“It depends what you want,” responded Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners representing over 50,000 GPs, when speaking at the Temple of Peace on 9 April at an event sponsored by WCIA and the Learned Society of Wales as part of a series of lectures celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Professor Stokes-Lampard advocated the value for money in building capacity at primary health care level when it comes to reducing mortality. She used the illustration of a three-legged stool: primary, secondary and social care have to be in balance. Any stress or lack in one part affects the whole system.
The “inverse Care Law,” first coined in 1970s, holds for today: the need for health care is inversely proportionate to the quality provided. That is, poor people need good health care but in general poor quality is provided. Adding market forces to health care provision makes this worse. Prof Stokes Lampard also used illustrations of the type of funding mixes used by different countries because none, not even the NHS, uses public funding alone – all use some kind of top up in the form of fees. The greatest inequalities are in private insurance health care which lead to the denial of health care provision to the most vulnerable.
Linnet Mesuoh, Year 2 medial students described the lecture as “Very interesting and insightful.”
By Morgane Dirion
Disclaimer: The blogs on this site are written by our volunteers and guest writers. They do not reflect the views of the WCIA. We hope that sharing a range of views will encourage discussion and debate. Please get in touch if you wish to contribute a blog. Blogs are published in the language the volunteer has chosen to write in (whether that is Welsh or English) and we welcome submissions in both languages.
GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE: STUDENTS ARE SKIPPING SCHOOL TO SAVE THEIR FUTURE
What we stand for is what we stand on, read their signs. When 300 000 German students, 10 000 Londoners, 150 000 Montrealians or thousands in Chile, Colombia, Croatia and South Africa marched down their streets on 15th March to protest against the inaction of their governments regarding the current climate crisis, it was clear they were standing up.
It was clear that the 1.4 million young people that skipped school in the 123 countries were united to make sure that, as the kids were shouting, our future won’t burn. They decided to make a change. They were not ready to give up on their future and they proved it by managing to form one of the largest environmental protests in history.Image by Robert Melen
“The climate strike is a wake-up call to our own generation. And it is the start of a network that will solve the greatest challenge in human history,” reads the Climate Strike Facebook page. And that is the goal of the movement, inspired by the 16 year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who first skipped school in August 2018 to strike in front of the Swedish Parliament building. Yesterday she was a student skipping school every Friday, today she is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg is the face of this new Green Revolution we are witnessing today.
This Earth Strike, as the 15th March protest was called, already took place on 15th February when, for instance, more than 10 000 students across the UK went on strike. Hoping another action a month later would make the movement grow and reach out even more globally, they decided to repeat the experience on 15 March. And it worked. In Wales, for instance, only Cardiff went on strike in February. In the March protest, other cities decided to follow its lead such as Aberystwyth and Swansea.
In the UK, Fridays4Future became the Youth Strike 4 Climate, hosted by UK Student Climate Network. This is a student-led organization for those under 18 funded only by donors and volunteers. The demands are as follows :
A third march is planned on 12th April. If you want to make a difference, find out more about the event on facebook here and make sure to bring your sign and march down your streets this friday!
Featured image of ‘This turtle against climate change – Melbourne rally for Climate Action’ by Takver: https://bit.ly/2FXQpos
Our award winning MockCOP programme is growing from strength to strength.
Events are being held across Wales, culminating with a final event at the Senedd in Cardiff in November this year.
The expansion of the programme has been made possible by the kind support of the ScottishPower Foundation.
What is MockCOP?
Size of Wales and WCIA have been running MockCOP since 2015. MockCOP is an event modelled on the UN’s Conference of the Parties (COP) where representatives from all countries meet to negotiate resolutions to tackle climate change. Groups of 3 students aged 14-18 years old from across Wales are each given a nation to represent. They research and prepare their position, then represent their allocated nation presenting their case, aiming to negotiate an agreement with the other nations.
In 2018, the programme was voted Highly Commended in the Sustainability Academy Wales Awards. MockCOP has gone from strength to strength, as in September 2019, the programme was awarded the Education Partnership Award at the Scottish Power Foundation Awards.
How is the programme expanding?
Previously, there has only been one event each year, held in Cardiff. Now, thanks to the support of the ScottishPower Foundation, there will be several of regional MockCOP events across Wales, culminating in a final event in Cardiff in the Debating Chamber of National Assembly, Wales.
“We are delighted to be running a much bigger version of our MockCOP programme this year in partnership with WCIA and with the kind support of the ScottishPower Foundation. The programme provides young people with the opportunity to step into the shoes of other nations, think about climate change from multiple perspectives as well as develop their public speaking and debating skills.” Size of Wales Director, Elspeth Jones said.
As part of the programme Size of Wales will be looking to develop and support young climate change champions across Wales.
Ann McKechin, Trustee and Executive Officer of the ScottishPower Foundation said: “The next generation are leading the fight against climate change throughout our country. That is why the Foundation is pleased to support this exciting programme that brings young people together from all parts of Wales to debate on how to meet the challenges that will impact on their future while understanding different perspectives from around the globe.”
How can schools get involved?
The regional events will run in July and September 2019. Click here to see the list of dates and events and to register your schools’ participation. More regional dates will be announced. The final will be held in Cardiff in November. We are aiming to work with 80 secondary schools and nearly 250 pupils will participate with the programme this year. All events are free to join.
WCIA’s CEO, Susie Ventris-Field said: “Mock COP is a fantastic opportunity that builds learners’ skills, knowledge and confidence so they can act on the crucial topic of climate change, and this funding means we can reach more young people across Wales. As well as aligning fantastically with the new curriculum in developing ethical informed citizens, it is also very timely as young people strike to persuade our leaders to address climate change.”
