Tag Archives: East Africa

Ethiopia News | Women

Graphic artist creates Ethiopia’s first female superhero comic

  • Beserat Debebe, founder of Etan Comics, has developed Hawi in the wake of creating Jember, billed as the first Ethiopian superhero comic in a growing African comics market.
  • Hawi features the intertwined stories of Ement, a young woman of Ethiopian descent living in the U.S. coming into her powers, and Queen Yodit, a powerful figure from 10th-century Ethiopia.
  • The comic will be published in both Amharic and English and is currently available for preorder as part of the project’s kickstarter campaign.

Read

Ethiopia’s First Female Superhero Comic ‘Hawi’ is Here” (OkayAfrica | March 2019)

Ethiopia Gets Its First Female Superhero Comic” (CBR.com | March 2019)

Meet Ethiopia’s first female superhero character who returns from the U.S. to rescue her abducted mother” (Face2Face Africa | March 2019)

Support

Hawi Kickstarter

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Etan Comics

Uganda News | South Sudanese Refugees

U.N. food cuts lead to desperate food situation for refugees in Uganda
  • The U.N. cut food rations by half in refugee camps, adding to an already critical famine driving displacement in the region.
  • Refugees have taken to stealing crops and other food from locals to sustain themselves, and while no widespread violence has broken out yet, tensions have worn at the historically amicable relations between Ugandans and refugees.
  • Nearly 1 million refugees have fled from South Sudan into neighboring Uganda, a significant fraction of the 3 million driven from the country since the outbreak of civil war in 2013.
Read

South Sudan refugees scrounge for scraps as rations slashed in Uganda camps” (Reuters | May 2017)

Tensions rise as Uganda neighbourly refugee policy starts to feel the strain” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Faced with slaughter they fled, now their safe haven teeters on the brink” (CNN | May 2017)

(Image Credit: via CNN)

Global Event | Women’s Marches

Global Women’s Marches

On the day following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, millions gathered in demonstrations taking place across all seven continents in support of women’s rights. Trump, who was elected despite having been accused of sexual assault by at least two dozen women, ran a campaign that attacked reproductive rights, disparaged high-profile women (including his opponent, Hillary Clinton), and equivocated on issues like gender pay equity, and of the 25 members of his incoming senior leadership team, only three are women. From Austin to Antarctica, women and allies around the world mobilized around issues including women’s security, reproductive rights, racial and immigration justice, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

Global Overview
The Americas


Source: The New York Times (YouTube)

Europe & Africa


Source: ODN (YouTube)

Asia Pacific & Antarctica


Source: Reuters (YouTube)

Tanzania News | HIV+ Queer Men

Tanzania suspends funding for HIV/AIDS programs supporting queer men as crackdown grows
  • The country’s health minister indicated the programs had been suspended “pending a review,” while programs supporting adolescent girls, drug users, and others will continue uninterrupted.
  • The government has accused some community-based and internationally funded programs of normalizing same-sex relationships as part of their outreach to queer men, some 25% of whom are living with HIV.
  • Though same-sex relations are punishable by up to 30 years in prison in the country, the government only recently broke its silence on the issue to condemn groups “promoting” homosexuality, with a number of officials having announced anti-LGBT campaigns.

Read more:
Tanzania suspends HIV/AIDS programs in new crackdown on gays” (The Washington Post)
Tanzania suspends some HIV programs for gay men, says health minister” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
‘Seeds of hate’ sown as Tanzania starts LGBT crackdown” (The Guardian, August 2016)

(Image Credit: Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post)

Central & East Africa | Burundians

Central and East African refugee crisis expands as hundreds of thousands of Burundians flee country
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) reported that almost 325,000 Burundians have fled political violence in their country following the president’s decision to seek a third term.
  • Almost 250,000 have crossed into neighboring Tanzania, where poor conditions in underresourced, overcrowded camps—including the threat of malaria—have compounded refugees’ insecurity.
  • Refugees report having suffered harassment, hunger, and poor prospects as the country has fractured following the disputed July 2015 reelection of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Read more:
Tanzania: Assistance Urgently Needed for Refugees” (Médecins Sans Frontières)
Burundi exodus driving major African refugee crisis – charity” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Burundi will soon be one of ‘Africa’s biggest refugee crises’, says MSF” (International Business Times)

