Digital and Satellite Technology Program Launches to Support Ghana’s Smallholder Cocoa Farmers

Sustainable Development – Smallholder Agriculture/Satellite Technology

Digital and Satellite Technology Program Launches to Support Ghana’s Smallholder Cocoa Farmers
ACCRA, GHANA, July 10, 2018 – ACCRA, GHANA, July 10, 2018 – SAT4Farming, an initiative to reach thousands of small-scale cocoa producers with information and services to improve their productivity and sustainability, was announced today. It is designed to use digital technology and satellite imagery to create individual Farm Development Plans (FDPs) that guide farmers over a seven-year period.

The digital FDPs provide a planning and monitoring tool, available over mobile devices. Advice on farm practices and investments, climate-adaptation, certification training, and ongoing monitoring provide farmers and field agents with unprecedented data-based guidance to a more sustainable future.

Smallholder farmers produce the vast majority of the world’s cocoa, the basic ingredient for chocolate. Cocoa farmers face declining yields, mounting threats from pests and disease, and persistent poverty. In addition, farmers rarely get the timely training and advice they need to change their circumstances. In Ghana, 800,000 smallholder farmers make the country the world’s second largest cocoa producer.

SAT4Farming partners include the global nonprofits the Rainforest Alliance and Grameen Foundation; global cocoa trader Touton; the University of Ghana’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness; the Netherlands-based Satelligence and WaterWatch Projects.
With the launch, Touton has begun deploying the SAT4Farming digital FDP among its network of farmers and suppliers for Mars, Inc., one of the world’s largest chocolate makers. Meanwhile, Mars suppliers across a number of countries are adopting similar approaches to support a more sustainable cocoa sector by improving smallholders’ livelihoods and protecting the environment. COCOBOD fully supports the program implementation in Ghana.

SAT4Farming builds on a pilot in Indonesia where Mars, the Rainforest Alliance and Grameen Foundation partnered to create the digital FDP. It is based on a specialized agronomic model for cocoa that includes digital certification performance information. In Ghana, the integration of satellite imagery is expected to streamline the process of creating an FDP, facilitate monitoring, and provide greater insights into dynamic environmental conditions.

Initial funding comes from the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) program of the Netherlands Space Office (NSO). The program plans to launch a social enterprise that will make SAT4Farming services widely available and ensure the economic sustainability of the work.

Grand challenges in humanitarian aid

Featured Journal Content

Volume 559 Issue 7713, 12 July 2018
Comment | 11 July 2018
Grand challenges in humanitarian aid
Fund and study these priorities for natural and social sciences to meet a gaping need, urge Abdallah S. Daar, Trillium Chang, Angela Salomon and Peter A. Singer.

What are Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation and Grand Challenges Canada?
The need for innovation in the humanitarian space was recognized at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul10 in May 2016. The largest ever United Nations gathering, this had 9,000 participants from at least 173 countries, including 55 heads of state and governments, hundreds of private-sector representatives, and thousands of people from civil society and non-governmental organizations, including multilateral development banks such as the World Bank.

The summit created the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation with the mission of achieving higher impact and efficiency in humanitarian action11. It complements several initiatives, including Global Humanitarian Lab, Global Partnerships for Humanitarian Impact and Innovation, and the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund. Unfortunately, many of these have insufficient funding to address the magnitude of the problem by creating a healthy pipeline of seed innovations; most do not have the capacity to scale them up.

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), supported by the Government of Canada, funds technological, social and business innovations in global health. Since its founding in 2010, GCC has supported 1,000 projects in more than 80 countries (see The leaders of GCC have a track record of partnering to identify priorities that catalyse the creation of impactful research funding programmes at the global level. These include: the Bill & Melinda Gates Grand Challenges in Global Health programme, based on a 2003 study5; the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, based on a 2007 study6; and the Global Mental Health Initiative of the US National Institute for Mental Health and GCC, based on a 2011 study7.

