Hivos International

Women's Empowerment

My father is from Nigeria. In 1967, a terrible civil war broke out in his region. Biafra wanted to proclaim it independence, to which the Nigerian state reacted with bloody slaughter and systematic starvation. Millions of Biafrans died, and images of malnourished children shocked the world.

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Now that the 2017 elections are behind us (or so we assume), it is important to reflect on some of the issues emerging from the polls that are dear to us. One of those being women in leadership. Last year when the debate about the 2010 Constitution’s two thirds gender rule was so heated (“not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”), we in the women’s movement reached a moment of despair. I actually wrote an article asking whether Kenya would ever be ready for women in political leadership.

Working for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. This is especially so when progress (no matter how little) is made towards uplifting women and girls. However, this work can be depressing sometimes because GEWE happens to be one of the topics that are very easily trivialized and demeaned. Just when you think progress has been attained, you are bombarded with the most retrogressive thinking which makes it very difficult to realize change.

I am Angélica Choc, a Maya-Q'eqchi ' nativehuman rights defender and defender of El Estor community of the Izabal Department in Guatemala.

Lea la versión en español de este blog acá.

It's three in the morning, when most people are asleep and haven’t even started thinking about the chores of the day, let alone water, a resource many of us take for granted. But not doña Ángela*. She is already up and making her way to Matagalpa, the biggest nearby town, to buy much-needed chlorine for her community’s water system.

Tanoker is a learning community in Jember, East Java, Indonesia. This community is doing their best to develop the potential of local women and children through creative activities. One of these is the “Learning and Tourism Village of Ledokombo” programme in Jember, in which Tanoker supports the villagers to make souvenirs for tourists visiting the village. The handicraft groups set up by the Tanocraft programme consist mostly of women, who also make and sell “jamu”, traditional drinks from herbal plants growing in the surrounding area.

Photographs by Ángel Damián Reyes / Text by Ángel Damián Reyes and Alonso Jiménez

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Within the first week of assuming office, US President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule. Simply, this policy prohibits any entity that receives US Government (USG) funding from carrying out any abortion-related activity, regardless of the source of funds. 

Latin America is suffering from an epidemic. It seems very contagious, but it does not affect the entire population equally. Neither water nor air borne - it is basically unpredictable. We are talking about violence against women, a widespread problem that is not new, but only very recently becoming visible.