Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rich Nations and the Amount of the Foreign Aid Assistance

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

No one knows exactly how much money is needed to halve the poverty. However, there are some estimates on the “price” of the UN Millenium Goals. According to them, the foreign aid assistance of the rich nations should be doubled in order to be able to reach all the eight UN Millennium Goals. This amount of aid would equal 0.5 % of all the aid giving countries’ GDP, being therefore much less than the UN 0.7% target.

In forty years, the economic welfare of the aid giving countries has doubled, but then again their foreign aid assistance has halved. Every cow within the European Union gets a financial support of
more than two dollars a day, and at the same time there are 2.8 billion people who earn less than two dollars a day.

Finland’s foreign aid assistance for the year 2006 was 670 million euros. In reality, only 500 million euros of that aid was used, and it equalled 0.39% of our GDP. Finland’s aim is to reach the UN 0.7% target by the year 2010. It has reached the 0.7% target only once, in 1991. Right after this, during the economic recession of the 1990’s, Finland cut its foreign aid assistance more than any other country in the world. Now that the economic situation has improved, Finland has not raised its aid to the earlier level.

How shameful is that?! And how shameful is it that almost all rich nations have failed this obligation?!

What is the amount of the foreign aid assistance in the US? How well has US reached the UN 0.7% target?

Source: Kivistö, Jari (ed.). 2007. Growing into Global Responsibility. Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland.


Development towards global partnership

What should we do to get developing countries in the same level with us, industrialized countries? We always only discuss this problem but that isn’t enough, we have to take action!
We usually help developing countries for example with different kinds of development aids.
Typical aid can be a development project which is related to everyday life, like infrastructure. We also provide help to develop their school system so that every boy and girl gets an opportunity to go to school.

Developing countries and global economy

We must help developing countries as much as we can so that they can survive on their own. The United nations calculate that only African countries alone took a loan worth of 540 billion dollars in 1972-2002. Just from that you can see how poor countries can easily resort to take a loan which can lead to a circle of debt. Economical problems can also present political conflicts, like civil war. The Millenium declaration of the United Nations encourages the industrial countries to carry out debt allowance program for countries that are seriously in debts. Countries that are working to get out of poverty should be aided by reducing the debts. Other economical ways for helping developing countries are for example getting their export products into our market economy, as well as increasing both development aid and technological development. The United Nations recommends that the industrial countries should give 0.7 of their GDP to developing countries. When you are giving money through charity to developing countries, you have to pay attention to that the money finds the right owners i.e. those who need it.

Developing countries and politics

We have to advise developing countries in political things but we also have to accept their political structure. Also enhancing and supporting their mechanism is important because it is a good way to avoid conflicts between poor and rich countries. We should have more public meetings regularly where we could discuss together with developing countries.

What can I do for developing countries?

There are lots of things to do, and you can do a lot. You can have a godchild from a poor country and give him clothes and food, as well as finance the child’s education. Volunteering is a good way to help because then you can literally go and help there. It will also provide you with unforgettable experiences.

You can give different kinds of donations or buy things that are sold for poor countries’ credit. Your attitude towards developing countries is an important thing because if you are not interested, nothing will change. But if you are willing to help those in need and you are ready to take action you can change the world. You can’t do everything all by yourself, but you can encourage the others to participate with your example. A good example of this is U2’s singer Bono who has talked about the subject in public and inspired people to help others. YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE!

By Pirita Niemelä (student at Haukipudas High School)


Saturday, December 15, 2007


By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

Make-believe 1:
If we diminished the entire mankind to our school of 300 people and took all nations into account, there would be:
171 Asians, 63 Europeans, 42 Americans, and 24 Africans in our school.
156 of us would be girls, and 144 boys.
90 of us would be Caucasians, and 210 of us would represent the other human races of the world.
90 of us would be Christians, and 210 of us would represent the other religions of the world.
18 of us would own more than half of all the riches of the world, and all 18 would come from the USA.
240 of us would not have proper living conditions. 210 of us could not read or write.
150 (ie half of us) would suffer from malnutrition.
Only three of us would have a computer. And only three of our students would be able to continue their studies at a university and get an academic degree.