Top 10 Humanitarian Grand Challenges
PDF Version
1 STRENGTHEN ECONOMIES (147 cumulative score)
Restore functioning markets and the economic stability of affected communities by:
• Scaling up cash-based assistance (rather than in-kind commodities)
• Improving access to financial services
• Increasing autonomous choice over spending
• Expanding social safety-net programmes, such as provision of health care, shelter and transport
• Engaging cross-border refugees, particularly women, who are displaced to countries where they are forbidden to work outside camps*
Research questions:
• How can assistance be maximally scaled in humanitarian crises settings? What are the obstacles to achieving this and how can they be overcome?
• What potential financial services, formal and informal, are available to refugees and affected communities? How can safe and affordable access be improved?
• What are the economic advantages and disadvantages of allowing aid beneficiaries to receive cash and/or control their own spending, rather than receiving aid through material goods or medical supplies?
• What are the most effective ways to distribute cash digitally without compromising user data privacy (for example, via blockchain)?
• What are more affordable/effective ways for diaspora and others to send money to crisis-affected persons?

Strengthen resilience in communities at risk of humanitarian crises by:
• Reducing inequality and poverty
• Promoting gender equality
• Improving education*
Research questions:
• How can communities vulnerable to humanitarian crises be identified proactively?
• What are effective ways to raise public awareness about potential disasters in communities not previously affected?
• How can a population be engaged in procuring and storing vital goods such as food, clothing, medical supplies, power generation and rescue equipment? How can these vital goods be most efficiently deployed?
• How do social determinants (such as poverty, gender inequality, low education; and ethnic, tribal and religious or other differences) perpetuate or aggravate humanitarian emergencies?
• How can maternal and child education and health services be more effective, and how can uptake be increased?

Measure effectiveness of humanitarian aid by moving away from metrics that measure ‘cost-per-beneficiary’ to those that measure how the needs are met of:
• the most vulnerable
• the most systematically excluded
• the hardest-to-reach communities
Research questions:
• What are the most logical indicators for measuring lives saved and improved in humanitarian crises? This may include existing indicators, such as those in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, if appropriate to the context.
• How can technological innovations, such as cloud computing and mobile devices, automate and improve the efficiency of measuring aid effectiveness over time?
• Can ‘big data’ resources such as messaging apps, user-generated maps, GPS, mobile-phone tracking, commercial transactions or electronic medical records be used to identify impacted populations, their needs and gaps in support?
• Do current monitoring and evaluation systems compromise the safety of affected people or place heavy burdens on responders? What are ways to overcome this while still meeting donor needs?

• Shift from short-term emergency funding toward longer-term humanitarian financing
• Ensure accountable, impactful investments that include incentives or subsidies for host governments to contribute alongside foreign assistance*
Research questions:
• How can states, humanitarian aid agencies, donors and others be effectively engaged in an effort to shift to sustainable funding?
• How effective are impact bonds in financing initiatives in humanitarian settings (recent onset or protracted)? What are other potentially transformative strategies to achieve multi-year funding for protracted crises?
• How can ‘risk insurance’, based on agreed-upon triggers, mitigate humanitarian disasters?

Provide affected persons with an official private, secure digital identity that reduces the risk of creating stateless persons.
This might:
• Incorporate a universal health card
• Safely and privately store, transport, validate authenticity of, and disseminate personal documents (such as bank cards, land deeds, birth certificates, school diplomas and medical records)*
Research questions:
• How effective have previous efforts been to establish Universal Health Cards, Universal Health Insurance and financial-risk protection for migrants (such as those used in Thailand8)?
• How effective have previous efforts been to issue digital identity cards to hard-to-reach populations (such as India’s Aadhaar9 system)?
• What are the advantages, disadvantages and long-term impacts of providing digital identities by countries of origin or by hosting governments?
• What are the ethical, legal and social issues that may arise in developing and disseminating such digital identities?
• What is the feasibility and impact of using highly secure, efficient technologies to store records in humanitarian settings? What are the potential drawbacks or consequences?

Remove all barriers to immediate aid following emergencies or after predetermined ‘triggers’ in slow-onset emergencies, such as restrictions on humanitarian organizations. This prevents the need to wait until public consciousness is raised and pressure applied to donor governments.
Research questions:
• What are the most effective international mechanisms and auspices under which to engage governments to develop partnerships for immediate disaster/emergency relief?
• How feasible and effective are crowdfunding platforms to speed the availability of money in crisis situations?
• How can mechanisms for regional neutral bodies to intervene rapidly in the case of disasters be better coordinated?
• How can the voices of those affected by crises be amplified most effectively?

