Themes

Democracy must be fought for, revitalized, and renewed. Institutions, like the Heinrich Böll Foundation, have been struggling against a significant headwind for some time now, as the authoritarian developing state has gained massive momentum. With the publication “For democracy” and this online-dossier, we analyze the state of democracy worldwide as well as the possibilities of democracy assistance. At the same time, we provide insights into the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s political work for democracy. Concrete examples and regional analyses present a vivid account of our engagement. We take stock and examine the challenges that will face us in the future.

There are two stories being told about food security. One story says we are food secure and the other says we are not. The stories are being told – and written – by various people with different intentions. There are those who weave dreams, where fiction reigns and happy endings preside. Then there are those who tell it like it is.

This article looks at the current road infrastructure development in Northern Kenya. It demonstrates numerous instances of non-compliance with national laws, provisions of the environmental management plan and environmental impact assessment license, and illustrates the grave ways that the local community is being impacted by these violations. It points out the need to adhere to the rule of law, which is there to protect rather than deprive us of a prosperous nation.

This was the question that lingered in everybody’s mind at the recently concluded Gender Forum in Mombasa. The forum was held against the backdrop of a Mombasa court ruling that dismissed arguments that the practice of anal examination is degrading and amounts to torture and-by extension a violation of one’s rights.

Half a million people are expected to visit Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics and Paralympics in August and September. At first glance this will be a huge benefit for the city. But just as for the World Cup in 2014, the city has become a contested space of political and economic interests.

Green Economy is a source of both hope and controversy. For some, it points the way out of permanent environmental and economic crises and promises to reconcile – a long cherished Utopia – ecology and economics. It fosters the hope that we can hang on to our current high standard of material prosperity.

During the May 2016 Gender Forum, we discussed what Feminism means for Kenyan women from different perspectives and facets, and a man asked an important question. His question was, with all this feminism and equality things, what would happen when women achieve this? Wouldn’t women seek to harm men?

Actual transformation of gender relations is painfully slow. Women in Kenya continue to suffer the brunt of poverty, illiteracy and exclusion from decision making. And men’s voices are largely missing from the equality dialogue. There seems to be political reluctance and resistance to reforming the system of governance in order to increase representation of women in public life.

Governments around the world are taking draconian steps to suppress civil-society organizations, with measures ranging from restrictive laws and bureaucratic burdens to smear campaigns, censorship, and outright repression by intelligence agencies or police. Whatever the means, governments are striving to interfere with the work of political, social, and environmental activists to an extent not seen since before communism collapsed in Europe a quarter-century ago.

In order to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May, the Cartooning for Peace Swiss Foundation and the City of Geneva present the 2016 International Editorial Cartoons Prize awarded by the Honorary President of the Swiss Foundation, Mr. Kofi Annan, to the Kenyan caricaturist, Gado and the Malaysian cartoonist, Zunar.

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