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Women are taking charge in Senegal’s growing tech industry

Mon, 2018-02-12 13:16
On a balmy evening in Dakar, seven young women were gathered in the basement of a local university, not far from the city’s Monument of African Renaissance statue. Lit by the white glow of a projector screen, they tapped eagerly at laptops as the speakers covered everything from how to market your business on Instagram, to designing a website and using WhatsApp to sell your products. Taking furious notes near the front was Rosa Evora, who runs a small business baking and selling cakes. At just 21, the business world is new to her, but like millennials everywhere, she has a good grasp of the digital world — in fact, it was social media that launched her career. {image-1}

Russia’s Disappearing Women

Thu, 2018-02-08 13:16
When they were younger, before their son was born, Maria's boyfriend started hurting her. He would place his hands on her neck and squeeze tightly until her skin turned pink and she gasped for air. After her son Andrei came along, the abuse got worse, and her arms were regularly crowded with bruises, her face sore and swollen. Maria had no clue Russia had softened the penalty for domestic violence. Her partner, however, was all too aware when the bill sailed through government last February. 'He heard it on the radio. He told me, "Now I can hit you by law,"' she says, her voice wavering. 'I was horribly scared, but he thought it was funny.' We are talking

Guatemalan women transform their town one brushstroke at a time

Wed, 2018-02-07 07:58
Lidia Florentino Cumes Cumez greets visitors to her small, bright office with a giggle before grabbing a brochure and launching into a well-honed explanation of what it means to paint this entire town on the banks of Guatemala’s majestic Lake Atitlán.  {image-1} “These are the base colors,” she said recently, displaying a palette with names like “water,” “mud” and “green stone.” Butterflies, cornstalks and the national bird, the quetzal, will cover facades, she says, pointing to a pattern on her huipil, a traditional woven blouse, to show where the inspiration for the designs come from. Cumes is one of several women helping helm a project to paint

Jaha Dukureh: ‘Don’t sensationalise FGM survivors’

Tue, 2018-02-06 15:33
When Jaha Dukureh was a week old, she survived female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia. {image-1} When she was 15 years old, she was forced into marriage and sent to New York to be with her husband. On her wedding night, she was cut again to allow for the consummation of the marriage. The second procedure is common for women who have already undergone the most severe form of FGM. Today, she fights against the practice, which the UN estimates affects 200 million girls and women globally. In the United States, Dukureh spearheaded a campaign which led the administration of former President Barack Obama to conduct further research into FGM. As a UN Goodwill Ambassador against FGM and the head of

Jaha Dukureh: ‘Don’t sensationalise FGM survivors’

Tue, 2018-02-06 15:33
When Jaha Dukureh was a week old, she survived female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia. {image-1} When she was 15 years old, she was forced into marriage and sent to New York to be with her husband. On her wedding night, she was cut again to allow for the consummation of the marriage. The second procedure is common for women who have already undergone the most severe form of FGM. Today, she fights against the practice, which the UN estimates affects 200 million girls and women globally. In the United States, Dukureh spearheaded a campaign which led the administration of former President Barack Obama to conduct further research into FGM. As a UN Goodwill Ambassador against FGM and the head of

‘I Don’t Go Out During the Day’: Inside Senegal’s LGBT Crackdown

Tue, 2018-02-06 12:23
DAKAR, Senegal—Watching as dusk falls on the dusty streets of this city, Marie, a 27-year-old trans woman, explains that she only leaves her house after sunset. “I don’t go out during the day,” she says, flicking back her long red hair. “Only at night. I don’t even want to open my door.” It can be lonely, Marie admits, but after facing abuse throughout her life, living alone in the dark is the only way she feels safe. {image-1] Asking that her last name be omitted for safety reasons, Marie explains that the abuse began when she was just 8-years-old. “I used to wake up early to put on my

Farewell From IRP

Wed, 2018-01-31 10:07
A Message from the Director After 20 years of supporting journalists to report in more than 115 countries, the International Reporting Project (IRP) is ending its programs effective in February. It’s been an amazing 20 years. When we began IRP in 1998, the idea of sending journalism fellows to do actual international reporting was quite new. So was the concept of using foundation support to pay the costs of in-depth journalism. Today such support is a vital cog of the future of journalism. I want to thank our 651 Fellows for their talent, friendship and support. It would take a 651-page book just to begin to list the accomplishments of the great journalists who’ve reported with IRP, either on

