I’m embarrassed, but I need your help #please… I have a possible tumor and my insurance isn’t helping

I don’t do this often and the few times I have asked for help, I’ve never gotten very far. But I need to try because I don’t know what else to do.

I suppose this is a long rant about what’s going on with me and my life these days. I try to keep it quiet and distract myself with pretty things, but sometimes I need to let it out. And maybe you can find it in your heart to get through this and help me in some way. Anyway.

There are too many things going on. Too many things.  No one I know has money they can lend or just gift me. I have no money. My family of 3 lives off of $17k a year. I honestly don’t know how we make it.

Health insurance is denying my claims. I can’t pay my medical bills. I need a ct scan bc I have a tumour that may need chemotherapy (according to a resident at John Hopkins) and I can’t afford any of it. It may not need chemo or radiation. It could be nothing. It could be outright removed (even though we’ve removed it twice already) but I’ll never know until it’s too late, if I can’t get this ct scan.

I practically live on my asthma inhaler and I often wonder if I can even afford to “waste” another huff of it. My asthma isn’t bad enough to kill me or anything like that, just bad enough to torture me every day and send me to urgent care with the occasional asthma attack that requires being hooked up to a breathing machine.

I got put on prednisone. The side effects are weight gain, fatigue, foggy thoughts, pain, nausea and just about everything I don’t need right now, or ever.

My phone is dying a little more every day. I can’t make or receive phone calls or texts and data anything doesn’t work. I can only use it when I’m home and connected to wifi. It turns off randomly. Freezes. Even when at home, it can take forever for it to do anything. Battery life is an hour at rest if I’m lucky.

My mom’s car is busted. That was our only source of transportation and now that’s gone. We can’t afford to fix it. The closest bus stop is 5 miles away on the highway with no sidewalks. I can’t walk there bc I have nerve damage so severe that I’m on meds galore and still can’t walk longer than 15 minutes. And sometimes the pain is so bad that I can’t walk at all.

I have nothing in my name other than debt. What are these bill collectors going to take away from me? I don’t have wages to garnish. What do they want? I have nothing to give them. If I could dissect this tumour myself, I would maybe sell it to science or some weirdo on Craigslist. That could make some money, maybe.

Nothing is right or even close to it. Even if after 4 years of unemployment someone does want to hire me or even interview me, how would I get there? How do they call me? Even that doesn’t work out right.

I’m stuck and I need help getting unstuck. I’m so embarrassed to even be asking, but I really don’t know what else to do.

If you can find it in your heart to maybe throw a few bucks my way, I’d be so insanely and forever grateful. Maybe you can pass this along to a friend?

Thank you.

Peace and Pistachios,







Adopt #customshirt #fundraising #adoptdontshop

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    Hebatullah Issa

    CREATED BY Hebatullah I

    An entirely flawed system

    So I just found out that NJ is cutting off my food stamps because I’m considered able-bodied. Food stamps has literally been the only thing feeding my family right now and the only way for me to continue getting food stamps is if I go to a 20 hour a week work program. I tried to go to the program and had to make an appointment for orientation months ago and they were so mean and dismissive of me. They wanted me to miss my doctor appointment to go to their orientation and I told them I couldn’t miss it. I was sick, I needed to see a doctor. So they wouldn’t schedule me for another day and that was that.

    I can get out of the requirement if I’m caring for someone in my family, which I am, my mother who has been unwell. But why is she unwell, because without warning her health insurance was terminated because she was deemed to make too much money. My mom makes $800 a month from alimony payments. That’s it! How is that too much money? Because she doesn’t have health insurance, she can’t afford her meds and hence has not been the greatest lately. The only way to prove that I’m caring for my mother is if she gets evaluated by a doctor and deemed disabled. Again, something we cannot afford. And if she never had her insurance terminated to begin with, she’d have her meds and she wouldn’t need someone to look after her.  It’s a flawed system and I’m so embarrassed and sad and scared. I don’t know how to feed my family.

    I’ve been trying to get a job for a year and a half now with no luck. I have a BA and two MAs. I’m clearly educated and should be capable of getting a job but no one wants to give me a chance despite my 10 years of experience. I really don’t know what to do. I really hate to ask, but I need help. I haven’t paid my credit cards off, we’re charging everything on credit and I’ve reached my credit limit. We’re not using the heat even though it’s so cold, bc we can’t afford to make the payment. I don’t have a cell phone line because we can’t afford it. How is my family going to eat? What am I supposed to do? Like we can’t even afford to pay rent this month. Literally, I have no idea what to do or how to keep us from being hungry and homeless. And I could kick myself for ending up in this situation.

