18 episodes

Existing models and approaches are not leading to progress. Strive seeks out new voices to talk about fresh ideas to create a more just and sustainable world. By IPS News.

Strive: Toward a more just, sustainable future IPS Inter Press Service

    • Society & Culture

Existing models and approaches are not leading to progress. Strive seeks out new voices to talk about fresh ideas to create a more just and sustainable world. By IPS News.

    Voices from the World Social Forum 2024

    Voices from the World Social Forum 2024

    After interviewing a member of the Nepal organizing committee ahead of opening day, I was excited about covering my first ever World Social Forum (WSF). He suggested that at least 30,000 and as many as 50,000 activists from over 90 countries would attend the three-day event. But day 1 disappointed me. The march through the centre of Kathmandu was large, but not the massive showing I expected to see — perhaps because police in the vehicle-clogged city centre didn’t close roads along the route, but squeezed marchers into one lane of traffic. Again, thousands crowded in front of the stage for the opening ceremony but while it was impressive, it was far from a stupendous showing. 

    But as I hurried to attend various workshops over the next three days I became increasingly impressed. Each session — most held in cold, dusty classrooms in a series of colleges lining a downtown road— was full, some to overflowing. People were eager to squeeze in, to hear colleagues from across the world explain and advocate on issues that affected all of their lives in very similar ways. Between workshops the chatter of those who had finished early — or at least not late like the rest of us — floated through the open windows of classrooms. 

    On closing day more than 60 declarations were reportedly issued by the various ‘movements’, the thematic groups that comprise the WSF. I’m sure they assert the need for change: for peace, equality, rights and dignity — for people, nature and the planet. As usual, I support these calls. But what I learned at my first WSF is that energy and enthusiasm for a world that looks and runs vastly differently than the often terrible one that we inhabit today has not waned among a huge number of people, young and old. I’d hazard a guess that the ones you’re about to hear, who I recorded at the start of the Forum, would be as engaged and energetic if I had spoken with them after it ended, following hours of listening, learning, and networking about how to create a better world. 

    Strive on social media

    Twitter

    Facebook

    LinkedIn

    Resources
    IPS coverage of the World Social ForumWebsite of the World Social Forum 2024

    • 13 min
    NCDs are killing the Caribbean

    NCDs are killing the Caribbean

    If I asked you to name the world’s most deadly diseases I’m guessing that you might say HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, cholera, maybe even COVID-19. In fact, those have all been major killers throughout human history – and some like TB continue to be so, especially in low-income countries.

    But there is one group of diseases that is responsible for the deaths of more than two-thirds of people on earth. Let that sink in for moment. For every three people who die, two are killed by these illnesses, which are known as non-communicable diseases, or NCDs.

    You probably know about many of them. NCDs include cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and strokes, lung diseases and mental and neurological illnesses. As the name implies, what sets NCDs apart is that they cannot be passed from one person to another.

    Today we’re speaking with Maisha Hutton, executive director of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, about the growing impact of NCDs on that region. For example, they are responsible for 80% of deaths in the Caribbean, and 40% of all premature deaths. Before COVID-19, one in three children in the region was overweight or obese – a major contributor to developing NCDs — which is one of the highest rates in the world; it might be even higher now, says Maisha.

    Besides describing what NCDs look like in the Caribbean and what societies there are doing to tackle the epidemic, Maisha explains why it’s not fair, or correct, to label NCDs as ‘lifestyle diseases’. That’s because the environments where people live have been carefully designed to promote NCD risk factors including alcohol and tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets. 

    A quick note about some terms that Maisha mentions: PAHO is the Pan American Health Organization. GDA, traffic light, and octagonal — or stop sign — are different types of warning labels for food packages. GDA stands for guideline daily amount (or guideline daily allowance).

    Strive on social media

    Twitter

    Facebook

    LinkedIn

    Resources

    Healthy Caribbean Coalition
    Best Buys of the World Health Organization (WHO)

    • 36 min
    Is Solutions Journalism the answer to cynicism about the media?

    Is Solutions Journalism the answer to cynicism about the media?

    If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard a lot of negative talk about the media in recent years. Much of it has focused on the integrity of the so-called mainstream or legacy media that has dominated the information landscape in recent decades, or longer. These attacks, which sometimes actually degenerate into physical assaults, call into question how honestly or fairly these outlets portray the world, including in politics and global issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In response, the established media has often seemed on the defensive or facing renewed competition from platforms that claim to be righting the balance in providing coverage of all voices, often amplifying those on the so-called right wing of the political spectrum. But it has been rare to hear about innovative approaches emerging in response to the criticism.

    Solutions journalism is one exception. It focuses on examining attempts to solve major issues facing societies and then analysing the success of those initiatives. It is, says today’s guest – Hugo Balta, publisher of the US-based Latino News Network – one way of going beyond a simple presentation of the day’s ‘bad news’, and then offering possible ways forward.

    As I mention in this interview, I know from personal experience that watching the nightly news can be a recipe for frustration and cynicism. I gave it up years ago and instead sought out media that presented more in-depth coverage. That didn’t necessarily mean it was delivering solutions to the major problems of the day, but I somehow felt less detached watching a report that was minutes rather than seconds long. In my own journalism too – although I was initially sceptical about focusing on a single way forward rather than balancing various approaches to an issue – I believe I have naturally gravitated towards reporting about an issue and then exploring possible ways out of an impasse.

    Balta, who has worked more than three decades as a journalist, says his former approach was very top-down – “It was ‘we know better than you, the public, what you need to know today’. Solutions journalism helped us to flip that, from a top-down to a bottom-up approach,” he adds. “It’s more about listening and getting direction from the audience that we’re working to reach. They’re telling us what they need from us.”

