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JAN. 8, 2019



This Bus Provides Education and Hope to Homeless Children in Iraq

Half of primary school-aged children who miss out on education live in areas affected by conflict.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Around the world, 265 million children are unable to attend school due to armed conflict, natural disasters, and poverty. To end extreme poverty, access to quality education must be treated as a fundamental human right. The Iraqi Children Foundation is helping homeless children get back into the classroom. Join us in taking action here to promote education for all.

Dozens of homeless children in Iraq are back in school thanks to the "Hope Bus" — a city bus that has been converted into vibrant learning environment, BuzzFeed reports.

Launched by the Iraqi Children Foundation in 2017, the Hope Bus served more than 117 children in its first year of operation. And it is continuing to make a major impact on the lives of homeless, orphaned, and displaced children in one of Baghdad's poorest neighborhoods.

Take Action: Tweet at Japan's Foreign Minister to End NTDs and Fund Education in Emergencies


Complete with colorful desks, school supplies, and a blackboard, the bus fits 50 to 55 students at a time. Because of the Hope Bus, children who were unable to go to school because of the war are now learning to read, write, and do math on the repurposed vehicle.

But the Hope Bus is more than a classroom — it also provides the city's most vulnerable children with nutrition, health care, and social services.

After seeing the success of the first Hope Bus, Iraqi Children Foundation is investing in a second bus, with the hope of bringing tutoring and essential services to more kids in need.

Read More: This Global Teacher Prize Finalist Is Revolutionising Literacy in South Africa

An estimated 800,000 children were left orphaned after the Iraq War and approximately 1.3 million have been displaced due to violence by ISIS. Growing up around armed conflict makes it difficult for children to attend school and puts their development at risk.

Globally, 265 million children cannot attend school due to active conflict, natural disasters, and poverty. Approximately 22% are of those children are primary school-aged, and half live in areas affected by war and conflict, according to the United Nations.

Access to quality education is essential for eradicating extreme poverty. The UN has set the goal of ensuring that all of the world's children have equal access to education by 2030. Accomplishing this goal will demand both global action and community-based initiatives like the Hope Bus to ensure that children receive quality education, even under the most challenging circumstances.

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MAY 22, 2018



11-Year-Old Meghan Markle Has a Feminist Message You Need to Hear

She tackled her concerns about sexism head-on.

When Meghan Markle shut down her lifestyle website shortly before announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, it sparked concerns among fansthat her new enrolment into the British monarchy would curb her calling out sexism wherever she saw it.

But it looks like Markle — now the Duchess of Sussex — has no intention of letting herself be silenced. Her official profile on the royal family's website went live this week, and it made perfectly clear her continued commitment to gender equality. 

Take action: Sign This Petition to #LevelTheLaw and Empower Girls and Women Around the World




And, judging by this interview from 1993, 11-year-old Markle would be so proud. 

The footage shows her on Nickelodeon’s children’s news programme "Nick News," speaking about her first foray into activism. 


It all came about after she saw an advert for dish shop, with the slogan: “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” 

When she saw the advert at school, and two boys in her class joked that women "belong" in the kitchen, she reportedly went home and told her parents. Her father then suggested she write a letter "to the most powerful people" about it.

Read more: Meghan Markle Set to Break This Sexist Tradition at Wedding to Prince Harry

Her letter went to Procter & Gamble, the company behind the advert, as well as to First Lady Hillary Clinton, women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, and "Nick News" anchor Linda Ellerbee. 

And it worked — she got "women" changed to "people."

"I don’t think it is right for kids to grow up thinking that Mom does everything,” Markle says in the video, which was found by Inside Edition and rerun by TV programme NickSplat in honour of the wedding this weekend. “It’s always 'Mom does this,' and 'Mom does that.'” 

“I said, 'Wait a minute, how could somebody say that?'” she continues. “Just about one out of every three commercials is going to say something that’s going to hurt somebody’s feelings.” 

Read more: Meghan Markle Spoke About #MeToo and Everyone Needs to Hear Her Message

She added: "If you see something that you don’t like or offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people and you can really make a difference, for not just yourself but for lots of other people."


Markle told the story of her first experience of driving positive change when she spoke at the United Nations in 2015, as a UN ambassador for women’s rights.

"It just wasn't right and something needed to be done," she said in the speech. "At the age of 11, I created my small level of impact by standing up for equality." 

