Culture & Society

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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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    The 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, draws a disturbing picture of the perceived level of corruption in West Africa. Admittedly, the region includes Cabo Verde, which is second on the list of best-rated African countries after Botswana. But in general, the situation is worrying. Read on
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    West African girls are married off too young: Seven West African countries rank among the top 20 countries in the world with the highest rate of child marriage: Niger (1), Chad (3), Mali (5), Guinea (6), Burkina Faso (8), Sierra Leone (13) and Nigeria (14). In Niger, three out of four girls marry before their 18th birthday, contributing to the highest fertility rate in the world of more than seven children per woman. Read on
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    The city as an accelerator of demographic transition: Urbanisation is a powerful force for lowering fertility. It promotes the education of girls and facilitates access to healthcare; it offers more employment opportunities for women; access to information and dissemination of ideas and attitudes happens faster than in rural areas; and housing is more expensive and is, therefore, less spacious. Read on
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    Cotonou is getting ready to host the 5th UEMOA Regional Trade Fair, which aims to foster more economic integration within the UEMOA. From 25 November until 10 December, some 400 exhibition stands will attract visitors’ interests and promote their products under the “Made in UEMOA” label. Read on

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