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Access to justice for the vulnerable in Egypt

On the steps of the Family Court in the Heliopolis neighborhood of Egypt’s capital, Cairo, ‘Ayesha’, who preferred not to give her real name, tells a story that is all too common. “My husband and I are divorced. I repudiated him. Then, he took my elder daughter, kidnapped her, and I did not know howmore

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DR Congo: Legal clinics help victims of sexual violence

Julie* is just 10 years old. She is one of the clients at the legal clinic in Muganga, North Kivu. The clinic works to support victims of sexual violence and give them new hope. Julie’s father did not understand what had happened to his daughter and decided to punish her by keeping her out of schoolmore

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Haiti: Accessibility and women’s participation for better elections

Ketizia Brunard lost an arm in the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010. Determined to fully exercise her civil and political rights, the 26-year-old is looking forward to voting in the next legislative elections. “I hope that people with reduced mobility can have a say in electing the nemore

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Indonesia: a political ground shift for women

Sahanan thought her chance of being elected to the Lampung Provincial Parliament in Indonesia on last year’s parliamentary poll was next to none. Tina Chadarsi, jostling for a district parliamentary seat in Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta, had similar misgivings.  They were running against at least domore

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Sri Lankans get access to justice through mobile clinics

Displaced due to conflict, 18-year old Manickarajah Sulochana, of Vavuniya in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, migrated to India in 1990, just after getting married. She had three children in India, but when she returned to Sri Lanka in 2010, she didn’t have documentation for her children. “It wamore

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Egypt: An integrated approach to fighting FGM

In the village of Beir Anbar in the district of Keft, Egypt, young children and village elders alike gathered in the community centre.  A choir of school girls came forward to chant a jingle: ‘I am born perfect with my body whole. Why do you want to cut us, and take away the rights that God gavmore

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Lao PDR: Diversifying crops to cope with climate change

For Ki Her, the head of Kioutaloun village in mountainous northern Lao PDR, and 95 percent of the population who grow rice, the change in the weather over the past several years presents significant challenges. With shorter but more intense rainy seasons, followed by longer dry seasons, farmers are more

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Raising HIV awareness, decreasing stigma in South Sudan

Alice* was recently widowed, left on her own with four young children. She was also pregnant and had fallen ill, so she visited her local hospital. There, testing revealed she had both HIV and tuberculosis (TB). While her father took care of the children, Alice received three months of treatment at more

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Tackling women’s unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina

With an unemployment rate of close to 45 percent, finding a job in Bosnia and Herzegovina is hard, particularly for women over 40. Borka Karalic is one of them. After she lost her job as an administrative assistant in Banja Luka, she spent nine years trying to find another opportunity. “We are a jobmore

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Indonesia: Fighting for social justice

Just a few years ago, Indonesian housewife Ibu Odah had little knowledge of legal affairs. Now, the mother of two is at the forefront of the fight against domestic violence in the remote island of Ternate, in the North Moluccas province of Indonesia. With the knowledge and expertise that she has acqmore

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Building a sustainable democracy in Libya

A year ago, Khadija Baba would not have considered engaging in any independent civil society or political activities in her home town of Tripoli. Not only was such activity forbidden under the former regime in Libya, but it would have likely landed the university student in prison. Now, with supportmore

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Defeating malaria, one of Zambia’s biggest killers

Josephine Shaba, 30, experienced first-hand the economic impact of malaria. “When I had malaria, I could not tend to my crops or animals. If we are too sick, we cannot plant and then we don’t have enough food to harvest,” she says. To pay for her and her children’s treatment, Josephine had to sell more

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Kyrgyzstan: HIV patient speaks for anti-retroviral therapy

Marat*, a 38-year old father and husband, learned that he was HIV positive while undergoing drug detox in 2009. Pre and post-test counselling wasn’t common in Kyrgyzstan at the time, so Marat assumed that “HIV positive” meant good news. Once he understood the diagnosis, Marat refused the treatments more

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Bolivia: On the way toward eliminating malaria