Read more: 5 Issues We Want Meghan Markle to Tackle as a Royal

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on gender equality. We believe that the more women with public platforms who can speak out about feminism and raise awareness around gender discrimination, the better. 

Procter & Gamble is a partner of Global Citizen, working to achieve a world free from gender bias. You can find out more about the work P&G is doing to advance gender equality around the world here.

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The 'Salt Queen' working to transform the health of a nation

By Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
Photographs by Sarah Tilotta, CNN

Editors Note: CNN is committed to covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world. This story is part of As Equals, an ongoing series.





Fatick, Senegal — Marie Diouf, 35, is on her cellphone speaking swiftly in Wolof, a lyrical Senegalese language, as salt flies past her.
Dressed in a red boubou, a long traditional robe, Diouf cuts a striking figure in an otherwise muted landscape encrusted in white. As the sun sets, casting an orange hue over the salt flats of Fatick, in southwestern Senegal, Diouf stands, hand on hip, surveying a group of sinewy young men chipping away at a hardened, crystallized mound.
"When I saw other men who had their own land I thought, 'why not me?'" Diouf said, gesturing across the expansive plains, dotted with ancient baobab trees. In the distance, tucked away in fields of dry maize, is her village Ndiemou, which means "Salt" in the local Serer language.
When Senegal privatized land in the area in 2000, Diouf became the first woman to invest. It was a bold move in the west African country, where women have limited access to property despite providing the vast majority of agricultural labor. During the high harvesting season, from February to April, the salt flats are scattered with hundreds of women toiling away in over 40 degrees Celsius (100 degree Fahrenheit), scooping the crystalline mineral into baskets later carried aloft on their heads. But they're not necessarily the ones to benefit financially from the production.
Diouf walks along the edge of irrigation pools at her salt flat in Fatick. In the coming months, the water will evaporate, leaving salt behind.
Diouf walks along the edge of irrigation pools at her salt flat in Fatick. In the coming months, the water will evaporate, leaving salt behind.
It's an inequity that didn't sit well with Diouf.
"When I first started, men were telling me that I wasn't going to last in this business, but I would say to them that every job a man can do, a woman can too."
Today, she employs dozens of women and men -- including her husband -- in her own micro-business, producing about four to five tons of salt daily in peak season by extracting water from a nearby river to evaporate on land.
"At home my husband is the boss, but here, in the salt flats, it's me," Diouf said, breaking into an infectious laugh.
Young men chip away at a hardened mount of salt on Diouf's land in Fatick.
Young men chip away at a hardened mount of salt on Diouf's land in Fatick.
The same year Diouf leased her plot of land, a presidential decree mandated that all salt harvested in Senegal be iodized. It's a public health strategy widely considered to be the most effective way to prevent iodine deficiency, which can cause goiter (swollen thyroid glands in the neck), stunted growth and mental impairment -- health issues that had long plagued parts of Senegal. And it's cheap to do -- each ton of salt needs about 6 ounces of potassium iodate, which costs only $4.25.
In most developed countries around the world, table salt has been fortified for nearly a century, which is why the concept of iodine deficiency is almost unheard of in places like the United States.
But not here.
Bags of iodized salt ready for distribution.
Bags of iodized salt ready for distribution.
Despite being the largest salt producer in West Africa (Senegal mines nearly 500,000 tons annually), iodine deficiency is still a stubborn problem across the country. Experts say that's down to quality control. Most Senegalese people get their salt from small scale artisanal harvesters, like Diouf, who make up about one-third of the country's overall production. But many fail to iodize their salt effectively.
Those quality issues are why the Iodine Global Network, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and others are pushing for Senegal to pivot from supporting small scale producers to deploying iodized salt industrially instead: in processed foods, condiments and seasonings, such as stock cubes.
Only 37% of Senegalese households have access to adequately iodized salt, according to a 2015 nationwide survey, and the situation is worse in rural areas. For comparison, approximately 70% of all households globally had access in 2013.
And the need for iodine, which is critical to brain development, increases during pregnancy and infancy. In 2015, 30% of pregnant women in Senegal were iodine deficient, according to the same survey. Without the essential nutrient, they risk losing babies in miscarriages, or giving birth to children with permanent neurological damage. Even a slight deficiency can lower a child's I.Q. by 10 to 15 points.
Men working for Diouf use an iodization machine donated by NGO Nutrition International to mix potassium iodate into the salt before packaging.
Men working for Diouf use an iodization machine donated by NGO Nutrition International to mix potassium iodate into the salt before packaging.