    I keep trying to crawl us out of this hole, but I keep failing.

    This is so embarrassing, but I need help and I don’t know where to turn. I’m so embarrassed to ask and hate myself for getting to this point. If you could spare anything, even just $1, I would appreciate it so much. https://www.paypal.me/hebavsreason I swear, I’ll never forget your generosity and 100% promise to pay it forward. I’m just so scared and so unsure of how to make ends meet. I’m so embarrassed and I’m so sorry for asking. Maybe you could pass this around, reblog it. Any help would be so important and I’d be so thankful.

    50 Bucket List Goals

    What’s on your bucket list?

    I have an ever long and ever changing/shifting bucket list. And it seems fitting to reassess my life goals in light of the new year. Here are just a few wants on my list. Some are simple, some are more challenging.

    1. Have my book published

    2. Write another book 

    3. Get funding for a PhD

    4. Get into a PhD program that is right for me

    5. Learn to surf

    6. Get healthy

    7. Go to a dinosaur museum

    8. Be an extra in a movie or show

    9. Learn to spearfish

    10. Own a home and piece of land where I can have lots and lots of animals like donkeys, horses, llamas, lambs, dogs, cows and more.

    11. Adopt and/or foster children tulsa-adoption-attorney
    12. Get a job that allows me to travel and pay off my student loans

    13. Get lasik

    14. Get laser hair removal

      The laser emits an invisible light which penetrates the skin without damaging it. At the hair follicle, the laser light absorbed by the pigments is converted into heat. This heat will damage the follicle.
    15. Start a nonprofit

    16. Take horseback riding lessons

    17. Have friends

    18. Become more flexible

    19. Fly first class

    20. Make someone’s wish come true d760991e995d83172de94452f2319e06
    21. Go cliff jumping Woman_cliffjumping_3307605b
    22. Hang out by a serene waterfall

    23. Name a star dCVnPp3
    24. Have my own private plane and/or helicopter

    25. Be in the fashion industry

    26. Learn to dive

    27. Go scuba diving

    28. Befriend an elephant

      Twins https://iso.500px.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2048-5.jpg
    29. Have one of my plays produced

    30. Have someone illustrate a comic book based off of one of my stories

    31. Have one of my stories turned into a film

      images (1)
    32. Learn to draw

    33. Live in a castle

    34. Learn to sew

    35. Go Ziplining zipline-adventure-in-whistler-photo_7325314-fit468x296
    36. Publish a cookbook

    37. Own a car

    38. Dance in the rain

    39. Hang glide

    40. Go to a haunted house

    41. Throw a themed party mall-birthday-party-1
    42. Go through a corn maze cornmaze2009
    43. Witness a miracle

    44. Take singing lessons

    45. Take kickboxing lessons

    46. Learn to knit

    47. Learn to ride a bike

    48. Go parachuting

    49. Swim with dolphins

    50. Meet Harry Styles, cut off some of his hair and sell it on ebay for millions so I can afford to fund my bucket list.  harry-styles-loud-shirt-coffee-los-angeles



    Wish List


    There is nothing casual about civilian casualties

    Are you a Daily Mail reader? I won’t lie, I usually read the Daily Mail for a laugh. Some of these stories they come up with… they’re just interesting and chuckle-worthy to say the least. I do, however, know that I should never read an article concerning a serious matter on the Daily Mail website. But alas, I torture myself every time and even worse, I always scroll down to the comments section to read the vile things people feel so confidently typing, but rarely say in person.

    Some of the worst things I’ve read include:

    Comments about how “Real” refugees shouldn’t have phones- Many refugees are fleeing war. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have possessions. Cell phones are no longer a first world standard. Get over it because I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of refugees don’t have these fancy contracts and money to spend speaking hours on the phone.

    Comments about how “real” refugees shouldn’t be allowed to wear makeup- First of all, I saw the video this ignoramus was commenting on and the woman did not have makeup up. She was and is naturally gorgeous. Perfect contours, skin and thick eyebrows. She’s prettier than all of us put together. That comment was pure jealousy. Plus, considering everything these refugees have been through, so what if she gets to put on a tiny bit of makeup. She deserves to feel beautiful and like her normal self after the torment of fleeing her country and home.

    Comments about how refugees are only in it for the benefits- You know what benefit they really want. The benefit of life!!! I can’t entertain that nonsense.

    Comments about how Syrians should fight for their country- This is the silliest comment of all. Syrians have been fighting for their country for years. They’re not only fighting against ISIS, you know. They’re fighting against the Assad regime and the US and Russia and the whole list of countries that have been striking Syria. What weapons do these innocent civilians have that they can use against a whole world? The numbers don’t add up. The worst part is so many refugees are children. Do we really expect children to fight? Because if we allowed that the Daily Mail commenters would comment about how child soldiers are wrong.