“In the past, contracting malaria was quite common," said Edwin Moreno Saravia, from the town of Riberalta in Northern Bolivia. "I got the disease myself and managed to recover, but people often died from these chills.” But no deaths have been reported in the past five years, and the incimore

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In Zimbabwe, better clinics lead to better healthcare

Ivy Chiyani, the sister-in-charge at the E.F Watson medical clinic in Zimbabwe, would like her patients to receive good healthcare -- but the limited physical space stymies her best efforts. “We have just opened an opportunistic infections clinic and therefore we need more room to keep the antiretromore

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In El Salvador, women lead the way in HIV/AIDS prevention

Talking about sexuality in El Salvador is taboo, especially in rural areas, where access to information and education is limited. Angélica Méndez, 33 years old, a resident of El Flor canton in Metapán in the north of the country, describes the situation with an example:  “A lady comes and says more

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Bosnia and Herzegovina: A step to end stigma over HIV

Bosnia and Herzegovina passed a milestone in its effort to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination when a baby was born via C-section to HIV-positive parents in Sarajevo. “We all know how much blood there can be when a caesarean section is performed, but there was no hesitation or discrimination hmore

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Promoting self-empowerment of HIV-positive women in Congo

Léocadie, a widow and a mother of four children, is unable to forget the night when her life was torn apart. "A group of armed men entered our home and raped me in front of my family," she relates between sobs. After an initial test, Léocadie found out that she was HIV positive and fell inmore

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In Zimbabwe and Zambia, the fight against malaria crosses borders

In the village of Chundu in Zimbabwe’s border district of Hurungwe, Mrs. Ellen Kunje has seen some heartening changes. In an area prone to malaria epidemics, Mrs. Kunje’s family and home have remained free from the disease. Thanks to a new malaria control programme, she was given a long-lasting insemore

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Iran gains ground in battle against malaria

Torah, a construction worker in search of a new job and better prospects, was travelling west into Iran from Afghanistan. His second day on the move, he was hit with fever and chills, then excruciating pain – the first signs of malaria. He asked locals for help and was referred to Sadegh, a volunteemore

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Haiti’s fight against AIDS and tuberculosis

Mirlande Louis has a plan to change her life, but for now the young Haitian woman makes a living working in the sex industry. Sex workers are among the groups most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS with a prevalence rate of 8 percent as compared to 1.9 percent for the Haitian population in general. But thamore

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In Burkina Faso women help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS

27-year old Assiétou was pregnant with her third child when she discovered that she is HIV positive. “I thought it was the end of the world,” she recalls. “I immediately thought about my husband and I was very worried about his reaction. In the end, I summoned up all my courage and went to talk tomore

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From sex worker to HIV counsellor

Jennifer was just 16 years old when poverty forced her out of her native Nigeria, leaving her family and many young sisters behind. She thought she was heading for a better future as a house maid in Europe, but instead, she ended up in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where she has been a sex worker for tmore

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Teaming up to improve public services in Moldova

For 20 years, basic water, sewer and garbage services were a rare luxury for most people in Telenesti, Moldova. The town of 9,000 used to be one of the country’s poorest. Decaying infrastructure languished without repairs. For residents like Mihai Druta, 76, that meant struggling to carry water overmore

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Egypt: ID cards help women proclaim their existence

At 28, Nesma is the principal provider for her children and husband, who is living with a disability. Like many others in Egypt, her family is struggling for food, shelter and education due to the challenging economic situation. So when Nesma heard about the Citizenship Initiative, a project aimed more

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Afghan youth vote in historic elections

Despite rain and security challenges in many parts of the country, Afghans went to the polls on 5 April 2014 in Presidential and Provincial Council elections. The elections marked the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power was handed from one democratically-elected government to another. Youmore

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In Somaliland, local communities benefit from decentralization

For Fosia Ahmed Ismail, a returnee to the Somaliland district of Hargeisa, life was hard. Many basic services were inadequately delivered, and access to authorities was limited and sometimes even unthinkable. “The local government resettled us here,” said Fosia. But infrastructure in local districtsmore

