Culture & Society

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    UNICEF has published a statistical report on child marriage in West and Central Africa. As a previous Maps & Facts issue has shown, the region remains one of the most impacted by early marriage, which is one of the practices that the sustainable development goals seek to eradicate. Seven West African countries rank among the top 20 countries in the world with the highest rate of child marriage. Read on
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    For two years, the UNDP Regional Office for Africa conducted a study to understand why some individuals rally behind major extremist groups in Africa. Based on hundreds of interviews with activists from these movements, the results of this study have been published in a report entitled, “Journey to extremism in Africa: Drivers, incentives and the tipping point for recruitment.” Read on
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    Aïd-El-Kébir, the Muslim sacrifice feast also known as “Tabaski,” was celebrated on 1 September across West Africa, 69 days after the end of Ramadan. It is one of the most important religious days on the Muslim calendar and represents a busy and expensive time for families. Read on
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    Conakry has become the “World Book Capital” for a year. The Guinean capital is the first city in francophone Africa to obtain this status, which is awarded annually by UNESCO, and is the third African city to be named after Alexandria in 2002 and Port Harcourt, Nigeria in 2014. Through the programme, Guinea will organise monthly cultural events aimed at highlighting the country’s authors and culture. Read on
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    The Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo travelled to Benin and Senegal with two Belgian celebrities working with the United Nations on issues related to the rights of women and children. Their working visit was part of the “She Decides” initiative - led by Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden - which focuses on improving the rights of young girls and women, especially on sexual and reproductive health. Read on
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    Of the millions of children who do not complete elementary school in West Africa each year, one third suffer from a disability. Their condition means they are confronted with many barriers to education. As part of its inclusive education programme, Handicap International seeks to remove the many barriers to the education of 170 000 children with disabilities in nine West African countries. Read on
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    Several decades of gender debates, special events and development goals dedicated to the empowerment of women, add up to only modest improvements on the ground. “What should count, though, is not the number of commitments we make, but the true progress we achieve on the ground […] If men were ready to help women, things would move much faster,” points out Julia Wanjiru from the Sahe land West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) in an article published on the OECD Insights blog. Read on
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    Since 1985, 8 March has been a public holiday in Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara had the idea to keep women from going the market on that day, and demand that men do the shopping and cooking instead. This inversion of gender roles was intended to remind men about the realities of the daily grind of their wives, mothers and sisters, and to, above all, allow men to experience those things first-hand. The president of Burkina Faso also left his mark by making himself a tireless advocate for women prostitutes. Read on
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    It was seven days of movie fever! This was the feeling that gripped the African continent during the 25th Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), which ran from 25 February to 4 March. Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis won the Golden Stallion prize for his movie “Félicité”. Read on
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    As we mark International Women’s Day today with a large number of events organised across West Africa, it is a timely moment to look at progress made and remaining obstacles to achieving gender equality. The SWAC Secretariat has prepared a series of articles, documents, maps & facts. Did you know? Since 1984, 8th of March is a public holiday in Burkina Faso. Read on

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