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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,…

Women in Dzoragyugh herding cattle or on their way to work in the fields Source: BBC

Armenia migration: The villages of women left behind

In many rural areas of the former Soviet Union, poverty and unemployment are forcing people to leave.

But in Armenia it is men who are going, leaving whole villages almost entirely populated by women.

Here in the Armenian village of Dzoragyugh, it is often only women and children you will see working in the fields.

That is because the only way for men to earn enough money to support their families is to go to Russia.

One of those left behind is Milena Kazaryan, a mother-of-two in her twenties.

As she tills the land behind her house, she tells me that her husband is working in Moscow - as are her father, her grandfather and all her brothers. In fact, all the men in her family have left.

Fears of second families

Ms Kazaryan smiles a lot. But she says what worries her and her friends, is that their husbands will set up second families in Russia. Something which happens a lot, she says.

All we want is jobs in Armenia so that our families can stay together and so that fathers can see their children grow up”

"All of the women are really scared. We phone every morning and every evening, to find out what our husbands are up to.

Will he come back or not?

"It's always really stressful wondering whether he'll come back or not. A lot of the women here worry because they think that in Russia all the girls are beautiful. And the problem is that the men work very hard so of course they also want to relax. That's why they're scared."

Ms Kazaryan says the husbands of many of her friends now have second families in Russia.

Men get Russian girlfriends

"Even if they have little children, men leave their wives and get Russian girlfriends but when they are old and they can't work anymore, they come back here," she says.

Ms Kazaryan and her husband married five years ago. Since then he has spent most of the year working in Russia. Like many Armenians there, he comes back for Christmas, and leaves again in March.

So it is hard to keep the family together.

Transfer of HIV

Women here say that almost all of the men from this village have gone to work in Russia. Leaving women to do everything - including the heavy labour, usually seen as men's work.

And certainly when you walk round the villages in this region, it is women you see herding cattle, on their way to the fields with tools in their hands or carrying bales of hay on their backs - there are very few men.

But the burden is also psychological, says Ilona Ter-Minasyan, the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Armenia's capital Yerevan. Women have to also now make all the decisions - a source of conflict in this rural, patriarchal society.

"Eventually it leads to shifted gender roles because, while he's out for eight or nine months, she's head of the household."

There are also other more fatal issues, says Ms Ter-Minasyan.

"Armenia has a very small population of people who are HIV-positive. But recent surveys show that very often, large percentages of them are labour migrants who go to the Russian Federation, become HIV-positive, come back, and then transfer the disease to their wives. This is the worst-case scenario."

Birthrates 'too low'

Human rights groups accuse the government of not doing enough to tackle the problem of emigration.

But Gagik Yeganyan, head of the Armenian government's department for migration, says the only solution is to increase the number of jobs, rather than set up any specific programme. And that this is something not just the government, but the whole of society, including the media, should work towards.

Emigration a National Disaster

Human rights activists have called emigration a national disaster

Officially unemployment is around 7% but the IOM says benefits are so low that most people do not register as unemployed. So the real figure is estimated to be around 30%.

According to human rights groups and opposition parties this means that every year almost 100,000 people leave - most of them men, who go to neighbouring Russia to work in the construction industry there.

A million Armenians living in Russia

The government denies that the figures are so high. But there is general agreement that around a million Armenians are now living in Russia - leaving only three million still in Armenia.

This is a fall of 25% since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when around four million people lived in Armenia.

There are now calls for the Armenian authorities to act: in July human rights activists sent an open letter to the government, calling emigration a national disaster.

Girls are growing up with no chance of getting married

One of the authors of the letter is Karine Danelyan. She says that the lack of men is starting to be felt throughout society.

"It's a really serious problem. There's a new generation of girls growing up who have no chance of getting married because all the boys are leaving the country. So birthrates here in Armenia are now too low to keep the population stable."

But back in the village of Dzoragyugh, Ms Kazaryan's concerns are more immediate.

"It's really tough because the whole family is just waiting and waiting for the men to come back.

All we want is jobs in Armenia so that our families can stay together and so that fathers can see their children grow up.

A family is more than just the mum. We need the dads here too."

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