Improve access to life-saving assistance for people living in areas that are highly insecure and largely inaccessible to international and national aid organizations.
Research questions:
• What methods promote and ensure compliance (of non-governmental organizations, governments) with international humanitarian law? How can such laws be strengthened?
• How can the private sector improve the delivery of aid and increase the speed, effectiveness and cost-efficiency of delivering or manufacturing commodities (such as by 3D printing) in hard-to-reach places?
• How can crisis-affected people be supported or empowered to create their own local solutions — such as by locally manufacturing and reusing items?
• In what ways can military know-how and capabilities, including transport and logistics, be used ethically in disaster responses? What are potential political obstacles, and how can they be overcome?

Offer emergency psychosocial support at scale.
Research questions:
• How effective are culturally sensitive and locally applicable emergency intervention programmes based on the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme for mental health and psychosocial support? Where are there gaps and how can they be filled?
• What are the most effective ways for health-care providers to advocate for the incorporation of established ethical principles and more counselling into emergency mental-health intervention programmes?
• What are the population metrics and outcome indicators for mental-health policy and programme surveillance?
• Can artificial intelligence (such as chatbots or apps) deliver mental-health and psychosocial support, in a culturally sensitive and effective manner?

Increase (digital) connectivity of affected persons to democratize access to information and opportunities, including market prices, wage information, weather, jobs, banking, insurance and microfinance*.
Research questions:
• What culturally specific and community-based strategies will efficiently and effectively integrate crisis-affected people with worldwide data sources?
• How can mobile-network operators become valuable contributors to preparedness before, and responses after, humanitarian disasters?
• How effective are existing innovative ways to share data in humanitarian settings, such as mesh networks, bluetooth technology, microwave technology and peer-to-peer networks? What other novel strategies exist?

Facilitate direct two-way communications between affected persons and humanitarian agencies, for the sharing of needs, developments, plans and actions.
Research questions:
• What are examples of low-cost satellite or other technologies that can facilitate logistics and cut response time in crisis settings, and how effective are they?
• How can non-governmental organizations, governments and other actors gain feedback from affected persons to improve humanitarian responses? How effective are online surveys, feedback apps and chatbots? What other novel solutions exist?
*Challenge reformatted and/or slightly reworded from the original submission to increase clarity and coherence.


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 10 July 2018 [GPEI]
:: A Disease Outbreak News (DON) notification was issued on 10 July on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s three concurrent circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreaks.
:: Papua New Guinea prepares for the launch of large-scale immunization campaigns in Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands provinces, set to commence next week..

Summary of new cases this week:
:: Last week’s advance notification of one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case in Nad-e-Ali district, Helmand province, has been confirmed. The case had onset of paralysis on 1 June. This brings the total number of WPV1 cases in 2018 (in Afghanistan) to nine.
:: A sub-national immunization days campaign aiming to reach 6.4 million children under five years of age in 225 high risk districts of 27 provinces, primarily in the southern and eastern parts of the country including Kabul city, has concluded.
:: Two new WPV1 positive environmental samples have been reported: one in Kandahar City, Kandahar province, and one in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.
:: Four new WPV1 positive environmental samples have been reported this week: one in Peshawar and one in Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (both 26 June), one in Karachi, Sindh province (23 June), and one in Islamabad, Punjab province (24 June).
:: An advance notification has been confirmed of one new cVDPV2 positive contact in Somalia.

Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 – Democratic Republic of the Congo
10 July 2018
WHO risk assessment
WHO assessed the overall public health risk at the national level to be very high and the risk of international spread to be high. This risk is magnified by known population movements between the affected area of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and South Sudan, and the upcoming rainy season which is associated with increased intensity of virus transmission.
The detection of cVDPV2s underscores the importance of maintaining high routine vaccination coverage everywhere to minimize the risk and consequences of any poliovirus circulation. These events also underscore the risk posed by any low-level transmission of the virus. A robust outbreak response is needed to rapidly stop circulation and ensure sufficient vaccination coverage in the affected areas to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. WHO will continue to evaluate the epidemiological situation and outbreak response measures being implemented…


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 14 Jul 2018]
The Syrian Arab Republic
:: Southern Syrian Arab Republic Health Cluster report pdf, 82kb  9 – 12 July 2018
:: WHO delivers over 17 tons of life-saving medicines and medical equipment to the newly accessible city of Douma  7 July 2018

Iraq  – No new announcements identified
Nigeria  – No new announcements identified
South Sudan  – No new announcements identified
Yemen  – No new announcements identified

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 14 Jul 2018]
[Several emergency pages were not available at inquiry]
Cameroon  – No new announcements identified
Central African Republic  No new announcements identified.
Democratic Republic of the Congo  No new announcements identified
Ethiopia  No new announcements identified.
LibyaNo new announcements identified.
Myanmar  – No new announcements identified
Niger  – No new announcements identified.
UkraineNo new announcements identified.

UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic 
:: Syrian Arab Republic: Dar’a, Quneitra, As-Sweida Situation Report No. 2 as of 11 July 2018
Published on 11 Jul 2018
:: Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 12 June – 9 July 2018 | Issue 20
Published on 10 Jul 2018


UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
Ethiopia  – No new announcements identified.
Somalia   – No new announcements identified.

Editor’s Note:
We will cluster these recent emergencies as below and continue to monitor the WHO webpages for updates and key developments.

EBOLA/EVD  [to 14 Jul 2018]
Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo   6 July 2018
The Ministry of Health and WHO continue to closely monitor the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Contact tracing activities concluded on 27 June after the last people with potential exposure to the virus completed their 21-day follow-up without developing symptoms. Over 20 000 visits to contacts have been conducted by the field team throughout the outbreak.
On 12 June, the last confirmed Ebola virus disease patient in Équateur Province was discharged from an Ebola treatment centre, following two negative tests on serial laboratory specimens. Before the outbreak can be declared over, a period of 42 days (two incubation periods) following the last possible exposure to a confirmed case must elapse without any new confirmed cases being detected. Until this milestone is reached, it is critical to maintain all key response pillars, including intensive surveillance to rapidly detect and respond to any resurgence.
In light of progress in the response, WHO has revised the risk assessment for this outbreak…
there remains a risk of resurgence from potentially undetected transmission chains and possible sexual transmission of the virus by male survivors. It is therefore, critical to maintain all key response pillars until the end of the outbreak is declared. Strengthened surveillance mechanisms and a survivor monitoring program are in place to mitigate, rapidly detect and respond to respond to such events. Based on these factors, WHO considers the public health risk to be moderate at the national level.
In the absence of ongoing transmission, the probability of exported cases is low and diminishing, and has been further mitigated by the undertaking of preparedness activities and establishment of contingency plans in neighbouring countries. WHO has assessed the public health risk to be low at the regional and global levels…

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 7 July 2018

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 7 July 2018.docx

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

Rule of Law: European Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Governance – Rule of Law: Poland

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court  
Brussels, 2 July 2018

Today, the European Commission has launched an infringement procedure by sending a Letter of Formal Notice to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Supreme Court.

On 3 July, 27 out of 72 Supreme Court judges face the risk of being forced to retire – more than one in every three judges – due to the fact that the new Polish law on the Supreme Court lowers the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65. This measure also applies to the First President of the Supreme Court, whose 6-year mandate would be prematurely terminated. According to the law, current judges are given the possibility to declare their will to have their mandate prolonged by the President of the Republic, which can be granted for a period of three years and renewed once. There are no criteria established for the President’s decision and there is no possibility for a judicial review of this decision.

The Commission is of the opinion that these measures undermine the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges, and thereby Poland fails to fulfil its obligations under Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

While the Polish Supreme Court law has already been discussed in the Rule of Law dialogue between the Commission and the Polish authorities, it has not been satisfactorily addressed through this process. The Commission believes that the introduction of a consultation of the National Council for the Judiciary (NCJ) does not constitute an effective safeguard, as argued by the Polish authorities. The NCJ’s opinion is not binding and is based on vague criteria. Moreover, following the reform of 8 December 2017, the NCJ is now composed of judges-members appointed by the Polish Parliament – which is not in line with European standards on judicial independence.

Given the lack of progress through the Rule of Law dialogue, and the imminent implementation of the new retirement regime for Supreme Court judges, the Commission decided to launch this infringement procedure as a matter of urgency. The Polish government will have one month to reply to the Commission’s Letter of Formal Notice. At the same time, the Commission stands ready to continue the ongoing rule of law dialogue with Poland, which remains the Commission’s preferred channel for resolving the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.

