MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

MADRE's mission is to advance women's human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. MADRE works towards a world in which all people enjoy the fullest range of individual and collective human rights; in which resources are shared equitably and sustainably; in which women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and in which people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. MADRE's vision is enacted with an understanding of the inter-relationships between the various issues we address and by a commitment to working in partnership with women at the local, regional and international levels who share our go...
Feb 13, 2012

Forging a Path to Safety for Afghan Women

We just received breaking news from our partners in Afghanistan, who work with the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund to provide shelter, safe transportation and support to Afghan women fleeing violence.

Recently, a young woman made headlines by running away from home with her fiancé. As she remained in hiding, her family members publicly expressed their outrage; convinced that she tarnished her family name by running away. They threatened her with “honor killing” as punishment for her actions.

With nowhere else to turn, she contacted MADRE and our partners at the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund. Together, we are providing her with the support necessary to escape to safety and begin rebuilding her life.

The Afghan Women’s Survival Fund provides cell phones to link partners in the rescue network, and covers costs of emergency medical care, food, shelter, local and international transportation, and clothing and other personal effects for women who are forced to escape quickly.

Through the Fund, MADRE is able to activate a global network of women’s human rights defenders to launch advocacy campaigns on behalf of women who are publicly threatened with violence.

Often, the only thing standing between a woman and her husband or family’s violent retaliation for running away is a shelter. Your continued support is crucial to provide a safe haven for women and brings us a step closer to ending violence against women.

Jan 20, 2012

Empowering Birth Experiences Last a Lifetime

MADRE partners with Midwives for Peace, a grassroots group of Palestinian and Israeli midwives who share a commitment to safe childbirth practices and to peace.

We just received an update from our sister organization, Midwives for Peace! They sent us news about their recent meeting in a town near Jerusalem, which brought together 18 Palestinian and Israeli midwives.

These regular meetings serve as a rare opportunity for Palestinian and Israeli midwives to join in friendship amidst conflict. They discuss women’s health, offer support and empower one another.

This meeting included an important conversation about a midwife who ran a birthing center in a rural area in the northern West Bank. The local birthing center that offered crucial women-centered obstetric care was shut down. 

With the support of MADRE, Midwives for Peace are planning to reopen a local home-based birthing center to meet the urgent need for midwifery care in these communities.

One midwife said, “We believe that empowering birth experiences lasts a lifetime. We would like to do our part to provide more women with the opportunity to benefit from the high quality care that we can provide.”

The next meeting is scheduled for March, and we look forward to sharing more updates!

Jan 7, 2012

MADRE Partner Fatima Ahmed on Climate Change and Women's Leadership

Fatima Ahmed of Zenab for Women in Development
Fatima Ahmed of Zenab for Women in Development

In December, Fatima Ahmed, President of MADRE’s partner organization Zenab for Women in Development and founder of Sudan’s first women farmers union, attended the international conferences on climate change in Durban, South Africa. We interviewed her on the effects of climate change on women and on her community, how women are at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis and what needs to be done at the conferences to secure meaningful solutions. Read her responses below:

How has climate change impacted your community?

Climate change has had a big impact on my community in Gadaref State, Sudan, which is the number one major production area of the staple foods for Sudan. It produces 75% of the sorghum and other cash crops like sesame, gum arabic, ground nut and millet. For years now, there have been fluctuations in the amount of precipitation we receive, and drought makes it very hard for the small scale farmers, including the women farmers, to grow their crops.

The price of the sorghum has tripled in the last couple of years and is still going up. This has contributed to extreme poverty and malnutrition, not only in Gadaref State but in the whole Sudan. There have also been floods in some areas around the rivers and the tributaries of the Blue Nile.

Also there has been a shift in the pattern of the seasons. Some areas like Khartoum, which is more at the North, now receive more rain than before, which affects the poor people who live in shanty houses who are not protected from this much rain. This current pattern and Mediterranean climate is very unusual for Sudan.

How are women particularly affected by climate change?

Women are more affected by these changes because they can’t produce enough food for their families, it is harder to find clean drinking water and the women who are pastoralists must travel long distances looking for water and grass for their animals. The overall outcome is that women become more vulnerable and live under extreme poverty.

How are you helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change?

To adapt we are working with women farmers to learn new ways of planting, including using better tools for their land preparation. These tools go deep into the soil so the little precipitation we receive can be conserved for some time. We are also training women farmers to use more varied and improved seeds which better withstand drought, and also teaching them to learn simple techniques of water harvest, using crop rotation and weeding in a better way. We also encourage the women to plant trees as much as they can in their villages and not to cut the trees. We have dug water wells for women and their families in poor communities.

How have women been leaders in this work?

Women are very committed to finding solutions to this problem; this is why they are eager to get informed and to follow recommendations. They are trying very hard to cope with this problem and to adapt but they need much help in many ways.

Moving forward, what do you hope to see accomplished at the UN Climate Change Conference? In other words, what do you think needs to be done by policy makers to protect women and their families from the climate crisis?

The Cancun agreement provided real opportunities to advance global cooperation in adaptation, reforestation, climate change finance and technology transfer. If all opportunities within the Cancun Agreement are fully grasped, and parties take logical next steps, COP 17 could lay the ground work for a fair, ambitious and legally binding global climate change regime. If instead there is delay and lack of ambition, then we risk losing the chance to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and the world will face catastrophe. Poor communities and countries are already feeling the devastating impacts of the changing climate; without adequate mitigation, finance, technology and capacity building, their homes and livelihoods will be destroyed.

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