    Comments about how refugees desire to continue their education makes them economic migrants and not refugees- You realize that these people have had their entire lives come to a complete halt. They’ve literally been sitting around starving and waiting to die. A whole generation of young Syrians is growing up illiterate and unable to do basic math or know much about anything other than war. These refugees aren’t coming over just so they can take advantage of university education. No, if they could have stayed in Syria and continued their education they would have. But there are no teachers left in schools in Syria because there are no schools left. The schools that are left get used as shelters and makeshift community centers.

    Comments about how “we” should bomb “them all”- That is an incitement of terror and makes you complicit in murder. Just putting that out there, you horrible human being. I have no problem with seeing ISIS and Assad terrorist thugs get blasted off this earth, however the legal thing to do would be to capture them and try them in a court of international law, in which they would be found guilty and live a long and tortuous life in maximum security prisons. But there is nothing casual about bombing an entire city, killing innocent civilians and calling them casualties.

    Comments about how everyone in Raqaa is an ISIS terrorist and that if they weren’t they would have left- Yes, Raqaa is an ISIS headquarter. Yes, ISIS controls the city, but is everyone there a supporter of ISIS, no? But to openly oppose it would leave you dead or tortured. Why don’t people leave? They don’t have the money. Sure smugglers could get you out, but where would you go? The smugglers will take all your money, risk your life and leave you penniless on a raft in the Mediterranean or in the desert on the way to a desolate refugee camp or in some other destroyed part of Syria.

    Comments judging refugees for being separated from their families- Seriously? Is this the Olympic category for most vile comment made? Because if it is, you win. People get separated from their families in all sorts of ways that most people would find inconceivable. But it happens all the time. Talk to anyone whose family has been through a war or some sort of catastrophe: I can guarantee you that a majority of people will tell you they have at least one family member that ended up alone or separated from the rest.

    Comments about how refugees have “such nice tents”- This dude commented on how her tent was so nice that she couldn’t possibly be a “real” refugee and that she probably has all this money stashed away. How deep in the dirt is your head exactly? Much of this type of supplies has been provided by aid workers, charity organizations and normal human people with hearts that donated much needed goods, such as tents. Do you want to live on a tent on a street corner when it’s raining and cold? No, especially since winter is nearing. You’re just a horrible person for thinking this

    Comments stating the run of the mill stereotypes- The long list of racial slurs, insults, and stereotypes that I won’t humor by listing. You know the type orientalist rubbish that is slanderous, libel, disgusting and horrible filth, but Facebook won’t take it down because they’re too worked up taking pictures down of women’s bodies.


    My conclusions: Firstly, humans are awful. I don’t know how people can be awful. I doubt most of these hateful commenters could handle  day in the life of a refugee. If you really think “we don’t owe them anything,” then you clearly have no idea how complicit our governments are in making Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the world, the situation that they are in today.

    Secondly, we haven’t learned from history one bit. These comments– ugh just look at some of the things people said during WWII about refugees. Please and compare those comments to now.

    And lastly, I can’t be the only one who sees comparison in 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq with the Paris Attacks and the subsequent bombing of Raqaa.

    Civilians, particularly children are innocent and pay the highest toll in wartime situations. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know what the answers to terrorism, racism, discrimination and bigotry are. Offhand I would say education, but we all know the world isn’t that simple.

    All I want is for people to think for 30 seconds before they type these horrible comments. I pray your ignorant minds become enlightened with knowledge, wisdom and empathy.


    Camp Coordination and Management (CCCM) Expert Job posted by: Danish Refugee Council, Ethiopia/Djibouti Posted on: August 21, 2015

    Job description


    DRC has been providing relief and development services in the Horn of Africa since 1997 and initially focused assisting those who are displaced by conflict, but now works with all those in the region impacted by displacement. DRC has offices across the region, and has been working in Ethiopia in 2009 and Djibouti since earlier in 2015 to address the needs of refugees, IDPs, and migrants in or transiting those countries. DRC has or will have offices in Djibouti-Ville, Ali-Sabieh, and Obock, and implements projects in three refugee camps across Djibouti.

    Much of DRC’s work in Djibouti is focused on responding to the refugee influx into that country from Yemen. In order to be able to host the new arrivals, the government has asked UNHCR to establish a new refugee camp in Obock, a region in northern Djibouti. Obock is a hard-to-reach region that has been severely affected by drought since 2008 and has the worst malnutrition rates in the country. The refugee camp site, Markazi, is located on the coast, four kilometers away from Obock town, the capital of the region. Markazi camp currently lacks many of the facilities and services associated with refugee camps.

