LOCAL NEWS: RAPHOE COMMUNITY NEWS

first_imgRAPHOE LOCAL NOTESWeek ending Friday 7th September 2012 AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMME The afterschool programme will re-commence on Tuesday 11th September with 3rd & 4th Classes from 3-4pm followed by 5th & 6th Classes from 4-5pm. Wednesday 12th September-Junior & Senior Infants from 2-3pm; 1st & 2nd Classes from 3-4pm and Youth Café from 7-9pm; Thursday 13th September-Junior & Senior Infants from 2-3pm and 1st & 2nd Classes from 3-4pm.  TRAINING FOR TRANSFORMATION In 1999 the Family Resource Centre (then Raphoe Youth & Community Project) brought the Training for Transformation Programme to Raphoe. At that time 20 community leaders/activists participated in the training over several months. Training for Transformation is built on the idea of building a “temporary learning community”, and by doing so, learning the tools of building a sense of community in our own places built on three distinct realities; that everyone feels a sense of being safe and accepted, that everyone feels they are important, significant and has a part to play, that everyone feels a common bond, a sense of solidarity. Training for Transformation is ideal for developing leadership capacity at grassroots level, creating and deepening a sense of community among diverse groups, particularly those with a history of conflict, and developing skills for community building by experience, a process that is inclusive, participative and built around fostering human relationships.Partners, the community education agency working in Ireland for over 25 years and who delivered the programme in Raphoe in 1999 is now keen to return to Raphoe and East Donegal to run the Programme again and are in the process of drafting an application to the Department of Foreign Affairs. To support that application Partners are keen to base the application on the needs of groups around East Donegal, and will visit the area shortly to hear first hand the needs of local organisations.In the meantime, if you are interested in participating in the training please contact Tony on 074 9145796.YOUNG PARENTS Pathways ProgrammeAre you 18-28 years old??a parent/guardian??If so, this free course could help you with-parenting advice-personal development-health awareness-paediatric first aid-it qualificationyou will get assistance with childcare and career progression, accredited training and an opportunity to meet new people.If anyone is interested please contact: 028 8225 0962/048 8225 0962ASIST REFRESHERThe Family Resource Centre will be hosting a 3 hour refresher workshop for those who previously participated in Asist training within the past 18 –24 months. The workshop will be held on Thursday 4th October from 7–10pm. Tea/coffee available. To book a place please contact 074 9145796. SUPPORT GROUPA support group for parents or carers will be held in Raphoe Family Resource Centre at 7pm every second Tuesday starting on 11th September. This is an informal support group for parents or guardians of a child with delayed communication or learning skills. BORDER VILLAGES SOCIAL INTEGRATION PROJECT: Raphoe Family Resource Centre in conjunction with the Border Villages Social Integration Project is hosting a facilitated discussion at 7.30pm on Tuesday 11th September on the following themes: belonging, fitting in, identity, feeling welcome, feeling at home, being a ‘blow in’, creating a diverse community where all are welcome.If you are someone who has recently moved to or back to the Raphoe/Convoy areas then this discussion might be of interest to you. If you are a longstanding member of either community that people have moved in to and wish to help support the creation of a diverse community then please feel free to come along. The discussion should last for about two hours and will be facilitated by Owen Donnelly of the Peace and Reconciliation Group, Derry. Light refreshments will be available. The Border Villages Social Integration Project is supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programme Body by Donegal Co. Council.  Healthy Walks Following the success of our walking group on Thursday mornings, thanks to Joe Porter we are also starting walks on Thursday nights, meeting here in the Centre at 7.15pm. If anyone is interested in coming along, please do. Walks take place at 9.30am and at 7.15pm. ZUMBA CLASSESZumba classes will be held in Raphoe Family Resource Centre from 7pm- 8pm starting on Monday 10th September. Admission is only €5 per class and will run for 6 weeks. Everyone welcome! Parents Plus Programme Early YEARS 0-6 year oldsSpringboard Family Support Project are running an eight week Parents Plus Programme- A Practical & Positive guide to parenting Children.  Topics include being a responsive parent, encouraging and supporting Children, promoting children’s language and development, helping children concentrate and learn building co-operation in young children, managing tantrums, misbehavior and problems.  To book a place on our forthcoming autumn programme, contact Springboard office on 074 9173918, date to be confirmed, Time 10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m., Venue Springboard, Castlegrove Raphoe. (Childcare & travel can also be provided) RAPHOE KURLING CLUBRaphoe Kurling Club is starting back on Monday 3rd September in the Volt House Hall.  All new members welcome from 7.00 – 8.00 p.m. Dancing Classes will commence on Monday 10th September from 8.30 – 9.30 p.m. in the Volt House Hall. €5.00 per person. Everyone welcome.  For further information contact Margaret Parke on 085 7067208. ATTENTION JOBSEEKERS!Fetac Level 5 Food Safety & HACCP Training will take place in Safetech, Rossview Business Park, Port Road, Letterkenny. The training which is free to those in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance, One-Parent Family Allowance etc will take place in 2 groups: – Group 1: Thursday 27th September x 4 ThursdaysGroup 2: Friday 28th September x 4 FridaysThe training will take place from 10.00am-5.00pm each day. For further information or to book a place please contact Margaret at 043 6685289.  LEGION OF MARY PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCKLegion of Mary Pilgrimage to Knock on Sunday 23rd September.  Everyone welcome.  Please contact Anne Kelly, Raphoe 0879644865 or Catherine Craig, Raphoe 087 9175383 RAPHOE CUB SCOUTSRegistration for the new scouting year will take place on the 14th September 2012 from 7.30-9.00 pm in the Scout Den.  RUNNING GROUPThe new running group is continuing in Raphoe every Monday, meeting at the Royal and Prior school car park at 7 pm. This group is suitable for beginners and intermediate runners. Fee: €3 per person per session. For more information contact Gerard mc Granaghan at 0862117980. RAPHOE BOXING CLUBThe boxers and officials of the Raphoe boxing club would like to extend a very sincere thanks to boxing coach Brendan Ryan who has decided to call it a day after 24 years loyal service to the local club. Brendan along with Tommy Stewart and Peter O’Donnell founded the Raphoe club way back in 1988 and everyone at the club convey best wishes and good health to Brendan in the years ahead as your loyalty is greatly appreciated.Training is now in full swing at the Raphoe club after the summer break and the clubs new head coach Gary Mc Cullagh, his assistants, Gerard Mc Granaghan, Tommy Stewart and Stephen Mc Bride are on hand every Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from 6pm to 9pm and all new and former members (boys and girls) are very welcome to attend. Club boxers will be taking part in the Ulster Novice Intermediate Championships in Belfast from 24th-28th September and club boxers will also feature in the Ulster 9 counties Novice Championships for boys and girls 11, 12 and 13 year olds in Toome Co. Antrim from 6th-13th October. RAPHOE FRIDAY SENIORS CLUB: Raphoe Friday Seniors Club meets every Friday in the Volt House Hall from 10.30am until 1pm. Come along and enjoy the tea and craic. New members welcome. For further information please call the Volt House on 9173966 or just call in any Friday. You will be very welcome. RE-CYCLING OF CANS AND GLASS IN RAPHOE Donegal County Council wish to inform members of the public that the glass and can recycling facilities in Raphoe have been relocated to Raphoe Hardware, Lifford Road, Raphoe Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 8.30am – 5.30pm. The Bring banks are now located in the Raphoe Hardware car park near to the entrance of the shop. Thank You. BALLYLENNON PW COOKERY BOOK LAUNCHBallylennon Pw ladies present their cookery book “Country Kitchen – Tried and Tested” to be launched at a Cookery Demonstration by Jenny Bristow on Wednesday 26th September 2012 at 7.45 p.m. in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny. Proceeds in aid of Oncology Unit Patient Comfort Fund, Letterkenny General Hospital and Nanyuki Girls School Kenya,  latest project by Derek and Linda Roulston, Newtowncunningham. Tickets are €10.00, Books are €10.00.  Tickets from Mount Errigal Hotel, or any Ballylennon PW member or contact 087 6593055     Community News or Items of Interest for the “Raphoe People” may be emailed to Harriet at volthouse@eircom.net or to Lisa at raphoetidy@eircom.net Thank You.  Please note that all notes should be placed in the box provided in Raphoe Post Office by a Thursday before 4.00 p.m. or alternatively can be dropped into Raphoe Family Resource Centre or e-mailed to raphoefrc@eircom.net every Thursday to meet the print deadline.LOCAL NEWS: RAPHOE COMMUNITY NEWS was last modified: September 7th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:LOCAL NEWS: RAPHOE COMMUNITY NEWSlast_img read more

