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Different Continents, Different Humanitarian Problems: The Horn of Africa

In the “Different Continents, Different Humanitarian Problems” series of articles, we take a look at the issues that do not just affect an individual country but an entire region. In this article, we choose to highlight gender inequality in the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa

The Agency for Peacebuilding (AP) highlights in several of their articles the gender inequality in parts of Africa. It highlights the abuse and violence against women and the stark contrast between the countries.

The Horn of Africa includes the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. In each country, women’s rights are violated. The reality for women in these  countries is women’s rights are regularly violated, and women are systematically prevented from participating in the political process — although there are some exceptions in Uganda. The worst places to grow up as a woman are the countries of Somalia, Sudan, and especially South Sudan. This is according to CARE International. <LINK>

Woman are Marginalized

The role of women is marginalized by having to work longer work days, enjoying fewer rights, and not being allowed to take a roll in any political processes. There is also the fact that in some countries, religious and physical suppression takes place on a daily basis. For instance, a woman is not allowed to work without the permission of their father or husband. And, even if they can work, their circumstances are terrible. Legal framework and patriarchal norms are part of the problem. Old habits die hard. Even in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya where women participate in government roles, there is still a lot of inequality. Besides working longer hours and not taking part in political processes, a lot of girls and women do not have access to education or employment which means they are totally dependent on men.

Humanitarian Organizations Help

There are several NGOs who are stepping up and speaking out for the rights of girls and women and fighting for gender equality. NGOs like CARE International <LINK> and Oxfam have put gender equality and the empowering of women at the heart of their global strategy.

AP offers the following tips for NGOs who are developing programs to increase the participation of women in the eight countries in the Horn.

  1. Make sure you understand the regional dynamics.
  2. Have aid workers understand the religious and cultural norms in each country regarding the rights and roles of women.
  3. Engage with local communities to address policies and prevent violence against woman.

We understand that supporting the empowerment of women and working to establish gender equality is a long-term effort, and peace is a vital requirement to ensure women’s rights. We are proud to serve the organizations that help those in need.

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