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Compassion In Kenya

Compassion-CBO

Compassion CBO

Safe World Field Partner in Kenya - Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo

Bahati-with-group

COFAPRI

COFAPRI is based in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Field Partner News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Handwashing

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

19-year-old SRHR college peer educators talk Feminisms

In most parts of our society, the word “Feminism” still remains a bitter pill for so many people to swallow, however, to Wfac’s college SRHR Peer educators, the ‘F’ word is about change, empowerment of all and transforming lives.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…
Narges

Narges Mohammadi - Women Human Rights Defenders Are Heroes, Not Criminals

On September 28th 2016 an Iranian appeals court upheld a 16-year sentence for 44 year old Narges Mohammadi, a prominent human rights defender. Mrs. Mohammadi is a key member of the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, a lawyer by training,…

Homeless boy in Madagascar

MADAGASCAR: Sex for school fees

The ambition of 16-year-old Madagascan schoolgirl Nadine* is to open a clothes boutique after completing a college course in textile design, but in the meantime, along with eight of her friends, she has turned to sex work to pay her tuition fees.

Charging up to US$7 a time, she works in the poor Antananarivo suburb of 67 Hectares.

"The reason I sought money is because my parents were in financial difficulty. They have difficulties and I can help them. It's me who's paid my school fees since I was 13 years old. I was scared but I made an effort because of my parents' money problems," she told IRIN.

Most of my friends are like me looking after my parents through sex work

Anecdotal evidence of the increasing numbers of commercial sex workers and growing homelessness in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, is providing a snapshot of a country's descent into deeper poverty.

More than three years after Andry Rajoelina deposed President Marc Ravalomanana with the help of the military, the imposition of international sanctions, the cancellation of preferential trade agreements and the withdrawal of international aid are driving up the social indicators of desperation.

Health and social workers are reporting a "worrying" increase in the levels of sex work, particularly among children who use the proceeds to pay for their education, while a local NGO, Ankanifitahiana (Family by God), that provides education for homeless children is reporting increased enrolments.

I am always a bit scared

"I'm always a bit scared, but the room I rent for $5 a day has security," said Nadine. Despite using condoms, she is still concerned about becoming pregnant, as happened to a class colleague of hers.

About half of the $60 a month she gets goes on private school fees; the rest she gives to her parents, who think she works as a waitress. Both her parents lost their $50-per-month pay after the closure of textile factories.

About 150,000 people in the capital working directly and indirectly for textile factories became unemployed after the USA cancelled the country's membership of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on 31 December 2009, following Rajoelina's coup.

AGOA, which effectively supported almost half of Madagascar's $600m textile industry in 2008, gave the country duty-free access to US markets.

More child sex workers

Hanitra Rakotoarimanga who heads a basic healthcare centre in Isotry, another of the city's poor neighbourhoods, told IRIN: "In March 2011 the Ministry of Health carried out a survey on HIV prevalence and we recruited 300 sex workers to do the HIV/AIDS test, and from that moment on we noticed that there was at least a 30 percent increase in new cases of sex workers."

Women over 18 are issued with special medical cards which allow for free testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and condoms, but staff at the centre said they were increasingly working with underage girls "off the books".

Miroarisoa Rakotoarivelo, head of the Groupe Développement Madagascar (GDM, an NGO working against the sexual exploitation of minors in Isotry, 67 Hectares and two other downtown neighbourhoods), said a recent survey of 129 sex workers indicated a growing number of children among them.

"It's increased, and the proof I can give you is the January-April 2011 statistics we've got," he told IRIN, adding that almost half of the sex workers sampled were under 18.

GDM targets children of poorer families but has also observed daughters of lower middle class families turning to sex work.

Sex for a plate of rice

In Isotry, sex workers charge as little as 25 US cents "or just a plate of rice", Rakotoarivelo said, while in the city centre charges can start at $12.

Bernadette Ramanantohasa, 47, has been working as a sex worker in Isotry since becoming a widow in 2002, to supplement her income from hawking vegetables. Her deceased husband used to work as a night watchman at a primary school and earned $7.50 a month for their 11 children, four of whom have died of diarrhoea-related illnesses.

Sex work earns Ramanantohasa about US$15 a month, as she charges between 75 US cents and $3. Four of her teenage daughters have also become sex workers.

"Now we are up against all types of people in this job because so many are looking for money. You even find young girls of 10, 12 and 13. Children are already putting themselves out there," she said.

Voluntary street social worker Christine Rahantamalala has worked with 2,000 sex workers since 1997, but in the last few months, she told IRIN, she has registered 200 new sex workers, a quarter of whom are under 18.

Should be a wake up-call

UN special rapporteur on the right to food Olivier de Schutter said on a recent visit to Madagascar that sanctions on the country should be reassessed.

The situation is extremely alarming and should be a wake-up call for the international community because one of the reasons this country is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis is the sanctions

"The situation is extremely alarming and should be a wake-up call for the international community because one of the reasons this country is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis is the sanctions that have slowed the country's economic life," De Schutter said, according to an international news service.

An international aid worker, who declined to be identified, told IRIN the rationale for imposing blanket sanctions and punitive economic measures was the expectation that it would lead to the collapse of Rajoelina's administration within a few months of his taking power in 2009, but this did not occur and remained unlikely.

Poverty rates increased 9 percent between 2008 and 2010, according to a UN-supported five-yearly household review.

Poverty was bad - now it is very big

Alix Heinvelona, founder of the Ankanifitahiana centre which provides education to children of street families, told IRIN enrolments had been gradually increasing since the crisis began three years ago.

"In 2009 we had 225 learners; in 2010 this went up to 255; and now (2011) we have 305 in the school," he told IRIN.

The school, established in 2004, is a collection of wooden huts on a plot of land the size of a tennis court beside open sewers in the Ankorondrano neighbourhood.

"Poverty was bad in 2004," he said, "but now it is very big."

The children are helped by families in the neighbourhood, and the school's food is donated by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization which procures some of the food from a project that supports 1,000 unemployed people with agricultural equipment and seeds.

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