National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is recognized annually on January 11th. Last year, President Obama proclaimed January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In his address, he called upon “businesses, national and community organizations, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we must play in ending all forms of slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.”
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that currently, there are approximately 21 million people who are victims of forced labor globally. Women make up the majority of trafficked persons, and approximately half are children. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which involves a coordinated response for governments around the world to partner together and defeat this scourge of modern-day slavery. The Plan also calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programs, especially for women and children.
Among the organizations working to eradicate trafficking in persons are Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize winners Covenant House and ECPAT, who have developed and expanded upon programs to combat trafficking, with a focus on youth. Both organizations frequently collaborate with their networks and local communities to raise awareness about the issues and advocate for human rights worldwide.
Below are a few examples of their efforts.
Casa Alianza / Covenant House
Casa Alianza (Spanish for “Covenant House”) won the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2000. With this support, the organization opened Hilton Home in the center of Managua, Nicaragua, which each night can care for up to 110 boys and girls 12 – 17 years of age. Hilton Home residents include boys and girls who have been abandoned and may live on the streets, have problems with substance abuse, and/or are victims of extreme poverty, human trafficking, violence, sexual abuse and exploitation. Staff in Nicaragua provide psychological and social work support, legal services, and health and medical care to assist youth with reintegration into society.
In 2009, Casa Alianza Guatemala partnered with the U.S. Department of State to open Asociación La Alianza, which now serves as a safe house for girls between the ages of 12-18 who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The organization’s Public Education Team has also trained over 6,000 community members around anti-trafficking awareness and education, as well as 1,000 members of Guatemalan police on how to enforce anti-trafficking laws. Through these trainings with community members and collaborative media and education campaigns, Casa Alianza is truly an exemplary leader in the fight against trafficking in persons.
ECPAT International is an organization devoted to the prevention of trafficking of children, having received the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2013. The organization was first established in Bangkok in 1990, and continues to grow as a network of 90 civil society organizations in 82 countries.
ECPAT considered 2016 to be “The Year of Action,” as 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the first World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. ECPAT has partnered with the Regional Secretariat of the South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children and UNICEF to organize a meeting in Sri Lanka regarding several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to trafficking in children.
The international car-service company Uber joined ECPAT USA’s network of organizations participating in the ECPAT Code, which is a voluntary industry-driven set of guidelines focused on helping travel and tourism companies prevent child sex tourism and trafficking of children. The Code is a joint venture between the tourism private sector and ECPAT. ECPAT has recognized 19 U.S. companies for their participation in The Code, highlighting their “exceptional work to integrate child protection practices into their businesses.”
For Human Trafficking Prevention Month, on January 17, 2017, ECPAT-USA is holding a special screening of “SOLD The Movie” in Los Angeles, where “celebrities, government officials, the private sector, and the public will unite for the cause, raising funds and support for ECPAT-USA’s mission to create a world where no child is bought, sold, or used for sex.”
Both Casa Alianza and ECPAT are leaders in leveraging collaborations in their efforts to eradicate modern slavery worldwide. Ahead of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we commend them and all other organizations and individuals working to raise awareness about these abuses around the world.
*Image from SOLD The Movie, in partnership with ECPAT-USA
Happy new year to all on behalf of the Hilton Prize Coalition and its members! Our resolution for 2017 is a renewed commitment to innovate ways that alleviate suffering across the world, achieving greater collective impact through collaboration. Below are some highlights of the Coalition’s recent initiatives, with suggestions on how to engage with them.
Storytelling Program – “Leading Thoughts” Series
Laureate organizations appear in interviews with Storytelling Program director Steve Connors for a new video series, Leading Thoughts, in which leaders share what they’ve learned, both in their current roles and from their experiences in the field. The first of these videos, now available on our Story Wall, feature Jeff Meer, Executive Director of Handicap International US, and Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages USA. Stay tuned for more clips, and visit the Story Wall to add your own voice to the chorus.
A new section of our website features the Coalition’s current Fellows and alumni, showcasing the rich diversity of the program and its placements around the world. Check back to learn about this growing group of future humanitarian leaders. Interested candidates for the Fellows Program are invited to learn about the program and apply here as well.
Share Your Stories!
The Story Wall is an interactive mosaic on the Hilton Prize Coalition website that highlights the day-to-day connections at the heart of humanitarian work. We encourage all who are engaged in this work to post their own stories to the Story Wall or use the hashtag #HPCStorytelling for a chance to be featured on it. Join us in this movement to amplify the voices of the communities you serve, and help us celebrate the important work you are doing.