(Image Credit: Stephanie Aglietti/AFP/Getty Images, via International Business Times)

Uganda News | LGBT

Police raid Uganda Pride event, arrest more than a dozen
  • After attendees reported some 10 officers stormed the nightclub where the Mr. and Miss Pride pageant was being held in Kampala.
  • Reports of those arrested ranged from 15 to 25, including prominent Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, and some witnesses reported that police beat some attendees and undressed trans participants.
  • The Pride march was postponed indefinitely after a senior government official threatened to bring a mob of opposition to protest the event.

Read more:
Ugandan police storm Gay Pride event, arrest at least 15 – activist” (Reuters)
Ugandan Police Storm Gay Pride Event, Arrest More than a Dozen People” (NBC News)
Uganda’s Pride Parade Has Been Cancelled” (BuzzFeed News)

Africa News | Africans

African Union prepares to launch common African passport
  • The A.U. is preparing to launch the e-Passport, a transnational passport opening up migration between the 54 constituent countries, at its upcoming summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
  • The e-Passport is expected to function similar to European Union citizenship, promoting mobility and increased economic integration across the African continent.
  • The passport will initially be available to heads of state and other diplomatic and foreign affairs representatives, with rollout to citizens expected to take place in 2018.

Read more:
African Union set to launch e-Passport at July Summit in Rwanda” (African Union press release)
The opposite of Brexit: African Union launches an all-Africa passport” (The Washington Post)
As EU fights over migrants, African Union takes steps to free movement of people” (CNBC)

Kenya News | Gay & Bisexual Men

Kenyan court upholds legality of anal examinations as evidence in homosexuality prosecution
  • The presiding judge dismissed a challenge to the state’s subjection of men accused of homosexuality to anal exams, widely decried in the medical community as unscientific and invasive.
  • The ruling comes as part of a case against two men charged with “unnatural acts,” “indecent acts between adults,” and “trafficking in obscene materials.”
  • Though being appealed by Kenya’s main LGBT advocacy group, anal exams can now be used as evidence of “unnatural acts,” whereas historically they were most often used in same-sex rape cases.

Read more:
Kenyan Court Upholds Anal Exams For Homosexuality Charges” (BuzzFeed News)
Two Kenyans in gay sex case lose bid to outlaw anal examinations” (Reuters)
Kenya court rules anal tests on ‘gay suspects’ legal” (AFP via Capital News)

Eritrea Feature | Eritreans

25 Years of Independence and Suppression in Eritrea

As it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of Ethiopian rule, Eritrea continues to hemorrhage citizens under one-party, anti-democratic rule. Indefinite military conscription, mobility restrictions, and the absence of civil liberties have greatly diminished prospects for Eritreans, driving youth from the country in droves and into trans-Mediterranean trafficking networks in which thousands have died. Some estimates put the emigration rate at 5,000 people per month, second only to Syrians in contributing to the swelling of the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015.

The Eritrean government has been particularly unfriendly to journalists and other writers, who have faced high insecurity following the 2001 roundup of independent newspaper editors in a push by the Eritrean president to crack down on public dissent. In the diaspora, Eritreans have found themselves involuntarily bound to the government as attempts to access documents and send remittances has subjected them to taxes international monitors liken to extortion. Amidst independence celebrations, both native and diasporan Eritreans continue to work to organize an effective opposition against the presidential regime and bring about a democratic renaissance for the country’s disenfranchised citizenry.