Other than iodized salt, sources of iodine include seafood, as well as some dairy products and grains (depending on the soil where it's grown). But in rural regions of Senegal, those foods aren't always part of an average diet -- especially for those struggling with poverty and food security.
So Diouf, supported by Canadian-based non-governmental organization Nutrition International, has taken on the mantle of local businesswoman and evangelist, going door-to-door to raise awareness about the importance of iodine. As a result, Marie's village, where she is known as "the queen of salt," seems to buck nationwide data that shows access to adequately iodized salt is lowest in harvesting areas.
Marie Diouf outside her home in the village of Ndiemou, which means "Salt" in the local Serer language.
Marie Diouf outside her home in the village of Ndiemou, which means "Salt" in the local Serer language.
Only 11% of populations living in salt harvesting regions have access to iodized salt, compared to 53% in urban areas, according to the 2015 government study.
Adama Nguirane, the regional representative for the government's universal salt iodization project, says this disparity is down to a few factors, but chief among them is a lack of means. It's difficult to convince people to buy iodized salt when they can get it in their backyards for free.
That's why it is critical to get women like Diouf involved in the supply chain, Nguirane says, because they're the ones cooking meals for their families and taking care of the children.
"I believe in the development of my country and it's essential that we fix this problem for our children and our future," Nguirane said. "Marie is the model, and we rely on her to show us the way."
Ndeye Faye, top left, and Seynabou Diouf, right, test salt for iodine content before sealing it in plastic bags, while Fatou Sarr, bottom left, looks on. Marie Diouf employs the women in her micro-business producing and packaging iodized salt.
Ndeye Faye, top left, and Seynabou Diouf, right, test salt for iodine content before sealing it in plastic bags, while Fatou Sarr, bottom left, looks on. Marie Diouf employs the women in her micro-business producing and packaging iodized salt.
Menno Mulder-Sibanda, a senior nutrition specialist with the World Bank, which has a long-standing partnership with the Senegalese government, says that reducing iodine deficiency is an "essential" part of investing in the economic growth of a nation, and, given the limited agricultural promise of Senegal, the key driver of its future will be in new service-oriented businesses and technology.
"There is a moral question, of not acting on something that is so, in a way, manageable," Mulder-Sibanda said. "Obviously salt iodization in a country like Senegal is tremendously difficult to implement as a public response. But it baffles me that we haven't moved on this issue."
Aby Faye, 17, holds her two month old baby, Sokhna. Faye says she was aware of the importance of iodine during pregnancy thanks to Marie's campaigning in their village.
Aby Faye, 17, holds her two month old baby, Sokhna. Faye says she was aware of the importance of iodine during pregnancy thanks to Marie's campaigning in their village.
Pape Coumb Ndoffene Faye, the headteacher at the village's elementary school, says he has noticed a big difference in his students' achievement as a result of Diouf's work. "Since the project began, I know children have been getting iodized salt at home and in the canteen here, and mental capacity has improved," Faye says, adding that the school now ranks fourth out of 31 for test results in the region.
Faye, who has been working as headteacher since 2004, adds: "If we look at it as a curve, it's been going up since I started."
Pape Coumb Ndoffene Faye, headteacher of Ndiemou's primary school, calls on students during a French lesson.
Pape Coumb Ndoffene Faye, headteacher of Ndiemou's primary school, calls on students during a French lesson.
Diouf has high hopes for her 13-year-old daughter Fatou, a graduate of Ndiemou elementary. She now walks about 2.5 miles to her middle school each morning. Diouf wants to see her become a powerful CEO, a diplomat, or even the first female president, one day.
Her aspirations may be high, but they feel attainable. President of Senegal Macky Sall was born in the city of Fatick, just 5 miles from Ndiemou, where he served as Mayor from 2009 to 2012. Local people here have a lot of pride in his success, but the region has changed little since his time in office -- it's still among the poorest in Senegal.
Marie's daughter Fatou, backpack in tow, sets off early one morning for school.
Marie's daughter Fatou, backpack in tow, sets off early one morning for school.
Elsewhere in the country, however, Sall's vision for the future looks bright.
On the road to Fatick from Dakar, Senegal's investment in technology and services is embodied in the promise of a glittering, futuristic city: Diamniadio. It's the crown jewel in Sall's Emerging Senegal plan, which aims to alleviate poverty and get Senegal on the road to development by 2035.
Critics have called the $2 billion urban center a vanity project for Sall, who is running for reelection in February.
In any case, it's clear that if basic levels of nutrition aren't delivered in places like Fatick, parts of the population will be left behind on Senegal's road to economic fulfillment.
Still, Diouf is hopeful.
"Macky Sall won't be here forever, we want our children to be prepared to replace him."
Meissa Seck contributed to this report from Fatick.