So this is what the diminishing of the world into our school of 300 people would mean.

Empathy is an ability to empathize with someone else’s situation.
It’s the beginning of all aid.

Make-believe 2:
If we moved our school to Sudan, Africa,
The dismemberment of the girls’ private parts would be real for 90% of the girls in our school. The dismemberment of your private parts would have been carried out when you were 5-9 years old, and the operation would have had many physical and psychological after-effects on you.
A child marriage would be another tradition which would have serious negative effects on your mental development and welfare, as well as educational opportunities and sexual health.
If we moved our school to Sierra Leone, Africa,
An exceptioanlly cruel civil war would have made us suffer for ten years now. The war would have witnessed significantly more extensive human right violations against children than just the ordinary cruelties of a war. And even if the war was already over, you would still suffer from it, because, as a consequence of the war, many of you would have been forced to quit school.
If we moved our school to Togo, Africa,
Child trade and child abuse would be very familiar problems to many of us and as many as 70% of us would live in extreme poverty.
If we moved our school to Ethiopia, Africa,
About 70% of our health problems would have been caused by infectious diseases which would be easy to prevent with the help of clean water and better hygiene.
If we moved our school to Uganda, Africa,
We would be the poorest people in the world, and our poverty would be even worse because of the serious AIDS epidemic in our country. The biggest amount of infections would be exactly in your age group. The infectioned ones of you would very seldom have a chance to get medical treatment or medicine for your disease. The average living expectancy would be 43 years.
If we moved our school to Kamerun, Africa,
The members of the minority groups that study in our school, such as the Lappish people and the Swedish-speaking people, would not have been registered after their birth, and that is why, officially, they wouldn’t exist. Also, they wouldn’t have the right to own land, and that is why the other Finns could easily drive them away from their houses. Their other living conditions would be bad too, and they wouldn’t have clean drinking water and bathrooms at all. Their children would get sick all the time, because the houses would be shaky and their clothes wouldn’t give them enough protection. Their health care would be poor too and their living expectancy would be under 30 years.

So this is what the life in a developing country concretely is.

When you look at the world from this angle, it’s very obvious for everyone that the need for understanding, tolerance, education and aid is essential.

Empathy is an ability to empathize with someone else’s situation.
It’s the beginning of all aid.

So, if you woke up healthy this morning, you’re luckier than one million people who won’t be able to live till next week.
If you have never seen battles of a war, or experienced loneliness in a prison, torture or hunger – you’re luckier than 500 million people in this world.
If you’re able to go to church without the fear of others’ hatred, imprisonment or death – you’re luckier than 3 billion people in this world.
If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your body, a roof above your head and a bed where to sleep – you’re richer than 75% of the people in the world.
If you have a bank account or money in your wallet – you’re one of the 8% of the wealthy people of the world.

We’re all victims of the conditions – some winners, some losers.
We may congratulate ourselves and enjoy our healthy, safe and wealthy life in Finland, but please do remember that

Empathy is an ability to empathize with someone else’s situation.
It’s the beginning of all aid.

(African statistics from Plan Finland's campaign

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fund Raising

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

Thanks to the visit of the Commissinor of Unesco in Tanzania, Mrs. Modester M. Mwinula, at our school in November, Haukipudas High School now has a friendship school, Benjamini Mkapa Secondary School, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The students and the staff of Haukipudas High School are now collecting school bags and school equipment (notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, calculators, mobile phones etc.) to our new friends in Tanzania. We are hoping to be able to send the school bags to Tanzania by Christmas 2007.

In the future, our intention is to expand the co-operation to various student projects, and to the donation of even larger items such as English novels, fax machines, copying machines, computers and video conference equipment.

Through this weblog, we encourage our students and our friends in the USA and Tanzania to exchange ideas on global issues. We believe direct connections and communication with one another is the best way to learn about the realities of life in Finland, USA, and Tanzania, and in that way deepen our global understanding.