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SETI Ponders the Silence

first_imgSince no clear signals from space aliens have yet arrived in 40 years of looking, SETI thinkers are asking why.  They’re coming up with a variety of explanations.  Here are three possibilities from recent articles.Too Soon to Tell.  Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute, writing in the September cover story of Astronomy Magazine, isn’t ready to call it a failure.  He gives the standard SETI response that we’re unsuccessful so far because the search has only just begun.  Considering the number of stars to search, it may take centuries to cover the sky adequately.  Sagan, Drake and others knew this and have been saying it all along.  But new technologies are rapidly accelerating the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and could give us an answer within 20 years.  So remain optimistic, he says, and stay tuned to the stellar radio dial.Narrow Window.  Frank Drake, SETI pioneer and author of the Drake Equation, surmises that the parameter L (lifetime of an intelligent civilization) may be the most telling factor, but it needs to be qualified by our recent human experience, according to an article on New Scientist August 4.  Detectability was predicated on an assumption that radio “leakage” from earth would be visible to aliens, and vice versa.  Our own leakage has dropped significantly, however, since cable TV and direct-broadcast satellites became popular.  This means that when the last “I Love Lucy” broadcasts reach the aliens watching from a distant star, the earth may appear to go silent.  The bad news is that maybe advanced civilizations only have a narrow window of time during which they would broadcast radio toward us, either on purpose or inadvertently through broadcast leakage.  The good news is that SETI researchers don’t necessarily have to be discouraged at the silence.  Perhaps a switch to optical SETI (searching for laser beacons) can fill in the gaps.Look Up, Look Down.  Aussie astrobiologist Paul Davies, never shy about proposing ideas “at the extreme end of the spectrum of speculation,” has a new detection strategy.  If aliens were trying to send us a message, radio would be a wasteful method, he claims in an August 10 piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Why would aliens keep radio beacons going for centuries with little hope of them being detected?  Leaving artifacts like plaques or big chunks of metal, on the other hand, would incur horrendous shipping costs, with no guarantee they would survive millions of years of erosion or burial.  Get ready for his surprise solution, as he role-plays the alien messengers in council:The ideal solution would be to encode the message inside a large number of self-replicating, self-repairing microscopic machines programmed to multiply and adapt to changing conditions.    Fortunately such machines already exist: they are called living cells.Although this sounds uncannily like an argument used by Intelligent Design scientists,* Davies means something very different.  That he’s not talking about evidence for a Creator God is clear from his next sentence: “The cells in our bodies, for example, contain genetic messages written by Mother Nature billions of years ago.”  Like any good Darwinist, he believes cells and their genomes evolved in the usual Darwinian way.  But, he speculates, aliens might have left messages in the so-called “junk DNA.”  (See 06/03/2004 headline).  He proposes, therefore, that SETI researchers should turn their attention to hidden messages in the large, non-coding regions of our own genomes: “There is plenty of room there for ET to etch a molecular message without damaging any vital genetic functions,” he claims, particularly because “scientists in the United States have discovered whole chunks of human and mouse junk DNA that seem to have remained virtually unchanged for tens of millions of years.”  (See 05/27/2004 headline.)  Those regions would be good places to store messages, he thinks, kind of like how we encoded messages in radio beams and on the Voyager record.  What about the shipping cost?  His tale gets curioser and curioser.  Since viruses can insert genes into a host cell, “An alien civilisation could, for negligible cost, dispatch tiny packages across the galaxy, loaded with customised viral DNA.”  We might just find that “The truth is inside us.”*ID scientists have argued that if intelligence can be detected in coded messages from space, why cannot intelligent design be detected in coded messages within living cells?  For example, see “Is Intelligent Design Testable?” by William A. Dembski on www.arn.org.Welcome to the SETI Bizarre (intentional spelling), where a rainbow of imaginative speculations is colorfully displayed and dished out on the cheap.  The Bizarre is popular because of all the free advertising provided by the gullible media.  Isn’t science thrilling?  Too bad those church-going fundamentalist types operate only on faith.    Remember an old childhood prank?  A smart aleck walks up to a gullible kid and gets him to follow his hand: “Look up.  Look down.  Look at my thumb.  Gee, you’re dumb.”  Try it on the next astrobiologist you meet, except with the following interpretive expansion: Look up (at the heavens, the anthropic universe, and the cosmic order).  Look down (at the earth, the lithology, the biosphere, and the improbable convergence of parameters that makes life possible).  Look at my thumb (biology, anatomy, physiology, and all the molecular machines, organs and integrated systems that make muscular motion and vision function nearly instantaneously, and the consciousness that gives sense to the observations).  Astoundingly, you appear philosophically challenged and willfully ignorant (if you think this all just happened by chance).  Which leads to a suggested revision of the Davies proverb: not, “the truth is inside us,” but rather: “the thumbprint of the Truth is inside us.”(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Is This Insulation Too Good To Be True?