    Job profile

    The Camp Coordination and Management (CCCM) Expert in Obock, Djibouti will assist and mentor relevant governmental officials in and around Markazi refugee camp to ensure an appropriate and efficient delivery of services to the Yemeni refugee population in the camp. The CCCM Expert will be directly supervised by the Area Manager in Djibouti and will also work closely with DRC’s staff in Obock and countrywide.

    Key responsibilities

    Technical Support in CCCM

    • Support governmental officials charged with camp coordination and camp management through advice, mentoring, and consultation on a daily basis.
    • Help responsible officials ensure a multi-sectoral response to assist and protect refugees in communal settings in Djibouti, specifically in the Obock region, specifically using a transparent system of management, ensuring maintenance of camp infrastructure, and mobilizing the participation of the affected populations in CCCM.
    • Ensure the participation of women, persons with special needs (PSN), and other traditional marginalized groups in CCCM.
    • Provide assistance to relevant authorities to make all appropriate efforts to find durable solutions for Yemeni refugees in Djibouti.
    • Promote collaboration between duty-bearers and stakeholders working with refugees and others fleeing Yemen in and around Markazi camp.
    • Encourage the inclusion of key humanitarian partners working in Markazi camp and Djibouti more generally in CCCM planning and implementation, respecting their mandates and program priorities.
    • Work to adapt relevant policies and guidelines and technical standards to context of crisis.
    • Conduct capacity building and develop capacities of governmental authorities responsible for camp coordination and camp management, as well as other stakeholders active in the sector.
    • Support any other relevant CCCM training for NGOs, UN agencies, government officials, and members of displaced and host communities.

    Aid Strategic Planning in CCCM

    • Conduct rapid needs and assessments to inform camp management and strategic direction as well as identify risks and vulnerabilities, including those related to gender, age and diversity.
    • In close consultation with relevant officials, develop concrete initiatives and specific strategies to improve camp coordination and camp management, as well as reduce identified risks.
    • Assess CCCM needs and identify problems/gaps and propose/prioritize timely practical actions to respond to particular problems.
    • Support the development of site designs that support the protection of and assistance to men, women, boys and girls.
    • Help to conduct contingency planning based on worst-case and most likely scenarios in terms of population movements.

    Monitoring, Reporting, and Development

    • Develop and utilize CCCM monitoring tools and mechanisms to ensure proper camp coordination and management.
    • Undertake quality control and site monitoring to ensure that services provided are according to international best practice standards and to measure progress against implementation plans.
    • Work to ensure adequate reporting and effective information sharing amongst all partners working in Markazi camp, disaggregating data by age and gender
    • Conduct program monitoring as per expected outputs and outcomes.
    • Monitor financial spending and budgets for all DRC support projects in CCCM in Obock.
    • Contribute to donor and management reports on CCCM support projects.

    Coordination and Representation

    • Share relevant project information with stakeholders.
    • Participate in general camp coordination meetings as well as CCCM specific coordination fora.
    • Coordinate with ONARS, UNHCR, UNICEF, NGOs, and other key stakeholders on CCCM issues and relevant contingency planning.
    • Ensure internal coordination and harmonization of DRC CCCM-related activities with DRC’s Ethiopia/Djibouti and regional protection programs.


    The CCCM Expert will report to the Area Manager for Djibouti.


    • University or graduate degree in international relations, development, law, gender, or other relevant field.
    • Minimum of three years’ relevant work experience, with experience in camp coordination and/or camp management a requirement.
    • Proven commitment to accountability and quality assurance.
    • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
    • Experience with capacity building, and in convening and facilitating trainings and workshops.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to establish effective and working relations with national staff members and other stakeholders.
    • Experience living and working in cross-cultural, multi-sector, insecure, and/or remote environments.
    • Ability to work well under pressure and in adverse conditions.
    • Substantial project management skills and experience.
    • Fluency in written and oral French.
    • Strong professional written and oral English language skills.
    • Knowledge of Arabic, Somali, Afar, or Amharic languages would be a plus.
    • Proficiency in common computer packages and financial software i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.

    Duty Station

    Obock, Djibouti with some travel across Djibouti and to Addis Ababa. Note that this is an unaccompanied position.

    How to apply

    Interested candidates who meet the required qualifications and experience are invited to submit updated CV and cover letter explaining their motivation and why they are suited for the post.

    We only accept applications sent via our online-application form on www.drc.dk under Vacancies. Direct link to apply for this position is:


    Please forward the application and CV, in English through the online application on www.drc.dk under vacancies no later than 4 September 2015.

