Malawi : African youth takes stand at first ever WCC Eco-School

“It is imperative for churches to invest in the youth of Africa so they can take leadership in addressing these issues in the timeframe of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”, said Prof. Dr Isabel Phiri, World Council of Churches (WCC) deputy general secretary for Diakonia and Public Witness as she spoke to young people attending the first-ever WCC Eco-School in Blantyre, Malawi.

The “Eco-School on Water, Food, Health and Climate Justice,” a 10-day capacity building workshop held from 24 July – 3 August was co-organized by two WCC initiatives, the Ecumenical Water Network and Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.

Vulnerable communities in Africa are some of the most affected by climate change, often suffering disproportionately from lack of food and water as well as illness.

It is vital for all of us to see these challenges through the lenses of justice and human dignity, but perhaps most vital is for the youth of Africa to lead the way toward a future in which all people can lead full lives.

The Eco-School reflects the WCC’s commitment to helping youth fulfill a defining role in building resilient and transformative communities.

Thirty young people from 16 countries gathered for comprehensive and intensive study involving inputs from various disciplines, experiential learning, community interactions and field visits.

Fourteen experts and faculty members representing 10 different countries, including WCC staff, guided the school, which was hosted by the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian – Blantyre Synod, at its Grace Bandawe Conference Centre, which provided a lively campus setting. Young people had the opportunity to study and reflect on local, regional, and international manifestations and causes of the water crisis, food insecurity, health challenges and the impacts of climate change.

The eco-school’s commitment to including spiritual life deepened the students’ understanding of ecological issues, with particular emphasis on climate change, water, food and health, in the context of their faith and profoundly influenced the proceedings and deliberations.

Apart from participating in Bible studies, the students offered devotions and prayers focusing and reaffirming their studies. Students also preached on eco-justice in three Blantyre congregations.

Participants were given certificates of recognition for successfully completing the course.

Distributed by APO on behalf of World Council of Churches (WCC).

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Ethiopia, Kenya : U.S. Announces $169 Million in New Humanitarian Assistance

U.S. Announces $169 Million in New Humanitarian Assistance for Ethiopia and Kenya

Today the United States announced more than $169 million in humanitarian assistance to support those in Ethiopia and Kenya who are experiencing the effects of prolonged severe drought. This additional funding, including nearly $137 million in Ethiopia and nearly $33 million in Kenya, brings the total U.S. humanitarian contribution in Ethiopia and Kenya to more than $458 million in Fiscal Year 2017.

With this new funding, the United States is scaling up emergency food assistance, while providing specialized nutrition supplies to treat malnourished children, and also furnishing safe drinking water and essential health services. In Ethiopia, this assistance includes a contribution of more than 111,000 metric tons of relief food aid for approximately three million people. In Kenya, the United States is also providing support for refugees who have fled drought and conflict in their own countries, in addition to Kenyans affected by the drought.

This additional aid comes at a critical moment. An estimated 7.8 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance throughout Ethiopia, where the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) signals that, without immediate and sustained assistance, food insecurity could reach catastrophic levels for some families in the worst-affected areas. In addition to severe hunger, acute watery diarrhea is spreading in drought-affected regions, which presents a deadly triple threat of hunger, malnutrition, and dehydration, in addition to the displacement of affected populations. Humanitarian needs are also growing in Kenya, where an estimated 2.6 million people are acutely food-insecure, and malnutrition is on the rise as drought conditions persist.

The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya, and the largest single humanitarian donor in the world. We strongly encourage additional contributions from the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya, and other humanitarian donors, to address the growing needs of people affected by this drought.

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Kenya : Joint Statement by EU Heads of Mission on the August 8th General Elections

Joint Statement by Heads of Mission in Kenya on the August 8th General Elections

On August 8, Kenyans will exercise one of their most important democratic rights and select their leaders. As international partners, we encourage Kenyans to look beyond their differences to come together to ensure free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections. A successful poll will secure the extraordinary promise of the 2010 Constitution, strengthen democracy, and advance prosperity for all Kenyans.

As fellow democracies, we believe democracy is the best form of government, but we know too that it requires determination and commitment. In our experience, successful elections require everyone from all parts of society to work together.

We commend the IEBC for its preparations for the elections. We urge all Kenyans to give the IEBC the space to fulfil its vital role. It is essential that IEBC staff be safe from harassment or attack, and we welcome the Government of Kenya’s commitment to provide them with additional security.

Leaders and politicians have a responsibility to reject violence and hate speech, and to urge their followers to do the same. Candidates running for office, whether they win or lose, should be prepared to welcome the decision of the people with grace and humility. All sides should respect judicial independence and be prepared to resolve any disputes over the polls peacefully through the courts and not violently in the streets.

We urge all registered Kenyans to vote on Election Day. Everyone should feel and be safe, under the protection of security services that guard citizens’ rights and remain politically neutral. Political competition should never turn into bloodshed, and no one should die because of an election.