The As Equals reporting project is funded by the European Journalism Centre via its Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme. Click here for more stories like this.

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Kenyan women have found a way to buy land, and make a profit



Join the fight against extreme poverty


This story was originally reported by Kagondu Njagi and edited by Robert Carmichael for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

For the women of Tuluroba village’s self-help group, the goal was simple: use their combined savings to buy cattle, fatten them and sell them to the beef industry for slaughter.

But there was a problem.

“We had no land to graze the cattle. Nor could we obtain a loan from a bank to buy land, because as women we do not own title deeds,” said Fatuma Wario, who chairs the 13-strong group.

That is common. Few women in Kenya have land title documents, and few are getting them: since 2013, less than 2 percent of issued titles have gone to women, the Kenya Land Alliance, a non-profit, said in March 2018.

And because getting a loan from a mainstream bank requires collateral – typically in the form of a land title document – most women are locked out of the chance to start a business.

In the end, the women of the HoriJabesa group borrowed money from an institution that loans money to women’s groups without requiring land title. Instead, the cash from their savings underwrites the loan.

In Wario’s case, that meant switching their savings account to the bank that was prepared to extend a $1,000 loan. Using that money and some of their savings, “we bought cattle and hired land to graze our stock”.

That was in 2017. Doing so meant the group could rent 10 acres (4 hectares) of pasture at a cost of 30,000 Kenyan shillings (US$300) annually.

Interest on the loan is 12 percent per year. In their first year they earned $10,000 from their investment – with each fattened head of cattle bringing in a US$30 profit.


The first step for Wario’s group was to become a partner with the Program for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies PROFIT, which is funded by the U.N International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

David Kanda, an adviser at the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation who has seen the impact PROFIT has had on women like Wario, said about 60 women’s groups in eastern Kenya alone were benefiting from the PROFIT program.

“Apart from livestock enterprises, the programme also supports women to do poultry and bee-keeping on hired land.”

The programme began in December 2010 and is scheduled to run until June this year. After that, it will be evaluated with an eye to continuing it, an official from AGRA said.

Getting a loan requires that the person be an active member of an agribusiness network. She can then apply to a farmer-lending institution for a loan as an individual – in which case her share in the agribusiness network is her collateral – or with her group, as Wario’s collective did.

The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), a government agency, is one such lending institution.

To date, said Millicent Omukaga, AFC’s head of operations, more than 40,000 women in Kenya have benefited from non-collaterised loans. None of those loans has gone bad.

“Our aim is to double the number … of women beneficiaries. But the overall aim is to see them financially empowered so that they can fight for their land rights.”


That has proven the case for Mabel Katindi, a widow who lives in Kathiani village in Machakos county, 195 kilometres south of Wario’s village.

The 42-year-old lost her husband a decade ago. Since then she has had to fight off relatives trying to chase her and her three children from the one-acre plot she inherited.

The problem is that her late husband did not have a title deed. As it is ancestral land, it fell under one title deed held by the eldest member of his family, she said.

And without title, Katindi could not get a loan to finance money-earning ventures on her acre.

“Our land is not very good for growing food crops because the rains are not enough. Feeding my children alone has been the most difficult task,” she said.

But after joining the local women’s organisation in 2017, Katindi learned that, as an active member of the agribusiness group, she could use her share to apply for a loan.

In March of that year she borrowed 50,000 shillings from a savings and credit cooperative, and used that to plant drought-resistant brachiaria grass on half an acre of her land.

The grass has thrived, she said.

“Demand for the grass is very high because it makes cattle produce a lot of milk. It also does not require a lot of rain to grow,” said Katindi.

Each bale of grass earns up to 300 shillings, with the half-acre generating 100 bales each year. She uses the other half-acre to grow staple foods for the family.