By Aphrael Spindloe
Hisham Al-Omeisy: A discussion on the Yemen Crisis
On the 22nd March, I was lucky enough to meet political analysist and Yemen consultant Hisham Al-Omeisy; a man who has been critical of both sides in the Yemen Civil war and has spent more than 150 days in captivity due to his criticism of the Houthi movement in the North of Yemen. I cannot begin to describe how in awe I was listening to him speak after the ordeal he has been through and the kind of horrors he has experienced in Yemen. He was so wise and knowledgeable not just of the situation in Yemen but the international situation as well. He is aware of the difficulties there can be for international organisations to attempt to help, however he also points out (and rightly so) that there plenty more that international organisations can do, and the UK has a big part to play in the peace process.
A point he made that struck me as significant was Hisham explaining the people of Yemen are not naïve. In Yemen they are trying to learn politics so as to encourage not only peace but also to appeal to politicians in places like the UK. By doing this the Yemeni people are hoping countries will hold Saudi Arabia accountable as well as to stop selling Saudi Arabia weapons which end up bombing innocent people. For example, insisting on protocols to check new intelligence before bombing. Hisham spoke of an orphanage being blown up near where he lived and schools being blown up to prevent the children being used as child soldiers. I think it’s easy to see how wrong this all is and why the UK must intervene.
It was also discussed about the United Nations constantly pumping aid into Yemen, which is positive but does not deal with the actual issue. Hisham encourages the UN to create a sustainability plan in order to build Yemen into a more democratic and peaceful country. He also explained how ‘Elites don’t understand what we’re going through’, explaining how important it is for politicians to include more people at the decision table; especially as many southern groups in the conflict are excluded in the political processes in Yemen. Even within the two main groups in the conflict there are a variety of factions which will all want to be included in any peace deal. It was noted that this has been known for years and some in the discussion argued this should have been happening all along. However, it is not all black and white. In a conflict zone implementing a sustainability plan can be impossible if areas are cut off by hostilities or destroyed infrastructure. Also if some sustainable work is carried out whilst conflict is still raging, it is uncertain the work done will even survive until the conflict has ended.
Hisham has come to the United Kingdom in an attempt to encourage the people of this country to put in more effort to help the people in Yemen. As the official penholder of the Yemini peace process, the UK has an important part to play in helping Yemen and stopping the conflict. During his visit he has already met with representatives from Ministry of Defence and he also spoke of his opinion on Jeremy Hunt (the UK foreign minister) and his involvement in the process. Hisham believes that Mr Hunt is actually better than UN envoys involved because he is more forceful, in part because he requires a political win at this moment. Arguably, having the United Kingdom as penholders in positive because it means the is more pressure to end the conflict as soon as possible. Otherwise its credibility in international relations will decline even further. Therefor hopefully if the UK can take on board what Hisham has recommended, the it can be more part of the solution than the problem in Yemen.
Hisham Al-Omeisy, political analyst and human rights activist from Yemen, called on all concerned for peace and human rights in the Yemen to put pressure on the UK Government to take a decisive lead in bringing the various parties to the table. He was speaking to a large diverse group at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff at an event on 22nd March 2019 arranged by Cymdeithas y Cymod, the Fellowship of Reconciliation Wales.
Hisham, was critical of both warring factions in the Yemen conflict that has claimed the lives of an estimated 56,000 people . The current attempts at mediation focus on two groups, ignoring the fact that neither is homogenous, with factions within them, and this also excludes groups from the south of the country who are not directly involved. The UK Foreign Secretary should use his position to not only call the protagonists to negotiations, but also hold Saudi Arabia to account for its role in the deaths of civilians in bombing raids on the Yemen. He was critical of the lack of progress made by the United Nations in Yemen. Whilst praising the actions of some international aid agencies he expressed concern that a priority should be establishing aid corridors to reach all parts of the country and creating plans for a sustainable future.
Hisham Al-Omeisy spent 5 months in solitary confinement in Yemen for his criticism, especially of the Houthi forces in the North. He thanked activists with Amnesty International and other human rights groups for the pressure they brought, ensuring his release.
A Yemeni woman from Cardiff in the audience thanked everyone who attended, saying,” It is encouraging that so many people care about the Yemen.”
Here is a blog article about Hisham Al-Omeisy’s talk at the WCIA for more on the Yemen conflict.
The exciting range of debates at the Wales Schools Debating Championships included feminism, genetically modified babies, the role of social deprivation in causing crime, banning child performers and charging people for treatment for health issues caused by lifestyle choices. Talented students from five schools competed for the individual speaker and the team Championships.
The team competition was won by Dagmawi Yosief and Restam Ehmo Agha from Howells Schools with Sophia Wallo and Gethin Jones from Coleg Menai as runners up. Both teams came through very tough semi- finals in the morning when teams form Cardiff Sixth Form College and Ysgol Dyffyn Aman put up very strong performances.
Arianne Banks, who won the individual speaker competition said, “I have really enjoyed speaking in the Council Chamber at the Temple of Peace. Debating has given me life skills which will be valuable in the future.”
All the participants enjoy the competitive element to this style of debating, although member of the winning team Dag said, “It is stressful and I often think after a competition, that’s my last, and then I come back for more.”
WCIA , with long standing funding support from the Hodge Foundation, has run the competition for many years. The aim is to make these opportunities available to as many schools as possible. Next year’s debating training and competition dates will be available soon.
You can watch the debating final video here