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(United Nations / FOCUS News Agency) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday said international assistance should be intensified to solve the increasingly worsened crisis that has been plaguing Northeast Africa, also known as the Horn of Africa. Ban's statement came at a ministerial mini-summit on

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(MissionNewswire) A famine of massive proportions threatens 12.7 million people in the Horn of Africa who are in urgent need of emergency assistance, according to the U.S. State Department. Aid agencies continue to sound the alarm, warning that the death toll could continue to rise—possibly

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(UNITED NATIONS – OCHA) According to the latest report by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), 4 million people are currently in crisis nationwide—3 million in the south of Somalia. Of these, 750,000 people risk death in the next four months if efforts

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(United Nations) With nearly 800 million people unable to read or write, the United Nations today marked International Literacy Day with a warning that illiteracy undermines efforts to eliminate a host of social ills such as poverty and sickness and threatens the very stability of nations.

“The costs are enormous,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message. “Illiteracy exacerbates cycles of poverty, ill-health and deprivation. It weakens communities and undermines democratic processes through marginalization and exclusion. These and other impacts can combine to destabilize societies.”

This year’s Day is being commemorated under the theme “Literacy and Peace.”

Ban noted that despite progress, illiteracy continues to afflict millions of people, especially women and girls. In 2009, roughly two thirds of the world’s estimated 793 million illiterate adults were female. That same year, some 67 million primary school-aged children and 72 million adolescents were denied their right to an education, he added.

“Literacy unlocks the capacity of individuals to imagine and create a more fulfilling future. It opens the way to greater justice, equality and progress. Literacy can help societies heal, advance political processes and contribute to the common good,” he declared.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted that more than half the adults in 11 countries are illiterate. These are Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

“The world urgently needs increased political commitment to literacy backed by adequate resources to scale up effective programs,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a message.

“Today I urge governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to make literacy a policy priority, so that every individual can develop their potential, and actively participate in shaping more sustainable, just and peaceful societies.”

About Salesian Missions at the United Nations

(MissionNewswire) The United Nations reports that more than 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely malnourished and "at risk of dying." The region, also referred to as Northeast Africa, includes the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia – all severely affected by

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(MissionNewswire) An already difficult situation has become a desperate one in the Horn of Africa where aid agencies like Salesian Missions were already hard at work helping the poor—long before the latest drought and famine that have brought the world’s attention to the region once

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(MissionNewswire) In many of the world’s poorest countries – where hunger and hopelessness is a daily reality for so many children – providing life-saving meals and educational opportunities is hampered by threats of violence. Security is one of the top concerns for non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

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(MissionNewswire) U.S. first lady Michelle Obama’s visit to South Africa has brought the world’s attention to a country where a significant percentage of the population must struggle to survive on less than $1 a day, according to the United Nations. During her week-long goodwill tour

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