“My children are all in school. I do not have to worry about feeding them,” Katindi said, adding that the financial returns from the loan had also helped to mend relations with her late husband’s family.

“I even use some of my money to support the relatives who wanted to chase me away from the land.”

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organisations highlighted.

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The Very Good Reason South Korean Women Are Giving Up Makeup and Cutting Their Hair

"We are not dolls, we are human beings."

South Korean university student Yim Ji-su poses for a photo during an interview in Seoul, South Korea January 11, 2019.
Seulki Lee/Thomson Reuters Foundation

By Seulki Lee

SEOUL, Feb 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — South Korean university student Yim Ji-su used to sacrifice up to two hours of sleep each morning for her laborious makeup routine — from applying foundation and concealer to perming her shoulder-length hair.

But about six months ago, she joined a growing band of young women who have given up makeup and cut their hair short to rebel against long-held ideals of beauty they claim to have been subjected to in male-dominated South Korea.

The phenomenon has sparked debate in the beauty-obsessed nation, and brands are rethinking their marketing strategies to cater to the growing movement.

"We are not dolls, we are human beings," Yim, a third-year student in Korean literature told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the capital Seoul.

She was bare-faced and sporting a buzz cut.

"By escaping this corset, I feel like I am myself again," she said, adding that a number of students at her campus have also jumped on the bandwagon.

South Korea's wide range of skincare and cosmetic products has earned the industry the name "K-beauty", a term reminiscent of the moniker "K-pop" which refers to the booming pop music scene.

South Korea has become one of the world's top 10 beauty markets, according to global market research firm Mintel, with many women taking it to the extreme of plastic surgery to reach uniform beauty standards.

But it is also known as a socially conservative country — it has one of the worst gender wage gaps among developed nations, and is ranked 115 out of 149 countries in the World Economic Forum's 2018 Global Gender Gap report.

Against this backdrop, discontent among women about society's patriarchal aspects has been slowly growing.

'I Would Kill Myself'

Tens of thousands of women took to the streets in Seoul last year to protest against the spy-camera porn phenomenon, where victims were filmed illicitly when changing or having sex.

Around the same time, a small group of women also began joining what is known as the "Escape the corset" movement, taking to social media to post images of themselves destroying their cosmetics.

YouTube star Lina Bae used to offer makeup tutorials on the video sharing site, but in a viral video last June, she revealed the dark side of the rigid beauty standards and the ridicule she has had to suffer.

In her video, which has attracted nearly 7 million views, Bae said some viewers told her "I would kill myself if I were you" and "Didn't know pig can make up".

She said many women were so insecure about their own appearances that they have to put on makeup even for a short trip to nearby supermarkets.

"I am not pretty but it is fine," said Bae, whose real name is Bae Eun-jeong, as she wipes away her bronze eyeshadow and red lipstick in the video.

"I will not be able to wear this corset forever," she added.

Despite the growing movement, analysts said the K-beauty sector is unlikely to be affected, and Mintel data showed it is expected to reach a retail market value of $11.4 billion in 2019, from $10.7 billion in 2018.


"(It) is a movement that is emerging among South Korea's younger generations today, but it is a trend that has not yet reached the mainstream public," said Hwa Jun Lee, a senior beauty analyst at Mintel in Seoul.

But he warned brands not to take the trend lightly.

Some companies have already begun responding to the growing movement by shifting away from the existing rigid beauty standards to emphasise minimalism, with "all-in-one" beauty products that simplify skincare routines, said Lee.

Popular Korean cosmetics brand Missha, meanwhile, has featured a short-haired female model in one of its latest commercials, and other local brands like LAKA are the same.

"While still in its nascent stage, it is important for brands to note that the 'Escape the corset' movement has the potential to grow further in the future," the analyst said.

Sustained Effort

Supporters of the movement said giving up makeup is only the start of a bigger push for greater gender equality, as South Korean women confront daily sexism.

"It is about women's choice... The movement is about changing our everyday culture," said Shin Ji-ye, a 28-year-old politician who stole headlines last year when she ran for the post of Seoul mayor but lost.

But campaigner Heather Barr said it would be a long haul for feminists in South Korea to achieve greater women's rights, including introducing stronger legislation against abuse and sexual harassment. "(It) will take a sustained effort, but they show no signs of giving up," said the senior women's rights researcher at global watchdog Human Rights Watch.

