Yemin, Burkina Faso and Kenya

First, the bad news.

Foreign Affairs has a collection of photos showing the destruction of what was once Yemen’s cultural center, Taiz.

Yemen, as I wrote about in September, was already the poorest country in the Middle East. Then in March, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab forces began attacking Shiite rebels there, and things went from bad to worse.

Michelle Ghabrial’s photos from Taiz show just how bad worse can be: Bombed out buildings, streets of rubble, and a city overflowing with trash because of the blockade that kept out food, medicine and fuel, including fuel for the garbage trucks.

The Yemeni Swedish Hospital for Children is now a shattered hulk.

It’s easy to forget the horrors of war; these photographs are a stark reminder.

Changing the outcomes

Catholic Relief Services, meanwhile, has a stark reminder of the long-term cost of hunger.

Reporting from Burkina Faso, a western Africa country sandwiched between Ghana and Mali, they explain that nearly one-third of the children there suffer from a form of malnutrition called stunting.

“Because they didn’t get enough nutritious foods in the womb and through their first 2 years of life, they are more prone to disease, poor school performance and difficulty when they enter the world of work,” they write.

Through its Families Achieving Sustainable Outcomes, or FASO, (funded by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace), CRS uses care groups led by local women in each village to reach out to pregnant women and new mothers, promoting exclusive breastfeeding, demonstrating proper nutrition for infants and promoting better access to health care for pregnant mothers and children under 2.

The effort seems to be paying off.

“I pleasantly noticed that since birth, my child, who is more than 6 months old, has been sick once and it was not a big deal. I concluded that this is due to exclusive breastfeeding. As the baby can eat now, I introduced the enriched infant porridge. Compared to other children, my baby has grown up well and looks good. I’m happy,” says Téné Sawadogo, a mother who participates in the FASO program in Boulsa health district.

Those in the program say the methods are being adopted by participants, mainly because they simply did not know any better before and can see the results of better nutrition and health care in their children.

CRS is also improving access to safe drinking water and addressing community sanitation, which play an important role in ensuring good nutrition and reducing diarrhea and infections.

Spotlight on work up for award

And finally, some good news.

A documentary on the work of an Irish missionary sister supporting people with HIV/AIDS has been nominated for the Kenyan version of the Academy Awards. 

The film, "Nurtured with Love," details the work at the Love and Hope Centre in Nakuru, Kenya, run by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa. The center was founded in 1998 by Irish-born Sr. Patricia Speight.

“We are delighted that our documentary has reached the Kalasha Awards,” Speight told The Irish Catholic. “The video shows how HIV positive adults and children are normal people with the same hopes and dreams as anyone else, so hopefully the awareness it will generate will help to reduce stigma and restore dignity to people living with AIDS or in extreme poverty.”

You can vote for the documentary here through Oct. 24.

Remember, links, tips and accounts of the response to any crisis anywhere in the world are always welcome at dstockman@ncronline.org.

[Dan Stockman is national correspondent for Global Sisters Report. Follow him on Twitter @DanStockman or on Facebook.]

Celebrating Award-Winning Content: GSR recently earned seven awards for editorial excellence from the Associated Church Press.