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As HIV/AIDS cases increase in the Philippines, so does activism

Chris Lagman's picture
Photo from Aktionsbündnis gegen Aids through a Creative Commons license

It was Christmas dinner two years ago, in 2010, among my gay friends. I just came back from an expat assignment in the US, and was greatly enjoying the uniquely Filipino way of celebrating the cheery season. Towards the end of that dinner, one of my close friends came up to me saying he wanted to speak with me in private.

The two of us went outside the restaurant, and in a dark corner of the parking lot he told me he wanted me to be among the first to know. Early that month, he had himself tested for HIV, and found out he was positive. I was so shocked that no words came out of my mouth, I remember just giving him the tightest hug I could, my mind blank, my heart racing, not knowing what to say or do next. He was my first close friend who came out to me as HIV-positive.

Malaysia: Fishermen, drug use and HIV coming full circle

Sutayut Osornprasop's picture

In Malaysia, over half of all HIV infections are transmitted through sharing contaminated needles and syringes. To combat the spread of the epidemic, the government in 2006 spearheaded 'harm reduction' interventions (pdf) which included a program where people who inject drugs are provided unused needles and syringes in exchange for used injecting equipment. Those who are addicted to opioids such as heroin, the most commonly used illicit substance in Malaysia, can also enroll in rehabilitation for synthetic opioid replacement therapy. Synthetic opioids, taken orally, help stabilize the opioid cravings of patients, thus enabling them to work. The move to introduce harm reduction in Malaysia revealed something that caught people by surprise—many of the fishermen from port city on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia use drugs.

Fighting corruption in Vietnam: the question is how, not why

Ngan Hong Nguyen's picture

It’s difficult to do a background check of a company based in a foreign country with operations overseas.

It’s difficult to check to see whether a document is falsified or not.

It’s difficult to …

I heard a lot of that from the audience of the workshop on World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Framework & Common Integrity Risks in World Bank-Funded Projects in Hanoi recently. Majority of the participants were project managers and procurement staff from Project Management Units managing World Bank-funded projects.

Presentations from the Bank’s Integrity Unit show that corruption increases costs, reduces quality, delays impacts on poverty, creates public disgrace and even generates social instability.  For a person who often has to look at results of development projects like me, corruption eats into the meager meal of the ethnic minority people in the northern mountainous areas of Vietnam, takes education away from girls in learning age, and lower the quality of hospitals for old people in Mekong river delta.

Tell us, Filipinos: what sanitation problems bother you most today? Sanitation Hackathon 2012

Juned Sonido's picture

You are walking inside a mall when suddenly you feel the call of nature. What do you do? You desperately look for signs pointing to the nearest toilet. But what if you are not in the mall? What if you are in an unfamiliar place, then what? Worse, what if you are on the road in a remote location?

Fortunately, there’s an app for this kind of emergency. The Imodium Toilet Tracker is a handy thing to have. With just one check on your smart phone, your problem is solved – a toilet is located for you and a crisis is averted. After finding a toilet however, the next thing you would be concerned about is the availability of toilet paper and/or running water.

For Mindanao in the Philippines, no other path but peace

Dave Llorito's picture

"After four decades, peace is within reach. Let's grasp it with both hands and never let go," said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, during the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on October 15, 2012.

Weeks after that historic event, these words from the Malaysian Prime Minister continue to reverberate in my mind. For I grew up in Mindanao, right at Ground Zero of this decades-old tragic drama that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

What skills are employers looking for in Vietnam’s workforce?

Christian Bodewig's picture

Cũng có ở Tiếng việt

Last month, we asked you for your views about whether Vietnam’s workforce is ready for the future, "from rice to robots". Developing a skilled workforce for an industrialized economy by 2020 is one of the stated top priorities of Vietnam, now that it has joined the ranks of middle-income countries. Not surprisingly, education reform was on the minds of members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party during a recent meeting.  However, education is also hotly debated by Vietnam’s citizens as seen and heard in an online discussion on human resource development, organized by the World Bank and VietNamNet, a local online newspaper, and by readers of our blog.

Người sử dụng lao động đang tìm kiếm những kỹ năng nghề nghiệp gì?

Christian Bodewig's picture

Available in English

Tháng trước, chúng tôi đã hỏi ý kiến bạn đọc về việc liệu lực lượng lao động Việt Nam đã sẵn sàng cho tương lai hay chưa, chuyển “từ lúa gạo đến rô bốt” chưa. Việc phát triển một lực lượng  lao động có tay nghề cao đáp ứng cho một nền kinh tế công nghiệp hóa vào năm 2020 đã được khẳng định là một trong những ưu tiên hàng đầu của Việt Nam, khi mà đất nước đã gia nhập nhóm các nước có thu nhập trung bình trên thế giới. Không có gì ngạc nhiên khi vấn đề cải cách giáo dục được đề cập đến nhiều trong các cuộc họp gần đây của Ban chấp hành Trung ương Đảng. Tuy nhiên, giáo dục cũng là vấn đề đang được bàn luận sôi nổi trong dân chúng và đã được đề cập đến trong một thảo luận luận trực tuyến về phát triển nguồn nhân lực do Ngân hàng Thế giới và báo VietNamNet tổ chức cũng như được các độc giả trên blog của chúng tôi thảo luận.

Why Vietnam needs its baby girls

Mette Frost Bertelsen's picture

Cũng có ở Tiếng việt

Last week I read about Malala, the 14 year old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head inside her school bus as retaliation for her active engagement in promoting girls’ rights to education in Pakistan. The same day I was helping a friend edit some text for her photo series on very young girls around the world (some as young as 5 years old), who are forced to marry often much older men out of economic necessity and due to cultural practices.

I suppose on that day, it really hit me how lucky I am to be working on gender issues in a country such as Vietnam, which in many ways is considered a front runner among developing countries when it comes to gender equality, and where such atrocities usually would not happen (although underage marriage does still occur in some mountainous areas of the country).

There is however one major challenge to gender equality in Vietnam, where there is reason for growing concern: the skewed sex ratio at birth. In Vietnam, the latest figures from 2009 show that for every 100 girls born, 111 boys are born. When looking at the richest 20% of the population and the rates for couples’ third child, this number increases to 133 boys for 100 girls.

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