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Women Fleeing Burkina Faso Violence Face Sexual Assault

New Age Islam News Bureau

14 February 2021

• Qiyadat Global-Georgetown Program ‘Empowers Women To Lead Around The World’

• Women's Rights Activists In Nepal Demand To Scrap A Law Limiting Their Travel

• Six Women, Two Girls Rescued From Being Trafficked In Jharkhand

• African Women Embrace Contraceptives As Populations Grow

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau



Women Fleeing Burkina Faso Violence Face Sexual Assault

Sam Mednick

Feb. 14, 2021

KAYA, Burkina Faso (AP) — A 20-year-old woman could no longer live in her village amid the rising violence caused by Islamic extremists. But she needed to return and retrieve the family's cows in hopes of selling them.

If her husband went, jihadists would almost certainly kill him. She went instead, and was dragged into the bush, beaten and raped at knifepoint.

“I screamed, but I couldn’t overtake him, so I cried,” she recalled in a phone interview from Barsalogho town in the Center North region where she now lives. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual violence.

The extremist violence in Burkina Faso linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group is fueling an increase in sexual assaults against women, especially those displaced by attacks. Many are preyed upon as they attempt to collect belongings they left behind.

The violence killed more than 2,000 people last year, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. It also displaced more than 1 million people.

In Burkina Faso's Center North region, sexual assault cases increased from two to 10 during a three-month period last year, according to a report by humanitarian groups including the United Nations. Some 85% of survivors were internally displaced people mainly living in makeshift camps in Barsalogho and Kaya towns, it said.

“I won’t go more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) outside of Kaya to farm because I’m afraid for my safety,” said Kotim Sawadogo. The 37-year-old fled Dablo in August and struggles to afford food for her four children. In September 2019, her niece was raped by jihadists while farming outside the village, she said.

"They won’t be killed but they’ll be raped, which is like being killed inside anyway,” said Fatimata Sawadogo, who was displaced last year from Dablo to Kaya and knows women who have been raped by jihadists while farming. Women often assume the rapists are jihadists because they carry guns and wear masks.

Sometimes after assaulting the women, the jihadists burn their food, and yet some women are so desperate that they return the next day to salvage it, she said.

Aid groups say jihadists are not the only perpetrators and that there has been an increase in domestic violence and exploitation of displaced women by host communities.

“This reality is made worse by the lack of economic opportunities for women, the shortage of food and shelter for women and the lack of access to quality health care,” said Jennifer Overton, West Africa regional director for Catholic Relief Services.

Earlier this month, a woman in Kaya said she had sex with a community leader twice, in June and November, because he promised he could add her name to a list to receive food. “I regret it, but I thought I’d get food and I never did,” she said, who spoke on condition of anonymity for her safety.

Before the violence, Burkina Faso didn’t have specialized services focused on sexual assault. Now humanitarians are struggling to cope, said Awa Nebie, a gender-based violence specialist with the United Nations Population Fund.

This year the humanitarian response plan for Burkina Faso estimates that more than 660,000 people will need protection against gender-based violence, Nebie said.

Since August, the organization has created six safe spaces in the Center North to help women and girls speak freely about their experiences, but it’s inadequate, she said. And some areas of the country like the Sahel and East regions are hard to access due to insecurity.

Local government officials say the daily influx of displaced people is straining resources and putting women at risk by forcing them to venture farther into the bush to collect wood for cooking.

“In the past, women could find resources two or three kilometers (one to two miles) away, but with the increasing number, they go farther and farther and it is very worrying,” said Saidou Wily, head of social welfare services in Barsalogho.

Last year, a 40-year-old mother of seven was gang-raped at gunpoint by two masked men who dragged her into an abandoned farmhouse while she was trying to return to her town in the Sahel region to get food, she said.

Now living in Kaya, she’s too afraid to leave again, but she has no money to support her family.

“I think about it a lot and I don’t even know what I’m thinking about, I just cry,” she said. “It’s misery.”


Qiyadat Global-Georgetown Program ‘Empowers Women To Lead Around The World’


Lida Preyma, second cohort participant from Toronto, Canada Director of global AML risk management & AMLRO. (Supplied)


Lama Alhamawi

February 13, 2021

RIYADH: A US-Saudi program at one of America’s top universities has been helping women leaders around the world, the co-founder told Arab News.

Qiyadat Global-Georgetown was launched in November to teach women in the Middle East, North Africa and G20 countries the fundamentals of strategic leadership.

The program is taught remotely by the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and is a collaboration with the Qiyadat Global program in Saudi Arabia.

“We are bringing women together and letting them think together regardless of their color, race, language or geographical location. We are happy that we’re able to deliver this virtually, but it is amazing to see women literally from every continent,” Nouf Abdullah Al-Rakan, founder and executive director of Qiyadat Global-Georgetown told Arab News.

The program teaches women the fundamentals of strategic leadership and how to lead a team in different sectors, whether government, private or non-profit.

The 30-hour program intends to strengthen the knowledge of female leaders in the workplace, and guide them through practical and strategic obstacles.

The program aims to improve the leadership skills of women not only in Saudi Arabia but also across the Middle East and G20 countries.

“We are creating that global initiative. Mixing these minds and backgrounds from all over the world is really enriching,” Al-Rakan said.

Lida Preyma, a 48-year-old director of global anti-money laundering risk management for BMO Capital Markets in Canada, recently took the program.

“While there were some women from my industry, it was fascinating to hear about the similar challenges faced by women in other industries and countries. It shows the universality of what we all face, no matter where we live or the path we have chosen.”

Asked what sets the Qiyadat Global Georgetown apart from other leadership training, Al-Rakan said: “Diversity and inclusion — with this program it’s so diverse and so inclusive. We went out of our way to include women from different parts of the world.”