With a presence in more than 170 countries, members of the Hilton Prize Coalition are uniquely positioned to innovate solutions across the globe, working together as well as independently to achieve greater collective impact. Here is a snapshot of achievements from the Coalition’s first year under its current organizational structure.
The executive teams of the Hilton Prize Laureates have decades of earned knowledge and experience in all aspects of global development and humanitarian aid work, including the importance of collaboration. In a new video series produced through the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program, Director Steve Connors interviewed leaders from Laureate organizations to share some of what they’ve learned, both in their current roles and from their experiences in the field.
The first of these “Leading Thoughts” videos feature Jeff Meer, Executive Director of Handicap International US, and Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages USA. More videos will be posted on our Story Wall, to live alongside the chorus of voices being shared across the humanitarian sector.
Ms. Eunice Musubika is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with HelpAge Tanzania, an organization that supports older people in more than 65 countries to lead full, secure lives and overcome discrimination. Originally from Uganda, she holds a degree in Guidance and Counseling from Kyambogo University in Kampala. In this blog post, Eunice writes about her field research with intergenerational households in Tanzania to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and support overall health promotion.
Stimulating Intergenerational Households in Rural Tanzania through the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP)
by Eunice Musubika
In June 2016, I began work as a mentor and facilitator with HelpAge Tanzania on a project entitled “Extending Healthy Aging through Life Courses: Community-Based Interventions in Rural Tanzania.”
This project took place in the Kibaha district of Tanzania, which I visited in August 2016. The purpose of the visit was to provide technical assistance in the areas of Community Life Competence Process (CLCP) facilitation. CLCP is based upon the core belief that communities can respond to their own issues. They are able to envision, to act, to mobilize resources, to assess progress to adapt, and to share their learning with others.
Alongside a team of partners, I monitored and provided field mentoring support to Family Health Mentors (FHMTs), a group of community members who have been trained to support families in living healthy lifestyles and link them to health care services. I also delivered FHMT training in five communities in order to facilitate the development of a family and community-centered approach to support health promotion. This approach improves actions among all age groups, prevents and delays the onset of non-communicable diseases, and improves the overall health and functionality of older persons.
A SALT visit is the first step of CLCP. The SALT approach (Stimulate Appreciate Link and Transfer) reveals the capacity of the community to build a vision for the future, to assess the community’s situation, act, adapt and learn. It helps in building relationships with communities and promoting community self-reliance by stimulating intergenerational households to appreciate the strengths and abilities of the family members to live healthy lifestyles. We practiced SALT by stimulating families to start vegetable gardens in their compounds for their consumption and easy access. We also encouraged them to complete physical activities and seek health care.
I carried out fifteen SALT home visits to intergenerational households in Kibaha to support the FHMTs. The families I visited were growing vegetables to sell because it is a very lucrative business. Many older persons said that they were able to look after their families by selling vegetables, and that the activity didn’t consume much of their own personal well-being.
(Visiting a vegetable garden in Mlandizi, Kibaha district, where older persons grow vegetables as an income-generating activity)
One household the facilitators and I visited was in Mwendapole, Tanzania. Asha, a 74-year-old woman, has her granddaughter and daughters who stay nearby and visit her often. Asha’s husband passed away some years ago due to diabetes, and she is sometimes bedridden due to body pains and heart disease. Asha felt a lot of responsibility and stress about taking care of the family. Recently she felt that the stress was increasing her blood pressure, but she has not managed to walk to the pharmacy due to body pains. For the past few years she used to cultivate their garden, which is far away, to ensure the family has access to basic goods, but she can no longer go to the garden because of her back and joint pain. Her daughters give her support once in a while when they come to visit, and she will sometimes stay with her granddaughter Lailati, and other children check on her often. During the visit we practiced SALT in the following ways:
S- We stimulated Asha to walk around her house and also start a vegetable garden; we stimulated the granddaughter to massage her grandmother with oil to reduce the back and joint pain.
A- We appreciated Asha’s efforts to bring up her children. Despite being a widow, she had been able to build a house and pay school fees for her children from selling vegetables and other food stuffs.
L- We learnt of her skills and strengths that helped her manage to look after her family. We linked her to medical care and encouraged her to go the Health Centre, accompanied by the FHMT.
T- We transferred knowledge to the family about healthy lifestyle activities, for example eating vegetables, doing physical exercise and going for medical checkups.
(Aisha moving around with the support of the chair)
It is clear that older persons have many strengths and are willing to take actions to improve their health and well-being using their own local resources. They require less support from the NGOs and others if they are stimulated and empowered to change their attitudes from being recipients of care to taking the lead in providing care to themselves.
