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Mon, 2017-10-16 16:26
Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania – Nana Mint Cheybani has abandoned the thought of going back to Mali. Life in Mbera refugee camp, on the southeast corner of Mauritania, a desert country on the coast of West Africa, is tough. Tensions between refugees and locals regularly flare up over access to local resources and the camp suffers from chronic underfunding. {image-2} The vast camp is sparse: refugees live in under tarps affixed to wooden beams, or in rudimentary, one-room brick structures they have built themselves. Tree branches stick out from the mounds of sand, serving as fences between the families’ plots. Many of the refugees in the camp were nomadic herders in Mali. Without their livestock or other job opportunities,

Donald Trump’s War on African Women

Mon, 2017-10-16 11:35
It was a Tuesday in the district of Merhabete, in central Ethiopia, and the smell of burning spices infused the air. Hundreds of people — men and boys herding donkeys and goats, and women cloaked in white cloth with baskets atop their heads — lined the gravel roads leading to the government-run health clinic; some had walked for hours to trade and sell goods at the weekly market. {image-1} Yeshi estimates she is 37, based on the age of the eldest of her six children. She and her husband left home around 7 a.m. that morning. For a few months, Yeshi had been unable to perform basic tasks. She was too weak to visit the neighbors and bled profusely, like she

Meet Our Newest Fellows

Wed, 2017-10-11 10:29
The International Reporting Project is awarding fellowships to report on different topics around the world. The deadline to apply for the gender/LGBTI rights and religion reporting fellowships for late-fall and winter travel is rolling. The application for peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Africa as well as the Senegal group trip is closed and fellows have been selected. {image-4}                       Senegal Group Trip We congratulate the following journalists who were awarded fellowships to travel to Senegal from November 10-20 to report on gender, human rights and civil society. Neha Thirani Bagri is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai. Ryan Lenora Brown is the Johannesburg bureau chief for the Christian Science

Meet Our Newest Fellows

Wed, 2017-10-11 10:29
The International Reporting Project is awarding fellowships to report on different topics around the world. The deadline to apply for the gender/LGBTI rights and religion reporting fellowships for late-fall and winter travel is rolling. The application for peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Africa as well as the Senegal group trip is closed and fellows have been selected. {image-2}                       Religion Issues We congratulate the following journalists who were awarded fellowships in 2017 to cover religion issues: Jessica Aguirre is a journalist based in Germany who will report in Bolivia. Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a religion reporter for The Washington Post who will report from Brazil. Ian Bateson is a

Mauritanian women take economic independence into their own hands

Thu, 2017-10-05 09:31
A half-dozen men lug a silver-coloured vat towards the two-room building. It's a tight squeeze through the doorframe, and a few men are forced to let go to get the machine inside. Finally, the heavy vessel is set down in the corner of a room painted a bright turquoise and filled with local women who quickly crowd around the contraption. {image-1} They take turns lifting the machine's cover and peering inside: soon, they will be using it every day to produce saleable milk from their herds. And with this new pasteuriser, that milk will have a much longer shelf life than anyone in the village ever previously dreamed of. "What isn't sold can be conserved for a

These Colombian women built their own city to escape violence. But peace is still elusive.

Wed, 2017-10-04 15:10
A decade ago, unknown arsonists burned down a community center in northern Colombia where children were schooled and recreational activities were held. The center was empty. The effort, it appeared, was to intimidate the women who had just moved into the neighborhood. {image-1} Within a year, the center bounced back, rebuilt by resilient women who would not be driven away from their new community. Today, the center hosts skills workshops that can range from weaving and dairy to beauty and handicrafts, or, as it did on a recent afternoon, lessons in management that could apply as much to raising an errant teenager as to growing a business. But the danger in the neighborhood, as these women know well, is never

“Justice is Afraid of the Priest’s Robe”: Rape and Power in Nicaragua

Wed, 2017-10-04 12:09
In a central Nicaraguan town in 2014, not far from the birthplace of revolutionary hero Augusto Sandino, Lucia, 15, had been suffering from stomach pains. After several days of discomfort, her mother walked her to a nearby health clinic, where a doctor informed them that Lucia was pregnant. Lucia’s mother was shocked. Nicaragua has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world, but Lucia didn’t have a boyfriend and spent the little time she wasn’t doing homework singing in the parish church and going on youth mission trips. As they walked home from the doctor, Lucia’s mother begged her to disclose who the father was. The girl broke into tears and