    If you have questions or are facing problems with the online application process, please contact job@drc.dk

    For general information about the Danish Refugee Council, please consult http://www.drc.dk.


    Obock, Obock, Djibouti


    Start date
    October 1, 2015
    Application deadline
    September 4, 2015
    Education requirements
    Languages needed
    Level of language proficiency
    Fluency in written and oral French. Strong professional written and oral English language skills. Knowledge of Arabic, Somali, Afar, or Amharic languages would be a plus.
    Employment type
    Full time
    Professional level
    Salary details
    This position is rated as A11 on the DRC salary scale available at http://www.drc.dk.
    Other employment conditions in accordance with the Danish Refugee Council’s Terms of Employment for Global Expatriates recruited by the Horn of Africa and Yemen Regional Office.
    Job function
    Owner’s areas of focus

    Fully Funded AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentship – English in Algeria: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    PhD Supervisor:Dr N Vince
    Co-Supervisor:Dr M Wyatt
    Application Deadline:Friday, May 1, 2015
    Funding Availability: Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

    This studentship presents a unique opportunity to complete a PhD in an emerging research area and develop highly transferable skills by working both within a university environment and as part of a non-academic international organisation. The studentship project examines the place of English within the contemporary Algerian linguistic and cultural landscape. It explores the historical, political, economic and social contexts which shape learners’ motivation to study English, identifying new directions in research into shifts in global connections and perceptions of what has traditionally been termed ’Francophone Africa’. It also seeks to provide the basis for more research-informed policy-making, enabling the British Council to better focus its work encouraging UK-Algerian co-operation and partnership, including study in the UK, and better direct its English provision for both students and teachers.

    The project will be orientated around the following broad themes, to be refined with the successful candidate:
    (1) Motivations: What are the motives of Algerians for learning English and/or opting to study in English-speaking countries? To what extent are these decisions shaped by instrumental and integrative goal orientations? How intrinsically motivated are Algerian learners of English at different ages? To what extent is English important to their identities, to their ideal and future selves?

    (2) Social worlds: What social worlds are associated with the English language? To what extent is English embedded in Algerian culture / the international culture they are familiar with? Which cultural associations seem to be important? To what extent is English embedded in Algerian culture / the international culture they are familiar with? Which cultural associations seem to be important? Which models of English are important to them: British, American or English as a Lingua Franca? How is this realised in practice?

    (3) Change: What changes seem to be taking place at present? How have perceptions/ values/ motives changed in recent decades?
    The methodology proposed (to be adapted and refined with the successful candidate) is a multi-case study of in-depth interviews with teachers of English and their students.

    Supervision and structure
    Year 1: The student will complete a thorough review of the literatures relevant to the project, refining the research questions and methodologies in discussion with the academic supervisors and the British Council Algiers team. S/he will also complete relevant research training, to be agreed upon between the student and the supervisory team.

    Year 2: The student will be primarily based in Algeria. Through its close relationship with the Algerian Ministry of Education, the British Council will enable the student to get the access s/he needs in order to carry out fieldwork. When not carrying out interviews or transcribing results, the student will be based at the British Council Algiers office, and will have the opportunity of working alongside staff on the organisation’s English Higher Education Programme. Likely activities include engaging with and organising preparatory workshops for Algerian PhD students planning to come and study in the UK as part of the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and the British Council’s new doctoral initiative.

    Year 3: The student will write up the thesis (maximum 80,000 words), and provide an executive summary for the British Council. S/he will also have the opportunity to participate in the co-organisation, with the academic supervisors, of an international conference on languages and area studies, to be held at the University of Portsmouth.

    The student will be jointly supervised by the University of Portsmouth and the British Council in Algiers. The academic supervisory team are all members of the School of Languages and Area Studies (SLAS), one of the largest departments of its kind in the UK, and the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR). CEISR focuses on fostering, through its cluster-based structure, cross-faculty research across the humanities and social sciences. This project brings together the Francophone Africa and Language across Borders clusters, both of which have well established and internationally recognised research track records. The British Council has more than 75 years experience in promoting the English language and cultural relations in more than 100 countries around the world. The successful candidate will benefit from an extensive programme of research training and workplace experience, developing skills in intercultural awareness, project management and effective communication.

    Funding Notes:

    Full fees paid by the AHRC, bursary stipend per annum of £14,413 (2014/15 rate), plus an additional £1000 per annum paid by the British Council.

    Applications are welcome from anyone with a strong academic track record EITHER in the field of language and linguistics (especially educational psychology, applied linguistics or language teaching) OR in the field of Algerian or North African area studies (history, politics, cultures or society).