UN Millenium Development Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

25,000 people die of hunger and malnutrition every day. What if you had no other choice than to eat oat meal every day? Or to go to bed hungry? Every fifth person in the world lives on less than one dollar a day, and at the same time, the 500 richest people in the world have the same total income as the 416 million poorest people in the world. Poverty is the biggest development problem in the world, and it causes other problems. For example, a great social inequality causes conflicts which may even lead to a war.
What does poverty mean? What does it cause? How much is one fifth out of your school? Out of your country? Out of 6 billion people of the world? What can you get with a dollar a day if you need to pay your housing, food, clothing, health care, education and everything else with it? If we could reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, how much would it be? How much food should a person eat a day to stay alive? What can we do to help?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

by Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

There are altogether 100 million children in the world who can’t go to school even if they wanted to. Almost all of them live in developing countries (e.g. most countries in Africa, Central America, and much of the Arab World). There are even more young people, 133 million, who can’t read or write. In many countries, education is not free and it’s an obstacle for many children. It is especially difficult for girls to attend school, because, in many countries, they need to help their mothers in their household work, and they don’t have the time and the possibility to study. If the amount of money spent on education each year was increased by the amount of money that is used on ice cream in the USA in half a year, the second UN Millennium Development Goal could be achieved.

If primary education in your country was chargeable and you could go to school only one day a week, which subjects would you study? Why would you choose those subjects? Why is it important that all children can go to school? Do you find studying important? How would you cope with your life if you couldn’t read or write? How can you help all the children of the world to achieve primary education?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

Compared to men, women have a weaker position almost everywhere in the world. They are undervalued and overemployed. Countries should focus more on girls’ education, and women should have the same rights as men to make decisions at home and e.g. in politics.

What if you never learned to read and write only because you were a girl? And for the same reason, what if you never had your own money or other possessions? What does equality mean to you? Why should boys and girls have the same possibilities to go to school? How true is equality at your school? At your house? Are there men’s and women’s jobs? Which ones? Why? Do boys and girls always need to do the same things? Why? Which typical profession of the opposite sex would you like to have? Why would it be impossible/possible? What can you do to help all the girls of the world to go to school?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality

Copyright Hanna Nohynek

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

In developing countries one child out of ten dies before he/she turns five. In developed countries the same number is one out of 143. What if measles and diarrhea killed children in your country? In developing countries more than 10 million children a year die of diseases that could be prevented and treated. High child mortality is a part of poverty. All measures that decrease poverty also improve young children’s possibilities to survive and grow up. Child mortality can be significantly decreased if both children and their mothers have enough of food and clean water. All children should have the possibility to be vaccinated and to receive free and general health care.

What kind of nutrition do children need to develop? Which vaccinations have you been given? Why haven’t all children in the world received them? Where do we get clean water? Why do we get it? Why isn’t there clean water everywhere in the world? What are the consequences of the use of unclean water? Where do children in your country go for a check up at least once a year during their first six years? Which projects could we start in developing countries to help to reduce child mortality?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

More than half a million girls and women in developing countries die of complications connected to pregnancy and delivery. It is the most common reason for 15-19 –year-old girls to die. Half of them give birth to a child without any professional help. And while the average age for giving birth to a first child in our country is 28 years, in developing countries half of the 18-year-old girls are mothers.

Would you dare to dream about having a child if pregnancy and delivery were extremely serious health risks? How many children were born in your city last year? How many maternity clinics do you have in your city? How many people work for them? How has your country been able to decrease the maternal mortality? Which improvements could decrease the maternal mortality in developing countries? Can we do anything to help? (The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

Copyright: UNICEF Finland

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

Malaria kills more than one million people a year. 8000 people die of AIDS and 4000 people die of Tuberculosis every day. In the 1930-50s Tuberculosis killed 8000 people in Finland a year. Today in Finland, medicines and treatments to fight the disease have reduced the number of deaths to less than 300 per year.

How is it possible that diseases which can become epidemic are under control in your country (Tuberculosis), or the catching of which can be prevented (Malaria), and which can be well treated (HIV/AIDS) are fatal in developing countries? How could the number of vaccinations be increased in developing countries? How could we help?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.


Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

Introduction of diseases:

HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) is a retrovirus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening deadly infections. This disease is very dangerous because it takes over 2.4–3.3 million lives a year, and in 2007 570,000 of the amount were children. A third of these deaths happen in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium; it is transmitted via bites of infected mosquitoes. This dangerous disease leads to high fevers, diarrhea, chills, nausea, influence, and in the worst cases, in coma and death. Each year, 515 million people contract Malaria, and it kills one to three million people, the majority of them being young children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Cholera is caused by a bacterium called the Vibrio cholerae. This disease leads to diarrhea and it spread easily in drinking water.

Tuberculosis is also caused by bacterium and it is usually very long affected and it appears in lungs.

Other diseases are lung infections, different kind of diarrhea and fever diseases. According to some examinations, the most general disease in developing countries is not malaria, Cholera or Aids, but a depression caused by them.

My own thoughts on Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases:

Diseases have been a big problem in the world. Many people have been affected by them. The only thing we can do is to try and help to stop these diseases from spreading by giving the infected medicine and different kinds of vaccinations to relieve their pain and suffering. Even though we give medicine to those who need it, there will always be diseases. I think that the best way of putting an end to these problems is to give people all the information about the diseases, for example, developing countries, which have the problem with diseases, have also many organizations giving information to people and trying to prevent the diseases from spreading further. These organizations are starting to win the fight by reducing the amount of people that are getting diseases, but there are still millions of people in developing countries who are suffering and need help with their battle against the diseases.

If you really want to help these people who are living in developing countries you can get in contact with people in various organizations or simply give some money to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. I sometimes wonder whether the money people give is going to the people who need help or if the Red Cross is taking the money for itself? My family has given some money to the Red Cross and I hope that our money has gone to the people who need it and that they are happier than ever.

By Jasmiini Vallivaara (student at Haukipudas High School)

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs. http//

UN Millenium Development Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

A fourth of the people in developing countries live in dry areas and mountains that are environmentally very delicate. A majority of these people live in extreme poverty. At the same time, every sixth person in the world lives in a slum. The same number of people lack clean drinking water. Sustainable development means that the things you do today will guarantee a good life, clean environment and nature’s diversity for future generations too. Solutions are needed for such big problems as reduction of waste as well as the improvement of living conditions in slums.

How would brown drinking water taste to you? What if you lived in a hut where there is no toilet and all the trees in your yard had been cut down for fire wood? How can you reduce the use of water in your family? How much water do you use a day? Why is recycling important? How can you promote it? Why is nature conservation important? How can you promote it?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

by Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

In a good partnership, everyone is equal and everyone has the same amount of rights and responsibilities. No one is alone and people work together. Poor countries are responsible for their own development, but they need an opportunity to improve it. Rich countries need to give poor countries the kind of support they need and abolish the obstacles that hinder development. This means that development aid must be increased. Rich countries have decided to give 0.7% of their GDP to development aid. But there are only five countries that have reached this goal: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Luxemburg and Holland. Do you think your country will reach the goal soon?

Did you know that many developing countries use more money on taking care of their debts than on health and education? And did you know that cows in Europe get bigger financial support a day than what half of the people of the world earn? It is also true that UN Millenium Development Goals could be fulfilled if all the countries of the world would use one tenth less money on weapons and invested the saved money on development aid. Would you buy fair trade fruit even if they were more expensive than other fruits? What are fair trade products? What makes them fair? How can we promote equal and global partnerships?
(The Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

UN Millenium Development Goals: Poetry

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

How do you feel about the UN Millenium Development Goals? Be creative and write a poem(s) about UN Millenium Development Goals.

A Poem "Like a Bird Singing" written by Amanda Fawcett, Jordan Stayer, Kaitlyn Andrew & Hilary Fisher, Medina High School, and sung by Essi Kujala & Helmi Alatalo, Haukipudas High School. Guitar: Mikael Kujala.

UN Millennium Development Goals: Art Cards

UN Millenium Development Goals: Art Cards

Be creative and design cards for UN Millenium Develoment Goals. You may use any material and equipment you like!

Haukipudas art teacher Kaisa Annala had her students design cards with the UN Millennium Goals in mind:

Let´s save the world!

Art Diploma:
By Katja Manninen

By Katja Manninen

By Katja Manninen

By Päivi Heikkinen