Farewell From IRP

Wed, 2018-01-31 10:07
A Message from the Director After 20 years of supporting journalists to report in more than 115 countries, the International Reporting Project (IRP) is ending its programs effective in March. It’s been an amazing 20 years. When we began IRP in 1998, the idea of sending journalism fellows to do actual international reporting was quite new. So was the concept of using foundation support to pay the costs of in-depth journalism. Today such support is a vital cog of the future of journalism. I want to thank our 651 Fellows for their talent, friendship and support. It would take a 651-page book just to begin to list the accomplishments of the great journalists who’ve reported with IRP, either on

Inside the EU’s deeply flawed $200 million migration deal with Sudan

Wed, 2018-01-31 08:43
In interviews with over 25 Eritrean and Ethiopian asylum seekers in Khartoum and the eastern city of Kassala, as well as local journalists, and lawyers working on behalf of refugees, IRIN has documented allegations of endemic police abuse, including extortion, violence, and sexual assault. The pattern of corruption and rights violations uncovered feeds into broader concerns over whether the EU’s migration policies are making a difficult situation worse. Across Sudan's capital, Khartoum, some 30,000 Eritrean, Ethiopian, and other African refugees are crammed into decrepit, non-descript houses, waiting for their chance to escape the country and make it to Europe. Sudan’s previously porous northern border with Libya has become increasingly dangerous to cross after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

A Weapon Doesn’t Know The Difference Between Father And A Son

Mon, 2018-01-29 10:21
{image-1} On the war “It started around 1981/2. The people here wanted independence because the government was not interested in Casamance. This is how it started. I was displaced from my village.  My house was burnt by rebels. I lost everything. I was separated from my children for a month. It was horrible. There was only pain. Just pain. CONTEXT: The Casamance region located in southern Senegal is separated from the rest of Senegal by The Gambia. The people here have long accused the north of exploiting their resources. In 1982 when protesters took to the streets of the region claiming they had been neglected and abused by the north. When leaders of the movement known as Movement of Democratic

In Northern Uganda, Male Mentors Spread the Word on Family Planning

Mon, 2018-01-22 09:04
GULU, UGANDA – When Josephine Lamwaka was growing up, she watched her father abuse her mother almost every day, sometimes even threatening to kill her with a machete. Lamwaka’s father also forbade her mother from using contraception or visiting the local family planning clinic. With her parents as her only model for marriage, Lamwaka, 30, didn’t expect much respect or support from her husband, Patrick Okello, when they got married five years ago. But he surprised her. When Lamwaka told him about her need to use contraception, Okello, 46, who already had five children from a previous marriage, agreed. He accompanied her to a health facility near their home in Koro sub-county, in northern Uganda’s Acholi

“If You Have Money, You Can Think Whatever You Want”

Wed, 2018-01-17 09:26
People in Nepal’s Thulopakhar village shudder to hear of a girl going to work abroad. Under their voices, neighbors mutter about sex work, abuse, impropriety. In this village, nestled beneath the Himalayas, some 70 kilometers from the capital city of Kathmandu, boys leave because they have no choice but to earn money for their families; girls need to stay home. {image-1} “It’s like a superstition in the village,” says Mina Tamang, 30, the eldest of six siblings. “There were very few women from our village who went abroad. Even now, they think if a girl goes abroad, she won’t find a boy if she comes back.” But that didn’t deter

In Tanzania, mothers learn how to teach the facts of life

Wed, 2018-01-17 09:06
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — On a warm Saturday in October, a dozen women in the neighborhood of Mbagala Charambe in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, sat together in the open-air waiting area at Samaria Health Centre. On most weekends, women gather here to learn how to talk with their preteen and teenage daughters about puberty, their changing bodies, contraception and sex. {image-1} The program in Tanzania is known as the Kuwa Mjanja (Be Smart) movement. It was initiated with an investment from the philanthropist Pam Scott and expanded through the Adolescents 360 Project (A360), which is led by Population Sciences International (PSI) and co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The Adolescents 360