first_img Video Series: Covering an existing roof with rigid foam Insulating Low-Slope Residential RoofsHow to Build an Insulated Cathedral CeilingMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof DesignOpen-Cell Spray Foam and Damp Roof SheathingHow to Install Rigid Foam on Top of Roof Sheathing Go with the spray foam optionOne of Verschuren’s objections to spray foam is that it would defeat the purpose of installing cedar shingles over skip sheathing by limiting their drying potential.But Holladay has a suggestion: “If you are committed to your plan,” he writes, “install some cardboard or housewrap between your rafters followed by R-20 of spray foam, and live with the imperfect thermal performance of that type of assembly (assuming, of course, that your local building department doesn’t require a higher R-value),” he writes.Once Verschuren has cut up all that expensive insulation and placed it between the rafters, Holladay says, there is still the problem of thermal bridging through the rafters. “Once thermal bridging is accounted for, the improved performance compared to spray foam is minor, and certainly not worth the investment.”Nate G looks at it this way: Verschuren’s planned installation of Spaceloft, with a total price tag of $10,000 for materials alone, yields a total R-value of 38. Holladay’s alternative of closed-cell foam over cardboard plus a single layer of Spaceloft gets the roof to R-29 at a cost of $2,480.“So for less than 25 percent of the price, taking Martin’s advice and adding only a little bit of Spaceloft would get you 77 percent of the R-value. That seems like a no-brainer to me. The differences between R-30 and R-38 are not worth paying another $7,500, in my humble opinon,” he writes. “Comfort-wise, if this is conditioned space, you won’t feel the difference. But it’s your money!” RELATED ARTICLES Do the math on how much you’d really saveThe cedar roof cost $20,000 just five years ago, Verschuren replies, so removing it to put more insulation above the rafters isn’t an attractive idea — and it makes the Spaceloft option look a little less harebrained despite the expense. In addition, the engineer who’s designing a radiant-floor heating system for the house wants a healthy dose of insulation.Charlie Sullivan has sharpened his pencil and done some math. After using new cost estimates provided by Verschuren, he calculates that Spaceloft would cost about $15 per board foot (1 foot square by 1 inch thick).“That brings is back into the realm of a little eccentric, as opposed to completely wacko,” Sullivan says. “I’m comfortable with a little eccentric. My previous cost-effective calculation changes to 12 times as expensive as it should be, rather than 75 times.“The extra heat loss from that, at a 60°F temperature difference (we still don’t know your climate, so that’s a guess) is only 265 Btu/h less than you’d get with an R-5/inch solution. The radiant engineer shouldn’t call himself an engineer (or radiant for that matter) if he thinks that an extra 265 Btu/h is going to undermine his design. That’s less heat loss than a 25 square foot high-quality U-0.2 triple-pane window.”Nate G believes Verschuren would do himself a favor by being more flexible. “You seem to be getting yourself tied in knots because of the limitations you’ve set for yourself,” he adds. “Sometimes it’s time to admit that those limitations either preclude any good options or need to be removed.”If Verschuren could lose just a few inches of ceiling height, he adds, he’s have many more options. Or, if he needs more space, he could always build a ground-floor addition that preserves the architectural character of the house. The coup de grace for this idea?The discussion so far has assumed Spaceloft has an insulating value of R-10 per inch, and that apparently does apply for certain versions of this product. But Bill Dietze takes a close look at the fine print and throws this curve: “Jan, the link you provide mentions the uses of Spaceloft as ‘Great for home insulation, winter clothing, science projects,’ but the link to datasheets for material with a conductivity of 0.14 W/mK (R-10 per inch) is an undersea pipe product,” he writes. “Hardly residential. If you proceed, be aware that you are probably in the ‘science project’ category.“The Spaceloft product rated for ‘Ambient temperature walls, floors and roofs in commercial, residential and institutional building’ has a lower thermal resistance (R-8.3 per inch) and no datasheet describing the application.”If the lower R-value is correct, it makes the case for Spaceloft even less compelling, Holladay points out.“But it is still ahead in many ways over ‘the rest’ to use,” Verschuren says. We have the money to do it but do not want to waste it, either!” Editor’s note: After this article was published, GBA learned that the product formerly known as Spaceloft has be re-branded as Proloft. For more information on Proloft, visit Advanced Insolutions Inc.. Here is a link to a report on R-value testing of Proloft Aerogel Blanket.center_img There are a few downsides, however: The cost is “exorbitant,” and Verschuren still has to figure out how to detail the installation so it will be vapor-open and able to dry out.Or, does he have other alternatives? That’s the issue for this Q&A Spotlight. Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:I decided I really needed to check in with Jan Verschuren on this one; just too many balls in the air to offer any helpful perspective. Having done that, I think the list of constraints (below) Jan poses or faces proves that if you narrow the boundary conditions on a problem enough, you can arrive at a singular solution.Here are the factors to consider:The newness of the current roof cladding means you can’t build up insulation topside.Very low ceiling heights mean that there is little room to build up insulation on the bottom.The ceiling is already being built down 13/16 inches for Warmboard-R panels, primarily for radiant cooling.Radiant cooling for the attic space is being driven by lack of room for ducts and an already-in-place ground-source heat pump system, making for a fairly easily retrofit for radiant cooling.The homeowners can’t really rely upon natural ventilation (open windows) for low-grade space cooling because of urban noise issues.Spray foam insulation is not an option.As Jan says, “…my hands are tied!”So, if we can agree to accept these constraints, Jan is ending up with layers of Spaceloft in between the rafters and two layers (2 centimeters) of continuous Spaceloft to the underside of the rafters.We confirmed that standardized independent R-value testing of Spaceloft yields about R-8.3 per inch. That makes Spaceloft significantly better per unit of thickness than any other readily available building insulation but also means the entire assembly is still not code-compliant and far from high performance.At the end of the day, that phrase “readily available” may be the key to whether this solution will work for Jan and others considering this pricey approach to insulation: neither I nor Jan could get Aerogel to respond at all to our requests for technical information and information on the availability of Spaceloft for Jan’s project.No magic bullet for this one, with neither the bullet or its delivery magical at all. Space what?GBA senior editor Martin Holladay has never heard of Spaceloft, but has two other suggestions. “Three and a half inches of closed-cell spray foam would give you about R-22.7,” he writes. “That’s less than code minimum requirements. The solution is to thicken up your rafters or to install several layers of continuous rigid foam under your rafters.“You’ll lose a little headroom, but at least you’ll have a roof that meets minimum code requirements.”If Verschuren absolutely can’t afford to lose any headroom in the attic, Holladay adds, “it’s time to raise the roof. Again, we’re talking physics. Sometimes you just have to face facts.”Nate G understands why Aerogel insulation performs as well as it does, but Spaceloft is another question.“I am highly skeptical of the claims of this product because Aerogel is a rigid material, basically a mostly-hollow brick made out silicon,” Nate G writes. “This stuff [Spaceloft] comes in a flexible blanket. I have a hard time believing that it behaves the same as rigid Aerogel. The way Aerogel material works is by trapping a lot of air in billions of nanometer-sized pores. In a solid material, the integrity of these pores can be guaranteed. In a flexible sheet, how can it?”And then there is the expense.“But let’s say I’m wrong that this stuff really performs as advertised,” Nate G adds. “The best price they offer is $95/inch thick/square foot. By contrast, conventional insulation materials are literally in the ballpark range of to 100 times less expensive. At 3 1/2 inches thick, you’re paying $332 per square foot of roof. You could, like, demolish the house and build a whole new one for that price given an average-sized attic.”To Holladay, that kind or price tag makes Spaceloft “fairly irrelevant to the everyday concerns of residential builders” even if it performs as advertised. CONSTRUCTION DETAILS Jan Verschuren has a nicely roofed older house, and a problem to go with it. Cedar shingles have been installed over skip sheathing, making for a roof that’s not only historically correct but one that allows air to circulate freely beneath the roof deck. Verschuren’s next objective is to insulate between the 2×4 rafters, and here’s where he has run into a snag.Building codes require at least R-38 worth of insulation in the roof. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a problem, but Verschuren says that he has only the 3 1/2-inch deep rafter bay to work with. He can’t afford to lose any headroom by adding insulation below the rafters, and he’d rather not tear off the roof to add extra insulation on top of the rafters.He’s zeroed in on a type of insulation called Spaceloft with a reported insulating value of R-10 per inch. The distributor’s web site describes Spaceloft as “a flexible aerogel composite blanket.”“So, 3 1/2 iches is all we have, but we’d like to get to an R-50 or thereabouts in our upgrade of this 1925 house built in Climate Zone 4C,” he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor. “Spaceloft seems the only option.”Verschuren thinks he can get nine layers of this material in the rafter bays, followed by one or two layers over the bottoms of the rafters.last_img read more