Thanks to my Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship and to HelpAge Tanzania, I was able to use my skills to reach out to the Tanzanian intergenerational community and share knowledge about how the older persons and youth in Uganda, my home country, are managing their health and livelihood through CLCP. I have been practicing CLCP now for four years, and it is truly empowering to see intergenerational households in Tanzania taking action and using their own strengths to improve their health and well-being.
For the past 70 years, Heifer International has partnered with communities around the world to strengthen sustainable livelihoods and advance local economies. Heifer was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2004 for “working to end hunger and poverty, while caring for the earth through training in environmentally sound agricultural practices.” To date, the organization has worked in over 125 countries, and their community-owned interventions have helped lift 25 million families out of poverty. Through its flagship Passing on the Gift program, Heifer seeks to advance and raise awareness around women’s empowerment, education, food security and nutrition, disaster relief and more. Heifer’s extensive partnerships, sound monitoring and evaluation practices and innovative programs around the world have made the organization a leader in the field of sustainable development.
Partnerships and Programs
Heifer collaborates with governments, corporations, foundations, and various global networks to carry out its programs and lift people out of poverty. One such partnership with the MasterCard Foundation will benefit 25,000 youth in East Africa. The five-year project aims to equip young people ages 15-24 with the skills necessary to start and run agriculture-related businesses in Tanzania and Uganda. Local partnerships are crucial to implementing this work, as is a deep understanding of the respective countries’ culture and history.
Read more about Heifer’s partnerships here.
Heifer and the Hilton Prize Coalition
Heifer remains committed to the goals of the Hilton Prize Coalition, most recently through its involvement in the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program. In 2016, Storytelling Program Director Steve Connors met with Alina Karki and Neena Joshi of Heifer International Nepal, to capture the experiences of the organization and its staff in the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Alina and Neena are both featured in the resulting documentary “On Shifting Ground,” and speak about the disaster response procedures that were implemented. Emphasizing the role of development organizations during humanitarian aid interventions, Neena says in the film, “When people are strong, when institutions on the ground are strong, they can respond to emergencies.”
(Alina Karki, Communication and Networking Officer – left, and Neena Joshi, Director of Programs for Heifer International Nepal, featured in “On Shifting Ground”)
Another partnership in Nepal alongside the Hilton Prize Coalition is currently taking place with Collaborative Coordinator Sumnima Shrestha, Communication and Resource Mobilization Manager at Heifer International Nepal. She began a placement this fall in Kathmandu and will support continued collective impact to build upon the collaborations rooted in the Storytelling Program’s production process. This summer, Sumnima spoke on a panel at the Rotary Club of Patan about the collaborative framework that shaped “On Shifting Ground,” with fellow participants Sheetal Tuladhar, Rasmi Dangol and Neena Joshi.
Watch “On Shifting Ground” here and join the discussion using #HPCStorytelling.
On November 17, 2016, attendees of the Independent Sector conference viewed a screening of “On Shifting Ground,” the short documentary film produced by the Hilton Prize Coalition about six leading organizations in Nepal that mobilized in response to the 2015 earthquake.
Presented by the director of the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program, Steve Connors, the film screening was followed by a Q&A session with the audience, which was comprised of leaders and practitioners from organizations across the charitable sector. Questions led to a lively discussion about the use of storytelling as a means of catalyzing collaboration between participants in the humanitarian and development sectors. The discussion also touched on the potential of storytelling to draw attention to the need for preparedness work and the role of corporate engagement and multi-sectoral partnerships in funding disaster response.
This fall, the Hilton Prize Coalition hosted events in New York City and London at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), respectively. Both events engaged Coalition member organizations and other prominent voices from the humanitarian aid and international development communities in discussions of lessons learned from the Storytelling Program in Nepal, most notably around collaboration and disaster resiliency and response, following a screening of the Coalition-produced documentary film “On Shifting Ground.”
In his introduction to the film at CGI, Peter Laugharn, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, spoke to the compassion, collaboration and smart solutions exemplified in the work of the Coalition and its member organizations – a sentiment that was echoed by discussion participants, along with a call to continue to build on what has already been accomplished in the sector. Themes of preparedness and community resilience, collaboration, and storytelling were also raised in the course of the conversation and were carried forward at the event at ODI as well.