(Writing and additional reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi; Editing by Jason Fields. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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London Fashion Week Just Took a Stand on FGM and Women's Reproductive Rights

Imogen Calderwood

Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Feb. 19, 2019


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The United Nations' Global Goal 5 demands gender equality, including an end to discrimination against women and girls; an end to all violence against and exploitation of women and girls; and the elimination of forced marriages and genital mutilation. Natalie B Colman’s latest fashion collection helps carry the message of these vital goals, spreading awareness through clothes, art, and culture. Join the movement by taking action here to help empower women and girls around the world. 

Activism is in the air at London Fashion Week, which launched in the UK capital on Feb. 15. 

The five-day event is one of the world’s biggest international fashion showcases, and it’s the perfect platform to get social issues front and centre. 

Already we’ve seen climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion launch road blocks to protest unsustainable “fast fashion”, some of the country’s leading models stand with Grenfell survivors, and the first-ever London Fashion Week that’s gone entirely fur-free. 

Take Action: Not One More: Help Global Citizen End Female Genital Mutilation

And on Sunday morning, as the capital rubbed its bleary Saturday night eyes, Global Citizen headed to Discovery Lab on the Strand to find out what exactly a fashion show inspired by 25 years of reproductive rights looks like. 

Beautiful, as it turns out. Highly symbolic, female-centric, full of strength, and inspired by a whole history of women’s handicrafts. 

full (111 of 120).jpgImage: Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Irish-born Natalie B Colman is the designer behind the Autumn-Winter 2019 collection Sisters, created in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with the aim of using fashion to help spread the message of universal sexual and reproductive rights. 

Colman has — since establishing a design studio and launching her label in 2011 — become known for collections that play on feminine silhouettes and her sometimes subversive illustrative prints and motifs, that have developed a strong female rhetoric. 

Sisters has a main line of about 20 pieces, Colman told Global Citizen, as we watched the models slowly rotate around the studio space against a backdrop of video content created by the UN’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency. 

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19
Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19
Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19
Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19
Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19
Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19

Natalie B Colman SistersAW19
Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

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Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

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Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

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It’s all very “female-centric, skill-led in terms of there’s a lot of embroidery, lace making, handknit,” she continues. “It was a way of connecting women all over the world who use these female-centric skills to raise families, to make money.

“Then we’ve got the underpinning commercial line, which has a lot of the motifs that are taken from the female body and flipped around and played with,” she added. “We’ve got a wedding dress … that’s got the whole reproductive system handmade on the sleeves, and then remade in a different kind of texture on the front.” 

Meanwhile, splashes of red on white dresses symbolise the fight to end female genital mutilation; black early 18th century wedding dresses represent the harmful practice of child marriage; and a repeating shield motif inspired by the basic meaning of the Latin word “vagina” being “sheath.” 

Related StoriesFeb. 1, 2019Mother Who Cut Her Daughter Is First Ever FGM Conviction in UK

The collaboration with the UNFPA first began last year, and was inspired by Colman’s collection Guaranteed to Bleed, which was “basically about periods,” she says.

The collaboration sees 10% of the profits from the Sisters collection go towards supporting the work of the UNFPA — but it’s about so much more than a financial link, and throughout the development of the collection Colman was “deeply engaged” with the UNFPA’s work to meet the critical need for family planning, to prevent maternal deaths, and to end harmful practices against women and girls.

“With fashion, it kind of filters through, so it’s a way of people engaging, of telling a story, and [one] that they can also become a part of,” continues Colman. “People are making a conscious decision when they’re buying something, and the commercial line is also all sustainable, organic cotton.” 

full (63 of 120).jpgImage: Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

“Just as the conscious consumer you’re buying something that has a story, or a narrative, behind it, so I think it’s very important,” she adds. 

The collection, she says, is highly influenced by the powerful bonds that exist between women and girls in our contemporary global society, and the partnership between Colman and the UNFPA aims to emphasise the importance of sisterhood in “times of rapid and turbulent change.”

It works to highlight the collaborative power of sisterhood, the “coming together of women to mobilise and build support systems — to fulfil the promise of rights and choices for all.” 

The date of the show was also highly significant.

