, seen here examining supplies arriving in Liberia for Ebola relief, is ChildFund’s national director of Liberia and Sierra Leone — and a very resourceful person.
He has led an effort to open a new Interim Care Center for children affected by Ebola outside Monrovia, Liberia, in partnership with the country’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Now, 20 children are getting settled in the center, where they will remain for 21 days under quarantine. They will be monitored for fever and other early signs of Ebola.
If they show signs of the virus, they’ll receive immediate treatment in an Ebola treatment facility.
While they’re in the Interim Care Center, though, the children, who have lost loved ones, will have care and attention from nurses, social workers, mental health workers and volunteers who have survived Ebola — counseling the children through grief and searching for relatives or other caretakers to take them in once they are free to leave quarantine. Read more about it here.
With Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker.
Last week I attended my fourth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting. It is a three-day event in New York City that gathers about 1,000 leaders from across the corporate, philanthropic and government worlds “to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”
President Clinton, a masterful convener, draws together the widest diversity of people you can imagine from around the world. In crowded rooms and hallways, you bump shoulders with many, never being quite sure who you will meet. Over the years, I have run into Gerry Adams (president of the Irish Sinn Féin political party), South African activist Desmond Tutu and Michael Jordan’s mother.
This year, I met actor Forest Whitaker and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. And that list doesn’t include the current and former heads of state that President Clinton entices away from the competing annual U.N. General Assembly meetings happening blocks away from the CGI meeting, as well as the CEOs of many, many major companies (from Barclay’s Bank and Monsanto to Cisco Systems). This year, Jack Ma, chair of China’s Alibaba company, which just had the largest IPO in history, making him the richest man in China, even showed up and spoke on a panel. He is quite a character – who pledged to set aside $3 billion raised in his IPO for philanthropic work!
(Note – if you ever think about visiting NYC during the last week of September, when these two events take place, don’t. With all the security and limos, traffic is at its worst. When I ventured out of the hotel for other meetings, I ended walking more than taking taxis – it was faster.)
So, why are we all there? In one way or another, people are looking for ideas, connections, money and opportunities to work together on major social problems – from providing education and health care to bringing power to Africa and everything in between. This was the 10th such meeting, and the CGI staff did a good job of summarizing and sharing the commitments to action made to date and ideas for the future. Combating Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea was a big issue this year, and I’m proud to say that ChildFund’s efforts were acknowledged on stage during the closing plenary session.
Although the official CGI meeting takes place on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the 7th Avenue Sheraton Hotel, an unofficial, and just as well-attended, meeting spills out through the lobby and cafes on the hotel’s first floor. Heavy networking occurs in every nook and cranny during the day and well into the evening hours, primarily by those who accompany the CEOs. Everyone has a cause they care about, and they look high and low for fellow believers.
Making a world safer and more supportive of children is a very slow and sometimes frustrating business. That’s why it’s good every once in a while to get out and meet some powerful people who care about the world as much as you do. It reinforces my belief that if you get the right people working on a problem, anything is possible.
"AirLink, ChildFund international and the Greenbaum Foundation committed to create an ‘airlinked’ bridge …. Over the next few months, they will transport up to 500 tons of medical supplies in multiple trips to West Africa through the end of the year." —Chelsea Clinton, speaking about our collaboration on providing West Africa with supplies to fight the spread of Ebola, at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York City last week.
A World Free from Violence and Exploitation against Children: Targets and Indicators for the Post-2015 Development Agenda
ChildFund Alliance’s acting Secretary General Andrew Johnson speaks at the 46-minute point in this U.N. discussion, held this week in New York City. The Alliance supports including a goal to keep children free from violence in the U.N. post-2015 global agenda.