The rule of law is one of the common values upon which the European Union is founded. It is enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union. The European Commission, together with the European Parliament and the Council, is responsible under the Treaties for guaranteeing the respect of the rule of law as a fundamental value of our Union and making sure that EU law, values and principles are respected.

Events in Poland led the European Commission to open a dialogue with the Polish Government in January 2016 under the Rule of Law Framework. The Commission keeps the European Parliament and Council regularly and closely informed.

On 29 July 2017* the Commission launched an infringement procedure on the Polish Law on Ordinary Courts, also on the grounds of its retirement previsions and their impact on the independence of the judiciary. The Commission referred this case to the Court of Justice on 20 December 2017.

Also on 20 December 2017, the Commission invoked the Article 7(1) procedure for the first time, by submitting a Reasoned Proposal for a Decision of the Council on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law by Poland[1].

At the General Affairs Council hearing on Poland on 26 June, in the context of the Article 7(1) procedure, no indication was given by the Polish authorities of forthcoming measures to address the Commission’s outstanding concerns. The College of Commissioners therefore decided on 27 June 2018 to empower First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to launch this infringement procedure. The Commission stands ready to continue the ongoing rule of law dialogue with Poland, which remains the Commission’s preferred channel for resolving the systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland.

Plan International and BØRNEfonden to merge

Governance – INGO Merger

Plan International and BØRNEfonden to merge
2 July 2018

Leading Danish development organisation BØRNEfonden has merged with global child rights and humanitarian organisation Plan International to deliver greater impact for millions of vulnerable children and young people in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The merger means that BØRNEfonden’s operations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo will be integrated with Plan International’s current programmes in these four countries.

“By joining forces, we can do much more to champion child rights, equality between girls and boys and the development of strong, resilient communities for the most marginalised children and youth in some of the most disadvantaged regions in the world,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International.

Delivering greater impact for children
Plan International is one of the world’s largest development and humanitarian organisations advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. The organisation is active in more than 70 countries and has an annual turnover of more than €850 million.

Plan International has worked in West Africa for over 40 years with major programmes in education, health, household economic security, water and sanitation, and child rights promotion. The organisation has a collective annual budget of over €60 million in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo with over 450 staff.

BØRNEfonden has been working in these four countries for over four decades, focusing on children’s health and education, as well as employability, entrepreneurship and empowerment of youth. Every year BØRNEfonden benefits three million people, enabling them to build a better future. BØRNEfonden’s merger will add over 45,000 sponsored children and 471 staff to Plan International’s operations…

Delivering quality health services: A global imperative for universal health coverage :: WHO – OECD – World Bank

Health – Quality Health Services

Delivering quality health services: A global imperative for universal health coverage
WHO – OECD – World Bank
July 2018 :: 100 pages
ISBN: 978-92-4-151390-6

This document describes the essential role of quality in the delivery of health care services. As nations commit to achieving universal health coverage by 2030, there is a growing acknowledgement that optimal health care cannot be delivered by simply ensuring coexistence of infrastructure, medical supplies and health care providers. Improvement in health care delivery requires a deliberate focus on quality of health services, which involves providing effective, safe, people-centred care that is timely, equitable, integrated and efficient. Quality of care is the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.

News Release
Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally
5 July 2018
Poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, according to a new joint report by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.

Today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise prevail in all countries.

The situation is worst in low and middle-income countries where 10 percent of hospitalized patients can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to seven percent in high income countries. This is despite hospital acquired infections being easily avoided through better hygiene, improved infection control practices and appropriate use of antimicrobials.. At the same time, one in ten patients is harmed during medical treatment in high income countries.

These are just some of the highlights from Delivering Quality Health Services – a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage. The report also highlights that sickness associated with poor quality health care imposes additional expenditure on families and health systems…

Other key findings in the report paint a picture of quality issues in healthcare around the world:

:: Health care workers in seven low- and middle-income African countries were only able to make accurate diagnoses one third to three quarters of the time, and clinical guidelines for common conditions were followed less than 45 percent of the time on average.

:: Research in eight high-mortality countries in the Caribbean and Africa found that effective, quality maternal and child health services are far less prevalent than suggested by just looking at access to services. For example, just 28 percent of antenatal care, 26 percent of family planning services and 21 percent of sick-child care across these countries qualified as ‘effective.’

:: Around 15 percent of hospital expenditure in high-income countries is due to mistakes in care or patients being infected while in hospitals.