Posts Tagged ‘Education’
Every week I will post a short biography from The United Nations Who’s Who of Women and the Environment. This week is featuring Oral Ataniyazova from Uzbekistan:
Oral Ataniyazova is an obstetrician who also holds a doctorate in medical science. In 1992 she established Perzent, the Karakalpak Center for Reproductive Health and Environment, in order to help the women and children of Karakalpakstan, an ethnically distinct and autonomous republic of Uzbekistan.
Over the last several decades, the Aral Sea — once one of the world’s largest inland seas — has shrunk to almost half its size. Due to the severity of the pollution in the area, it is believed that its entire population has been exposed to dangerous chemicals over extended periods of time. Public health in the region has deteriorated with the worsening ecological situation. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in the rates of anemia, kidney and liver diseases, allergies, tuberculosis, birth defects and reproductive pathologies. Women and children are among those most affected by the Aral Sea crisis
“Perzent” means “progeny” in Karakalpak. For her research, Dr. Ataniyazova studied about 5,000 reproductive-age women in Karakalpakstan. Her findings were so alarming that in 1992 she founded the first Karakalpak women’s clinic for reproductive health: the “Marriage and Family” Clinic. In addition to scientific research (e.g. on water quality), family planning and medical assistance, Perzent offers a wide range of educational and community programs that focus on raising public awareness about the region’s environmental and health problems. Most of Ataniyazova’s activities concentrate on women and how they can improve their lives, including family health and the quality of food and water.
Perzent trains local groups in areas such as health and hygiene, sustainable agriculture, as well as women’s and children’s rights. It created the Ecological Club “Shagala” to provide environmental education programmes in rural areas. Together with the Save the Children Fund it started an environmental education program for 5-6 year old children. Additionally, the centre has published brochures and booklets on health and on the relationship between health (particularly reproductive health) and the environment, and maintains an environmental library open to the public.
With branches in several rural districts, Perzent has created a 50-acre organic farm, a women’s clinic and a publishing house. To fully involve the local people, Perzent actively solicits ideas from communities for practical solutions to the region’s problems. More than 10,000 people have been involved in the organization’s activities.
Ataniyazova has worked on these issues at the national, regional and international levels. As an expert in reproductive health, she has been a key spokesperson addressing various international agencies, including the United Nations. Despite many difficulties during the past two decades, Ataniyazova has helped improve the health and status of women and children in one of the world’s most dramatic ecological hot spots. Undaunted, she continues to speak out about the crisis that is destroying the lives of her patients and the future of their communities.
Oral Ataniyazova was honoured with the Goldmann Prize in 2000.
The poorest billion people on the planet contribute only 3% of the global carbon footprint. Those same billion people will also bear the brunt of climate change. Those people tend to be farmers, and they tend to be women.
The UN Population Fund has issued a new state of the world’s population report about the impact of global climate change on women, stating that “Drought and erratic rainfall force women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for their homes…Girls drop out of school to help their mothers with these tasks. This cycle of deprivation, poverty and inequality undermines the social capital needed to deal effectively with climate change.”
In response to the stunning inequality of the impact of climate change, UNFPA calls for measures to improves the lives of women and mitigate the impact of climate change. That includes supporting education for women and girls, expanding access to reproductive health services, and doing better research on gender and population dynamics in climate change. It’s small stuff compared to the magnitude of the problem of climate change. Better, though, than nothing.
The NGO Plan International reports that sending girls to school impacts the economic growth of a country, here’s why, from the Inter Press Service:
Sending more girls to school may help poor countries get out of the economic slump faster, the NGO Plan International says in a new report. Just a one percent rise in the number of girls attending secondary school boosts a country’s annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percent.
Girls are a formidable future workforce – if they get adequate training. There are over 500 million adolescent girls and young women in developing countries, Plan estimates in its report ‘Girls in the Global Economy: adding it all up’. But many girls do not have the opportunities for good education, and the financial crisis is worsening their situation.
In times of economic hardship, girls in the poorest countries are the first to be pulled out of school, the report says. Some parents consider the education of boys to be more important, and girls often have to start working, or looking after children as their mothers try to improve household income.
“Boys are also affected,” Nikki van der Gaag, co-author of the report acknowledges. “But in a different way,” she tells IPS. “While writing the report, I was surprised to find that there are very little specific data about the situation of boys or girls. Such information is needed to adjust policies.”
The information available suggests that investing more in girls is a good way out of poverty. “Countries with the lowest number of girls in education lie at the bottom of the human development rankings,” van der Gaag says.
Investing in education promises an attractive return. “An extra year of education increases a girl’s income by 10 to 20 percent; it is a significant step in breaking the cycle of poverty,” the report says.
Education has already proved to be one of the main reasons communities survive and prosper. Somalia, facing one of its biggest humanitarian crisis in 18 years, is struggling to get its women into colleges. Whether it’s because they are forced to stay home after getting married or don’t have enough money to pay for tuition, women are getting an unequal chance at going to college. However, as part of the U.N.’s millennium development goals, the UNDP has set up the Somali Women’s Scholarship Fund, and almost 200 women are taking advantage of it. WeNews correspondent Lensay Abadula recently covered the issue and you can read more about it here. Below is a video from UNDP-USA. You can check out their website to learn more about the fund and how to donate.