Author: Savannah Bequeaith

Savannah lives in Dallas, Texas. She is an honors graduate from the University of Arkansas with degrees in music and international relations, and a minor in Spanish. Savannah sings opera and plays the harp.

SEATTLE — Two USAID initiatives dedicated to women’s empowerment in Benin are working to address the country’s two most critical issues: gender-based violence and the educational equality gap. According to a report by the Academy for Educational Development (AED), gender-based violence is a global problem that causes more poor health and death than a great deal of many other physical and psychological maladies combined. Moreover, studies have shown that in developing African countries such as Benin, gender-based violence acts as a perpetuating factor of the educational gap. Benin has perpetually ranked poorly on Gender Equality Indices determined by the U.N.…

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SEATTLE — Lack of access to clean drinking water is a pressing issue around the globe. Today, around one billion people are without clean drinking water. As one of the most water-scarce countries on the Eurasian continent, the problem of water quality in Kazakhstan is certainly not foreign to many citizens. When the Kazakh government published the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy, its most recent state-mandated policy reforms, water scarcity and poor water quality in Kazakhstan was identified as one of the most pressing issues threatening the future prosperity of the country. In a country where high demand and short supply have…

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SEATTLE — Women in Belize continue to face significant challenges towards parity with men in myriad societal institutions, including in the political sphere. Efforts at bridging the gap are being redoubled after the country failed to meet several key components of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) pertaining to gender equality. Belize is a small, English-speaking Central American nation east of Mexico and Guatemala. As a parliamentary democracy belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations, Queen Elizabeth II serves as head of state of the Belizean government. Aside from the Queen, however, whose governmental role is predominately symbolic, women were entirely absent…

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BEIRUT — Lebanese women’s rights organizations and a powerful new film are leading the fight towards the repeal of repressive laws that condone marital rape and allow women to be married in their early teens. Marital Rape On August 16 of this year, the Lebanese Parliament reached the decision to abolish Penal Code Article 522, more commonly referred to as the “rape law,” which exempted a rapist from punishment if he was married to his victim. Not only did this law allow for marital rape to go unpunished, but it encouraged the practice of forcing single women who had been…

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SEATTLE — Learning English has become key to improving economic performance, both for individuals and at the state level. Native English speakers lucky enough to have been developing this skill since birth have the opportunity to help others become English proficient through a system that research has shown to have mutual benefits. It is no secret that English has become the lingua franca of global business. Billions of people around the world have recognized this fact and taken it upon themselves to learn English as a means of improving their own economic opportunities through the development of this highly coveted…

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SEATTLE — The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean comprised of 115 islands, none of which are larger than 61 square miles. With just 94,228 inhabitants, Seychelles has the smallest population of any sovereign African country. Despite its small size and population, Seychelles has assumed a leading role in regional and global initiatives to improve education. It was reported in 2014 that Seychelles was the first African country to have achieved education for all by meeting all six of the goals outlined by the Education for All initiative directed by UNESCO. The six EFA goals are:…

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BUENOS AIRES — The lives and livelihoods of female sex workers in Argentina have been under siege from myriad channels over the past two decades. At the urging of activists and advocacy groups, the Argentinean government is making strides, albeit slowly, to ensure the protection and ethical treatment of female sex workers. Though its legal status varies widely among nations, the sex industry is an inherently tenuous entity due to its clandestine nature and the challenges of its regulation. As in many Latin American countries, privately conducted sex work is legal in Argentina¬†and has been since 1875. Thus, while such…

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SEATTLE — In places touched by war, it can be hard for people to have hope in a future free of unspeakable violence and unimaginable loss. The nonprofit Musicians without Borders believes in the power of music to help restore hope and life to communities affected by war. The central tenet of Musicians Without Borders is that music is the ultimate healing tool for those whose lives have been ravaged by war, because hope is the key to being able to reclaim their lives. Music is an especially effective means of fostering empathy, connection and community, which are essential to…

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BUDAPEST — Though the European refugee crisis has largely faded from the international media’s spotlight, thousands of asylum-seekers continue to enter Europe by any means possible with the hopes of starting a new life. In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the grass roots organization Migration Aid in Hungary has harnessed the power of social media as a means of delivering aid and guidance to thousands of refugees. Migration Aid was founded in June 2015, at the height of the European refugee crisis, by a handful of concerned citizens in Budapest that desired to help people in Hungary. The…

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