#003: On Climate Change...

June 2 Issue of Empower46 below. To receive more like this straight to your inbox, join us here.

  • Glance #1: Sanitary Aid for Nigerian Girls

In our Glance Interview series for the Empower46 Community Blog, I interview the wonderful Karo Omu of Sanitary Aid for Nigerian Girls.
Having spent most of my college career researching menstrual hygiene, I have a soft spot for the topic, especially as it pertains to vulnerable populations. Enter Karo: in her daily life, a social media and brand specialist, who—one day—realized that women in Nigerian IDP camps must be having difficulty managing their menstruations; and the idea for Sanitary Aid for Nigerian Girls was born. Karo and I discuss the sustainability of her organization, its long-term vision, and Twitter’s role in building relationships (we connected via the platform) and sparking movements. Enjoy!
Remember, if you’d like to join our community blog, all you have to do is raise your hand.

Read for: “Our goal is to reach at least 15,000 women and girls this year. Right now, we are already close to 5,000 so we are committed to reaching our goal and surpassing it. In the coming years, we plan to build a model that will get us into the most remote communities where we can hear from the most vulnerable girls and women and also provide their sanitary essentials.”




  • On Climate Change, Environmental-Based Livelihoods, and Women's Rights

Yesterday, Donald Trump, president of the United States, withdrew from the Paris Agreement. Drafted and sealed in 2015, the Agreement was ratified by147 countries (including the US), with the aim of consciously reducing global warming. The US is the world’s second-largest carbon polluter—and given the tragedy of the commons, resources polluted by the US are not only polluted in the US. The US (and other super-industrialized nations) will not be the sole victims of the pollution they create—and this is where the rights of African women come in. The effects of climate change on the economic rights of rural African women is interestingly and unfortunately linked. Rural African women are most likely to play a predominant role in agricultural and other environment-based forms of livelihoods, and are thus most exposed to the health risks, economic hits, and loss of natural resources, that climate change poses.  

The African Development Bank's report, "The Link Between Climate Change, Gender, and Development in Africa" comprehensively unravels the different layers of the effects of climate risk on the most vulnerable women (particularly across Africa and Asia) whose economic rights and safety net are most threatened by an increasingly damaged environment.

 Read for: “African women are on the frontlines of the impact of climate change, but they are poorly equipped to slow change or even make the necessary adaptations. Nonetheless, women's abilities to work with the changing environment are vital to their quality of life and to the survival of their communities”




  • Who Is Your African Feminist Ancestor Icon?

Mine is a collective - the Igbo women of the  Aba Women's War of 1929.

Check out the African Feminist Forum compilation of amazing historical feminist icons across the African continent. Great warriors like Queen Amina of Zaria (Queen in modern-day Nigeria) to Bibi Titi Mohammed, who fought for Tanganyikan indepedence (modern-day Tanzania).

Don't go through unless you have time; I got lost in it, and I bet you will too.
Click for: “Shortly after [Wangari Maathi's] divorce, her former husband sent a letter via his lawyer demanding that she drop his surname, but she chose instead to add an extra 'a'." 



  • Women & War: The Case of South Sudan

As typically happens to women in areas of conflict, women in the rebel-held South Kordofan region of South Sudan are denied access to reproductive healthcare and have a higher rate of maternal mortality. Between the government-imposed ban on international aid workers traveling to the rebel-held regions and poor distribution of medicine (amongst several other issues), access to - and provision of - sexual and reproductive healthcare is incredibly poor, and gives way to high rates of STIs as well. Human Rights Watch report, "No Control, No Choice", details experiences of young women with no access to obstetric care, offers clearer analysis of the conflict in South Sudan, and reveals the effects of poor access to healthcare for women and girls at war. 

Read for: "Most of the women we interviewed did not know what a condom was and had not heard about other options for contraception. NGO workers, health workers and authorities told Human Rights Watch that condoms are rarely available in markets despite an increase in gonorrhea and syphilis cases over the past two years and high percentages of pregnant women testing positive for hepatitis B."



  • #MenAreTrash - Why Men Must Stand Up for Women

This past month, the gruesome murder of South African 22-year-old lady, Karabo Mokoena, at the  hands of her boyfriend, sparked multiple debates online with hashtags #MenAreTrash, where women rallied and shared stories of abuse at the hands of men. According to a 2009 study, intimate femicide (women's death at the hands of an intimate partner) is the leading cause of female homicide in South Africa. This is jarring - to think that one is most likely to die at the hands of a lover.

The most recent waves of anti-femicide activism come on the heels of Karabo's death; with protesters in Pretoria (largely men) marching against violence against women. Ending violence against women cannot be achieved without male sponsors and supporters; and it requires constant action and outright support from our male counterparts. This is a start.

Read for: "Nicholas Mashidi, one of the protesters said: “You know the number of deaths that have been going on in our country lately, I mean, one cannot silence himself and say that he didn’t see what is happening in our country… we have to stand up as men and say no to these killings and abuse of women and children.”



Nneoma NwankwoComment