Archive for the ‘Central Asia’ category

Peace Corps Volunteer Launches Osh Women’s Leadership Club

May 18, 2009

Becky, a Peace Corps volunteer and Master’s International Student in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, has set up an Osh Women’s Leadership Club Blog. It looks like she plans to have the members of her club take turns posting on the site, which we eagerly look forward to reading!

For those unfamiliar with Kyrgyzstan, the city of Osh is the country’s second-largest city and it is located in the southern part of the country. You can learn more about Osh here.

(Unfortunately, I never made it down to the city during my time in Kyrgyzstan. Yes, I am very much aware of all I missed out on.)

Since we’re designating Becky’s two sites as “Editor’s Picks,” we have included her links on our sidebar.

International Women’s Day Weekend Celebrations Around the World

March 6, 2009

Sunday, March 6, is International Women’s Day.

Here’s a look at how countries around the world are celebrating:

Ethiopia: The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa recognized in a ceremony today, female students who have excelled in the fight against HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence. The event was hosted by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The United States and Ethiopia have formed a partnership in addressing needs and combatting the tragedies that result from both HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.

India: Local men’s organizations are participating in joint celebrations with women’s groups. NGO groups such as Naari Samata Manch, Purush Uvach, Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), Masoom, Maaher, Miloon Saryajani, Samyak and Stree Mukti Sanghatna are among them. “There are quite a few men’s organisations which have been supporting the cause of women’s rights. We want to bring these groups to the fore through this unique programme,” Anand Pawar, executive director, Samyak, said.

Turkemistan: The country will host a women’s arts festival which will include “paintings, traditional carpet ornaments, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, and metal works from more than 70 female artists.” Their works will be on display at various museums in Ashgabat on March 8.

Poland: Tradtionally, Women’s Day in Poland has been marked by giving flowers, chocolates and gifts to women, however, over time the holiday has morphed into a day of women’s rights dialogue.For 10 years now, the International Women’s Day has been an opportunity for women to voice their opinions and persuade people that women share common interests and promote the idea that they should be more active and independent: do business, get into politics, demand equality within the family and in the workplace. For 10 years, the Polish organization called Porozumienie Kobiet 8 Marca (March 8 Women’s Alliance), supported by many women’s groups, has been organizing the biggest demonstration of women’s rights supporters, widely known as Manifa (march of protesters). It has become a grassroots democratic movement. The Manifas are being organized in many Polish cities, by local committees, comprised of NGOs, university gender studies programs, scientific associations, and informal groups or individuals.”

Italy: And in Rome, people will be rocking out to a sold-out Women’s Day concert which will include a tribute to South African civil rights activist Miriam Makeba who passed away in Italy last year.

How are you celebrating in your part of the world?

Pennies for Peace

February 18, 2009

There was a time when the region of Central Asia was virtually unknown to the rest of the world. Then 9/11 happened and suddenly all attention was focused on Afghanistan and the region as a whole.

But before the events related to 9/11 even took place, Greg Mortenson was working in the region and had founded the Central Asia Institute which continues its work of building schools for girls in a part of the world where education for girls has not always been possible.

Yesterday I received a packet from the Central Asia Institute (of Three Cups of Tea fame), which included a beautifully written and photographed report on the institute’s work in Central Asia. But while paging through the material the CAI sent me, another project also caught my eye — Pennies for Peace:

Pennies for Peace educates children about the world beyond their experience and shows them that they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time.

Our best hope for a peaceful and prosperous world lies in the education of all the world’s children. Through cross-cultural understanding and a solution-oriented approach, Pennies for Peace encourages children, ultimately our future leaders, to be active participants in the creation of global peace.

The Pennies for Peace Web site offers some fantastic resources for teachers interested in participating in the program, including some facts about the areas where the CAI operates. It also lists suggested books for school kids in relation to the program’s mission and a themed curriculum for teachers, among the other materials found in the program’s “toolkit.”

Teachers interested in having their classes participate in the program are encouraged to register on the Pennies for Peace Web site.

Below is a video summarizing the CAI’s work as well as the Pennies for Peace project. [Note: Some of the people interviewed in this clip have inserted their own political philosophies into the video, but what is important is the larger message about the importance of education.]