February 21st was International Mother Language Day. What languages do you speak? Did you know that the most spoken language in the world is Mandarin Chinese? There are 950 million native speakers and 200 million who speak it as a second language. Second is Spanish, followed by English, Hindi and Arabic.
Women’s Rights and Land Ownership
We can often take for granted assets that are indisputably ours by law, such as land. However, land for many is not simply a territorial possession, but a source of livelihood for those that cultivate the land for its natural resources and produce. Women are often those whose livelihoods rely on these natural commodities and therefore have an intrinsic knowledge on how to care for their land. Despite this, they constitute only 14% of agricultural landowners.
Legal recognition of women’s right to land ownership secures their right to the resources they harvest. It also allows the women to use their land for community-driven work and enterprises. Securing women’s land ownership rights benefit the household and the community. Protecting these rights is even more vital for rural communities whose lack of land ownership titles leave them vulnerable to privatisation. Changing social misconceptions of women’s land management and accrediting their role empowers women in decision making, bolsters resilience against external threats and creates wider livelihood sustainability.
Can you think of other ways to economically empower women?
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The Cacao Project in the Philippines, founded by chef and social activist, Louise Mabulo, has helped to improve the agricultural practices and livelihoods for Filipino farmers in the Bicol Region. The project derives its name from the new crops that have been introduced for the farmers to expand their harvest to include crops such as cacao. The project also teaches farmers ways to utilise the resources leftover from extreme weather events, to which the Philippines and the Bicol Region are especially prone to. The improved farming techniques have enhanced livelihoods, allowed children to receive an education and empower women. Importantly, it is changing the perceptions of farming amongst the youth as an occupation based in poverty. They have adopted a sense of pride in being farmers and are becoming more hands-on in their engagement. Click the link below to read more!
The first 3D-printed school project will be built in Madagascar in late 2021. By training community members on how to build using this technology, it will take less than one week to build a school. 3D printing works by using “a digital file to build solid objects layer by layer”. It uses fewer materials and emits less carbon dioxide than traditional methods. While a lack of educational facilities hinders many developing countries, this technology could address the need for better infrastructure. This is particularly important as 1.6 billion children are at risk of dropping behind in their schooling because of COVID-19 school closures. Previously, 3D printing technology has been used to build a neighbourhood in Tabasco, Mexico to house families earning just $3 a day. It has also been used in disaster relief to fix water pipes after an earthquake struck Nepal in 2015. To read more, click the link below!
In Brazil, Dr Bruno Gobbato is using a mixed reality technology called HaloLens to have fellow surgeons from Paris and New Jersey virtually join his operating theatre. HaloLens uses hand gestures and voice commands to bring up information during surgery as well as allowing collaboration with surgeons located globally. In his surgery, Dr Gobbato shared a CT scan with his colleagues in France and America to discuss his next steps in repairing the patient’s clavicle. This technology has great potential for surgeons in rural communities to perform different types of surgeries with virtual assistance. Instead of having a 3D model, holograms and simulations can be used to test surgery technique. Click on the link below to read further.
Have you ever seen a house roll down the street? Well, a 139-year-old Victorian house in San Francisco has been transported on a flatbed truck across 6-blocks to a new address. It was relocated to a new home after its previous location was surrendered for the development of an apartment building. Click on the link to watch the video.
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