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Compassion In Kenya


Compassion CBO

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

Survivors In DR Congo



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

Grassroots News

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

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....

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.

News, Interviews and Blogs

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

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
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…

Maura-HarringtonMaura Harrington. Photo: Shell to Sea

Interview with Maura Harrington, of Shell to Sea Campaign

Interview by Eimear Clabby, Safeworld Student Writer, October 2012

In the quiet and tranquil countryside of Mayo, in the far west of Ireland lies one of the most controversial gas projects. Protestors reside in the solidarity camp at Aughoose, one of the two locations which is part of the Corrib Gas Project.  The project is based along the Sruwadaccon Estuary which is designated a Special Area of Conservation.  The Corrib Gas Field is located about 50 miles off Erris Head in County Mayo, known as the Slyne Trough.  An exploration license was granted to Enterprise Oil in 1993, before Royal Dutch Shell took it over in 2002.

The Corrin Gas Project began developing over the next few years until 2004, when protestors began to circulate the site. 

Many locals were concerned over the environmental impacts of the project along with the health and safety aspects. What is surprising is that, despite the amount of information that is available on the Shell to Sea Campaign website, there is little information in the media.  Originally in 2004, when the protests first began, the issue received a huge amount of public interest and ample media attention. Now in later years with the situation yet unchanged, it appears that mainstream media is losing interest - it is no longer 'news'.

In August 2012, Friends of the Earth Ireland held a conference in Liberty Hall, Dublin, to revive the attention on the on-going protest against Shell.  The conference described the controversy and the human rights concerns, and went into great detail surrounding the environmental impact of such a project.

While at the conference, I spoke with Maura Harrington, who has become a local hero and celebrity within the cause.

Maura Harrington

“We were considered bog-trotters.”

Maura-Harrington-2Maura, a 59 year-old local and retired school teacher, came into public attention when she began protesting against Shell in 2002. 

To look at Maura, she is small in height and of slight build, a build both due to her genes, but also to the hunger strike she took part in to capture the attention of Shell and the general public.

I am quite taken aback when I first meet Maura; it’s hard for me to believe that a small, motherly woman of her stature has such power and determination to go against a major force such as Shell.

Maura explained why she is passionate about the campaign:

“On a local level, I feel I should defend this place of beauty and on a national level, I see no economic benefit from the extraction of oil and gas from Ireland.” 

After the first planning application for Shell was submitted in 2002, Maura began battling against Shell. This involved five years of research and hard work, and as Maura said herself, “We knew nothing about oil and gas extraction, we lived in a green field area where there was never any heavy industry.” 

Maura also spoke of how both her and her local community were really only pinpointed on the map after the troubles with Shell:

“We were always ignored, politically, and every other way until we were discovered by Shell.”

What was also apparent on Shell’s initial exploit fo Erris, was the lack of respect for the local communities and the assumption that the people of this area were somewhat less intelligent than the “movers and shakers” of Shell,

“We were considered bog-trotters.” said Maura.

Hunger Strike

Maura-on-hunger-strikeMaura Harrington goes on hunger strike in protest at Shell building a gas pipeline through the village of Rossport, County Mayo in Ireland. Photo: enduring 4 years of disputes with protestors, Shell's plans were still under way and the first pipe laying ship ‘The Solitaire’ arrived at Erris on the 9th September 2008.

Maura felt desperate and began a hunger strike in protest against the arrival of ‘The Solitaire’, the pipe laying ship assisting the Royal Dutch Shells Corrib Gas Project. 

Maura vouched to starve herself until such time as The Solitaire exited Irish waters, a process which took ten days outside the gates of Shell at the solidarity camp. 


Initial Success

After ten days, the ship moved further out to sea until it was no longer considered within the vicinity of Irish waters.  When this was confirmed, Maura ceased her hunger strike, satisfied that Shell’s efforts had been implicated once more.

“Before beginning the hunger strike I was 6 stone 9 pounds, after the 10 days I weighed in at just 6 stone, over a stone below my healthy weight range.” 

For a woman of her size and build, Maura should weigh approximately 7 stone 2, but with the stress of the protest campaign and the hunger strike, Maura is far from her ideal weight. 


Free-MauraPhoto: People Before Profit - United Left Alliance Aside from protesting and the hunger strike, Maura has landed herself in a bit of trouble over the years.  Maura is no stranger to Mountjoy Prison, or a courtroom for that matter.

Maura was jailed for 14 days for non-payment of fees relating to her protests against Shell’s Corrib Gas Project.  Not only was she arrested, but was arrested outside the funeral of a local neighbour.  Her sentence was furthered by 30 days when, on the day of her arrest, she assaulted a member of the Gardai.

When asked about her experience in Mountjoy prison, Maura replied:

“To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t really that bad. I had a lot of support from other women, and it also helped that my husband marched outside the prison gates everyday for the month I was in there, holding a banner “Free Maura”.

Security Forces

When security at Shell is mentioned, Maura’s facial expression morphs into a look of complete disdain.  Security levels at Shell are at an ultimate high, with highly trained officials in areas such as anti-terrorism - they are not individuals to be messed with:

“I looked into a security man’s eyes one day I saw no remorse; what I saw was an evil individual, capable of anything.”


Maura takes a lot of negative press in her stride and ignores most of the comments directed at her.  In one particular instance, Maura found it hard to forgive and forget; Judge Mary Nevins advised psychiatric assessment for Maura due to her “bizarre behaviour”, a comment that Maura maintains, was of no benefit to the case in question, and was merely a dig in an effort to embarrass Maura. 

A somewhat misunderstood individual, Maura simply fights for what she believes is right. There is no denying her dedication to protesting against this project. Even after almost 11 years, her enthusiasm still remains.

The Pipe Movie Trailer

An award winning documentary film which took 4 years in the making called, “The Pipe” talks about the Corrib Gas Project and the small farming and fishing Rossport community, taking on the might of Shell Oil and the Irish State.  It features interviews with Colin Joyce of Shell Ireland, and interviews with locals and protestors such as Pat O’ Donnell. 

The documentary opens with views of the Erris landscape, and from the beginning it is obvious that the undisturbed countryside has the potential of being ruined, and the film also displays disturbing images of protestors and Gardai (Irish police), in what can only be described as a brawl.  Interviews with locals are featured extensively in the documentary and one gets a sense of pride these people have over Erris, and their determination in wanting to preserve the land, their livelihoods, and way of life. 

Protestors explain the trouble that has been caused and the treatment they have received from Shell and local authorities.

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth
Mission Statement: "Friends of the Earth campaigns for environmental justice and sustainability. We believe in sustainable development - meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Shell to Sea

Shell to Sea campaigns against the exploitation of the local community in Erris.

Shell to Sea on Twitter: @ShellToSea

Further Reading

Eimear-ClabbyEimear Clabby is a Safeworld Student Writer. She has just completed a BA in Contemporary Culture and Society and has applied for an MA in journalism.

"I have a passion for journalism...

Veronica Guerin remains one of the most influential crime reporters in Ireland.

Veronica, even after her death, is my icon. She fought for what she believed was right, and she wrote about it to express her concern to society.  She sums up what true journalism stands for: passion, fierceness, and determination.

I want to become a leading female crime reporter in Ireland and stand out from the male crowd.  Crime journalism in Ireland lacks a female component, a position I wish to fill most graciously.  In tribute to Veronica’s memory, never ask a man to do a woman’s job."