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What to do – and avoid – when people ignore your message

first_imgImagine this. You’ve had a bad day at work. For months, you’ve been trying to persuade everyone to recycle. No one is complying. In frustration, you send out a mass email. “Only 5% of staff is putting paper in the recycling bins. We need to do better,” you say.Bad move.Why? When we are deciding whether to do something, we typically look to see what others are doing (“social proof”). As Robert Cialdini has thoroughly documented, we’re compliant creatures. If we see everyone else is ignoring the recycling bins, we’ll ignore them too.If you lament that no one is listening, no one will listen. By emphasizing inaction, you discourage the very behaviors you’re seeking.If you want action, make people feel they are are part of something positive: “We’re aiming for 100% of paper recycled by Friday – and we’re on our way there.”If you’re at a nonprofit that’s attracted hundreds of donations when you wanted thousands, don’t say, “Fewer people have supported our cause this year. So many kids are going without lunch. We really need your help.”Say: “Your donation will provide a school lunch to Jason every day this year. Join the hundreds of donors supporting kids like him.”Here are three tips for turning your frustration over what isn’t working into a message that compels action – instead of more inaction.1. The number one thing you can do to overcome resistance is to celebrate and publicize the people who are taking action. It will help inspire the ones who aren’t.2. If you don’t have enough people to highlight, try getting just one – preferably a person who people respect (or who has authority). Ask that person to explain why he or she is taking action. Maybe you’re not the best messenger and that person would be better.3. Last, if you can’t succeed on those fronts, try to convert just regular one person. Then ask that person to explain why they changed their mind. Converted skeptics are the most motivating of any messenger for the people who have failed to act. The people who aren’t on your side are more likely to relate to someone who once felt like them.Bottom line? Accentuate the positive if you want a positive reaction.last_img read more

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2014 Year-End Giving Results in Big Win Online for Nonprofits

first_imgWant more insight on how online giving is growing? Stay tuned! In February, we’ll release our Digital Giving Index, which will take a closer look at online giving trends. We’ll share where, how, and how much donors gave across our digital channels in 2014. How did your year-end fundraising campaigns perform? Chime in with your experiences in the comments and let us know what you plan to build on—or change—in 2015! It’s no secret that year-end giving is an important source of donation dollars for most nonprofits. Last year was no exception and we saw a lot of “generous procrastinators” giving big online in December 2014. When we looked at organizations who received donations on the Network for Good platform in both December 2013 and December 2014, we saw an 18% increase in total donation volume year over year. A few other important notes about year-end giving results:The total number of donations also grew year over year. In December 2014, 22% more donations were made to charities through Network for Good compared to December 2013.As expected, #GivingTuesday was a big driver of December donations on the Network for Good platform in 2014, with over $4.5M raised on December 2. This represented a 148% increase over total donation volume on #GivingTuesday 2013.December giving also accounted for 30% of all online donations made to nonprofits through Network for Good in 2014, with 10% of all annual giving happening on the last three days of the year. This stat has remained consistent for the last 5 years, underscoring the significance of year-end giving on overall fundraising results.The average gift size for the month of December also increased by 6.5% compared to 2013.last_img read more

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Woman-Centered Maternity Care, Family Planning, and HIV: Principles for Rights-Based Integration

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 6, 2013March 6, 2017Click 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Our colleagues at the Wilson Center Global Health Initiative are hosting a discussion with experts on rights-based maternity care and the intersection with family planning and HIV. The event will take place on June 11th from 3-5pm at the Wilson Center in Washington DC.About the event:Increasingly, family planning and HIV programs are seeking to expand their services to include maternal health care. The movement to integrate health services provides an important opportunity to share lessons learned across the different communities on their experiences with rights-based care. Join us for a discussion with experts in rights-based maternity care and its intersection with family planning and HIV.Click here for the list of speakers for the event.Click here to RSVP.Click here for directions to the Wilson Center.Learn more about this topic by visiting the MHTF’s topic pages focused on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS and respectful maternity care.For a compilation of the latest news and publications on maternal health, HIV and AIDS, click here. For a compilation of the latest news and publications on respectful maternity care, click here.Explore the MHTF’s ongoing blog series on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS and respectful maternity care.Share this:last_img read more

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Five Ways an Innovative Program Increased Facility Birth in Nigeria