The Trump Effect

Wed, 2017-10-04 10:41
MONROVIA, Liberia—Friday nights at Sajj House, a Lebanese restaurant here, have, for several years now, been a draw for expats and upper-class Liberians alike. For a few hours each week, a place that typically offers little more than shawarma and bland pizza served beneath overhead fans transforms into an ad hoc dance club, loud and sweaty, with a DJ in an elevated booth mixing the Hot 100 with a dash of Trace Africa’s Top 10. On one of these nights not long ago, a Liberian woman in her early 20s named Fatu headed out to Sajj with three friends, including a younger girl, a high school student, with whom she had been flirting for several weeks. As recently

Refugees in Mauritania in lonely fight for mental health care

Mon, 2017-10-02 10:05
MBERA REFUGEE CAMP, Mauritania – As tens of thousands of refugees from Mali remain displaced in this expansive camp, families are growing increasingly concerned by a lack of support for their mental health and well-being. Humanitarian groups working in Mbera refugee camp say a lack of funds and expertise makes providing care for survivors of trauma and violence difficult, especially for individuals who suffer from psychological problems. {image-1} Right now, Doctors without Borders (MSF) employs one psychologist full-time in the camp. Once every three months, Italian humanitarian agency Intersos brings a psychologist to Mbera for a brief period of no more than two weeks. But these specialists are tasked with providing care to the nearly 52,000 refugees at the site –

The Strong Women Of Mongolia Are Ready To Take On The Patriarchy

Wed, 2017-09-27 15:23
Gerelee Odonchimed was 23 the first time she said the word vagina. It was 2011 and she had recently joined a new women's rights group in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. For their initial project, the group decided to stage The Vagina Monologues, a play where women speak about their vaginas. {image-1} The topic isn't something Asian and Mongolian women usually talk about, says Zolzaya Batkhuyag, the group's co-founder. So she assigned the women homework. After rehearsal cast members were told to use mirrors to "say hi to their vaginas." Six years later, Batkhuyag, who is 34 and speaks fluent English, laughs at the memory: "Our first project was crazy, so after that nothing is crazy for us." Founded by

Portraits of Resilience

Wed, 2017-09-27 08:19
This past April, documentary photographer Sara Hylton traveled across Saskatchewan, where over 50 percent of missing or murdered women and girls are Indigenous—one of the highest proportions in the country. With help from Ntawnis Piapot, a local Cree journalist, Hylton met with community elders, victims’ families, and women willing to share their experiences. Hylton’s photos capture nearly thirty Indigenous people whose loved ones have disappeared or died. In the months since Hylton launched her project, the families she spoke to have watched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which aims to identify systemic roots of violence against Indigenous people, struggle to recover from its bureaucratic and political missteps over the past

Families brave generations of Alzheimer’s in Colombia

Thu, 2017-09-21 13:11
Medellin, Colombia - When Gladys Betancur Piedrahita was a young girl growing up on a coffee farm in the Andes mountain town of Angostura in Colombia, her grandmother fell ill. Gladys watched her mother and aunt care for their mother before she died. Soon after, Gladys' aunt developed the same mysterious illness. She suffered for three years until, at the age of 38, she too passed away. Then, about a decade ago, Gladys' mother, Magnolia, started to exhibit the by now familiar symptoms. At first, Magnolia repeated stories, telling them four or five times. She flung her food or buried it. She left the house and wandered around, lost. A soft-spoken woman, she turned, without warning, wildly aggressive. Gladys, now 37, recognised

An uneasy coexistence in the Mauritanian desert

Mon, 2017-09-18 10:59
Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania - It is often difficult to know where the sprawling Mbera refugee camp ends, and the desolate, desert communities of southeastern Mauritania begin. {image-1} Both spring up almost unexpectedly from the mounds of orange sand and shrubs: tents made from tarps fastened to curved tree branches, animal pens, and the odd mud-brick, tin or aluminium structure. In this hard-to-reach and isolated corner of the Sahel, tens of thousands of refugees from Mali, displaced over the last five years by armed conflict at home, live alongside traditional Mauritanian herding and agricultural communities. Together, the camp and the local district of Bassikounou, which comprises the town of the same name and several small villages, would amount to the

