my heart is so full and overwhelmed by the goodness of God - and
there is so much to share with you - my heart is also broken at
the news coming out of Mali, and I'm compelled to not keep you ignorant,
but to ask you to rise up and pray with me.
most of this is not news to me, I could not help but start weeping
as I read this report. Hopelessness and despair is the only future
for girls in Mali. But I know ONE who loves them and wants to give
them a hope and a future. I'm compelled to make this marvelous Father
known to them, and wished there was 10 or 100 or 1000 Claudias (thank
God He will send others to join us in the future).
second report talks about the flooding going on in Mali right now,
and it's only one of several countries in West Africa where this
catastrophe is taking place. My heart breaks and longs to find these
people who have but their lives left, to comfort them, feed them,
and show them the way to the Father. Who will go to these forgotten
cannot wait for the day our center is built, our team has grown,
and our finances have increased, so that we can go to the poorest
of the poor and love on those He has a special love for.
the following reports with an open heart, and allow Him to reveal
His heart to yours.
by His love,
Child Marriage A Neglected Problem
DU SAHEL, 30 August 2007 (IRIN) - Two years ago, in
the western Malian village of Korera-Kore, a 13-year-old girl was
forced into marriage during her school summer holiday. She died
after complications during sex on her wedding night.
Malian, whose case was documented by a local organisation called
the Coordination of Women's Associations and Non-governmental organisations
(CAFO), is one of more than 60 million women globally
who were married or in union before the age of 18, according to
estimates by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
say forced early marriage, or child marriage, is a problem that
has been largely untouched by the international
community. In Mali it is considered by the research
organisation Population Council as "one of the most
severe crises of child marriage in the world today";
the few workers in this field say progress is too slow.
hasn't been a really concerted effort to address the issue [at the
international level]," said Naana Otoo-Oyortey, a founding
member of the Forum on Marriage and the Rights of Women and Girls,
a network of mostly UK-based organisations who campaign against
early marriage and violence against women. "It's been a neglected
said unlike female genital mutilation/cutting, which is prohibited
in many international conventions, child marriage receives little
visibility and little funding from donors for programmes to reduce
the practice, despite its link to increased rates of maternal
mortality, fistula and HIV/AIDS.
In Mali, according
to the latest statistics from the 2001 Demographic and Health Survey,
65 percent of women aged 20-24 were married by
the age of 18, one of the highest rates in the world.
Nationwide, 25 percent of girls were married by the age of 15, and
one in 10 married girls aged 15-19 gave birth before age 15.
marks a decrease since 1987, when 79 percent of Malian women married
as children, advocates say the numbers are not dropping fast enough,
largely because not enough people are working on the subject.
trend has been a slow decline," said Nassra Abass, a consultant
in UNICEF's child protection section in New York. "[But] there's
definitely a lot more that we can do."
She said UNICEF's
focus has been on reducing female genital cutting (FGC), a movement
that has "momentum", unlike child marriage, honour killings
and other traditional practices considered harmful by the UN.
have not been very many resources or much time invested in early
marriage. There aren't many programmes running. That's why the decline
is slow," Abass told IRIN.
The mild decline
in early marriage in Mali has been attributed to the few education
and awareness raising programmes that do exist.
In the western
Malian region of Kayes, where 83 percent of girls
are married by the age of 18, particular effort has been paid to
informing people of the risks of early marriage.
the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely
to die during pregnancy or childbirth as women
aged 20-24. Among girls aged 10-14, the risk is five times greater.
Early onset of sexual activity has also been linked to increased
risk of HIV/AIDS because child brides are less likely to
be educated and more likely to have unprotected sex with older men
who have had more sexual partners.
by CAFO of Nioro du Sahel, one of Kayes's largest cities, showed
that in Kayes, between 2005 and May 2007, at least 10 girls - many
not yet teenagers - lost their lives because of
complications after their wedding nights, sometimes due to haemorrhaging
after forced intercourse.
"We were ignorant. We married girls at 9, 10, 11 or
12 years old. Now, we've seen the reality. We will no longer
practice this," Diawara Mamadou, head of the town of Gogui
and one of 12 community representatives present at the workshop,
told IRIN. [...]
we are the only ones interested in this problem," said Fabienne
Dubey, assistant programme officer for education at UNICEF-Mali.
"I don't know of other organisations working on this.
It is still very rudimentary." [...]
bill that would, among other things, raise the legal age of marriage
to 18 has been on the books for five years, but has yet to be passed.
government does consider child marriage a form of violence
against women, and "there is a whole policy to fight
against violence done to women," according to Kanté
Dandara Touré, national director for the promotion of women
at the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Family.
a question of priorities," and right now "female genital
cutting is at the top," Touré said, noting that more
than 90 percent of Malian women are circumcised. [...]
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Thousands of Flood Victims Stranded
20 August 2007 (IRIN)
- Malian authorities are scrambling to find alternative shelter
for thousands of people who lost their homes in
recent floods across the country, more than half of whom are currently
living in school buildings.
an aspect [of the crisis] that does not attract people's attention
but it's a problem all the same," said Idrissa Traoré,
chief of operations for the Malian Red Cross.
Since the beginning
of July, flooding has swept right across Mali -
from the western region of Kayes along the border with Senegal to
the central regions of Ségou and Mopti, destroying
hundreds of homes and killing up to 15 people
according to the Malian government.
than 32,000 people have been made homeless, according to
the head of Mali's civil protection service, Col. Mamadou Traoré.
now is where to put the 15-18,000 people who are
in schools," Traoré told IRIN on 17 August from the
hardest hit region, Ségou, where he met United Nations officials
who distributed food, water purification tablets, blankets and clothes
in the town of Bla. Schools in Mali are supposed to reopen on 15
said the government wants to move the people out of the schools into
tents. "The need is real," he said, adding that the tents
will be especially important if the rains continue. [...]
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