• Africa

    Snakes, Scorpions and Red Tape: Europeans Adjust to the UN Mission in Mali

    by  • February 11, 2016 • Africa, Terrorism, UN Peacekeeping, US Foreign Relations • 
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    A Minusma officer from Sweden patroling Timbuktu. The UN has a supercamp of about a dozen national troops located near the city's airport. MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko

    Since its rollout in 2013, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been actively recruiting more European troops to strengthen its ranks of police, military and civilian personnel from African and Asian countries, typical sources for UN missions. The mission’s main mandate is to protect civilians, stabilize the country and carry out a...

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    Attacks in West Africa Show Regional Security Reliance on France and US

    by  • February 9, 2016 • Africa, Terrorism • 
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    French and American military units arrived at the scene of a jihadist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to repel the onslaught on Jan. 15, 2016. NABILA EL HADAD

    OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — It was about 7:30 p.m. when the meeting began on the fourth floor of the Splendid Hotel here on Jan. 15 in this capital city. Fourteen people were gathered to discuss the launching of a humanitarian association, with a Burkina government minister present. Phones were put in silent mode. While...

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    In Burkina Faso, a US Ambassador Wins Over a Slice of Francophone West Africa

    by  • January 13, 2016 • Africa, US Foreign Relations • 
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    Tulinabo Mushingi, center, the US ambassador to Burkina Faso

    OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Nowhere can the positive presence of the United States in West Africa be more obvious than in the quiet, dusty nation of Burkina Faso, a mostly rural state surrounded by six other countries of ranging stability: Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger and Togo. Near the heart of a well-coordinated...

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    All in Africa: The World’s 13 Highest-Mortality Countries

    by  • January 6, 2016 • Africa, Development, Health and Population, Poverty, Women's Issues • 1 Comment
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    M'Poko camp in Central African Republic

    Despite remarkable reductions in mortality, 13 sub-Saharan African countries — 1 out of every 20 people in the world — have yet to achieve life expectancies at birth of 55 years, the global average attained a half century ago. These highest-mortality countries, with Somalia leading the list, are more than 15 years behind the...

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    The UN’s Support of Midwifery and the Serious Gaps That Remain

    by  • December 21, 2015 • Africa, Health and Population, Sustainable Development Goals, UN Agencies, Women's Issues • 
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    The world faces a shortage of midwives, who could crucially cut the maternal death rate. Here, Cambodians training to be midwives, in an Australian financed program at the Technical School for Medical Care in Phnom Penh. CHRISTOFFE GARGIULO

    Midwifery is one of the world’s most ancient vocations, its practitioners playing a prominent role dating back to the Bible. In much of the world, midwives continue to play an important role in maintaining the health of women and newborns. It should come as no surprise, then, that investments in this occupation, according to...

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    A Monastery’s Farm in Burkina Faso Feels the Impacts of Climate Change

    by  • December 5, 2015 • Africa, Climate and Environment, Development, Health and Population • 
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    Koubri_village3

    KOUBRI, Burkina Faso — More than 2,500 miles away from this village, world leaders met recently in Paris to try to save the earth from severe climate change and its deadly effects. Here in West Africa, people in rural communities scrape together livelihoods in a region that is extra-vulnerable to drought and hunger, problems...

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    Report Damns the UN for Its Response to Sex Abuse Cases in Central Africa

    by  • December 17, 2015 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, UN Peacekeeping • 
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    Marie Deschamps

    A strongly worded independent report released Dec. 17 condemned the United Nations for bungled and deceptive responses to reports of sexual abuse of children by primarily French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic in 2014. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “profound regret” and accepted blame for the organization’s systemic failures. The report implicated at...

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    In South Africa, the Importance of Telling Our Own Stories

    by  • December 2, 2015 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Women's Issues • 
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    The actresses in the play

    CAPE TOWN — As the curtains go up and bright lights dramatically illuminate the room, the only thing the audience can see is a bare stage with three chairs. A stark setting indeed, and yet it’s the perfect backdrop for a performance that combines music, dance, laughter and heart-rending stories of feminine courage and...

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    Women Compete in Burkina Faso’s Presidential Contest, a First for the Nation

    by  • November 29, 2015 • Africa, Governance • 
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    These Burkina Faso voters leave a polling station

    OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — This small but determined West African country voted on Sunday in its first presidential election since its last president, Blaise Compaoré, was ousted in October 2014. He had ruled the country for 27 years and was finally pushed out by a grass-roots opposition movement. Although the front-runner, Roch Marc Kaboré,...

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