A Silk Road Marriage

Wed, 2017-09-13 12:14
ALMATY, Kazakhstan — As the sun sets over the city’s snowcapped mountains, Yerbolat and May Ospanov settle into the gray sofa. May slides her hands over Yerbolat’s, which lie clasped on his knee. Then, with a precision honed through countless recitations, they take turns listing the dozens of places they’ve lived together around the world before settling in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. {image-1} Happily married for nearly 20 years, the couple never expected to serve as a bridge for a cultural chasm. Their two homelands — China and Kazakhstan — share some 1,100 miles of border and an increasingly vital political relationship. Yet on the ground in Kazakhstan, distrust of Beijing’s designs

IRP Group Trip to Senegal

Tue, 2017-09-12 15:14
The International Reporting Project (IRP) will host a group reporting trip focusing on gender, human rights and civil society issues in Senegal from November 10-20, 2017. {image-1} About Senegal Senegal, one of Africa’s most prosperous and democratic countries, has enjoyed an economic boom since the late 1990s, primarily reliant on agriculture. Political stability, religious tolerance and rich culture bind together the country's 15 million citizens, though large segments of the population lack equal access to economic, health and educational resources. Its capital, Dakar, is the western-most point of the African continent, and standards of living vary greatly between the coast and the rural inland communities. In this context, IRP fellows to Senegal will explore issues that

Apply to IRP group trip to Senegal by Sept. 24

Tue, 2017-09-12 15:14
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is accepting applications for a group reporting trip focusing on gender, human rights and civil society issues issues in Senegal from November 10-20, 2017. {image-1} About Senegal Senegal, one of Africa’s most prosperous and democratic countries, has enjoyed an economic boom since the late 1990s, primarily reliant on agriculture. Political stability, religious tolerance and rich culture bind together the country's 15 million citizens, though large segments of the population lack equal access to economic, health and educational resources. Its capital, Dakar, is the western-most point of the African continent, and standards of living vary greatly between the coast and the rural inland communities. In this context, IRP fellows to Senegal will

Apply to IRP group trip to Senegal by Sept. 24

Tue, 2017-09-12 15:14
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is accepting applications for a group reporting trip focusing on gender, development and civil society issues in Senegal from November 10-20, 2017. {image-1} About Senegal Senegal, one of Africa’s most prosperous and democratic countries, has enjoyed an economic boom since the late 1990s, primarily reliant on agriculture. Political stability, religious tolerance and rich culture bind together the country's 15 million citizens, though large segments of the population lack equal access to economic, health and educational resources. Its capital, Dakar, is the western-most point of the African continent, and standards of living vary greatly between the coast and the rural inland communities. In this context, IRP fellows to Senegal will explore issues

Apply to IRP group trip to Senegal by Sept. 24

Tue, 2017-09-12 15:14
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is accepting applications for a group reporting trip focusing on gender, development and civil society issues in Senegal from November 10-20, 2017. {image-1} About Senegal Senegal, one of Africa’s most prosperous and democratic countries, has enjoyed an economic boom since the late 1990s, primarily reliant on agriculture. Political stability, religious tolerance and rich culture bind together the country's 15 million citizens, though large segments of the population lack equal access to economic, health and educational resources. Its capital, Dakar, is the western-most point of the African continent, and standards of living vary greatly between the coast and the rural inland communities. In this context, IRP fellows to Senegal will explore issues

Mongolia’s Hunt For Female Street Artists

Mon, 2017-09-11 14:16
Odno Bold extends her hand in greeting, than pulls it away quickly. For a moment she has forgotten that her hands are covered in pink chalk and red paint, a hazard of the trade. Bold, who is 24, is outlining her first street mural on the wall surrounding the United Nations compound in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Dressed in black leggings and boots, Bold and her artistic partner on the piece, Michid Enkhbat, 25, are the sole women working on the wall. Like in many other countries, men mostly do street art here. "Women are not brave enough to do graffiti," says Bold. She knows only a few female street artists in the country, including Enkhbat, who has already done two murals in the

Colombia’s female FARC fighters wage a new war, for gender parity

Thu, 2017-09-07 09:51
When Angie Rios, 27, left to join communist rebels as a teenager, she told her mother never to change her phone number. Nine years later, Rios is a seasoned guerrilla and sports a pierced eyebrow, a bandana, and gumboots, tempered by feminine flourishes – rhinestones dangle from her earlobes and throat; her fingernails are painted pink. When the peace deal was finally signed in November between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC, and the government, Rios made a phone call. “Hi mom, it’s me.” For thousands of FARC women, who make up more than 40 percent of the armed group, homecoming is fraught. Right now, they’re reconnecting with family members who they

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