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 13, 2015October 28, 2016By: Nnenna Ihebuzor, Director of Primary Health Care Systems Development; Seye Abimbola, Research Fellow; Ugo Okoli, Program Director of SURE-P Maternal and Child Health Programme, Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development AgencyClick 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is part of our Translating Research into Practice Series, which features guest posts from authors of the MHTF-PLoS open-access collections describing the impact of their research since publication.The Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) was set up as a game changer to reduce maternal and child mortality so Nigeria could achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health (MCH). Established by the national government in 2009 to improve the availability of skilled birth attendants in rural communities, the program engages newly graduated, unemployed and retired midwives to work temporarily in rural areas. Four midwives are posted for one year to selected primary health care (PHC) facilities to provide the human resources for health necessary to achieve the MDGs in their states and local government areas.1. Scale upSince the publication of our PLoS Medicine paper, the MSS has subsequently been scaled up from 625 PHC facilities to an additional 375 facilities, providing 1,000 facilities across Nigeria with an additional 4,000 midwives and 1,000 community health extension workers.2. Antenatal care, facility delivery, and family planning increase, maternal and neonatal mortality decreaseThe MSS continues to contribute to improved health outcomes in the rural communities where antenatal care visits and facility delivery have increased by more than 100%, family planning uptake by more than 200% and maternal and neonatal mortality have decreased by 19% and 5%, respectively, since the 2009 baseline. In 2012, inspired by the success of the MSS, the national government created an MCH component of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), which provides an additional 1,000 PHC facilities and strategies to mitigate some challenges encountered in implementing the MSS. Since its commencement, routine monitoring data show a 50% reduction in maternal mortality, 48% increase in antenatal visits, 61% increase in skilled birth attendance and 59% increase in first time acceptors of contraceptives in SURE-P MCH facilities compared to the baseline data.3. Policy Change for Family PlanningThe experience of implementing the MSS has helped reveal to the national government the existing realities of PHC in Nigeria. This has contributed to influencing a change in national policy to now allow community health extension workers, who form the bulk of the PHC workforce in Northern Nigeria, to provide contraceptive injectables to women.4. Conditional Cash Transfers Increase Facility DeliverySince antenatal care uptake far outpaces facility deliveries within the MSS, SURE-P MCH includes a conditional cash transfer component that is currently being piloted in 18 of Nigeria’s 36 states. Pregnant women receiving the cash transfer are required to attend four antenatal care visits, deliver in a facility and attend postnatal visits. In return, they are given N5,000 (US$32), pro-rated based on the number of conditions they meet. Preliminary results show a 27% increase in facility delivery with this incentive.5. Improved community engagement and human resources investmentFurther, the MSS has renewed attention to community engagement in PHC by reactivating community health committees, which have been successful in ensuring community ownership and support for health workers. To support these committees in generating demand for MCH services, SURE P MCH introduced a cadre of 6,000 lay community-based health workers nationwide. Selected by the committees, they help pregnant women, mothers and their children use PHC facilities along the continuum of care.Despite these improvements, the high health worker attrition within the MSS continues. This is worse in northern Nigeria, where in some states only one third of deployed midwives stay. SURE-P MCH is trying to address the challenges responsible for attrition: challenging living and working conditions, irregular payment of salary and deployment far from home, since the majority of the midwives are from southern Nigeria.The way forwardAlthough we’ve seen great success from the MSS, SURE-P MCH and the MSS together support only 10% of PHC facilities in Nigeria. While they significantly improve health outcomes where they are implemented, nothing short of active support for PHC by states and local governments will make a major dent on national MCH indices to affect progress towards the MDGs. Translating MSS into significant improvements in national MCH indices requires innovative ways of getting sub-national governments to support PHC. One such way is contained in the 2014 National Health Bill, which was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan on December 9th, 2014. The bill guarantees that 1% of national revenue will go to PHC, but sub-national governments have to match federal allocation as a condition for accessing support for PHC. Hopefully this new law will help us to turn the page on PHC governance in Nigeria.Share this:last_img read more

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How to Write Awesome Emails Your Donors Want to Read