Feb. 17 marked 25 years since the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994, and 24 years since the Beijing Women’s Conference — both landmark events at which sexual and reproductive health became a fundamental human right, according to the UNFPA. 

full (104 of 120).jpgImage: Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

full (16 of 120).jpgImage: Mario Bertieri at Moderne Lab

“She’s really taken all these harmful practices and inequalities that women face, and melded that with her fashion design to come up with this collection,” Matt Jackson, the UNFPA’s UK director, told Global Citizen at the show. 

“Fashion is everywhere, this is the way we can take the message of our mandate of the International Conference on Population and Development into people’s homes and hearts and people talk about fashion at school, work, with friends, in the home, so it’s a really good way of trying to expand the message and get it to reach everyone,” he said.

Related StoriesFeb. 13, 2019UK Government Recommits to Ending Breast-Ironing of Young Girls

Even now, 25 years on from ICPD, there are still numerous challenges in the fight to make sure that everyone has the right to sexual and reproductive health.

According to the UNFPA, both women and men around the world are facing barriers that mean they aren’t able to access timely, respectful, quality care, and the information they need to ensure their sexual and reproductive health rights are met. 

To help make sure that everyone is able to enjoy this human right, we need to get talking about sex, reproduction, and choices for everyone. We need to be doing it all the time, at school, home, work, with your friends and family. And fashion is a great way to get started. 

Actúa: Sign Now

Millions of Girls and Women Are Still the Victims of Genital Mutilation, Sign Our Petition to #LeveltheLaw and Put an End to This Horrible Practice
Dear World Leaders, Recognizing that girls and women everywhere are disproportionately affected by poverty, violence and human rights violations, I urge you to champion the reform or repeal of laws that discriminate against girls and women, and the enactment of measures to outlaw discrimination and gender-based violence in order to achieve gender equality by 2030. An estimated 90% of all countries have at least one legal difference between women and men limiting women’s opportunities. In several countries, girls are restricted from attending school, forced into legally sanctioned child marriages and are not protected from violence and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation (FGM), despite their age. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), which place girls and women at the core, provide a critical roadmap to deliver on SDG target 5.3 and eliminate all harmful laws, norms and practices that are a direct violation of girls and women’s human rights - including FGM. At least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, posing serious implications to their health, including high risk of HIV transmission and childbirth complications, and infringing on their autonomy and control over their lives. I welcome the global effort towards achieving this target, but urge for continued and accelerated progress to strengthen legal frameworks for girls and women and end FGM for good.
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Restauró 240 millones de árboles en África occidental, y podrían ayudar a combatir el hambre

"La naturaleza se curaría a sí misma, solo necesitamos dejar de explotarla".


Por qué los Global Citizens deberían preocuparse
La restauración de los bosques en todo el mundo puede aumentar la seguridad alimentaria, mejorar el acceso al agua y proteger a las comunidades de los peores efectos del cambio climático. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.

Tony Rinaudo estuvo a cargo del crecimiento de 240 millones de árboles en docenas de países, según informó recientemente The Guardian.

El "Fabricante de bosques", como él mismo se autodenomina, llegó por primera vez a Níger desde Australia hace 30 años e intentó restaurar el paisaje devastado plantando tantos árboles como sea humanamente posible.

Después de dos años, hizo pocos progresos y comenzó a reevaluar su modo de trabajo. Fue entonces cuando se dio cuenta de que podía trabajar en un método para mejorar el suelo, la poda regular de las ramas y la protección de los troncos cuando se araban los campos.

"En ese momento, todo cambió", le dijo a The Guardian. "No necesitábamos plantar árboles, no se trataba de tener un presupuesto de varios millones de dólares y años para hacerlo, todo lo que necesitabas estaba en el terreno".

"La naturaleza se curará a sí misma, solo tenemos que dejar de hacerle daño", agregó.

El método de Rinaudo se conoce como regeneración natural administrada por el agricultor y permite que los bosques se desarrollen en condiciones difíciles. A medida que los árboles florecen, las comunidades aledañas obtienen un gran impulso en la seguridad alimentaria, la calidad del agua y la resistencia ante las tormentas.

Tony-prunes-a-tree-760x500.jpgImage: World Vision

A partir de 2013, Nigeria ha cultivado alimentos suficientes para alimentar a otros 2,5 millones de personas con la ayuda del método de Rinaudo, según informó World Vision.

En Níger, donde Rinaudo comenzó con esta tarea, los agricultores vieron grandes mejoras en sus cosechas una vez que la red subterránea de árboles se afianzó.