The program has enrolled students from more than 20 countries, including Mexico, the US, France, Spain and Japan, as well as the Middle East.

The program consists of five-days of six-hour intensive sessions. It reviews four main leadership principles that focus on enhancing personal leadership skills, leading organizational change, improving decision making and leading for performance.

There is an interactive learning style where students are able to engage with their teachers through team-building exercises and role playing.

A simulated learning technique called “Gamification” allows enrolled students to experience real-life scenarios they may face in different work environments.

“I learned how to improve my decision making and to lead more effectively by creating a shared vision,” she said. “I likewise learned how to implement a successful transformation which, as we have seen through this pandemic, is essential for addressing changing circumstances.

“The idea was to do a leadership program but at the same time offer opportunities for women from all over the world to share with us this celebration with what Saudi Arabia is actually doing, so this is a Saudi-led initiative. It is 100 percent supported by Saudi Arabia and fully financed by the Saudi private sector,” Al-Rakan said.

Training sessions begin at midday in Saudi Arabia, when it is 6 a.m. in the US and almost midnight in Japan. Al-Rakan’s team runs a day-and-night service, working endless hours to ensure equal opportunity and access to the training regardless of time zones. To ensure the highest levels of inclusivity her team created a “fully Arabized cohort,” with the entire curriculum fully translated in Arabic and English.

“We wanted to make sure it’s not just for women with advanced English but that we are actually catering for those who have little or no English,” Al-Rakan said. The team works around the clock to ensure the program “fits everybody.”

Al-Rakan hopes they will be able to launch the next stages of the program by the end of 2021, combining virtual and in-person sessions as well as hosting a graduation in April in the Kingdom.


Women's Rights Activists In Nepal Demand To Scrap A Law Limiting Their Travel

Feb 13, 2021

Hundreds of women's rights activists took to the streets of Nepal, to protest against the sharp rise in crime against women in recent years. Inequality and discrimination women face. Protesters chanted and raise slogans for the scrapping of a proposed law that would restrict travel for many women.


Six Women, Two Girls Rescued From Being Trafficked In Jharkhand

By Press Trust Of India

14th February, 2021

Six women and two girls were rescued on Saturday from Jharkhand's Medininagar while being allegedly trafficked to Tamil Nadu, police said. A woman was arrested in this connection, they said. Acting on a tip-off, a team of police personnel rescued the women and girls from the Daltonganj railway station before being trafficked to the southern state, a senior officer said.

They are from Haidarnagar, Ganj and Sowa Baraiva areas and the police handed them over to the labour department, he said. "The rescued women and girls are from poor families and were lured with the promise of jobs. The arrested woman is being interrogated," the officer added.


African women embrace contraceptives as populations grow


Martina Schwikowski

Africa's population is growing rapidly. According to UN estimates, the number of people in the continent is expected to double by 2050 — making it increasingly difficult to provide jobs for future generations.

But there are also positive trends. More and more women are using modern contraceptives. According to the latest Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) report, the number has increased by 66% since 2012 — from 40 million to more than 66 million women and girls.

When governments, UN agencies and private foundations launched the initiative eight years ago, they set an ambitious goal: to get 120 million more people in the world's 69 lowest-income countries to use modern contraceptives by 2020.

The number stands at about 60 million more. In Central and West Africa, the number of female users has doubled, according to FP2020. In eastern and southern Africa, it has increased by as much as 70%.

The services have improved, Schlachter said: "Health advisers in the communities help women make appropriate choices for their health care." But, she added, it will be crucial to change cultural and religious beliefs to allow women to make decisions about their bodies.

In this respect, Malawi has done an excellent job. "The country has focused on young girls and women and their needs," Schlachter said.

A few years ago, the southern African country had one of the highest rates of child marriages globally. In 2018, the government put an end to this by raising the minimum age of marriage to 18.

Together with specific governments, FP2020 has developed several other measures. The issue of contraception plays an important role. In particular, young people have become more aware by talking about social norms, distribution of contraceptives in schools, and counseling in villages and communities. "Health care is more in the hands of women, so they don't always have to return to clinics," Schlachter said.

"The desire to have children is changing in most countries with good access to family planning," Catherina Hinz, executive director of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, told DW. Her Africa's Demographic Leaders study confirmed this trend, Hinz said. "The more educated the girls are," she added, "the smaller the families."

Hinz said strategies must always run in parallel. More income is vital so that people no longer have to rely on children to provide for them in old age. Political will is also essential to usher in the necessary change in values. "In the cities of many countries, this change has already begun." In rural areas, however, the issue is even more critical.

Rwanda boasts an innovative idea where the young startup Kasha delivers condoms and contraceptives to villages by moped. The condoms can be ordered by text message — just as in Kenya. 20,000 people are already using the service.

The government has trained 40,000 female health workers to work in health clinics in rural areas. "Family planning is not only aimed at married people; the female helpers are also approachable by young people in the health centers," Hinz added.

In the West African country of Niger, wrestlers are using radio commercials to draw attention to the importance of contraception.

"Prominent athletes there are promoting condoms. The president has recognized the issue of population development and is supporting contraception campaigns. Money is also flowing in from the German Development Bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW)," Hinz said.

Schlachter, from FP2020, pointed to successes in Burkina Faso. She said the government had increased spending by 30% and attracted more donations to reduce pregnancies. Young people are to be integrated into family planning counseling sessions early, and contraceptives are to be distributed freely.

The coronavirus pandemic has again made access to contraception more difficult. "We still found that increases in contraceptive use are higher in Africa than in Asian countries," Schlachter said. But there's a simple reason for that: Africa was further behind with its programs.



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