WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 6 June 2015

6 June 20156 June 2015


WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


In this week’s Top 10 it’s all about the good news! This week we’re featuring only inspirational stories to lift our spirits and help us to think about how we might work towards change in our own ways. And the best news is that there were many other stories that we could have included here – lots more good news in creating change in our world!


1. At first glance this might not seem like a good news story but it is certainly inspirational. Joan Kirner passed away this week after a long illness. She was the first female head of state in Australia and her passions – community, women, education and equality – characterised her brief time in office. She then went on to form the influential group, Emily’s List. She was certainly an inspiration to many women including, of course, Julia Gillard. In this article, reprinted by The Age, Joan Kirner reflects on her learnngs in life.


2. As World Refugee Day approaches the UNHCR has featured a story from Danish photographer Helena Christensen, who met and photographed Maribeth – a Colombian woman who has been displaced from her home many times. “However Maribeth, like all other refugees and internally displaced people is not defined by her displacement – she describes herself as a mother, a cook and a dancer.”


3. Amnesty International has headed to Bourke in New South Wales (Australia) to feature their new trial strategy to keep Indigenous kids out of detention. It is based on the notion of ‘justice reinvestment’ – “Justice reinvestment works by shifting investment in prisons to investment in communities. It addresses why crimes occur in the first place — building alternative pathways in partnership with community and local agencies, and improving outcomes for low-income children and families.” Now that is inspirational!

4. A new book has been released in Zambia – Extraordinary Zambia – featuring amazing stories and photos of life in Zambia. “In this book we try to unearth and celebrate the lives of the different, the passionate, the inspiring. From a boy drafted out of his village school to fight in the jungles of Burma in World War II to the young filmmaker who made it to Cannes with her first movie, to the elderly man who in his youth fought for and gained independence for his country; each story a thread in the tapestry that makes Zambia the unique place that it is.”

5. Nigeria’s outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed off on a bill that outlaws female genital mutilation after many years of campaigning. Approximately 25% of Nigerian women have undergone the procedure according to UNICEF. But of course much more is still required to ensure that traditional views about women’s inequality are eliminated. Stella Mukasa, Director of Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Centre for Research on Women, has outlined the broader issues we still face.


6. Sweden is leading the world in sex education – it has been compulsory in schools since 1956 and in one particular school in Gnesta, they have an eight week intensive course where there is time for discussion and reflection. Wow! And the result, according to Sally Weale from The Guardian – “The UK birth rate among 15- to 19-year-olds is 19.7 births per 1,000 women, while in Sweden the figure is 5.2 per 1,000.”


7. Rwanda has a history that continues to impact on the present day. So it is all the more important that Rwanda has a future full of promise – and innovation. In this story, from the UNDP Innovation Initiatives students are competing in a Mobile App Competition as well as running workshops on innovation in all areas of business.


8. This weekend sees the 30th anniversary of the Barunga Festival in the Northern Territory. Even if you’re not at the Festival, it’s worth having a look at the amazing program of performers and events – and thinking about making plans for next year!


9. Berlin has become the first German city to initiate a rent cap in an attempt to put the brakes on rent rises that are creating a housing crisis. This law prevents land owners from charging new tenants more than 10% about the local average.


10. A group of asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iran and Bangladesh have had a surfing lesson at Bondi Beach – thanks to Settlement Services International. Despite the cold, they looked like naturals by the end of their first lesson!


Thanks for coming along and we hope you feel inspired by these wonderful stories of change.