Cover art of the book, Gbagba, by Robtel Neajai PaileyIn a recently released video of ‘Gbagba: The Stage Play,’ a diminutive, 8 year-old Liberian child actor proclaims, “In gbagba or corruption, there are never any real winners, only loser.” On November 20, World Children’s Day, this pithy phrase is particularly relevant because it sums up how corruption—a mainstay in nations both rich and poor—stifles human progress.The play debuted at Monrovia City Hall in Liberia on September 28, 2017 comprising an all-child Liberian ensemble cast trained over a period of five months by premier theater company, Flomo Theater.In the book and its stage adaptation, children navigate the confusing ethical codes of the adults in their lives, in places as diverse as traffic jams, schools, churches and marketplaces. The children express clearly and honestly the concrete ways in which gbagba, loosely translated in the Bassa language as ‘corruption,’ hurts rather than heals society.‘Gbagba: The Stage Play’ was adapted from the anti-corruption children’s book, ‘Gbagba,’ written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, illustrated by Chase Walker and published to critical acclaim by One Moore Book in 2013.The stage play and accompanying highlights video, join a growing collection of multi-media tools adapted from the book to facilitate conversations between children and adults in Africa and across the globe about how to be accountable to self, community, nation and world.In the video and other media outlets, Gbagba author Pailey says that “children are the moral compass of Liberia; they are the moral compass of the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.”‘Gbagba: The Stage Play’ was made possible through a generous grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Massa Crayton, Liberia country representative, who was present at the stage play, had this to say about Pailey’s use of the arts to tackle corruption: “The Gbagba story is a classic example of the saying that children live what they see. Gbagba or corruption is one of the major societal vices they grow up with in the home, community and larger society.“Development of the Gbagba story into a stage play for children, who are the future leaders of Liberia, places premium on a much needed national conversation about the effects of corruption and the more than urgent need to curb it. Special thanks to the children who performed brilliantly on stage. We hope they carry the anti-gbagba message as wide as possible.”Since its publication in 2013, ‘Gbagba’ has been piloted in schools across Liberia as well as placed on the supplemental list of readers for 3rd to 5th graders by the Liberian Ministry of Education and for Primary 3 by the Ghana Education Service.The subject of anti-corruption workshops for children in Liberia, Mozambique, Jamaica, and the UK, ‘Gbagba’ has also been adapted into a song, video and radio drama. A sequel is forthcoming in 2018.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The United Force (TUF) will not be contesting Guyana’s General and Regional Elections on March 2, 2020.TUF Leader Marissa NadirThe announcement was made by TUF’s Leader, Marissa Nadir, in a statement to the media on Thursday.“The United Force regrets to inform the nation that after several discussions with its Executive and consultations with stakeholders, supporters and the people, the party has decided, for the first time since its formation in the 1960s, not to contest in the 2020 General and Regional Elections,” the statement outlined, adding that the party will not be submitting a list on Nomination Day (January 10).No reasons were given for the political party’s decision not to head to the polls.TUF only revealed that the decision was a “difficult” one to make and that it was “discussed at great length”.TUF was established on October 5, 1960, by Peter D’Aguiar. It first contested national elections in 1961 where it received 16.4% of the votes, winning four seats. In 1964, the party garnered 12.4%, although it increased its representation to seven seats.Over the years, its votes and representation in Parliament declined. In the 2015 elections, TUF received 0.27% of the votes, which was not enough to win any seats.While it will not be contesting in the elections, TUF expressed that this particular election is extremely important, particularly to restore democracy to Guyana.“It is the party’s view that this particular election is extremely crucial and of utmost importance is to restore first and foremost the rule of law, but also to restore democracy in our nation which has been under attack daily within the last five years of this administration,” TUF said.It added: “We strongly condemn the blatant disregard and disrespect of the Supreme Law of our Nation (the Constitution). Within these past five years, we have seen the wanton waste of taxpayers’ dollars, un-kept promises and most repulsively, the lack of decorum and dignity which is required from any Government”.Moreover, the party encouraged all political parties participating in this process to “demonstrate tolerance, decency and dignity, to encourage their supporters to be respectful of every person’s democratic right to support any party of his/her own choice”.TUF also appealed to the international community, elections observers, and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).“…the most important question to be put to this Administration is whether they are prepared to willingly vacate office should they be voted out”.“Moreover, TUF is calling upon GECOM to allow all observers and stakeholders to view every step of the elections process, not only of the voting and counting of votes but also the input of data into the respective database while cross-checking the output data to determine that the results remain accurate.”Furthermore, the party urged political parties to place more emphasis on young people and gender balance.Additionally, the party urged Guyanese to be respectful of each other, especially during this heightened political season.“To our nation, at this time, let us not be divided as bitter peoples, but unite in our respect of different views and indecency. We must remember that we are one people, one nation with one destiny,” TUF said.At least 14 new political parties have signalled an interest in participating in the upcoming elections, having already submitted their party symbols to GECOM for approval. The number of parties in the race will be determined after Nomination Day.Those qualified to contest will have to have the appropriate number of candidates and nominees on the various lists they will be required to submit.If they do not meet the requirements, the parties’ lists will be deemed defective.They will be given some time to make corrections, and if their amendments are approved, they will qualify to contest the elections.