Effective democracies depend not just on government agencies, but also on a free media and an active civil society. It is important they have the freedom to carry out their roles of informing the public, promoting transparency, and debunking and rejecting false or inflammatory reports.

As partners, we do not support any particular candidate or party. Rather, we support the democratic process and Kenyans’ right to choose their representatives and their future. The choice of Kenya’s next leaders belongs to Kenyans alone.

The August 8 elections are an opportunity for Kenya to build a remarkable future, inspire Africa, expand freedom, and strengthen national unity. We stand with all Kenyans working for credible and peaceful elections.

Signed by the following Heads of Mission in Kenya:
Stefano A. Dejak
Ambassador of the European Union

Robert F. Godec
Ambassador of the United States

Johan Borgstam
Ambassador of Sweden

Antoine Sivan
Ambassador of France

Mette Knudsen
Ambassador of Denmark

Ralf Heckner
Ambassador of Switzerland

Jutta Frasch
Ambassador of Germany

Dr. Harald Günther
Ambassador of Austria

Javier García de Viedma Bernaldo de Quirós
Ambassador of Spain

Pavel Rezac
Ambassador of the Czech Republic

Sergiusz Wolkski
Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Poland

Nic Hailey
High Commissioner for the United Kingdom

Victor Conrad Rønneberg
Ambassador of Norway

Frans Makken
Ambassador of the Netherlands

John Feakes
High Commissioner for Australia

Tarja Fernández
Ambassador of Finland

Sara Hradecky
High Commissioner for Canada

Mauro Massoni
Ambassador of Italy

Julia Pataki
Ambassador of Romania

Dr. Vincent O’Neill
Ambassador of Ireland

Luisa Fragoso
Chargé d’Affaires of Portugal

Hilde Van Inthoudt
Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Belgium

Distributed by APO on behalf of EU Delegation to Kenya.

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Beer We Go! Four Points Best Brews Around the World Brew Off Kicks Off International Beer Day

POINT 1: Four Points, a booming Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) ( hotel brand known for its love of beer, is embarking upon a global trip discovering the world’s Best Brews. The journey kicks off at the new Four Points Manhattan Midtown West on the eve of International Beer Day and will continue across the globe before culminating at the Four Points Barcelona Diagonal in October.

POINT 2: Four Points’ Best Brews Around the World celebrates the brand’s signature initiative, a dedicated program in which each of the brand’s 225+ hotels around the world showcases a local, craft beer which has been chosen based on taste, popularity, quality and proximity to the property. A Best Brew is available on tap at each Four Points, offering travelers an authentic taste of local beer culture wherever their travels may take them.

To add further authenticity and credibility to the Best Brews program, Four Points is enrolling select associates at each “Best Brews Around the World Brew Off” hotel in the globally recognized Cicerone Certification Program. This program is highly regarded in the food and beverage industry and is instrumental with the development of expert beer servers. Each of the selected Four Points associates will train and complete the first of four levels of the Cicerone Certification Program, becoming a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and on-property beer aficionado.

POINT 3: At each stop during the Best Brews Around the World tour, two beers from local craft breweries will go “head to head” (pun intended) for bragging rights and to claim the winning spot as the hotel’s newest Best Brew. The beers will be presented by the breweries and judged by the crowd, comprised of local beer lovers, each hotel’s newly certified Cicerone, and hotel guests. Every “Best Brew Off” competition will be hosted by an influential “beer expert” who will help educate the crowd and cast the final vote. At tonight’s kickoff event at Four Points Midtown Manhattan West (, Peekskill Brewery and LIC Beer Project will square off. The evening will be hosted by Bella of “One Hoppy Lady” (

The remaining stops on the tour include:

POINT 4: “Four Points has a love for locally crafted beers, which is why we’re traveling to the far corners of the globe to discover the best brews the world has to offer,” said Callette Nielsen, vice president, global brand manager for Four Points. “We know the perfect pint has universal appeal, which is why we’re celebrating International Beer Day with the launch of our ‘Best Brews Around the World.’ From Manhattan to Barcelona and Melbourne to Nairobi, we are taking our love of beer on the road. We invite local beer lovers and thirsty travelers to join us as we discover new Best Brews.”

For more information on Best Brews, click here (

Distributed by APO on behalf of Marriott International, Inc..

Media contact:
Anna Patrick | THINK PR

About Four Points Travel reinvented. With more than 225 Four Points hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., can be found in nearly 40 countries and territories, travelers can find the timeless style and comfort they’re looking for with genuine service and everything that matters most, all around the world. Four Points hotels can be found in big urban centers, by the airport, near the beach, and in the suburbs. Each hotel offers a familiar place with an authentic sense of the local, and friendly genuine service where guests can relax and unwind, watch local sports, and enjoy the brand’s Best Brews and BBQ™ program. Four Points is proud to participate in the industry’s award-winning loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest®. Members can now link accounts with Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® at for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer. To learn more, visit us online and stay connected to Four Points on Facebook.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,000 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 122 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit Connect with us on Facebook ( and @MarriottIntl on Twitter ( and Instagram (

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