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Hand over the mic to: Aisha, Kenya

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Aisha*, 12 years old, is now living in a shelter in the coastal region of Kenya, with 34 other children who have experienced gender-based violence. When schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these girls fell victims to sexual abuse within their homes.

What happened after COVID-19 hit: Malawi

Monday, November 16, 2020

In Malawi, thirty-one-year old Alepher Matemba Banda is a nurse responding to a hotline at Chipatala cha pa foni, a national health helpline. Banda was among 40 helpline nurses and technicians who received training in gender-based violence and health, through a UN Women initiative funded by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office.

In the words of Gladys Koech: “It is not uncommon for husbands to leave their wives because the child has a disability.”

Monday, November 9, 2020

Gladys Koech has been working as an occupational therapist for persons with disabilities in Kenya’s coastal region for more than 10 years. Through the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), she also works with communities to strengthen their understanding of disabilities and combat widespread stigma. UN Women’s partnership with the Council of Governors in Kenya has boosted resources to helplines around the country. As COVID-19 has increased demand for psychosocial services, Koech has witnessed a growing trend of mothers of children with disabilities being abandoned by their partners. Part of UN Women’s COVID-19 response in Kenya is being carried out in conjunction with UNICEF and UNDP as part of the Joint Devolution Programme supported by the Governments of Sweden, Finland, and Italy.

From where I stand: “It won’t be easy… reach out, grab the baton and keep running forward”

Monday, October 19, 2020

Fatima Askira is a young Nigerian leader, activist and peacebuilder born and raised in the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency. As the founder of Borno Women Development Initiative (Nigeria), she empowers women and girls to promote peace in communities affected by violent extremism.

Op-ed: Why we’re uniting in support of African girl leaders to beat AIDS and shift power

Friday, October 9, 2020

In a joint op-ed for International Day if the Girl Child, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay, Executive Director of UNFPA Natalia Kanem and Executive Director Henrietta Fore highlight the need for vital investments and transformational policy shifts so that all of Africa’s girls can enjoy all of their rights to education and empowerment.

I am Generation Equality: Munnira Katongole, youth activist for social change and climate justice

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Munnira Katongole is a 17-year-old South African activist fighting for social change and climate justice. She is part of the South African Institute of International Affairs’ Youth Policy Committee on climate.

From where I stand: "Organizations share the voices of women […] but we want to put our voices into action"

Monday, August 17, 2020

Nelly is a South Sudanese refugee leader in the Bidibidi settlement in Uganda. In this story, adapted from the Who Holds the Microphone Series, she discusses her engagement with the humanitarian community and emphasizes the need for resources, income-generating activities and spaces dedicated to women, where they can freely discuss their experiences and challenges.

In the words of Christine Sadia: “Women must be given tools and training, so they fully comprehend what the risks are”

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dr. Christine Sadia is a gender and public health expert with over 30 years’ experience advising governments on health and gender issues, such as psychosocial needs of women in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and HIV programming during the Indonesia tsunami. UN Women is supporting Dr. Sadia in her current role as a Gender and Public Health Advisor for Kenya’s State Department for Gender Affairs, to advise on the country’s national emergency response for COVID-19.

Small business owners in South Sudan bear the brunt of COVID-19 as livelihoods shrink

Thursday, July 23, 2020

As of early July, South Sudan confirmed more than 2,000 coronavirus cases. The implementation of social distancing rules, curfews and the closure of non-essential business has had a drastic impact on small businesses, especially in the informal sector where women constitute the majority of the work force. Now that businesses have been allowed to re-open with social distancing measures in place, women are working to adapt their businesses and get back on their feet.

Take five: Why we should take online violence against women and girls seriously during and beyond COVID-19

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Cecilia Mwende Maundu is a broadcast journalist based in Kenya and a specialist in gender digital safety. She is also the current Secretary General of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, Kenyan chapter. During COVID-19, women and girls are using the internet more than ever to stay connected with the world, but they are also the targets of online violence in the form of physical threats, sexual harassment, stalking, zoombombing and sex trolling.