(Peter Laugharn, center right, introduces “On Shifting Ground” to attendees at CGI side event)
The panel discussion at ODI, moderated by Christina Bennett, Head of Programme, Humanitarian Policy Group, featured panelists Steve Connors, Director, HPC Storytelling Program; Laurie Lee, Chief Executive, CARE International UK; Aleema Shivji, UK Executive Director, Handicap International; and Sheetal Tuladhar, Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, BRAC USA, who spoke to trends and challenges encompassing collaboration in the sector, as well as the impact of the Storytelling Program.
The idea of the Storytelling Program as a powerful tool to encourage partnership and create action plans for collaboration was reiterated in both panelist and audience member remarks. As Aleema Shivji said, “the process of telling the story for the film allows us to reflect,” adding “it’s these conversations you have in country, these relationships you build in country, which help you to collaborate better in the longer term.”
Click here to view the full discussion from the Overseas Development Institute event that was held on October 24.
(Panel from Left – Aleema Shivji, Laurie Lee, Christina Bennett and Steve Connors. Sheetal Tuladhar joined via videolink from Kathmandu.)
(Sheetal Tuladhar at bottom row left, with BRAC ELA club members)
Ms. Sheetal Tuladhar is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with BRAC, the largest development organization in the world, which is devoted to empowering people living in poverty. Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, she received her Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University in 2014. In this blog post, Sheetal writes about her experience working in Nepal after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, establishing BRAC as an INGO in the country, and the programs that have provided her with first-hand experience in the world of international development. Sheetal is also featured in the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program documentary “On Shifting Ground.”
In April and May 2015, two massive earthquakes and numerous aftershocks shook Nepal. Fast asleep in my Brooklyn apartment, I began to receive frantic calls from my Nepali friends living in the U.S. around 3:00 a.m. What followed was a series of attempts to call my parents and family back home in Kathmandu, without any success. Photos and videos started pouring in on social media of buildings and ancient cultural heritage sites collapsing and reducing to rubble. At the time I thought, everything is gone.
I had just finished a three-month internship with BRAC USA. As an eager and fresh Master’s graduate in Sustainable International Development, I was looking for opportunities to work in the development sector for an organization that had meaningful and true impact in the lives of poor people. Within a week of the earthquake, I received a call from BRAC USA to go to Nepal to help set up BRAC International’s newest office in Kathmandu as a Fellow. As unfortunate as the earthquakes had been, they gave me an opportunity to go back home, and as cliché as it may sound, to make a difference.
When the earthquakes struck Nepal, BRAC was one of the first global organizations to respond. With a six-member team from Bangladesh, the organization set up medical camps in coordination with the Government of Nepal-Ministry of Health and other international organizations, including CARE. Apart from the medical camps providing immediate relief, each BRAC staff member had the opportunity to contribute one day’s salary, and BRAC matched that amount to make a fund of USD 1.5 million to set up operations and work in long-term rehabilitation of earthquake-affected communities in Nepal. Over the next few months, BRAC registered as an INGO in Nepal and began implementing a reconstruction project in Kavre, one of the most affected districts.
During this project, BRAC Nepal built two permanent houses for two widow-headed households in the Sunthan and Charikot villages of Kavre district. At the same time, we launched pilot programs in health, sanitation and youth development to facilitate longer-term rehabilitation in the earthquake-affected community of Shyampati Village Development Committee (VDC) in Kavre. Due to the damages sustained to their toilets during the earthquake, residents of Shyampati were forced to use the forest to relieve themselves. BRAC Nepal is restoring and constructing new toilets to rehabilitate the 265 damaged in the earthquake to make Shyampati an open-defecation-free zone again.
During times of disaster and peace, women and girls are pillars of strength and resilience in the community. They have indeed become an instrumental part of BRAC’s programs in Nepal. Female community health volunteers (FCHVs) are a key component of the health system. Started in 1988 by the Government of Nepal, the FCHVs provide health services to communities in coordination with the VDC. BRAC Nepal is providing trainings to strengthen the capacity of existing FCHVs so that they can better provide health education, preventive and curative health services to their community members.
Another BRAC program in Nepal is known as Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA), which focuses on empowering adolescent girls. This is one of BRAC’s most successful initiatives worldwide and has proved especially valuable in Nepal. Despite a declining trend, child marriage is pervasive across Nepal. Ten percent of women are married before the age of 15, while 37 percent are married by the age of 18. Poverty is both a cause and a result of child marriage. Empowered adolescent girls are able to break the cycle of poverty, unlocking their economic potential through education, life skills and livelihood opportunities. The first of its kind in Nepal, ten ELA clubs have been set up as safe spaces for adolescent girls aged 11-21 to read, play and socialize. Some girls are trained as mentors, and through them, the other girls receive training in health and nutrition, life skills, livelihoods and financial literacy. Over the course of the program, they will also have the opportunity to be linked to microfinance institutions, to take out small loans for any income-generating livelihood activity they like.