    AHRC terms and conditions mean that to be eligible for this award, candidates must meet certain UK residency requirements.

    Full details about the project and how to apply are available here: http://www.port.ac.uk/faculty-of-humanities-and-social-sciences/courses/ahrc-studentship-english-in-algeria/



    Office of the Spokesperson

    For Immediate Release


    March 3, 2015



    Begin Text:

    The Presidents of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén; Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina; Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández; and, the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden, met in Guatemala City on March 2-3, 2015, with the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, to discuss the important commitments which will accelerate the implementation of the Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle of Central America.  The senior representatives also agreed to conduct joint high-level dialogues on security issues with relevant authorities, to discuss social issues with civil society, and to review trade and investment issues through meetings between the U.S. private sector and the private sectors of the Northern Triangle of Central America.  All these meetings will be held in the first half of this year.

    The leaders stressed that their governments agreed to continue the development of the Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity of the North Triangle in an expedited and comprehensive manner, through coordinated efforts among the three countries of the Northern Triangle and with the technical support of the Inter-American Development Bank. They will continue this work throughout 2015.  The draft implementation plan and roadmap for each of the above-mentioned topics will be presented in Washington on March 16.  For its part, the Government of the United States reiterated its commitment to support these efforts.

    The leaders agreed that the joint regional plan and its continued implementation represent significant milestones for the collaboration among the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

    The leaders reviewed recent progress in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, including the following examples:

    • El Salvador has passed an Investment Stability Law, giving investors assurances that tax and customs regulations will not change over the course of an investment.  It has also begun the process of restoring one-stop business registration for foreign investors.
    • The Government of El Salvador has created the National Council for Public Security and Coexistence to promote consensus on a public security strategy and a forum for dialogue between the government and multiple social actors; it has also established an Anti-Extortion Task Force.
    • El Salvador has passed the Development and Social Protection Law, which establishes a legal framework to support development, citizen protections, and social inclusion. Likewise, El Salvador conducted ambitious reforms in the area of health, laying the groundwork for a new, integrated health system.  El Salvador also has implemented important educational programs, such as “Full-Time School,” which allows for a holistic approach to expanding the educational system’s intervention model.
    • Guatemala has inducted new police officers through regional academies throughout the country that will be assigned to police stations for those geographic areas, continuing the policy of regionalization with a goal of deploying 35,000 agents nationwide.  This has already reduced murder rates from 46 to 31 persons per every 100,000 inhabitants.
    • Under its plan to implement the National Policy on Integrated Rural Development, the Government of Guatemala has reached agreement with 33 communities on reparations for communities where human rights were violated by the construction of the Chixoy dam, through Government Agreement 378-2014 of the Cabinet Council.
    • Guatemala has achieved a diversified energy grid incorporating new technologies such as natural gas, wind, and solar power, allowing for 60% of its energy generation to be based on renewable sources of energy, which contributes to reducing greenhouse gas effects and fulfills the objectives of Guatemala’s Climate Change Law of 2013.
    • The Government of the Republic of Honduras, in its renewed commitment to transparency in public administration, has become the first country to sign a Cooperation Agreement with Transparency International for the Promotion of Transparency, Combating Corruption, and Strengthening International Transparency Systems, which includes plans to make human resources and government procurement information publicly available.
    • Honduras developed mechanisms aimed at restoring peaceful coexistence, highlighting the following efforts and results: i) air, sea, and ground shields to prevent the entry of drugs into the country; ii) counternarcotics actions to combat the drugs that enter the country; iii) development of effective judicial authorities; iv) strengthening of democratic institutions; v) anti-corruption measures; vi) emphasis on the protection of human rights; vii) actions against poverty; and, viii) a security tax.  These actions resulted in a significant decrease in homicide rates from 86.5 in 2012 to 66.4 in 2014 for every 100,000 inhabitants.  Based on the same commitment, Honduras has extradited 7 Honduran and 8 foreign high-profile drug traffickers involved in Latin American drug networks.
    • In the area of fiscal management, Honduras reduced its fiscal deficit by more than 3 percentage points of GDP, closing at 4.5 in 2014.  Honduras increased tax revenue by 21% in 2014, and took specific actions to control public spending to include specific measures strengthening transparency in its public finances.

    These examples of progress are the results of the commitments that the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are making to Central America’s success.  In this context, and well aware of the continued challenges, the leaders expressed their commitments on the following points:

    1. The presidents of the Northern Triangle of Central America and the Vice President of the United States of America expressed a shared commitment to promote the strategic areas of the Alliance for Prosperity, such as: energizing the productive sectors of the economy; creating economic opportunities; developing human capital, citizen security, and social inclusion; improving public safety and enhancing access to the legal system; and strengthening institutions to increase trust in the state.

