NTDs in ComorosNeglected tropical diseases are afflictions that affect the world’s poor. They do not often receive attention from first-world nations. Developed nations typically ignore these diseases, which is why they are classified as neglected. The World Health Organization’s Expanded Special Project on the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases has brought together 14 nations to bring an end to these afflictions once and for all. One of the countries involved in this initiative is Comoros. Many of the 14 nations have requested additional human resources, robust systems and technical capacity in order to increase NTD prevention. Attention, in particular, would go towards the ways in which they can research and combat multiple diseases at the same time as there are many different NTDs in Africa. Keep reading for more on these six facts about NTDs in Comoros.

6 Facts About NTDs in Comoros

  1. The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) has been infecting livestock in Comoros since 2009. A study found that livestock had the virus despite showing no physical signs. Mosquitoes that transfer infection from cattle to humans are the main spreaders of this illness. Comoros and other several other African countries also experienced outbreaks in 2007. One victim was a young Comorian boy with encephalitis, a kind of abnormal swelling of the brain caused by the virus.
  2. With the advancement of pharmaceutical technology, the NTD crisis can be solved. Pharmaceutical companies have donated more than $4 billion a year in medicines to help nations recover from NTDs. In the last 10 years, the world saw several hundred million people previously affected by these diseases liberated. More research and advanced medical technology will undoubtedly solve this problem.
  3. Comoros’ population have also been afflicted with an NTD known as elephantiasis, a mosquito-transmitted disease that preys upon the blood circulation system. This disease causes fever and, if left untreated, severe swelling of the lower limbs. Luckily, in the year 2017, treatment of this NTD was at 86 percent coverage from Universal Health Coverage (UHC), meaning the majority of people of Comoros had access to the services they need to treat this disease.
  4. Intestinal worms, another NTD affecting Comoros, are parasitic disease-causing worms that multiply in the host’s intestines. The worms feed on the nutrients provided by whatever the host eats, thereby causing malnutrition in hosts. This disease spreads through human waste and unsanitary living conditions. UHC covered 73 percent of treatment for this disease in 2017.
  5. The proportion of children in Comoros with leprosy in 2011 was around 38 percent. Leprosy is considered an NTD. It causes severe disfiguring of the skin and has been ravaging humankind since ancient times.
  6. Since 2012, 600 million tablets of albendazole or mebendazole drugs to treat NTDs have been available every year to treat young children. Programs in countries where soil-transmitted helminthiasis, or parasitic worms, are endemic have already requested an additional 150 million tablets. These facts are signs of a positive increase in the health coverage of NTDs.

In recent years, NTDs in Comoros have harrowed the population with no end in sight. Since 2017, however, the World Health Organization and pharmaceutical companies have come together to end NTDs in Comoros and other countries once and for all.

William Mendez
Photo: Flickr

Sitting on the eastern African coast, Comoros is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Though Comoros is experiencing steady economic growth, government debt could cause a decline in the growth rate as time goes on. Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Comoros.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Comoros

