When the Taureg fled the fighting in north Mali into neighbouring Burkina Faso they brought part of their culture with them – the practice of child marriage. When one raises the question of early childhood marriage in the refugee camps they close ranks and shy away from the subject. “It is taboo to discuss child marriage,” says Fatimata Nabias-Ouedraogo, Plan Burkina’s Child Protection Advisor. “If we notice a young girl in the company of a man and we ask who this man is, they would say ‘Oh, he’s a friend’. We know that he might in fact be either the husband or fiancé who is looking over her.” In the Taureg culture, early marriage is seen as mechanism to prevent the girl from yielding to temptation to have sex outside of marriage. To do so – or to become pregnant – would be akin to an unpardonable sin. Nabias-Ouedraogo says there are numerous health, social welfare and economic reasons why early marriage is a bad thing.
An online game is gaining popularity on Facebook for not merely amassing points, but also creating social good. "Global Good Challenge," launched by the United Nations Foundation, offers chances to win prizes -- such as tickets to the MTV Video Music Awards and VIP passes to a Lady Gaga show -- for taking social action online and in the real world to help combat global issues such as child marriage, disease and poverty. "Instead of donating money, we want people to donate their social media influence," says the game's creator, Zaw Thet. Check out the Global Good Challenge here: www.unfoundation.org/features/globalgood/
UN Foundation executives are singled out for work
Among the executive honorees on Variety's Women's Impact list are Elizabeth Gore and Dani Zapotoczny of the United Nations Foundation, who lead large-scale partnerships and community outreach, respectively. "My job is not to save someone's life but to provide you with the opportunity to save someone's life -- whether you're using your voice to sign a petition against child marriage or giving $10 to buy a bed net," Gore says.
DHS, DOT and Amtrak to Combat Rising Problem of Human Trafficking in US
As part of the federal government’s redoubled efforts across the spectrum of federal agencies to combat human trafficking, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, announced Thursday a new partnership among DHS, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Amtrak to battle the trafficking of humans, a problem that poses a homeland and national security risk. Under the new partnership, “DHS and DOT will work with Amtrak to train over 8,000 frontline transportation employees and Amtrak Police Department officers to identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking, as well as how to report suspected cases of human trafficking,” DHS said in an announcement.