    To that end, we, the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, recognizing the importance of promoting the productive sector of the economy in our countries, will:

    1.1 Advance economic integration based on the legal frameworks of the Central American integration process, CAFTA-DR, and other existing trade agreements.

    1.2 Welcome the signing by Honduras and Guatemala of the General Framework for the Establishment of the Customs Union, which includes, inter alia, the elimination of border crossings between both countries and the establishment of a unified customs area.  The details of this agreement will be defined and supported through negotiations to occur before December 2015.

    1.3 Take steps to promote an integrated, efficient energy market among the countries of the Regional Electricity Market (MER), and the markets of neighboring countries.  Review existing regulations and gradually standardize them so that commercial transactions between countries may be conducted in an equitable, competitive, transparent manner, to ensure legal certainty and allow for the promotion and development of markets with reduced costs.  This will be addressed in subsequent forums in 2015, to be completed before the end of 2016.

    1.4 During 2015, continue to promote the conditions for increased investment in the diversification of the energy grid, specifically to support measures resulting in the operation of the natural gas pipeline between Mexico and Central America, for which an agreement between the member countries of the Alliance will be required.  By March 13, Guatemala and Honduras will sign an additional protocol to the Mexico-Guatemala agreement, which will permit this interconnection work to go forward.

    1.5 Promote a public-private dialogue regarding the implementation and monitoring of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle governments by mid-2015, through existing public-private partnerships.

    1.6 Continue efforts to establish and run one-stop business registration windows for foreign investors before the end of 2015.

    2. The Government of the United States will support the governments of the Northern Triangle to promote their productive sections with a view toward greater inclusion, by:

    2.1 Facilitating trade with the support of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities, who can share proven risk management strategies and provide other types of training to make the transfer of goods across borders more secure and efficient.

    2.2 Helping to implement actions to improve trade between the countries of the Northern Triangle, within the Central American Integration System.

    2.3 Providing support for the integration of energy markets in Central America, Panama and Mexico, including by supporting the review of existing regulation to promote long-term contracts.

    2.4 Providing technical assistance to develop laws that will incentivize the adoption of technologies and best practices for energy-efficiency.

    2.5 Supporting rural development of the countries of the Northern Triangle.

    2.6 Providing potential investors and project developers the financial and risk mitigation tools to make investments in the Northern Triangle more attractive, with the support of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

    3. We, the countries of the Northern Triangle, will strengthen our strategies for social and economic development to achieve the following:

    3.1 In line with national plans, identify the geographic areas of greatest need to focus development and investment by April 2015.

    3.2 Establish a plan to strengthen and streamline investment in education, especially at the pre-school, secondary, and vocational levels by 2016.

    3.3 Create the conditions to facilitate access to credit for micro, small, and medium enterprises through financial education programs, improvements to legal frameworks, and development of specific financial products beginning in 2015.

    3.4 Expand existing programs to improve health services, nutrition, and child development.

    3.5 Strengthen equal opportunities policies, especially for the economic empowerment of women, ethnic groups, and at-risk youth by 2016.  During the same year, each country will double the number of women and youth served and provided training by specialized community centers.

    4. The United States government will support the Northern Triangle governments in meeting commitments for the development of economic and social opportunities for its citizens, giving special attention to the following:

    4.1 Advancing economic prosperity with programs and training that accelerate business development in urban and rural areas.

    4.2 Helping to create a better climate for micro, small, and medium businesses to create conditions to expand their access to credit and strengthen proven results throughout specialized business centers in the hemisphere, thus strengthening value chains.

    4.3 Continuing efforts to boost family farming and food security through various programs, such as “Feed the Future.”

    4.4 Implementing plans to improve access to education and educational quality for underserved populations, including indigenous and afro-descendant children in rural schools, as well as the expansion of educational and vocational training opportunities for at-risk youth.

    4.5 Supporting populations along Central American border areas in order to bolster a surge in new economic activity in these communities.

    4.6 Backing the efforts of the Northern Triangle countries to redouble their assistance to women and youth in specialized community centers.

    5. We recognize the need to improve public security and access to justice; therefore, the leaders of the Northern Triangle agree to:

    5.1 Expand security policies and programs, especially those that dismantle gangs and prevent gang violence, as well as by combating common crime, extortion, money laundering, human trafficking, illegal trafficking, and drug trafficking.   We will strengthen justice institutions, among others, using international best practices, depending on the specific context of the priority areas.