first_imgWhen you want to contact your donors, chances are, you email them. And so does everybody else.Your donors, through no fault of their own, have inboxes that are constantly bogged down with messages from various organizations, businesses, stores, news outlets, and bloggers. And it’s a rare person who actually reads all of it.So, how do you “cut through the clutter?” Here are five tips to ensure your email reaches (and resonates) with your donors:Tip 1: Think Before You Write.Before you start typing, think about why you’re writing. What is the purpose of the email? Is it to get the word out about your nonprofit’s recent activities? Is it to invite donors to an event? Is it an appeal for donations? The most effective emails focus on one thing. In other words, don’t combine the invitation to join the peer-to-peer campaign with a program announcement and sign off with a donation request to fund a new roof.Sure, you have a lot of things to tell your donors, but unless this is your periodic newsletter (and formatted as such), keep each email to one topic. If the need is vital, it deserves its own email. Need help narrowing down your list? Write down what you want to say and prioritize the messages by need.Once you’ve finalized your email’s topic, it’s time to start an outline. “Outline?” you say. “It’s just an email. What do I need an outline for?” True – emails should be short – but again, we’re going for effectiveness here, and there’s nothing like an outline to keep your writing focused.Here’s what I’m suggesting: At the top of your outline, write the goal of this email (e.g. “get donations to the Spring campaign”). Then, jot down whatever supporting points or bits of information that you think will encourage your readers to take that action. Once you’ve got this bit figured out, you have my permission to start writing.Tip 2: Craft a Killer Subject Line.The hardest thing to write is always the first line. It’s no different when it comes to an email. And there’s a lot of pressure resting on this line, especially when 35% of people say that their decision to open an email comes from subject line alone. How do you write a subject line that convinces your donors to click?In the words of author Ann Handley, ask yourself: “WWYO – What Would You Open?”Many studies have investigated what makes a subject line effective, and they all seem to agree on a few key points:Keep it short, but on point. Too short and it’s not explicit enough, too long and you’ll lose your reader’s attention. Practically speaking, if the subject line is too long, it will probably get cut off in the recipient’s email reader. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 6-8 words.Personalization helps. People love reading their names. Use tokens to include your recipients’ name in the subject line, so it appears you’re addressing each person directly. And, in general, the subject line should relate to something that sets the sender apart or fits with a more narrow interest. For example, “How your dollars are making a difference?”Avoid sounding like spam. Certain words are spam triggers, and if you use them in a subject line, your donors’ email provider could move the message directly to the spam folder. Also, don’t use all caps in the subject line. Not only does it look like you’re shouting, but it also makes your message more likely to end up in the spam folder. Your subject line should relate to what it’s introducing.Tip 3: Make Your Copy Count.The writer’s classic, The Elements of Style, argues that every word of every sentence should serve a purpose, or be deleted. You don’t have to be quite so ruthless with your emails, but you should try to keep your messages short and succinct. Write no more (and no less!) than it takes to get your message across. Some studies show that the optimal email length is 50-100 words. Of course, some of your emails may need to be longer (like an appeal) but, the principle of brevity still applies.The email marketing platform in Network for Good’s donor management system has pre-built templates for appeals, acknowledgements, and more. Curious to see it up close? Click here to request a demo.And while we’re on the subject of your email copy, remember that you’re writing to humans. Humans have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be all business, all the time. If people find your emails warm, friendly, and even a little entertaining, they’re more likely to keep reading time after time.What else can you do to make sure your email is effective? Stay away from large “spray and pray” blasts to your entire list. Breaking your list into smaller segments allows you to write more effective messages. For example, the thank you message you send to recurring donors should probably be different than the one you send send to first-time donors.Tip 4: Have a Clear Call to Action.The body of your email serves one purpose, to draw your recipients to your Call To Action (CTA).Your CTA is what you want your recipient to do after reading the email. For example, if the goal is asking for donations, the CTA would be “Donate now.”Your email should always have one goal and one CTA. Let me repeat: it is always a bad idea to have more than one CTA. Why? Distraction. If you put multiple CTAs in an email, your audience is going to get confused and distracted. Worst of all, they’re not going take the action you want.Tip 5: Track and Tweak.How do you know if your emails are working? Your email marketing platform should show you two basic statistics: open rates and click rates. The open rate (what percentage of recipients opened your email) will tell you how successful your subject line was. The click rate will show you what percentage of recipients clicked a link in your email. To judge the effectiveness of your email copy, look at the click-to-open rate, which is the percentage of clicks from the people who opened the email.As a rule, always be testing. If that last subject line got a 20% open rate, see what you can do to bump it to 23%. If you had a high open rate and a really low click rate, review the copy and find ways to make it more compelling.There are a lot of options for email marketing systems, but only Network for Good donor management combines built-in email marketing with a personal fundraising coach to help you craft the perfect appeal. Develop targeted lists of donors from standard and custom filters. Then, draft your email from scratch or use one of our pre-built templates. All of the data from your email (opens, clicks, etc.) lives in your donor management, and your donor profiles are updated to show who got the email and how they responded. And acknowledgement tracking? That’s automatic. Click here to see it up close in a personal demo.last_img read more

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Wilson Center Event: How Zika Is Shaping the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Agenda

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 30, 2016February 26, 2018Click 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)We are excited to announce the upcoming dialogue, How Zika Is Shaping the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Agenda, on Tuesday, April 12 in Washington, DC. This event is part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series, in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center.As an international public health emergency with strong links to birth defects, the rampant spread of the Zika virus has garnered significant attention in the maternal health community. With both the transmission and implications of the virus intrinsically tied to the most disadvantaged women and their sexual and reproductive health and rights, the Zika outbreak presents an opportunity to set the conversation on access, quality, and equity of sexual and reproductive health care in affected countries.Interested in attending? See the invitation from the Wilson Center below to learn more details and register for the event.When: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT. Light fare included.Where: The Wilson Center, 6th Floor Auditorium, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20004On February 1, the World Health Organization declared the cluster of microcephaly cases associated with the Zika virus an international public health emergency. The virus is spreading throughout more than 20 countries and territories in the Americas predominantly via the Aedes mosquito, but sexual transmission is also possible. Some governments of affected countries, such as Brazil and El Salvador, have issued advisories to women to avoid pregnancy – in El Salvador’s case, for the next two years.However, women in many of these countries have limited if any access to contraceptive and reproductive health services to prevent pregnancy. If they do become pregnant, finding and using maternal and newborn health services is equally challenging. The outbreak is especially detrimental to the most disadvantaged women in low income and rural areas, where sanitation is poor and resources are low.How can the global health community frame and lead the dialogue about women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Zika-infected areas? How can the Zika response be an opportunity to bolster health infrastructure and capacity in affected countries? Join us April 12 at the Wilson Center as we explore these questions and discuss solutions.PresentationsMarcia Castro, Associate Professor of Demography, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthJaime Nadal Roig, Representative to Brazil, United Nations Population FundPanelAlaka Basu, Senior Fellow, United Nations FoundationAnne Burke, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineChloë Cooney, Director of Global Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Federation of AmericaFrançoise Girard, President, International Women’s Health CoalitionRepresentative from the Pan American Health Organization (Invited)ModeratorsLaura Laski, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health, United Nations Population FundRoger-Mark De Souza, Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Wilson CenterRemarksCongressman Eliot Engel, U.S. Member of the House of Representatives, New York 16th Congressional DistrictEvent DetailsRegister for the event here.Want to attend but can’t?Tune in to the live or archived webcast at WilsonCenter.org (archived webcasts go up after the meeting).Media guests, including TV crews, should RSVP directly with Francesca Cameron. Media bringing heavy electronics MUST indicate this in their response so they may be admitted into the building.Join the conversation on Twitter at @NewSecurityBeat and @MHTF and by following #MHdialogue. To find more coverage of these issues on the Wilson Center’s blog, NewSecurityBeat.org.See a video of the event>>Share this:last_img read more

