Jaron Vogelsang Jaron Vogelsang Program Officer, Africa

Jaron Vogelsang is a program officer in the grants department and manages AJWS's grants in Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana. Prior to working for AJWS, Jaron lived in Kenya for nearly 5 years where he worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer and later managed the field staff for a refugee resettlement program. He is equally comfortable living in New York as he is living in a one room hut with no electricty or running water.

Posts by Jaron:

Let’s Not Discount Kenya’s Grassroots Groups in Promoting a Peaceful Election

Six years after violence and conflict marked Kenyan elections in 2007, millions of Kenyans will travel to the polls to elect their new leaders in early March. This is a pivotal moment in Kenyan history following the peaceful ratification of Kenya’s new progressive constitution in 2010. Each moment in Kenyan history is unique, and we must not allow our views of the prospects for the 2013 election to be overly determined by the violence of 2007.

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Ikal Angelei, Director of AJWS Grantee in Kenya, Wins the Goldman Prize!

Ikal Angelei, director of AJWS grantee Friends of Lake Turkana

It brings me great pleasure to share that Ikal Angelei, director of AJWS grantee Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya is one of the winners of the 2012 Goldman Prize! She was awarded this prestigious prize for risking her life fighting the construction of the massive Gibe 3 Dam that would block access to water for indigenous communities around Lake Turkana. The Goldman Prize annually honors grassroots environmental heroes from Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Read More »

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The Famine in East Africa Rages On and Community-Based Organizations Still Need Our Support

The ongoing famine and food crisis in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia has fallen out of the headlines. But it continues to have devastating effects on communities. The international community is still responding to the crisis, but resources are limited.  Most relief efforts are focusing on the regions of Somalia where the famine has resulted in a rising death toll and a refugee crisis. Read More »

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Remembering Wangari Maathai: Renowned Environmentalist, Human Rights Activist and Winner of a Nobel Peace Prize

Wangari Maathai

I was very saddened to read about the death of Wangari Maathai yesterday, just a few days after I returned from spending several weeks with AJWS’s partners in Kenya and Ethiopia. Maathai was a world renowned environmentalist, the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a political and human rights activist, and the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was also a huge inspiration to many of AJWS’s partners in Africa working not only on environmental and natural resource rights issues, but also with youth, women, girls, and LGBTI people. Read More »

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Kenyans 4 Kenya: Charity Starts at Home

Last week, I wrote about the horrors of the ongoing drought and famine crisis in East Africa and what AJWS is doing to respond. As the crisis continues to unfold, we are hearing more and more about the perils faced by Somalis and Kenyans fleeing the famine. Today, however, instead of writing about the number of children who have died from the crisis or stories of women who have been raped, I want to share a story of hope.

Shortly after the crisis began, several Kenyan corporations joined forces to form the Kenyans 4 Kenya campaign. In addition to raising over $3.5 million from Kenyan companies, the initiative has also managed to raise nearly $2.5 million from Kenyan citizens. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the campaign will be given to the Kenya Red Cross to support drought-affected communities in north eastern Kenya.

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What’s Happening in East Africa and How You Can Help

There is no denying the severity of the crisis in East Africa right now. We’ve read the headlines and seen horrifying photos of starving children. The situation is getting worse every day. Two days ago, the United Nations declared a famine in three more areas of Somalia. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that nearly 30,000 children under the age of five have died because of the crisis. By September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that the whole of Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will be under famine conditions. Read More »

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Refugee Girls Falling Through the Cracks

Originally posted on AidBuzz.

As the world takes some time to reflect on the growing refugee crisis in many parts of the world, I’m taking a minute to think about some of the “lost refugees” who, for most people, are totally invisible. Medecins Sans Frontieres recently published a report that Dadaab Refugee Camp in north eastern Kenya is completely full – and by the end of the year will be home to over 450,000 refugees. These refugees are primarily from Somalia, but also from conflict ridden parts of Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Three Things to Know about Rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo

One rape every minute?! Unbelievable. And that might be underestimating how bad the situation is…

Several weeks ago, the New York Times published a shocking article on the massive prevalence of rape and sexually-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The article cites a new study in the American Journal of Public Health that describes the astounding number of rapes that occur throughout the DRC and speculates that thousands upon thousands cases of rape go unreported every year. Senior UN officials are calling the DRC the “rape capital of the world.”

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The ‘Three Cups of Tea’ Controversy, and Why Increased Accountability is a Good Thing

A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal featured a story about the fallout from the controversy around Greg Mortenson’s memoir Three Cups of Tea. If you haven’t been following the story, CBS’s 60 Minutes did an investigation on Mortenson (a former mountain climber, humanitarian, founder of the Central Asia Institute, and best-selling author) only to find that many of his stories and activities stretch the truth or are outright misrepresentations.

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Fighting a Dam from the Ground Up

“These people want Africa to remain as it currently is with all its misery and poverty… I believe the position taken by such groups is not only irrational but also bordering on the criminal.

If someone were to read this passage from a recent speech given by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the Conference of Hydropower for Sustainable Development, one would think that he was talking about foreign governments withholding aid money. Or maybe some neocolonial force that was trying to stop Ethiopia’s economic development. However, he was not referring to foreign governments or neocolonial forces; he was referring to groups like AJWS grantee Friends of Lake Turkana who have been tirelessly advocating against the building of the Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. Read More »

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