Friday, February 17, 2006

Jean from the Congo

As part of my goals to further my interest in the development field, it is to meet interesting people who have done work in developing countries and get their perspectives on change. Today at a small class picnic, i met Jean from the Congo. Super interesting guy who has worked as a Program Director for an NGO, National Union of Women with connections with UNDP, in Djibouti. He went to talk about how his program involved gender related issues such as teaching women Arabic, learning to sew, agricultural initiatives. He even worked closely with the First Lady of the country as she led this National initiative. His greatest accomplishment though in the program was working with the community to end female mutilation. It took close to 3 years to convince the imam (Djibouti is a Muslim country) that this practice is not representative in the Koran and find alternative employment to those women who once performed this unsanitary, painful operation to work in midwifery. I'll have to say that 3 years is amazing to accomplish such a feat and hats off to anyone that has kept another female from this abuse.

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