I was privileged, one morning not so long ago, to meet eight great women, each from a different region of Ethiopia. Given their different languages and dialects it was necessary for each to have an interpreter and still not one of the interpreters spoke English, communication was not going to be easy for me, but that was hardly the priority. By the end of the two weeks together the women had learnt to work together. Across their different languages, religions and cultures they had one thing in common; they were all Female Food Heroes, selected because they have excelled in agricultural production. Despite facing the many challenges that women food producers encounter these women are all role models working to produce the food that feeds their communities and nation.
“In the beginning here in Horseed IDP camp of Hodan district in Mogadishu, I remember facing a number of challenges. First there was lack of water and in addition, there was no water source near the camp. Every morning I would trek a distance of about 1 kilometre to buy water at the cost of 1,000 Somali Shilling (0.05 USD) per 20 litre jerry-can and I could only afford to buy one or two jerry-cans of water per day, an amount which was far below my household water requirements” describes Zahra.
Though women and men are both victims and perpetrators of armed conflict, conflict has strong gendered overtones and affects women and men differently. The violence directed at women – and to a lesser but increasing extent men – during periods of armed conflict is brutal and often takes the form of sexual violence, including, rape, mutilation of sexual organs, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy. While there has been significant global attention at policy levels to prevent and respond to sexual and gender based violence during conflict, paradoxically, practice reveals that women and girls continue to be subject to such violence by both military and civilians in many cases sexual and gender based violence is seen as an inevitable fact of war.
Oxfam adds its voice to the campaign on violence against women
November 2014 saw violence against women rise to an alarming level with at least five reported cases across the country. These five women have been stripped off naked and also stripped off their dignity by men who claim the women ‘are tempting them’ with indecent dressing. These actions are barbaric and should continually be condemned and severely punished. The more the perpetrators are allowed to get away without punishment, the more the incidences will occur.
Award to be presented on 4 December in Berlin by Germany’s Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid
On 15th October, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Federal Government of Somalia in close collaboration with Oxfam marked “Somali Farmers’ Day” in order to recognise the importance that farmers occupy in rebuilding Somalia as the country emerges from 24 years of civil strife.
Inside UN House, thin bellows of smoke can be seen from different locations around the camp, meaning that somewhere, someone is about to enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee or tea, or dig into a home cooked meal.
by Josephine Wambui, Oxfam
The Hargeisa International Book Fair is an annual event organized and supported by the Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). This is the seventh year of the book fair, and I FINALLY got to attend, even if it was just for a day. Turns out, I chose the best day as it coincided with the launch of the Hargeisa Cultural Centre. It’s important to note here, that as Oxfam we have been supporting the book fair for the last 5 years, and it has been a pleasure seeing it grow both in terms of numbers and ideas.