HOTLINE - week of August 22, 2011

CWS staff give voice to those in need at global event; Sand dams prove integral in Africa drought relief; CWS applauds administration move to limit deportation proceedings; CWS honors World Humanitarian Day 2011

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Women carry rocks to build a sand dam in Kibauni, Kenya. Church World Service and its partners are helping drought-stricken communities build sand dams, which hold water in the sandy beds of seasonal streams.
Photo: George Arende

CWS staff give voice to those in need at global event

STOCKHOLM--As experts gather from around the world for the Stockholm International Water Institute’s 2011 World Water Week, CWS staff from the agency’s Africa office and New York headquarters will represent development work from CWS programs around the globe. Under the theme, “Responding to Global Changes--Water in an Urbanizing World,” CWS Africa water expert Mary Obiero will bring timely insight as Africa’s drought deepens. The U.N. reports more than 12 million are affected by the worst drought to grip Africa in six decades.

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Sand dams prove integral in Africa drought relief

In response to the dynamic level of need, Church World Service has stepped up its Africa drought response to provide relief. Even as millions bear the effects of the drought, the ancient technology of sand dams has proven infallible. Communications officer Tim Shenk reports from Kenya, where a community of mostly women joined to build a sand dam in the hopes it can provide an ongoing source of water.  Dating back to the Roman Empire, sand dams trap groundwater underneath a thick layer of sand, accessible by a shallow well.

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CWS applauds administration move to limit deportation proceedings

Church World Service applauds the Obama administration’s announcement Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to United States national security or public safety, and instead would exercise prosecutorial discretion to focus enforcement efforts on cases involving criminals.

“This is a big and important step toward fair, humane, common sense reform of our nation’s broken immigration system, said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS immigration and refugee program.

“President Obama’s decision puts national resources to the important goal of ensuring the security of our communities and stops wasting those precious resources on arresting, detaining and deporting low-priority cases, including individuals who were brought to this country as young children and know no other home,” Kekic said.

The administration’s directive and new guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security echo in part the intention of proposed DREAM Act legislation, which would give young undocumented immigrants who are attending college or serving in the military an opportunity to work legally and attain legal status.

“We look forward to working with the Obama Administration on and holding it accountable for implementation of the new policy and with Congress on further reform,” Kekic said.

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CWS honors World Humanitarian Day 2011

An agency of more than 1,000 employees around the world, CWS took the chance to pay tribute to the men and women who make its international relief and development work possible.  Staff from around the world answered two questions about their work, with their answers and photos are featured on a special web page.

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