Read:
Eritreans still denied freedom 25 years after independence” (The Guardian)
A quarter of a century after independence Eritreans still yearn for freedom” (The Conversation)
How to End the Eritrean Refugee Crisis” (The Nation, December 2015)
‘If we don’t give them a voice, no one will’: Eritrea’s forgotten journalists, still jailed after 14 years” (The Guardian, August 2015)
Outside Eritrea looking in: a diaspora that stands divided” (The Guardian, August 2015)
UN Inquiry reports gross human rights violations in Eritrea” (UNHCR, June 2015)

Watch:
25 years of independence in Eritrea: Thousands continue to flee repressive regime (France 24 English)
Eritrea: Delving into a Sealed-Off Country (Deutsche Welle, April 2015)

Follow:
Eritrea profile: Timeline (BBC)
2015 prison census: 199 journalists jailed worldwide (The Committee to Protect Journalists, December 2015)

Connect:
Eritrean Solidarity Movement for National Salvation (Simret)

(Image Credit: Boris Roessler/EPA, via The Guardian)

Citations | Refugee Education

Citations
Education for Refugees, from Preschool to Professorship

Global emergencies like war, natural disaster, and health pandemics have uprooted families and disrupted education at all levels as displaced students have been deprived of access to schools. Students in early childhood, primary, secondary, and higher education as well as teachers, professors, and other educational professionals have experienced delayed educational and professional development during times of crisis, disabling dreams and prospects for the future. Whether in Malaysia, Greece, or Lebanon, displaced communities have struggled to adjust to lost livelihoods, new cultures, and uncertain futures.

As the average duration of displacement has dramatically increased over the last three decades, international humanitarian organizations have been pressed to develop long-term programs and partnerships to replace short-term emergency educational provision. These challenges have been compounded by the disproportionate burden of education in emergencies shouldered by developing countries, where refugee populations vastly outnumber those in high-income countries. Over time, the educational pipeline has come to look less like a pipe than a funnel, with progressive exclusion and decreasing resources constraining opportunity as refugee children age. Workarounds developed in earlier stages have at times installed barriers for students at more advanced education stages as credentialing standardization and selective admissions disadvantage students from newly developed, temporary, and informal educational institutions outside of the national curriculum.

From connected learning hubs in refugee camps in Kenya to elementary classrooms in Canada, technological innovation and international coordination have worked to connect displaced students to well-resourced institutions and support educational continuity through crises. Meanwhile, new momentum in the development of transnational platforms for educational financing, advising, and service delivery has reinvigorated the global education community and increased commitment to education for all, regardless of circumstance. Here is a look at select recent news, features, and open research on and resources for global refugee education and scholar protection: Continue reading Citations | Refugee Education

East & Southern Africa Feature | People with Albinism

The Hunted Albinism Community of East and Southern Africa

People with albinism, a condition affecting body pigmentation and sunlight sensitivity, have faced ongoing persecution throughout East and Southern Africa, attacked and trafficked by those who believe their body parts hold magical powers. With albinism found to occur more frequently in certain African regions like East Africa than elsewhere in the world, the higher visibility has led to increased discrimination and prejudice. Children in particular have faced heightened vulnerability to kidnapping and violence, leading some families and governments to respond by segregating children with albinism into Temporary Holding Centers (THCs).

Recent years have seen increased attention to the insecurity of the albinism community in countries like Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania. Police have worked to crack down on kidnapping and murders while civil organizations have cropped up to provide education, resources, and support to the community. Nevertheless, ongoing black markets and trafficking networks have endangered the community in ways observers worry may be irreversible without aggressive government and community interventions.

