Coronavirus: Hand-washing truck deployed in Costa Rica’s capital | AFP

An NGO in Costa Rica transformed a van into a hand washing station, as part of an effort in conjunction with the local government to limit the spread of COVID-19 and promote sanitary measures.

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Koalas saved from mega-fire released into wild | AFP

Koalas are being released back into the wild in Australia after being saved from a devastating fire earlier this year. The animals were plucked from the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and were being kept in Taronga Zoo. Among the bears released was a new joey named Karlie. ‘We’re hoping that she and the other koalas we’re putting back can tell us more about how koalas use the landscape after fire and help us plan for population recovery,’ said Dr. Kellie Leigh, Executive Director of wildlife NGO, Science for Wildlife.

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Wild elephant rescued from muddy pond in Cambodia | AFP

Cambodian authorities and local villagers rescue a male wild elephant trapped in a muddy pond in the country’s northeastern wildlife sanctuary in Modulkiri province. The elephant had fallen into the pond during the early morning hours on Monday, a spokesman for the environment ministry said. It was rescued in the afternoon. There are about 400 elephants in the wild in Cambodia, and about 50 held in captivity, according to an animal rescue NGO. The demand for animal parts threatens Cambodia’s dwindling elephant population found in the northeast and southeast forests, where illegal logging and deforestation is reducing their habitat.

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Rescued sheep await adoption in Romania after surviving capsize | AFP

180 rams, saved by an NGO following the capsize of a ship, are cared for in an animal shelter near Bucharest while awaiting adoption. The cargo ship Queen Hind capsized last Sunday as it left the southeastern port of Midia with 14,600 sheep bound for Saudi Arabia. Romania is the third biggest producer of sheep in the European Union and has exported millions in the past two years, in particular to Jordan and Libya.

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China carrying out ‘intense’ global attack on human rights: HRW | AFP

Director of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, says China is carrying out an “intense” global attack on human rights, as the NGO presents its annual report on human rights around the world. SOUNDBITE

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A round up of news and features | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly, an South African NGO is using geolocalising technology to navigate the waterways of a floating slum in Lagos,creating a map they hope will improve the lives of those living here. Then we head to northern Mali, where French forces are working to neutralise the threat of IEDs: improvised explosive devices.

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After fundraiser, NGO buys zoo to “free” animals | AFP

After being bought by an NGO, the Pont-Scorff zoo is set to be transformed into a wildlife rehabilitation centre. Rewild, a coalition of seven associations, collected €650,000 in a fundraiser and has until 31 May to gather necessary funds for the purchase.

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Seawolves: a lifetime dedicated to ocean conservation | AFP

In the remote South Atlantic Ocean, scientists, divers and activists brave dangerous conditions in search of an underwater mountain. The unique marine life here is rumoured to be flourishing after an extensive ban on fishing. This Greenpeace research mission is part of its year long pole-to-pole expedition to lobby the UN for an international legally-binding treaty to preserve the oceans. AFP journalists joined the NGO to see the revival of Mount Vema and get to know the men and women who sacrifice life on land for ocean conservation. N°1ML1ZUN°1N82FK

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Food truck ferries meals to Syria’s displaced in northern Idlib | AFP

Relief workers with the Ataa Relief and Development Association, a small NGO registered in Turkey, ferry meals to displaced Syrians in Sarmada, in northern Idlib province.

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On the frontline to protect oceans, scientists scour remote Atlantic seamount | AFP

In the remote South Atlantic ocean scientists, divers and activists brave dangerous conditions in search of an underwater mountain. Its unique marine life is rumoured to be flourishing after an extensive ban on fishing. This Greenpeace research mission is part of its year long pole-to-pole expedition to lobby the UN for an international legally-binding treaty to preserve the oceans. AFP journalists joined the NGO on a nearly two-week trip to see the revival of Mount Vema and get to know the men and women who sacrifice life on land for ocean conservation.

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African NGO maps out the waterways of Lagos’s forgotten slum | AFP

Officially, the floating Lagos slum of Makoko does not exist. It does not appear on any city planning documents or maps. But that is about to change, thanks to a team of local volunteers and South Africa-based NGO Code For Africa. Using geolocalising technology, they navigate the waterways of this floating slum to create a map that they hope will improve the lives of those living here. N°1MN9EVN°1MN9O7

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Richard Gere brings supplies to migrants stranded in the Med | AFP

US actor Richard Gere boards an Open Arms boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea to bring food and water to 121 rescued migrants and to the NGO crew that have been waiting for eight days for a port to dock at.

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Demonstration in Banjul, Gambia against sexual violence | AFP

People in Banjul, Gambia, mobilise to demonstrate against sexual violence after Human Rights Watch reported that former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh ‘handpicked’ women to sexually assault and abuse. The investigation, by HRW and a Swiss NGO, TRIAL international, is based on evidence from several women, eight former Gambian officials and several other witnesses, they said. IMAGES

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French NGO fears EU food aid may decrease after elections

As the European Union readies its budget for 2021 to 2027, French NGO les Restos du Cœur is concerned funding for the homeless may decrease. The charity is heavily dependent on EU aid, with a quarter of meals financed by the union, according to one of the group’s presidents.

Rio’s stray bullets cause innocents to suffer

Parents and friends of Maria Eduarda, a schoolgirl killed two years ago by stray police bullets in Rio de Janeiro, protest in front of the governor’s office. According to Rio de Paz, the NGO that organized the protest, 54 children under the age of 14 have been killed by stray bullets in Rio since 2007.

100 whales captured in Russia for aquariums

Dozens of orcas and beluga whales captured last summer for use in oceanariums have brought Russia’s murky trade to the spotlight. Russia is the only country where killer whales and beluga whales can be caught in the ocean for “education” purposes. The legal loophole has been used to export the animals abroad, especially to satisfy a demand in China’s growing network of ocean theme parks. Greenpeace has proposed to the Russian authorities to let the NGO provide “technical assistance” to the animals so they can survive until their release.

Malnutrition, one of the saddest faces of the Venezuelan crisis

Samuel, who is 15 months old, weighs as little as a newborn and was close to death upon admission at Caracas Central Hospital. As Venezuela’s government and opposition quarrel over letting in foreign humanitarian aid, the saddest face of the crisis is indeed that of suffering children – but thanks to a team of medics and a Venezuelan NGO, some young children are on track to a happier health.