Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Student volunteering week

This week is student volunteering week in the UK. It is supported by SVN (Student Volunteering Network)  a peer support network for UK HE employees. The official website provides details of aims and  events.
for more information on  volunteering trends try these resources.

NCVO is a membership organisation of over 13,000 organisations.
It produces civil society almanac for subscribers but free on its website is general research and data on volunteering  and its trends. some basic free data is available on the website

The Community Life survey  contains statistics on people and numbers of volunteers
Volunteering Matters has been leading UK volunteering in policy and practice for more than 50 years. Founded in 1962 (and known as Community Service Volunteers until 2015) Its website has information on volunteering plus some research on who volunteers

On a related matter background information on charities and levels of charitable giving can be found on the Charities Aid Foundation website.
this includes the latest Charitable giving report 2017.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Abuse by Aid workers - get some facts from these resources

 This week oxfam officials and aid workers have faced accusations of sexual abuse
Charity Commission response to allegations
Earlier report on Oxfam completed in December 2017
concluded 'the charity does demonstrate elements of good practice in its safeguarding management and how it responds to allegations. But we concluded there is further work for the charity to do to in respect of HR culture, and the overall governance and management of safeguarding in the charity'
UK government strategy for dealing with  safeguarding in charities.
Oxfam safeguarding policies. updated January 2018
Response to allegations.

However unfortunately allegations of misconduct and abuse by aid workers are not new.
in 2002. Charges of extensive sexual exploitation of refugees in West Africa by aid workers and United Nations peacekeepers were investigated by the UN Office for Internal Oversight Services. The full document can be read online.
In 2008 Save the Children published No One to Turn To: The under-reporting of child sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers and peacekeepers, 27 May B
The Building Safer Organizations project was launched with NGOs to address the issues. It published in 2007 some guidelines. An evaluation of its effectiveness was published in 2006 by the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children.

The Executive Committees on Humanitarian Affairs and Peace and Security (ECHA/ECPS) United Nations (UN) and Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse was established in February 2005 with the aim of preventing acts of sexual exploitation and abuse and improving response to it when it occurs. view some materials via the Save the Children resource library.

The Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by our own staff  was established in 2011
It supports the establishment of UN and NGO policies and develops tools so as to assist in protecting from sexual exploitation and abuse bystaff

Interagency Standing Committee also produced policies and guidance. the IASC is primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is a unique forum involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners.

 However there have also been issues relating to abuse of aid workers. For information on the nature and extent of this.
Try Humanitarian womens Network.It has some survey data from 2016 on the extent of the problem
in May 2017 Tufts University published a report on violence and assault of aid workers.
Report the Abuse was monitoring the situation. its website is now archived as funding has been withdrawn.

Are you celebrating Valentines Day- try our social science resources

Are you one of the millions of people celebrating Valentines day today?

according to Statista.average predicted spending on chocolate will rise by 16% this year.

their data shows that in 2017 - the average spend for women was 20.42 pounds while men spent 39.70 !

Here are some great sources for exploring the social history of Valentines Day

One of the earliest surviving Valentine is a 15th-century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orléans to his wife, which commences.

"Je suis desja d'amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée..."

— Charles d'Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2
See some examples of his poetry (in French only) via historic copies from Gallica

Early Valentines in English are the

the Paston Letters, written in 1477 by Margery Brewes to her future husband John Paston "my right well-beloved Valentine. They have been digitised by a British Library project . You can view images of the text online

as well as a discussion of the medieval origins of Valentines day from curators

It form s part of the fabulous new Discovering medieval literature website which has examples of original manusacripts plus contextual essays.

Fabulous UK collections of historic Valentines cards include:

Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection at Manchester Metropolitan University which gathers 450 Valentine's Day cards dating from early nineteenth century Britain, printed by the major publishers of the day. view some examples online from 1865

Dobbs, kidd and co.

and a gallery of images which include vinegar valentines!

Museum of London has over 1,700 cards

explore them online via Collections online.

The Victorian and Albert Museum also has an extensive collection. This blog post highlight their history with some interesting images. Look out for the snake in the grass example!
search for more examples in their collections 


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Celebrate World Wetlands day with these free resources

World wetlands day is celebrated on 2nd february. This year it is focussing on wetlands for a sustainable urban future. The day was chosen to mark the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The official website has some infographics and handouts on the importance of wetlands.
The Ramsar website has the text of the convention and details of its signatories.
It also has technical reports, briefings and manuals

Global Lakes and Wetlands Database (GLWD)
WWF and the Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Germany has maps of lakes and wetlands on a global scale.

Wetlands International is a global non profit organisation. Its website has news reports and case studies relating to wetlands worldwide.

For the UK - The Joint Nature Conservation Committee monitors wetlands and compliance with Ramsar.Its website has details on UK

BTO conducts wetland birth surveys annually.

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has images and information on key areas.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Holocaust Memorial day 2018: power of words

27th January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It is the date of the Holocaust memorial day which is time to remember those who died in the Second World War Holocaust and subsequent genocides.
The Holocaust Memorial trust has details of this year's theme the power of Words.

Here are some personal oral history accounts from the Holocaust.
The United States Memorial Museum has an enormous online collection of oral history testimonies from survivors.
The British Library Sound Archive provides free access to over 1800 recorded testimonies from Jewish  survivors living in Britain.

Witnessing Genocide (The Polish Research Institute, Lund, Sweden)
The website contains unique source material documenting the experiences of approximately 20,000 survivors from Ravensbrück and other Nazi concentration camps who were evacuated to Sweden, including testimonies, drawings, photos, transport lists, layouts of camps, and teaching materials.

70 Voices: Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders (Holocaust Educational Trust)
This 2015  commemorative project explores the history of the Holocaust through 70 sources created by different witnesses, including victims, survivors and perpetrators. The sources include diaries, letters, testimonies and poems.

Personal diaries
See examples of children's diaries from the United States Memorial Museum
Yad Hashem World Holocaust Memorial center has extracts from letters, writings and diaries.

Weiner Library for the study of the Holocaust and Genocide also has a large online collection of materials.

World Economic Forum - get up to speed with what is going on- with our handy research links.

The World Economic Forum is meeting in Davos this week. The official website has the agendas and live feeds. It also has a pre Davos selection of background reading.

There are a collection of useful papers and articles from contributors

The World Economic Forum has also recently published the Inclusive Development Index 2018.this assesses the performance of 103 countries according to 11 dimensions in addition to GDP

They have also issued a 2018 Global Risks report assessing different types of risk to worldwide development.

News Analysis

Time Magazine
New York Times
Washington Post
Financial Times
KPMG has twitter data from participants
 Deloitte coverage
Politicos news
UN sustainable development coverage.

Academic analysis

The Conversation blog.

CSIS International security geopolitics analysis

DEVEX has news and analysis from a development perspective

Oxfam analysis




Tuesday, 16 January 2018

EU strategy on Plastic - find out more

This week the EU has launched the first European Staregy on plastics - to reduce the impact on the environment. read the full text on its website.
where you can also find fact sheets about the new policy
For statistics on amounts recycled in EU nations see Eurostat data
this page also goes into detail about sources, targets and percentages achieved in recent years.

the UK government has also launched a new plastic waste policy
Wrap has data and reports on waste and recycling in the UK plastics market

For information on the reasons why the directives are needed.
See the UNEP campaigns against plastic waste in the oceans.
The UNEP knowledge repository also has recent reports on the environmental and economic case for reducing plastic waste
Friends of the Earth has campaign materials and resources for consumers.

For an industry perspective see Plastics Europe. which details their response.