    Strive on social media

    Twitter

    Facebook

    LinkedIn

    Resources

    Solutions Journalism Network

    Latino News Network

    • 33 min
    'The international community must act on Afghanistan'

    'The international community must act on Afghanistan'

    “If you were waiting for a couple of years to see how the Taliban would perform, we now have a pretty good idea. We can see that they have moved, step by step, back towards how they ran the country in their first period in power,” says UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, in this episode. 
    The human rights expert, and colleagues, have released a series of reports in recent months detailing how freedoms in the South Asian nation have been constrained, especially for women and girls, after the Taliban assumed power almost exactly two years ago, as forces from the US and other western powers exited the country. Since then, says the special rapporteur, the Taliban, which calls its government an “Islamic emirate”, have announced about 60 decrees concerning women, all but one of which has further restricted their movement. 
    While the smothering of women’s lives has received the most attention outside of Afghanistan, there does not appear to be any improvement in the humanitarian situation, and it could get worse as winter approaches, says Bennett. “The key humanitarian agencies… report that there is still widespread food insecurity, including child malnutrition. Millions of people in Afghanistan are still dependent on humanitarian assistance, including for food.”
    It is time that the international community acts on its condemnation of the Taliban’s actions, stresses the special rapporteur. If the documented violations of human rights are not compelling enough, then governments should consider that Afghanistan could become a breeding ground for terrorism. 
    Bennett has also suggested that the Taliban’s actions against women and girls could be treated as gender persecution, which is considered a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court. And he noted that some Afghan women are pressing for the definition of the crime of ‘apartheid’ to be expanded to include ‘gender apartheid’. 
    Please listen now to my chat with Richard Bennett. 

    Strive on social media

    Twitter

    Facebook

    LinkedIn

    Resources

    Richard Bennett's report on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, June 2023

    International Criminal Court

    • 39 min
    How The Ass used satire to poke fun at Nepal's leaders

    How The Ass used satire to poke fun at Nepal's leaders

    Welcome to Strive, a podcast of IPS News, where we chat with new voices about fresh ideas to create a more just and sustainable world. My name is Marty Logan.

    We’ve all made asses of ourselves at one time or another. But today’s guest actually made a career out of it — not of messing up but of being The Ass, the author of a satirical column that ran on the back page of the Nepali Times newspaper for more than two decades.

    As full-time publisher and editor of the weekly paper he says that writing the column went way beyond horsing around. In fact, more than once during our chat he describes satire as serious business — it’s a way to hint at what is really going on in the halls of power without playing by the regular rules of journalism, but if you cross a line and hit too hard — or too low — you could find yourself in a heap of — well, you know what.

    We also discuss the evolution of the Times. It started as a business decision but soon became immersed in war journalism, reporting on the decade-long Maoist conflict. Gradually it developed its brand as a paper that went out of its way to report on the state of the country outside the Kathmandu bubble. Simultaneously it chronicled momentous events including the high stakes, post-war peace process, the downfall of the monarchy, the birth of republican Nepal and the devastating 2015 earthquake.

    Post-Covid-19, Nepali Times has resumed printing a hard-copy version to accompany its website. But The Ass, aka Kunda Dixit, believes the physical paper has at most a three-year future before mobile phone readership will render it obsolete. The big challenge, larger even than fending off pressure from anti-democratic forces in government and beyond, will be attracting enough ‘eyeballs’ — in competition with Facebook, Instagram and other social media — to finance operations.

    A quick note: early in the episode The Ass talks about the panchayat, which was the party-less system of government that reigned in Nepal before democracy was restored in 1990. 
    Strive on social media

    Twitter

    Facebook

    LinkedIn

    Resources

    The Backside column of The Ass, in Nepali Times 

    • 34 min
    Measuring human rights

    Measuring human rights

    Welcome to Strive podcast, where we chat with new voices about fresh ideas to create a more just and sustainable world. My name is Marty Logan. 
    Before we get to today’s episode, if you enjoy Strive I encourage you to share it with a friend so they can check out the show. If you’re listening in a podcast app just click on the share icon (the one with the up-facing arrow). Or you can share a post on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn channels. We’re @ipsnews. 
    Today we’re learning about what I think is a fantastic new tool for holding governments accountable to their human rights obligations. Actually the Human Rights Measurement Initiative is six years old, so it’s not brand new, but it was a revelation to me when I came across it recently. 
    What I like is how the Initiative’s Rights Tracker assigns a score to a government’s record on a specific right, let’s say the right to education, based on how other countries with roughly the same level of resources have performed. As a journalist I still believe in the naming and shaming approach but as today’s guest, Stephen Bagwell of the Initiative, and the University of Missouri, St Louis, says, too often governments respond to reports of rights violations by dismissing them as exaggerated or made up. It is much harder to brush off HRMI’s scores, which are largely data-based.
    I also like a comparison Stephen uses to explain why human rights should be measured: the Sustainable Development Goals. There are all sorts of updates on progress toward the 2030 SDGs deadline, when in fact governments are not legally obliged to attain the goals. But hundreds of countries have ratified the various human rights instruments, like the Convention on the Rights of the Child or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — yet no one was systematically tracking their progress on meeting those obligations. 
    One note on abbreviations you’ll hear in today’s episode: ICCPR is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, noted above, and the ICESCR is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Both are bedrock human rights documents. The former is considered law in 173 countries and the ICESCR in 171 countries.   

    Resources
    Human Rights Measurement Initiative

    Nepal page on HRMI's Rights Tracker

    Strive on social media

    Twitter
    Facebook

    LinkedIn

    • 32 min

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

iHeartPodcasts
Nick Viall
Chris Williamson
Esther Perel Global Media
This American Life
Glennon Doyle and Audacy