To say that this has been a life-changing experience is an understatement. I always wanted to work in Nepal, but my younger self was only slightly aware of the challenges. After returning from eight years of (comfortable) living in the United States, I found myself overwhelmed by the dynamic, haphazard urbanization and population growth of Kathmandu as well as the intricate bureaucracy that must be navigated at every step of our work in Nepal. One day I would be addressing government officials at the national level, another I would be working with local community members to discuss their pressing needs, and then the next I would be meeting donors and INGOs to discuss potential collaborations to add value to the development of Nepal. While learning about my country, I get to learn and grow as an individual, personally and professionally.
As a part of the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program, I had the opportunity be a part of “On Shifting Ground,” a documentary that highlights the role of non-governmental organizations at the time of humanitarian crisis. Now as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, I have the opportunity to enhance my skills as a development practitioner in disaster resilience, learning first-hand how organizations working closely with communities can strengthen their own capacities to build the resilience of their beneficiaries.
(HPC Storytelling Program Director Steve Connors interviews Sheetal Tuladhar with beneficiaries in Nepal, February 2016)
Ms. Tsega Teffera is currently a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with SOS Children’s Villages USA, an international NGO that builds families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in 134 countries and territories, including the United States. Originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she recently received her Master’s Degree in Communications Management from Webster University. In this blog post, Tsega writes about her increased knowledge of the international development sector as well as the projects she supported throughout her Fellowship in the Marketing department.
From my first day at SOS Children’s Villages USA (SOS), each person, in their own way, made me feel like part of the team. Everyone that I met genuinely believed in the organization’s mission. And soon, I understood why.
SOS has a unique approach to a problem that is all too common – orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. The organization provides the most basic yet foundational element of every child’s upbringing and life – a family.
The SOS Model is simple: there are villages, homes, siblings and mothers – in short, families. The SOS Village is a supportive community that offers psychological and medical support, schools and recreational facilities. The home is a safe environment where children have a sense of belonging and responsibility both for their home and for each other. Biological siblings are kept together, not separated. Most important of all is the SOS Mother, a trained caregiver who loves and cares for the children.
(Tsega Teffera – bottom row, second from left, with SOS USA staff)
As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, my projects this summer and fall ranged from developing communication materials for internal and external use to conducting research and collecting content. I was tasked with telling the inspiring stories of SOS families all over the world and supporting the organization’s efforts in building awareness about SOS in the United States. These projects definitely helped me to sharpen my skills and to take my know-how from theory to practice. More than that, it allowed me to discover that sweet spot where my interests and skills could be used to better people’s lives.
SOS is changing kids’ lives and giving them the opportunity to fulfill their potential. This is evidenced by the many success stories I learned of through the course of my fellowship, including that of Gebre, a little boy in Ethiopia who found his way to an SOS Village after losing his family to famine, and ended up at Harvard University on a full scholarship; and that of Mavis, a young girl raised in an SOS Village in Zimbabwe who made it to the Rio Olympics as part of the national soccer team. Seeing these changed lives has motivated me to work hard and put in the extra effort, because not only is the outcome worth it, but the positive effects are lasting.
As I wrap up my time at SOS, I see a future for the organization that is exciting and impactful thanks to corporate partners, individuals, SOS alumni and other groups who believe in the organization’s mission. Of these partners is one that I was able to meet in person was 11-year-old Capri Everitt. Capri was so moved by the plight of vulnerable children that she decided to use her voice to raise awareness and funds for SOS. For nearly a year, the young girl traveled to 80 countries and sang the national anthem of each country in the national language (41 languages total). Being involved in this project taught me that there is always something that I can do, no matter what my position or resources. Capri’s story is proof that anyone can help, if we are creative with what we have.
(Capri Everitt with children from an SOS Children’s Village in Nongkhai, Thailand)
This fellowship gave me the opportunity to discover what I, as a young African woman and leader, can do to serve my community. I’ve learned that it is possible to provide holistic support to individuals, and also that the various factors that impact people are interconnected and therefore require a multifaceted approach. As I aspire to work in the international development sector, this fellowship has broadened my thinking and taught me to consider both the short and long term impact, which is critical for sustainable development. There are many development-related issues that need to be addressed to support kids and people in general, but after my time at SOS, I’m confident that I can contribute to positive change and make a difference in my community and communities around the world.