The Logic of Power

Tue, 2018-01-16 16:05
BLOCKADES ARE THE WORKHORSE of Bolivian political protest. People who live in La Paz, the seat of government, have grown accustomed to them. They know that, nearly any day, they can expect to be descending one of the steeply angled downtown streets, or squeezed into the back of one of the minibuses, or vans, that compose the mass transit system, when suddenly traffic will stop or dynamite will explode. Depending on the location of the blockade, it can be a nuisance or, occasionally, something more. In the tropical region of Chapare, where President Evo Morales first made his mark as an organizer with the coca growers’ union, a blockade can sever the main link connecting the highland plains to

For Senegal island’s residents, famed slavery heritage site incurs a cost

Tue, 2018-01-16 09:26
Each day, Deguène Gaye watches the ferry chug in from the mainland, disgorging a herd of sunburned tourists onto Gorée Island’s white-sand beaches. From there, she knows, they’ll probably trace a familiar itinerary, following their guides somberly past a memorial to the transatlantic slave trade and then to the famous House of Slaves, a candy-pink building that claims to be the departure point for millions of Africans sent to the Americas. {image-1} After that, the groups will likely snap a few photos of the colorful colonial houses that line the cobblestone roads, and haggle for cheap tie-dye towels and wood sculptures from a seemingly never-ending procession of earnest proprietors. “Madame, madame,

The women and girls in Senegal pushing through the tech industry’s gender barriers

Wed, 2018-01-10 08:53
The first time Binta Coudy Dé left Senegal was in 2011, when the then 22-year-old computer engineer was invited to participate in a tech competition organised by Microsoft in New York. Amongst the groups from all around the world participating in the competition, Dé’s group from Senegal was the only all-female team. {image-1} “We knew that in Senegal we were the only women’s tech team, but being the only all-women’s team in that competition was surprising. American people were very happy to see that there were black girls competing, so everybody wanted to talk to us,” recalls Dé. “It was very interesting to us, but also very insulting, because

Meet Our Newest Fellows

Tue, 2018-01-09 14:27
The International Reporting Project is awarding fellowships to report on different topics around the world. The following fellowships were awarded in late 2017 and early 2018. {image-2}                           Religion Issues We congratulate the following journalists who were awarded fellowships in late 2017 and early 2018 to cover religion issues: Jessica Aguirre is a journalist based in Germany who will report in Bolivia. Courtney Brooks is a special projects editor for Roads & Kingdoms who will report from Malaysia. Alexander Dziadosz is a freelance journalist who will report from Iraq.  Geoffrey Giller is a freelance journalist based in Ithaca, New York. He will report from Mexico. Isabelle Mayault is

Meet Our Newest Fellows

Tue, 2018-01-09 14:27
The International Reporting Project is awarding fellowships to report on different topics around the world. The following fellowships were awarded in late 2017 and early 2018. {image-2}                           Religion Issues We congratulate the following journalists who were awarded fellowships in late 2017 and early 2018 to cover religion issues: Jessica Aguirre is a journalist based in Germany who will report in Bolivia. Courtney Brooks is a special projects editor for Roads & Kingdoms who will report from Malaysia. Alexander Dziadosz is a freelance journalist who will report from Iraq.  Geoffrey Giller is a freelance journalist based in Ithaca, New York. He will report from Mexico. Isabelle Mayault is

Runaway Brides

Tue, 2018-01-09 08:13
Perched on her boarding-school bed while taking a break from studying, 16-year-old Dhaup Talniya recounts her plans: First, complete her education. Then become a police officer. That way, she says, she can enforce laws in her tiny village in India’s northwest to stop child marriages and motivate girls to get an education. Despite laws requiring women to be at least 18 years old to marry, India is home to one-third of the world’s child brides – a consequence of debilitating poverty, lack of education, a deeply ingrained patriarchal and caste systems. In Talniya’s state of Rajasthan, along the border with Pakistan, more than half of girls marry before the age of 18, according to UNICEF. Girls

In Senegal, family planning finds a key ally: imams

Thu, 2018-01-04 04:45
The mosque loudspeaker crackles to life, just as it does five times a day, every day, in this quiet village just outside the Senegalese capital, Dakar. But instead of the typical melodious call to prayer, the voice booming from the minaret is all business. “If you are interested in learning about your family-planning options, please come to the health center immediately,” he begins in Wolof, the local language. “The program will begin shortly.” {image-1} Religion announces itself loudly in Senegal, which is more than 90 percent Muslim. Paintings of marabouts – leaders of the country’s popular Muslim brotherhoods – stare down from above grocery store tills and dangle from the rear-view mirror of yellow taxis.

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