Proof that one voice can have an impact | Irish Examiner

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Proof that one voice can have an impact | Irish Examiner.

These were the concluding remarks made by Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in her historic address to the UN General Assembly last week.

That a teenager from the mountainous Swat Valley region of Pakistan should be delivering a speech in one of the world’s most venerated and renowned seats of power might, under normal circumstances, be deemed significant in itself. That is was the day of her 16th birthday might also be considered momentous.

In truth, however, the most significant aspect of this whole occasion was that Malala was alive and in a position to deliver her powerful speech at all.

Malala first came to some prominence in late 2008 when she started to write a blog for the BBC under an assumed name about the difficulties in accessing education under Taliban rule.

At this time, the Taliban had imposed a ban on girls’ education throughout Malala’s homeland. It became so popular that the blog, initially written in Urdu, was translated into English.

Her writings were non-political but clearly reflected her desire for female education. They mostly talked about her school, studies, life at home, and friends…


Building gender equality into Sierra Leone’s potential – The Irish Times – Mon, Jul 15, 2013

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Building gender equality into Sierra Leone’s potential – The Irish Times – Mon, Jul 15, 2013

via Building gender equality into Sierra Leone’s potential – The Irish Times – Mon, Jul 15, 2013.

Imagine starting a country from scratch. That’s what it feels like everyone is doing in Sierra Leone, a country now 10 years out of a civil war, but still struggling to restore infrastructure to pre-war levels.

It’s not a disaster zone and it’s not like countries such as Brazil or Nigeria with extremes of wealth and poverty, luxury living and slums. Almost everyone – eight out of 10 – in Sierra Leone is poor according to the UN development index.

That said, the country is bursting with energy and optimism. “Sierra Leone is not going backwards,” says Dr Mohamed Yilla, an obstetrician and country director for Evidence 4 Action, a programme funded by British aid aimed at reducing maternal and baby mortality.

“With the windfall taxes coming from the mines, the potential for improvement is enormous,” he says…

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