Saturday, July 26, 2008

Remember this from October 2006?

I know that people have things to say and there aren't too many places to say them, so there is a place now, but this blog is about Clay and about music. If you want to talk about things you can go to Chexxxy's Place and hash it out. There is only one rule. No bashing Clay.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Want To Know What Love Is - Clay Aiken

Last summer on the final night of his Soft Rock and a Hard Place Tour, there were the usual final night pranks. The singers, musicians and crew traditionally pull some pranks on each other and this tour was no exception.

Ordinarily one of Clay's 2 back-up singers duets with Clay on this song. Each night the backups decide between themselves which one will duet that night and Clay enjoys trying to guess which one it will be. On this final night the 2 girls made it more fun by both choosing to duet and therefore making it an unexpected trio.

Watch the fun these artists have with each other and their incredible ability to ad lib and harmonize their amazing voices. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

UNICEF spotlights forgotten humanitarian crisis in Somalia

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken recently returned from Kenya and Somalia. UNICEF provides children in war-torn nations with health care, education, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. Somalia is one of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world. Clay shares his impressions, frustrations and concerns for the children he met there. This is the first in a series of blog posts he will write about his experiences in these 2 African countries.

Fieldnotes: Blogging on UNICEF's child survival work in the field

Clay Aiken asks:

Where is the outrage?

I recently returned from a UNICEF field visit that took me to northwest Somalia. What I saw there was both amazing and heartbreaking. In many ways, the children I was able to meet are doing better than their counterparts in the rest of Somalia. But in other respects, the situation there is still quite serious.

© US Fund for UNICEF / 2008 / Nick Ysenburg
UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken with children he met on his recent visit to Somalia.

For starters, the lack of a permanent central government has contributed to Somalia's status as one of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world. Decades of civil conflict have shattered social structures and exacerbated poverty.

In such conditions—combined with an extremely arid environment and difficult terrain with settlements scattered over vast distances—a Somali child's chances of surviving to adulthood are among the lowest of children anywhere in the world.

Fortunately, UNICEF is there. It has been on the ground since 1972 and is the humanitarian organization with the largest presence in Somalia.

Since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, UNICEF has continued to provide services to children and women in Somalia.

In Hargeisa, I visited UNICEF-supported schools and hospitals, as well as places girls are able to learn about leadership, get life-skills and play sports. I also visited UNICEF-supported maternal and child health clinics to observe some nutritional feeding and immunization activities. The good news is that these programs are working in the northwest and keeping children alive. The bad news is that one in eight children still dies before his or her fifth birthday in Somalia.

© US Fund for UNICEF / 2008 / Nick Ysenburg

One of the most incredible things I learned on my trip is that there are only 350 doctors left in the entire country, mostly because of the violence and insecurity. And many of these doctors are older than the average life expectancy in Somalia, which is only 45. I can't help but wonder, what is going to happen in a couple of years when there are no more doctors? What will happen to the children who struggle to survive?

What disturbs me most about this terrible situation for children is that most of the world has ignored it. Millions of children live in fear and poverty—where is the outrage?

At least we know something can be done. Help UNICEF save and improve the lives of children in Somalia. Donate online, right now.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken visits Somalia

By Denise Shepherd-Johnson

NAIROBI, Kenya, 2 July 2008 – During a five-day visit to the self-declared republic of Somaliland in north-west Somalia, UNICEF USA Ambassador Clay Aiken was moved by the work that UNICEF is doing under challenging circumstances.

“In a country that’s better known for conflict, insecurity, drought and floods,” said Mr. Aiken, “it’s truly remarkable that UNICEF is still able to make a difference to the health, education and well-being of Somali children.”

Mr. Aiken travelled to Hargeisa, Gabiley and Boroma to see UNICEF-supported projects firsthand – projects that promote child health, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, primary education, child protection and girls’ empowerment.

Somalia is a country in which less than 25 per cent of the population has access to basic health services, and only 29 per cent have access to a safe water source. Fewer than 30 per cent of children attend primary school. It's also a place where almost every girl is circumcised, and it has amongst the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

‘The right to an education’
Playing basketball with girls in the enclosed facility of the Somaliland Cultural and Sports Association (SOCSA), Mr. Aiken saw the opportunity given to females by the UNICEF-supported organization.

“Here, girls are able to learn about leadership and health, acquire life skills and play sports within a safe environment,” he said. “Even the youngest girls that I’ve met at SOCSA impressed me with how confident and articulate they are as a result of this project.”

At a camp for 1,500 displaced families in Hargeisa, Mr. Aiken met Abduraman, 11, who helps to support his five siblings and blind mother by working each morning to collect stones. He uses his earnings to pay for school, which he attends in the afternoon.

“Somalia has some of the lowest enrolment rates in the world, but every child has the right to an education,” said Mr. Aiken. “UNICEF is working to help ensure that even working children get to go to school.” UNICEF has also provided the camp with child protection monitors, teacher training and school materials.

Providing for basic needs
In Boroma, Mr. Aiken saw how the town’s water system is functioning with UNICEF’s support. Under a public-private partnership, the system provides safe water to 95 per cent of the town’s population including schools and hospitals.

Mr. Aiken also visited maternal and child health clinics to see nutritional feeding and immunization activities along with projects supporting children with disabilities, the eradication of female genital mutilation/cutting and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

“Somali families want the best for their children and people really want to help bring about change,” he said. “Fortunately, UNICEF has always been there and continues to provide the support needed to make a difference.”