    5.2 Promote approaches to strengthening the justice sector, emphasizing efficiency, transparency, and accountability, as well as decreasing case backlogs and promoting alternative dispute and domestic violence resolution techniques.

    5.3 Improve prison systems, including infrastructure based on prisoner risk profiles, the capacity of prison staffs, and rehabilitation programs, including those focused on juvenile offenders and their prison conditions.

    5.4 Deepen police reforms, including reforms focused on money laundering and human trafficking throughout 2015.  During the first half of 2015, Honduras will announce a proposal for the comprehensive reform of its educational system and its police training initiative, as well as its plan to train and contract 6,000 new police officers over the next three years.  Guatemala announced that it is in the process of reforming its immigration law in order to criminalize the trafficking of Guatemalans, especially children and adolescents.

    5.5 Approve and strengthen laws against money laundering.  El Salvador has established an Anti-Extortion Task Force, and will begin in mid-2015 a legal reform to criminalize bulk cash smuggling.

    5.6 Guatemala will promote reforms in its civil and commercial procedure codes to establish and streamline oral hearings and make more efficient its judicial proceedings during 2015. In addition it will create new specialized criminal investigative anti-money laundering units, asset forfeiture units, and cyber-crime units, in the first half of 2015.

    6. The Government of the United States, along with the governments of the Northern Triangle, will back efforts to improve public safety and access to justice by supporting:

    6.1 Police reforms, to including police training in the areas of internal affairs, vetting, and oversight and transparency mechanisms, as well as through the provision of equipment and information systems.

    6.2  The work of governments to strengthen local mechanisms for the prevention of crime and violence.

    6.3 The work of religious and civil organizations within the framework of government strategies to provide at-risk youth with life skills, job training, and recreational activities, and supporting civic groups to recover public spaces controlled by gangs and improve basic infrastructure.

    6.4 The expansion and strengthening of centers against domestic violence and violence against women.

    6.5 The strengthening of juvenile justice and alternatives to incarceration and detention.

    6.6 The efforts of States to improve criminal investigations, especially through improved forensic laboratories.

    6.7. The work of the security agencies to effectively dismantle transnational organized crime networks that carry drugs and money in coastal waters and across land borders.

    7.  With the goal of promoting strengthened institutions, Northern Triangle countries will continue to promote transparency and engender confidence in our citizens.  In this regard we will:

    7.1. Promote independent monitoring mechanisms, using best practices to ensure governmental transparency throughout 2015.

    7.2. Increase and strengthen tax revenues through greater efficiency and effectiveness in tax collection, strengthening tax authorities, simplifying tax codes, and professionalizing tax collection authorities.

    7.3. Join forces to improve the professionalization of the civil service, starting in 2015.

    8  The Government of the United States will support governments of the Northern Triangle in strengthening its institutions, by:

    8.1. Working with Central American governments to provide expert advisors, such as those from the Department of the Treasury, and including assistance to governments to leverage additional resources through more efficient tax administration and public-private partnerships.

    Finally, with regards to implementing this plan, we agreed to take into account existing best practices in the region, such as the model implemented by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, to maximize the impact of our initiatives and actions that seek to be effective and transparent, and which recognize the leading role of the state and its public institutions.

    Agreed to in Guatemala City on March 3, 2015.

    End Text

    Under Secretary Novelli to Host World Wildlife Day Google+ Hangout with NGO Leaders on March 3

    Under Secretary Novelli to Host World Wildlife Day Google+ Hangout with NGO Leaders on March 3

    Media Note

    Office of the Spokesperson

    Washington, DC

    March 2, 2015

    To celebrate the second annual World Wildlife Day, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli will host a Google+ Hangout March 3 on the subject of combating wildlife trafficking.  The Under Secretary will be joined by prominent African and Asian leaders from several non-governmental environmental organizations.  Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid, will moderate the discussion and panelists will include: Paula Kahumbu, Executive Director of Wildlife Direct; Nhi Thoi, Rhino Project Lead for CHANGE; and Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

    The Hangout will be broadcast live at 9:00 a.m. EDT on the U.S. Department of State’s YouTube channel and Google+ page.  Questions can be submitted in advance on the Department’s Google+ page and via Twitter by using #WorldWildlifeDay.

    Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that poses not only a critical conservation concern, but also represents a serious threat to the security and economic stability of the countries involved.  World Wildlife Day presents an opportunity to raise public awareness about the impacts of wildlife trafficking on the natural environment and the people who share it, and the key role that the U.S. is playing to combat this illegal activity.

    Follow @StateDept and @StateDeptOES and the hashtag #WorldWildlifeDay on Twitter for more information.