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Stories from and

Malawian Film Helps Farmers Cope With Climate Change

Mbeu Yosintha” was made to help farmers and rural communities cope with the effects of climate change, in particular the ever changing rain patterns in South East Africa. The film is a drama using local actors and was devised with Malawian writer Jonathan Mbuna following extensive research with various agricultural NGOs in Malawi.

‘Western Women Don't Care If They Are Raped on the Roadside,’ Says Saudi Historian

A screenshot of Youtube video. Used under CC BY 2.0

A screenshot of a video on YouTube showing Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon making his infamous claim

Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon says women in the West drive because they “don't care if they get raped on the roadside.” He made the remarks in an interview with Rotana Khalijia, a Saudi-owned television channel aimed at Gulf countries, in his defense of a Saudi prohibition that bans women from driving. The video, which created an outcry online, was shared far and wide on YouTube. 

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving cars. There have been many efforts to break the ban, most recently on October 26, 2013, when dozens of women shared videos driving cars in the day they plan on defying the ban.

The Saudi “historian” notes that:

Unlike riding a camel, driving a car places a woman in danger of being raped, which for Saudi women is a much worse experience than for any women in the western world where women “don't care” if they are raped.

To make his interview worse, he suggested a solution to import “foreign female drivers” to drive Saudi women to prevent a potential rape by contracted male drivers.

Video: Campaign to Stop the Sale of Steve Biko's Autopsy Report

Artist and social entrepreneur Nomsa Mazwai (Nomisupasta) and some friends got together to collect signatures for a petition to stop the sale of Steve Biko‘s autopsy report. Watch the YouTube video of the campaign:

Film: The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo is a film by filmmaker Yaba Badoe:

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, explores the artistic contribution of one of Africa's foremost women writers, a trailblazer for an entire generation of exciting new talent.
This feature-length documentary charts Ama Ata Aidoo's creative journey in a life that spans 7 decades from colonial Ghana, through the tumultuous era of independence, to a more sober present day Africa where nurturing women's creative talent remains as hard as ever.

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (Teaser) from Big Heart Media on Vimeo.

Video: Amazon Indigenous Tribe Protests Hydroelectric Dam Construction

Indigenous people from the Munduruku ethnic group are fighting against the construction of the São Luiz do Tapajós dam in the state of Pará, Brazil. The dam will mean the flooding of 700,000 km2 in their homeland.

The Brazilian Federal Government plans to build up to five dams in the Tapajós River, where dozens of indigenous communities live. Together with São Luiz do Tapajós, the Jatobá dam was due to begin construction in 2015, but socio-environmental difficulties may have postponed that deadline to at least 2020. The two dams will cost together US$7 billion.

The Munduruku claim they have not been consulted about the project. For years, the Munduruku people from the Sawré Maybu community, which will be directly affected by the construction of São Luiz do Tapajós dam, have pressured the federal government to demarcate their lands. The demarcation would create a legal obstacle for the continuation of the dam's project.

A documentary about the issue was produced by videomaker Nayana Fernandez.

UPDATE 09/12/2014: Together with other organizations, Nayana Fernandez has launched a crowfunding campaign to help the Munduruku pressure the government to demarcate their territory, officialize two associations, build a website and translate and dub the documentary into their native language (most Mundurku people do not speak Portuguese). Supporters can contribute with a minimum of US$10. 

Another Shark Attack Claims a Teenage Surfer on Reunion Island, Post-Attack Policy in Effect

Cove rphoto of Facebook page to remember Elio Canestri - with their permission.

Cover photo of Facebook page to remember Elio Canestri – with their permission.

A 13-year-old boy was killed by a shark on April 12 near Les Aigrettes on Reunion island.

Elio Canestri was a promising surfer and a member of the local surfing club. The local community is shocked by the tragic news. A Facebook page was set up to commemorate his life, with already more than 3,500 fans within a few hours.

Soon after the events, the local authorities activated the post-attack measures, which include specific fishing targets in the area.

Unfortunately, shark attacks have become a repetitive event on Reunion island: There have been 16 shark attacks off the island since 2011. In February this year, island authorities extended a law prohibiting swimming and other water-based activities except in special areas in response to the high number of attacks. The measure has resulted in a dramatic decline in tourism.       

Photos and Video of Sierra Leone’s 3 Day Lock Down

Michael Duff shares eyewitness accounts of Sierra Leone's 3 day lock down that was introduced to fight ebola:

Sierra Leoneans can breathe a sigh of relief today as citizens in the capital city and in the North of the country who were under a 3 day government mandated stay at home come can now move above freely.
While there was a clash between police and residents of Devil Hole the Freetown Western Rural area that led to the firing of tear gas, the lock down was quiet for most.

Gun Attack Kills 5 in Bamako as Mali Tries to Consolidate Peace

Screen capture of police forces in Bamako, Mali after the terrorist attack

Screen capture of police forces in Bamako, Mali after the terrorist attack

A shooting in a restaurant in Bamako, capital city of Mali, claimed the lives of five people on Friday night, March, 6. The attack took place around midnight in a restaurant called La Terrasse in Downtown Bamako and a dozen people are seriously injured. Two suspects are in detention and are being interrogated by security forces. A local officer reports that the two individuals were armed and hooded. One burst into the restaurant and opened fire. Three Malians, one French and one Belgian were killed. A local blogger posted a video of police forces as they come to investigate the crime scene:

Global Voices contributor Marc- André Boisvert wrote on Twitter that such an attack was inevitable, given that Mali is still trying to re-establish peace in the northern region:

Philippe Paoletta, a resident of Bamako, agrees with Marc-André:

All our thoughts are with the victims of the attack.

Film: A Ugandan Transgender Girl Fights for Her Right to Love

Rough Studios, a small Swedish production company, has released the first episode of a documentary series about being transgender in Uganda:

We enter the life of Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan transgender girl who was forced to flee to Kenya after being “outed” as homosexual in one of Uganda's major tabloids. It is a story about love, hate and being transgender, in one of the worlds most homophobic places.

Our goal with this film has always been to make a difference. Whether it is to change peoples hearts, their perception of a transgender person or the prejudice people have towards the LGBT community.
Uganda is a country which for long have been criticized for the discriminations against the LGBTI community.

#ISurvivedEbola Campaign Releases First Video

The #ISurvivedEbola campaign has released its first video that feature Ebola survivors from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The multimedia campaign engages Ebola survivors to highlight stories of hope and resilience:

This is the first video in a series that will be rolled out as part of #ISurvivedEbola, a multidimensional trans-media campaign that places West African Ebola survivors and their stories at the center of efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Ebola survivor William Poopei narrates the video, telling the story of how he and his son, Patrick, contracted and recovered from Ebola in Liberia. In a voice that only occasionally belies the grief he has experienced, William tells the world how he lost his wife and 13 other family members to suspected Ebola, and how early treatment helped him and Patrick recover. He closes the piece with a commitment to continue to educate his fellow Liberians so that they can protect themselves – a commitment that will drive #ISurvivedEbola.

Hope in the Midst of an Outbreak: William's Story of Survival from #ISurvivedEbola on Vimeo.

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