Read more:
Mozambique: 50 arrested over albino murders” (StarAfrica, May 2016)
Albino abductors get 25-year jail term” (Malawi 24, May 2016)
In Malawi, people with albinism face ‘total extinction’– UN rights expert” (U.N. News Agency, April 2016)
Report on Investigative Mission on the Situation of Children with Albinism in Temporary Holding Shelters – Tanzania (African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, March 2016)
The first Pan-African Albino Conference” (Global Disability Watch, January 2016)
Mozambican albinos’ life in fear” (Deutsche Welle, November 2015)

Additional:
Under the Same Sun
Albinism Society of Kenya
Albinism Society of South Africa
Zimbabwe Albino Association

(Image Credit: Christine Wambaa/OHCHR)

Kenya News | Refugees

Kenya announces plans to close refugee camps, including world’s largest
  • If carried out, the decision would impact hundreds of thousands of refugees (most Somali), including more than 300,000 at Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world.
  • The government has cited national security concerns for the abandonment of a repatriation agreement with Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, taking the initial step of disbanding the Department of Refugee Affairs and calling on the international community to support the transition.
  • In the lead up to the announcement, the camps experienced major reductions in resources, including food and healthcare.

Read more:
Kenya Moves to Close Refugee Camps” (Voice of America)
Kenya camp closures no surprise to refugees: ‘We’ve been crying out but no one heard’” (African Arguments)
Closing camp will ‘worsen’ risk of terror” (The Star)

Additional:
UNHCR Dadaab Portal

(Image Credit: UNHCR via Voice of America)

Kenya Feature | Mental Illness

The Struggle to Treat Mental Illness in Kenya

Healthcare in Kenya has struggled to reach the portion of the country’s population afflicted with mental illness, particularly those in rural communities. With around one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people in the country, families struggle to find professional support services, and services that do exist are overtaxed and underresourced. Rather than seek medical help, religiously devout communities often turn to faith healers to treat what are commonly accepted as spiritual rather than medical diseases.

People with mental illness find their conditions compounded by poverty and diseases that go unidentified and untreated, facing significant HIV infection rates and vulnerability. Recent efforts by Kenya-based mental health advocacy organizations and foreign investments in the country’s mental health services have created hope for broader treatment and enfranchisement of the community in Kenya, which, like many developing countries, shoulders some of the highest mental health burdens in the world.

Read more:
The taboo of mental illness in Kenya” (Al Jazeera)
Mental Health Care Still a Challenge in Rural Kenya” (Voice of America)
11mn Kenyans suffer mental disorder – WHO” (Capital News)
Double-edged stigma for people with mental illness and HIV” (Key Correspondents)
Kenya benefits from $6.1 million fund for mental health” (Standard Digital)
Fighting the ‘funk:’ How one Kenyan battles her mental health problems by helping others” (Public Radio International)

Resources:
Africa Mental Health Foundation

(Image Credit: Osaman Mohamed Osaman/Al Jazeera)

Ethiopia News | Oromo

Oromo Ethiopians clash with government over land, language rights
  • Members of the ethnic community have been protesting in a cycle of dissent and retribution since November, with activists reporting as many as 200 dead despite largely peaceful demonstrations.
  • The Oromo have clashed with the government over land rights as they have found themselves pushed off their land by ongoing urban development driven by the country’s economic boom.
  • Language rights have been a particular flashpoint, with the government’s refusal to officially recognize Oromo, the country’s most widely spoken native language, leading to Amharic-only instruction in schools.

Read more:
Video: Anger among Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group boils over” (France 24)
What do Oromo protests mean for Ethiopian unity?” (BBC)
Ethiopian students demand end to police crackdowns in rare protest” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: via BBC)

Sudan Feature | Women Activists

The Embattled Women Activists of Sudan

A new Human Rights Watch report details the threatening conditions faced by women activists in Sudan. Women have reported being subjected to abuse, sexual violence, and arbitrary detention by Sudan’s security forces, while local media have slurred them as “lesbians and prostitutes.” As international agencies have called for more women in conflict resolution and men have continued violating women activists without impunity, women seeking to invest in their country’s future have struggled to find ways to include their voices while protecting their well-being.

Read more:
Good Girls Don’t Protest (Human Rights Watch)
Sudan: Silencing Women Rights Defenders (Human Rights Watch, YouTube)
‘Good girls don’t protest’: report exposes attacks on Sudan’s female activists” (The Guardian)