From where I stand: “I want the views of older persons included in the planning of COVID-19 recovery programmes for my community”

Monday, July 13, 2020

Monica Chiwalo is 82 and mostly dependent on her children. She raised four children on her own after the death of her husband. The COVID-19 outbreak in Tanzania has devastated the livelihoods of families that rely on the informal sector and have no safety nets. Elderly women like Chiwalo are especially vulnerable to its health and economic impacts. Their voice and experience must be included in recovery efforts.

UN Women supports Maasai women-led enterprises to respond to COVID-19

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Ngorongoro district in Arusha region is a land of craters, sacred forests and mountains, wild animals and the unique Maasai people. It is striking how this noble community has learnt to co-exist with nature, sharing land, wild food, herbs and water with the wild animals that roam freely in this beautiful paradise. This remarkable way of life has endured for many years and attracted thousands of tourists from around the world to Tanzania’s tourism hub, creating business opportunities for the Maasai people.

Women peace mediators become key actors on the front lines of COVID-19 prevention in refugee settlements in Uganda

Monday, June 15, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda continues to rise, women peace mediators, who resolve community disputes and challenges, have joined the fight against the pandemic in refugee settlements in the districts of Yumbe and Adjumani, bordering South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As of 9 June, Uganda has recorded 646 infections.

In the words of Zahra Namuli: "I’m happy that I have been able to change people’s perception about COVID-19”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Zahra Namuli is a journalist reporting on health issues at NBS TV in Uganda. During a time when most people are quarantined at home, Namuli is one of the few remaining female journalists at the front line reporting about COVID -19 in Uganda. UN Women works to strengthen gender-sensitive reporting in countries around the world.

From where I stand: “Due to COVID-19 people were not going to the police”

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Simret Tesfaye is nurse at the Association for Women's Sanctuary and Development, a non-profit organization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which manages six shelters for survivors of gender-based violence. Currently, she is working at the Transitional Shelter that opened in April 2020 with support from UN Women.

From where I stand: “Although the situation is unpredictable, we are still working to maintain peace”

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Lieutenant Dr. Arya Khadka is a Nepali peacekeeper serving as a medical officer with the United Nations Mission (MINUSCA) in Bambari, Central African Republic, where prevention efforts are being implemented to deter the COVID-19 outbreak. In a recent Instagram interview with UN Peacekeeping leading up to the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, Lt. Dr. Khadka shared some of the challenges as well as what motivates her. This story has been written based on her interview.

On the front lines of COVID-19, women’s organizations provide vital services as first responders as violence against women spikes

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

“Women’s organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 response continue to adapt and provide vital services for survivors, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. As violence against women rises, the services offered by women’s organizations must be included in governments’ COVID-19 response packages,” said Aldijana Sisic, Chief of the UN Trust Fund.

From where I stand: “It has become impossible to meet daily needs”

Friday, May 22, 2020

Esther Macharia, 37, is a single mother and the only breadwinner for herself and her daughter. When the COVID-19 crisis came to Kenya, she lost nearly her entire income as a rideshare driver in Nairobi, as people are no longer requesting rides. Her story reflects the hardship that millions of women now face, as workers with low wages and without safety nets.

In the words of Sylvia Karungi: "Life has been challenging with social distancing."

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Sylvia Karungi is a member of the National Association of Women with Disabilities in Uganda (NAWODU), an organization for women with disabilities that receives funding from UN Women under the EU spotlight programme. She is also a community Psychologist.

Meeting of African Ministers in charge of Gender and Women’s Affairs on “COVID-19 Response and Recovery” - a Gendered Framework

Monday, May 11, 2020

UN Women and the African Union, in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), will host the inaugural meeting of African Ministers for Gender and Women’s Affairs, on 12 May 2020 under the theme “COVID-19 Response and Recovery” - a Gendered Framework.” Focusing on how to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on African women and girls, the meeting will be co-chaired by UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Chairperson of the...

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