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Midwives on the Edge—Providing Essential Care in Crisis Settings

first_imgPosted on June 26, 2018June 29, 2018By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Sera Bonds, CEO/Founder, Circle of Health InternationalAcross many settings, midwives are key players in the maternal health workforce. The Maternal Health Task Force’s Kayla McGowan recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sera Bonds, Founder/CEO of Circle of Health International, for her insight into successes, challenges and the role of midwifery in crisis settings.KM: Please describe your background and work in maternal health.SB: I have an undergraduate degree in women’s studies. I went to midwifery school, direct entry—I’m not a licensed or practicing midwife, but I have training in midwifery. I have a Masters in Public Health; I went to Boston University where I focused my studies on complex humanitarian emergencies and reproductive health. I founded Circle of Health International in 2004 in response to a gap that we saw in the sector of disaster management and complex humanitarian emergencies—that midwives were not included and prioritized in those responses. That did not make a lot of sense given that outside of the United States, midwives deliver most of the world’s babies. And if you are introduced to communities through the midwives in that community, that introduction is embedded with a level of trust that really can’t be replicated for someone from the outside coming in. Midwives are privy to a lot of information outside of things like the number of pregnancies, how breastfeeding went, that sort of thing. They know [about intimate partner violence], who lives in poverty, whose kids go to bed hungry, they know family histories. When you know those people in a community, you know immediately so much more about their needs than you would if you just came in from the outside or went to the ministry or different folks in the community. We really prioritize midwives—that’s where we started in 2004.KM: Could you talk specifically about your work related to midwifery in crisis settings?SB: Over the last 14 years, the organization has worked in 22 different countries, and the crisis settings have ranged from acute conflicts—we’ve been working in Syria for seven years—to rural Tanzania where they have high rates of teen pregnancy and HIV as well as poverty. We have been working in south Texas on the Mexico border for the last four years supporting a refugee clinic, though most of the folks that come to the clinic are asylees or migrants. The clinic sees people immediately upon their release from border patrol, so we are their first stop.We’ve also been doing a lot of disaster work in America as hurricane seasons pick up and up and up. Our primary responses last year were Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Because of the populations that we work with, we also do some work related to human trafficking.We have been engaged in human trafficking advocacy and training for different social service agencies, medical schools, and clinics to help those who are working in clinical settings in places where there are high instances of human trafficking support survivors. The more you can know about a person—not just their clinical history—the better the care.KM: Can you describe the impact so far?SB: Over the last 14 years, we have reached over three million women and children with services or support either directly or through our local community-based partners. We have trained over 7,000 health care providers—including medical students—and we have provided well over one million dollars in supplies and equipment.We really try to have all of the work we do be informed and led by the people who are directly impacted. As part of our response in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, for example, we hired a local evacuee woman who had been relocated to Austin. She led our evacuee efforts on a short contract and has now become a staff member. We try to pull locally when we can. We try, when possible, to purchase everything locally, too.KM: What are some key takeaways regarding the role of midwifery in these settings?SB: So many of the world’s displaced people are women and children—with the majority of them experiencing some interaction with family planning, menstrual health and hygiene, domestic violence, sexual assault, pregnancy, breastfeeding or raising children, etc. Midwives are uniquely positioned to address and support most of those needs, and they’re cost-effective. A midwife’s scope of work could meet the needs of most women in these displaced settings.We are continually surprised with how little women in any place know about their own bodies. As we’ve grown as an organization, we have learned about all of the intersections we need to be educating about as well, such as sexual consent, menstrual health and hygiene, domestic violence, sexual assault, gender issues in conflict settings and others, so our work has taken on a nuanced hue. Midwives in humanitarian emergencies are unique and significant players that should be supported.KM: Could you talk a bit about the impact of your work on a global scale?SB: The biggest impact we have made on a global scale is the midwifery training work we have done in various settings, from Syria to Nigeria.Within the profession of midwifery globally, we have tried to identify and support local leaders who are trying to grow the profession. For example, we founded a program called Midwives for Peace that was a co-existence project between Israeli and Palestinian midwives, and it has been completely locally driven and locally run. We just helped to get it started. The goal of the project is to help each community support each other and fortify their profession in the context in which they work.KM: If you had an unlimited budget, how would you invest in midwifery?SB: We would double down on education. We have an online training portal, and we would make that available for free, provide scholarships for people to go to midwifery school. We have our first cohort of Nepali midwives graduating, and they’ll be the first professionally trained midwives to go back to their villages. We need more midwives trained, and then we need to support their inclusion in the health care system and work with ministries of health and governments to understand their strength, utility and impact. More local investment in local women.—Learn more about Circle of Health International.Watch a brief documentary about the work of two midwives, one Palestinian and one Israeli, whose project to raise awareness about the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns is an inspiring story of coexistence.—What is your perspective on the role of midwifery in crisis settings? We’d love to hear from you!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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