A Donegal nurse has spoken of her pride at meeting President Michael D Higgins at her adopted home in London.Bernadette PorterThe President visited Irish NHS workers at University College Hospital and among them was Raphoe woman Berndaette Porter.The meeting was part of a small gathering along with the President’s wife Sabina. Bernadette proudly wore on her uniform the MBE she got from Prince Charles in Buckingham Palace this year for her great work in the area of multiple sclerosis.“It’s the first time I’ve worn it in public” said Bernadette, who is 25 years in London.She said the President’s visit was “fantastic” and had lifted the spirits of her Irish co-workers “and given them a sense of pride and identity”. WHEN BERNADETTE MET PRESIDENT MICHAEL D – AND SHOWED HIM HER MBE! was last modified: April 12th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Bernadette PorterPresident Michael D HigginsRaphoe
A Microsoft-sponsored survey released Wednesday found that almost half of Web users felt like they had already lost control of their own data while online – just days after the Australian government complianed that Microsoft’s suggested data policies might lead to just that result.Some 45% of the 1,000 users polled by Ipsos Public Affairs found that users feel that they “have little or no control over the personal information companies gather about them while they are browsing the Web or using online services, such as photo-sharing, travel or gaming,” Microsoft said in a statement.“As online activities have become a valuable part of daily life, privacy is incredibly important. At Microsoft, we strive to help our customers manage their personal information online by providing easy-to-understand privacy policies, settings and guidance,” said Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer, Microsoft. “We take seriously our responsibility to customers by investing in a comprehensive and dynamic privacy program that implements our policies and delivers privacy innovations to our customers.”Microsoft also noted that while it published the report, it didn’t author it; a pair of professors from Indiana University and Oxford did so. The report shouldn’t be taken as Microsoft’s official stance on online privacy, a company spokeswoman said.Australia Isn’t ConvincedBut in an open letter to Microsoft sent January 15, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner questioned whether Microsoft was really committed to privacy, based on a series of privacy summits the company organized last November. Specifically, the OAIC expressed “reservations” about one of the “discussion topics” Microsoft encouraged attendees to discuss.The privacy discussions (PDF) that Microsoft organized concerned updates to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Privacy Guidelines, developed in the 1970s – before the World Wide Web, social networks, email and other forms of electronic data transmission. The discussions were held in Brussels, Singapore, São Paulo, Sydney and Washington, D.C. – as well as in Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. – to discuss modernizing the OECD guidelines for the information age.Should Data Be Free To Collect?The meetings proposed rewriting the so-called “Collection Limitation Principle,” which states: “There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.”The report published by Microsoft states this “discussion version” was used: “Data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and in a transparent manner. Data should not be collected in a manner likely to cause unjustified harm to the individual unless required by law. ‘Harm’ may include more than physical injury.” The OAIC worried that the revised discussion version placed no limitations on the collection of personal data. And the report said as much:“[T]he requirement in the original OECD principle that data be collected, ‘when appropriate,’ with the ‘knowledge or consent of the data subject,’ seems to ignore the reality of the extraordinary volume of data that is generated today through routine activities and transactions and near-ubiquitous sensors (such as surveillance cameras, location monitoring by smart phones, and embedded computers in cars and other devices). Often, knowledge or consent of data collection in these situations is either nonexistent or likely to be so vague as to be meaningless. No one suggested that knowledge is not important, or that consent may not be appropriate in some settings, but there seems a real risk that the ‘where appropriate’ exception could swallow the entire principle, given today’s technology landscape.”The OAIC expressed concern that such an approach to privacy would be illegal in Australia. “In our view, this would allow a considerably broader re-use of data than that allowed by the original OECD version and indeed by Australia’s Privacy Act 1988.”In an email, Peter Cullen, Microsoft Chief Privacy Strategist, told ReadWrite, “Microsoft sponsored global conversations among privacy stakeholders to discuss how core privacy principles can evolve in a world of rapidly changing technology, data and innovation. We published a whitepaper to summarize those conversations and to invite further input. The Australian Privacy Commissioner’s thoughtful feedback on the report is an important part of the ongoing dialogue.”Incidentally, at the Redmond meeting, members of other governments attended (Mexico’s Secretary of the Economy, a member of Chile’s House of Representatives, plus officials from Brazil and Costa Rica) but, according to Microsoft’s report, no one representing the U.S. government did so.Microsoft’s Privacy DashboardAccording to the Microsoft/Ipsos survey, four in ten people online know how to protect and manage their online privacy. To make it even easier, Microsoft released a series of documents and videos that describe how to manage privacy settings on Microsoft products like Bing, Internet Explorer and the Xbox, as well as a general privacy dashboard.While many users probably understand how to manage their browser privacy settings (turning off cookies, for example, or clearing Web pages cached within the browser) the Personal Data Dashboard beta will probably come as a pleasant surprise. The Dashboard allows users to block Microsoft from collecting personal information, preventing personalized ads (but not ads in general) It also allows users to select which topics they enjoy. Google does some of this as well.Microsoft vs. Australia: Who’s Right?Unquestionably, Microsoft leads on one privacy aspect: Tracking Protection, a feature in Internet Explorer that actually blocks information that could be used by third parties, rather than a more gentlemanly “Do Not Track” request. From that standpoint, at least, Microsoft’s commitment to privacy must be taken seriously.So does Australia have a privacy gripe? Probably.If nothing else, encouraging top-ranking officials from all over the world to assume that websites may capture whatever data they choose seems a bit Machiavellian. On the other hand, realpolitik suggests that all the free Web services we know and love must be paid for in some way, and that the currency of today’s Web is often data, not dollars.Still, government leadership in today’s Web should follow the lead of states like California, whose mandatory privacy policies for mobile apps need to be enforced. Governments may benefit from encouraging digital partnerships, but they must always realize whose interests they represent.(Editor’s Note: The report that the OAIC referenced was published by Microsoft, based on meetings it organized. As the story now notes, the report was authored by two attendees.)Image source: Microsoft. 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