Afghan women leaders emphasize women’s role in security and development at London Conference

By Allyn Gaestel

30 January 2010 [MediaGlobal]: The Afghan government and the international community, consisting of representatives from 65 states and the United Nations, convened in London on 28 January 2010 to discuss plans to stabilize and develop the country. One Afghan woman was on the official conference program and spoke, representing the views of the often-unheard female half of the Afghan population.

Her name is Arezo Qanih, and she is the Program Officer for the Educational Training Centre for Poor Women & Girls of Afghanistan (ECW). Outside of the official conference proceedings Qanih participated in numerous surrounding events with four other Afghan women leaders. Orzala Ashraf, Mary Akrami, Wazhma Frogh, and Selay Ghaffar are all civil society leaders engaged with the promotion of women’s development and rights in Afghanistan across several sectors, including legal reform, education access, health services, and domestic violence…Read full article

Influx of IDPs And Refugees in Yemen Strains Local Economies

Allyn Gaestel

28 January 2010

As Yemen faces increasing movement of refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs), local host communities are struggling to maintain their already fragile economic stability.

Refugees have been migrating to Yemen from Somalia and the horn of Africa since the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre’s regime in Somalia in 1991. Somalis make up the greatest proportion of refugees in Yemen with a population of 158,180 according the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Agency (UNHCR) in Yemen…Read full article

Gaza residents build environmentally sound homes under Israel’s blockade

By Allyn Gaestel

6 January 2010 [MediaGlobal]: A year after the January 2009 conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip, local residents still face steep impediments to development. With much of the infrastructure in shambles, many residents live in tents on their land as sanctions and a blockade on the Gaza strip dating to 2006 have prohibited the importation of construction materials necessary to rebuild homes and other structures. However, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has found a viable solution to the pressing limitations by building structures from compressed earth block (CEB) in order to meet the housing needs of displaced citizens…Read full article

“Land grabbing” creates tensions as countries combat local and global food insecurity

By Allyn Gaestel

17 December 2009 [MEDIAGLOBAL]: Once able to sustain its population of 30 million with local agriculture, Saudi Arabia now anticipates importing all of its wheat by 2016, according to Reuters. Saudi Arabia’s aquifers are drying up as a result of climate change, which has led to a massive decline in local wheat harvests…Read full article