In West Africa, two or more successive deaths of infants in the same family leads parents to believe the same soul is returning to them, only to die, be reborn and to die again. Such souls are often called "repeater children". To stop such a useless and vexatious cycle of rebirth and death, the parents sometimes mutilate the recently deceased child. This is to signal to it that it should go away and never come back. Sometimes frail or significantly ill children suspected of being repeater children are given preemptive mutililation to prevent it from dying. The practice has its basis in the belief that children who die have a major responsibility for their deaths.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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