It has been raining non-stop in Cote d’Ivoire. Unfortunately, this means that there is nothing much to do but watch French movies and eat deserts from French bakeries. I cannot wait to see the sun again.
I had an amazing opportunity to attend a photo exposition held by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The expo featured photographs taken by young Ivorian girls from all over the country. The program also had an intermission where the girls danced, acted and recited poems on issues most pertinent to their age group.
The saddest part of the show was a particular piece on female genital mutilation FGM. FGM is a cultural phenomenon, albeit illegal, that still plagues many parts of Africa.
The girls stood up and chanted on their right to be free from such mutilation. Although the piece itself was sad and particularly emotional, it was simultaneously very inspiring. Watching these young women stand up before a crowd and demanding government action for their rights was one of the most amazing things I have seen here.
In Cote d’Ivoire, the women’s rights movement is on the rise. The movement itself lacks momentum but with the right leadership, the West African region is sure to see a rise in the importance of women’s rights in the political agenda.
Unfortunately, this week also contained some defeat. In the last two minutes of Cote d’Ivoire’s soccer game against Greece, CI ceded a penalty which cost them the advancement into the next stage. I will say, the defeat was met with many tears.