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Timor-Leste: Convictions boost state justice system

Sitting on the verandah of his home, Camilio dos Santos, the chief of the village of Galitas in East Timor reflects on how conflicts used to be resolved in Timor-Leste. “Before independence we relied only on traditional justice to resolve any disputes in communities. It is good that now we have our more

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Through village courts,
justice for all in Bangladesh

When Jahanara Begum’s sons stole mangoes from a neighbour’s garden, what should have been a petty incident of children’s mischief escalated into a violent confrontation between Jahanara and her neighbour. Angry at Jahanara, her neighbour assaulted her and injured her eye, which then required expensimore

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Afghanistan: Bringing the police closer to the people

Farza, Kabul Province—Colonel Noor Aqa Ibrahimkhail, the district Chief of Police for Farza, located 45 kilometres north of Kabul, is a veteran officer who has experienced many brushes with violence and unrest throughout his career. But compared to his previous postings, he says, Farza is a haven ofmore

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Paralegals bring justice to women in South Sudan

In a young democracy like South Sudan, most disputes are still resolved through traditional, customary structures and institutions. Alice Adye witnessed how breakdowns within state institutions, including police as well as statutory and customary courts, undermined and victimized women in rural areamore

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Cambodian councils cooperate to provide community with school

Several years ago, Soy Pheap, a 39-year-old mother of seven, was forced to make a tough decision: send her daughter away, or forfeit the young girl’s education. Until recently, Pheap’s village, part of the Tuol Pongro commune in Banteay Meanchey Province in northwest Cambodia, lacked an adequate secmore

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Local governance paves way for poverty reduction in Lao PDR

The rainy season used to mean a loss of revenue for Timchai, a farmer in the southern Lao province of Saravene. Rainfall during this five-month period would often make the road running from her village to the nearest market impassible, causing her produce to rot before she had an opportunity to sellmore

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Local governance in Rwanda

Murengerantwari Syldio is a farmer in Rwanda’s Rulindo district. Until recently, he had no way of selling his crops because poor roads restricted his access to neighbouring districts.  Fortunately, however, a United Nations (UN) initiative, supported in part by the United Nations Development Pmore

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More than 50,000 Timorese finally land property rights

Teresa de Jesus clutched her land papers and gave a shy grin. The 60-year old woman from Liquica, an hour east of the capital Dili, was one of 16 landowners who received the first land certificates ever issued in independent Timor-Leste. “I’m very happy,” she said.  “And I want to thank all youmore

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Guaranteeing equal protection to vulnerable communities in Iraq

Laila, a mother of two, was physically abused for years by her husband, and even forced to seek treatment for injuries on a number of occasions. The 28-year-old did not want to denounce her husband to the authorities out of fear he would take away or hurt their children. In cooperation with the Kurdmore

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Young women encouraged to join national police of Timor-Leste

A recent survey on gender violence indicates that 38 percent of Timorese women have experienced physical violence by the age of 15. Despite the enactment of the Law Against Domestic Violence in 2010, it is estimated that 30 to 50 percent of Timorese women continue to suffer abuse from their partnersmore

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Afghanistan: Women gain access to clean water

Until recently, women in the village of Jukna, in the remote province of Badghis in western Afghanistan, used to walk four kilometres a day to collect drinking water for their families. And even then, the scarce, brackish water was often a health hazard. “The women used to collect water from uncovermore

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Nicaragua: Victims of sexual violence advocate on behalf of other victims

Ligia Canales, a mother of three living in Managua, was once a victim of domestic violence:   "My former companion used to get drunk, beat me up, kick me out of the house and threaten to kill me. I was really scared, and yet I decided seek help: One day I reported him to the police,"more

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Somaliland’s first female deputy prosecutor

Khadra Hussein Mohammad, 28, made history by becoming Somaliland’s first female National Deputy Prosecutor, dealing with a range of cases including theft, gang-related violence and terrorism. “You meet all kinds of people in this job. We see new cases almost every day. It’s good that people are now more

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