El año pasado, viajó al oeste de Afganistán para ayudar a los agricultores afectados por la sequía a restaurar los paisajes montañosos. La inseguridad alimentaria en Afganistán afecta a un tercio de la población.

Ahora ha comenzado a divulgar su técnica de mejora del suelo y a hacer campaña en las Naciones Unidas para mejorar el manejo forestal en todo el mundo, informó The Guardian.

A nivel mundial, se destruyen 18,7 millones de acres de bosques cada año, lo que equivale a perder 27 campos de fútbol por cada minuto, según datos de WWF.

A medida que los árboles desaparecen de un área, la biodiversidad se desvanece, las sequías se vuelven más comunes y los paisajes se vuelven más vulnerables a las tormentas, inundaciones y deslizamientos de tierra. La deforestación también es un importante motor del cambio climático, ya que representa el 15% de las emisiones anuales de gases de efecto invernadero a medida que se libera el carbono almacenado en los árboles.

Los principales impulsores de la deforestación son las tierras desmejoradas como consecuencia de la ganadería, la agricultura y el desarrollo, señaló WWF. Los incendios forestales y las plagas también son amenazas crecientes para los árboles a medida que las temperaturas aumentan en todo el mundo.

Rinaudo cree que su método de regeneración de bosques puede ayudar en la lucha contra el cambio climático, al mismo tiempo que refuerza la seguridad alimentaria y la resistencia al agua.

"Podemos hacer esto de un modo muy barato y rápido", le dijo a The Guardian.

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Lebanon Just Appointed the Arab World's First Female Interior Minister

Raya al-Hassan is ready to ensure safety for domestic violence survivors and refugees.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Equal representation in government is key to achieving gender equality. Raya al-Hassan’s appointment empowers young girls and women to enter male-dominated workplaces. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Raya al-Hassan is determined to make women in politics the norm. 

Lebanon has appointed Hassan as the Arab world’s first female interior minister, Reuters reports. She is one of four recently appointed women cabinet members in the country who are shaking up the new government and bringing the nation’s politics closer to achieving gender equality. 

Take Action: Encourage girls & women to follow their dreams

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En asociación con: HP Inc.

The interior minister typically oversees national security, immigration policies, and emergency management — and in Lebanon, the position has always been occupied by a man.

“This is a point of pride for all women and all the people who believe in women’s capabilities,” Hassan told Reuters.


First meeting today w/ HE @rayaelhassan, first female Minister of Interior in the Arab world and a good friend of Europe! Discussed important #EU cooperation w/ MoI, incl citizen-oriented policing, human rights training of security officers, GBV, election follow up etc.Good luck!




Hassan’s nomination is a big step forward for the country, which ranked the 10th worst in the world for women in 2018 in a World Economic Forum report and also appointed a man as minister for women in the last administration.  

Some of Lebanon’s religious laws currently dictate marriage, divorce, and inheritance, enforcing a patriarchal society that restricts women from receiving equal rights.

Hassan, who previously served as the country’s finance minister, hopes that, in the future, women holding office isn’t considered unique. Nada Boustani Khoury, minister of energy and water, May Chidiac, minister of administration development, and Violette Safadi, minister of economic empowerment of women and youth, will work alongside her.

Read More: Lebanon Is Campaigning For More Women In Parliament

In her new role, Hassan plans to focus on helping domestic violence survivors, who face ongoing physical and mental challenges after suffering abuse. It’s estimated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. In the majority of countries with available data, less than 40% of the women who experience violence seek help. Lebanon passed the Law on the Protection of Women and Family From Domestic Violence in 2014 but it didn’t criminalize all forms of domestic violence, including marital rape. An unreliable criminal complaint process also stops many women from reporting their cases.

"Police posts in every village or city of Lebanon have to listen to abused women and take in consideration women's complaints ... I will be strict about this issue," Hassan promises.

Hassan is ready to take on Lebanon’s biggest security challenges. She’s also committed to supporting Lebanon’s large Syrian refugee population. Of Lebanon’s nearly 1 million Syrian refugees, 41% of the young women were married before the age of 18. Girls who enter child marriages are 50% more likely to face physical or sexual partner violence and stay out of school.

“There are a lot of female interior and defense ministers in the world and they have proved their efficiency,” Hassan said

Now it’s her turn. 

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