The Human Impact

Man’s world: poll highlights best and worst G20 countries for women

When heads of state from the Group of 20 most industrialised nations gather for their annual summit in Mexico next week, there’ll be four women in the family photograph.

Take a look at national parliaments and corporate boardrooms across much of the G20 and the male-to-female ratio doesn’t get much better – and in some cases it’s a lot worse.

Yes, women’s rights have come far in past decades but the statistics show we still live in a man’s world.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in countries like India, where females are killed at birth and burned alive in dowry-related disputes, or in Saudi Arabia, where women are banned from driving and virtually every aspect of their lives is controlled by men.

The widespread practices of infanticide, child marriage and gender-based violence were the main reasons why experts ranked India the worst place in the G20 for women in a perceptions poll published today by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

VIDEO BLOG – “Call me Kuchu”: the lives of LGBTI activists in Uganda

SHEFFIELD, (TrustLaw) – Portraing them not as victims but as fighters. “Call Me Kuchu” is a documentary about the combativeness and positiveness of the lgbti community in uganda, and the progress they’re making in a country where being gay is illegal and an anti-homosexuality bill that could sentence hundreds to death is sitting in parliament for the second time, awaiting approval. Directors Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright followed David Kato- who lost his life to the cause- and a group of Ugandan Lgbti activists from the chaotic streets of Kampala to court rooms and drag queen parties, to let the people on the frontline of this struggle speak.” http://www.vimeo.com/43987683

Uganda school children put chill on teacher truancy

A new hard-hitting advocacy video highlights the success of a project at a Uganda primary school where students monitored the attendance rates of their instructors to try and reduce teacher absenteeism.

Uganda has the worst teacher absenteeism rate in the world, according to Anslem Wandega, a program manager at African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), which oversaw the project with funding from the Results for Development Institute (R4D) in Washington, D.C.

Following the success of the monitoring project in Uganda’s Iganga school district, ANPPCAN intends to use the video to persuade other school districts to take up the project, Courtney Heck, a senior program associate in R4D’s Transparency and Accountability Program, said.

SMS could speed repair of faulty hand pumps in Africa

Hand pumps are a lifeline providing drinking water for many communities in remote, rural parts of Africa, but it is thought that around one third are broken at any given time, putting the health of many at risk.

In an effort to reduce the problem, a group of University of Oxford researchers have turned to mobile phone technology, developing data transmitters to automatically send a text message (SMS) alerting local water officials and engineers when the pumps break down.

Fitted inside the pumps, data transmitters measure the movement of the handle, which in turn give an indication of water usage.

Are Colombians willing to give ex-fighters a second chance?

Over the past decade, a stepped-up government military offensive against Colombia’s two main rebel groups – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) – has prompted growing numbers of guerrilla fighters to desert and lay down their arms.

On average, 10 fighters demobilise every day in Colombia.

Since 2003, nearly 55,000 combatants from illegal armed groups have given up their weapons, including some 30,000 fighters from right-wing paramilitary groups, who disarmed during a peace process with the previous government.

The Colombian government says helping former fighters to return to civilian life is a top priority.

Video makes plea for alleged LRA sex, gender victims in CAR

A short documentary about the alleged atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) shifts the spotlight from Uganda, where the notorious rebel group originated in 2005, onto the plight of women living in remote regions of Central African Republic (CAR).

In “Our Plea: Women and Girls from the Central African Republic Turn to the ICC for Justice”, two young women say they were captured, raped and tortured in the CAR jungle by members of the group led by Joseph Kony, a self-styled mystic leader who at one time wanted to rule Uganda according to the biblical Ten Commandments.

The 10-minute YouTube video features Nanzouno-Dadine Lea and Joelle Mazungi asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague to expand its current investigations into the activities of the rebels in Uganda to include LRA activities in CAR.

A cash injection will aid India’s ailing health system

“No, thanks,” is the response most middle-class Indians give as they scoff at the idea of visiting a public hospital for medical treatment. And rightly so.

Run-down, poorly staffed and under-equipped, dilapidated state-run hospitals are full of patients waiting for a doctor or a bed in squalid corridors – in a scene that is played out across the country.

Reports abound of neglect and mismanagement. Of expectant women refused admission and giving birth outside hospital gates, of reckless fires which see patients burnt alive in their beds and of babies dying within hours of being born.

Indigenous women lead land rights struggle in Ecuadorean Amazon

When Argentinian oil company CGC began seismic testing on their ancestral land – in one of the most remote and pristine areas of the Ecuadorean Amazon – it was the women of the Sarayaku community who decided to take a stand against Big Oil.

“As mothers, we were concerned about our children and our land,” Noemi Gualinga told me.

The 44-year-old is one of the leaders of the decade-long fight over land rights between the Sarayaku, who number some 1,200 people, and CGC and the Ecuadorean government.

Zimbabwe’s women activists face filthy prisons, insults

By Katie Nguyen and Maria Caspani

LONDON (TrustLaw) – For someone who has been arrested 43 times while protesting for social justice in Zimbabwe, the prospect of elections in her homeland evokes a special kind of fear in campaigner Jenni Williams.

The 50-year-old is the executive director and a founding member of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), formed in 2003 to encourage Zimbabwean women to stand up for their rights.

The group of some 80,000 activists has held peaceful demonstrations to highlight issues ranging from access to sanitary pads to the right to education and making electricity more affordable.

End of war doesn’t spell peace for women in West Africa

The photo shows a woman sprawled in the dirt, grimacing in pain. A man is lunging towards her.  The image needs no caption – the man has obviously beaten the woman up and hurled her to the ground. His demeanour suggests her ordeal is not over.

This is the disturbing picture at the front of a new International Rescue Committee report on domestic violence. It was taken by an Ivorian woman who wanted to help highlight the severity of abuse happening in her country.

Fighters may have put down their arms in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but the end of war has not brought an end to violence for women.

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