  1. Poverty: One household-conducted survey from 2014 found that approximately 18 percent of Comoros’ population lives below the international poverty line. The government is continuously funding infrastructure projects with non-concessional loans aimed to improve the island’s living conditions.
  2. Unemployment: Rates of unemployment in Comoros currently rest at 14.3 percent. With about 38.4 percent of people working in agricultural zones, employment is one of the country’s top priorities. 
  3. Education System: One aspect of living conditions in Comoros is that students are required to attend Quranic schools for two to three years from the age of 5. Then, students will advance to primary and secondary school, which is modeled on the French system. Subsequently, students receive six years of primary education and seven years of secondary education. Comoros does not have any post-secondary education in place, like universities, therefore students will either pursue higher education abroad or partake in business, teaching, or agricultural training.
  4. Political Unrest: Much of the living conditions in Comoros, specifically the education system, are negatively affected by political unrest and instability. This often results in teacher and student strikes across the island, which has affected student performance and completion rates. In 2004, education indicators showed that while 85 percent of children were enrolled in primary education and only 35 percent continued to enroll through secondary school.
  5. Life Expectancy: Comoros has a life expectancy of nearly 64 years, a significant improvement from 41 years in 1960. The country currently spends approximately $57 per capita on health care which falls below the average of sub-Saharan Africa ($98) but is significantly higher than that for lower-income countries overall ($37). According to the World Bank, public financing for health makes up 8.7 percent of total government spending.
  6. Clean Water Access: Over 90 percent of Comoros’ population has readily accessible potable drinking water. Clean water supply and access have been improving tremendously because of programs like UNICEF, which has received funding of almost $1.3 million from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid’s office. This funding supports endeavors such as cleaning and protecting roughly 1,500 reservoirs across the nation.
  7. Human Development: In 2016, Comoros ranked 158 out of 188 on the United Nations’ Human Development Index. This low number indicates a dire need for focusing on initiatives that combat hunger and malnutrition. Further, a report by the World Bank found that nearly 30 percent of children face chronic malnutrition and stunted growth.
  8. Malaria: The government has developed a goal to fight malaria, where the aim is to reach zero cases on the island. A surge of malaria cases has hit Comoros over the past two years, primarily due to the weak health system. In 2018, nearly 16,000 indigenous malaria cases were reported.
  9. Child Labor: In an effort to improve living conditions in Comoros, the government has recently launched an initiative to reduce child labor rates. Children often perform domestic and agricultural work in order to provide support to the family. Often, these children are sent to wealthier families if the parent is unable to properly care for the child. It has been found that 20.8 percent of children between the ages of seven and fourteen work while in school.
  10. Working Women: Over a third of women in Comoros are in the labor force, providing financial support for a majority of the home bills and school fees for the family. There are strong matrilineal traditions present across the island. Women represent approximately 20 percent of key positions in the government, like the minister of telecommunications and labor minister.

As one of the world’s poorest countries, these top 10 facts about living conditions in Comoros are essential in understanding the importance of economic growth and reduction of poverty on the island.

– Brittany Adames
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Comoros
Comoros is a small country comprised of four islands located just off Africa’s eastern coast. Poverty is widespread across the island due to limited access to transportation to the mainland and very few goods that could be exported to encourage economic growth. These 10 facts about life expectancy in Comoros will demonstrate how poverty and other factors contribute.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Comoros

  1. The population of Comoros is rapidly growing with poor health services unable to keep up. As of 2018, the average was 350 people per square mile. Anjouan has the largest population of the Comoros islands. Overcrowding makes resources scarce and health is rapidly declining. The life expectancy of any person on the islands rarely exceeds the age of 65; in 2018, the CIA reported that only 3.98 percent of the population was 65 years or older. Most of the population are children from infancy to the age of 14 at 38.54 percent.
  2. Overcrowding on the island has led some to attempt illegal immigration to the French island of Mayotte. In 1995, the French government declared travel to Mayotte without a visa illegal. Immigration for the people of Comoros is more challenging, but it does not stop them from fleeing to find a better life outside of the overpopulated islands. As of 2017, 40 percent of the population of Mayotte comprised of illegal immigrants from Comoros. The journey is certainly not safe; The New Humanitarian estimates 200 to 500 deaths every year are a result of attempted immigration to Mayotte in the tiny fishing boats that the Comoros people call kwassa-kwassa. The majority of those who cross are children that parents send in search of a better life, contributing to the high mortality rate of children in Comoros.
  3. The overcrowding is due in part to the high birth rate as compared to the death rate. Despite the low age of life expectancy, the death rate overall is only seven deaths per 1,000 people as reported by the CIA. In comparison, the birth rate is 25 births per 1,000.
  4. The infant mortality rate, however, is extraordinarily high. The country ranks number 17 on the CIA’s list with an estimated 58 deaths per 1,000 births. The problem is, in part, due to the limit of financing toward health care and hospitals. Financing has not exceeded 5 percent in total government spending within the last few decades according to the African Health Observatory (AHO).
  5. Illness, as a result of low attendance to health care facilities, runs rampant in Comoros. Malaria was once the deadliest disease until 2011 when it finally began to decline. The Comoros government launched the Residential Spraying campaign to provide insecticide and treatments to the water. Transmittable diseases, according to a table released by the AHO, are the prime suspect for illness and fatality on the islands. Sixty-six percent of all deaths related to diseases are a result of transmittable illnesses, while only 25 percent are non-transmittable and 9 percent are due to injury or natural causes.
  6. Cardiovascular disease (CDV) is on the rise, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO); as of 2016, CDV has fatally affected 17 percent of the population of Comoros. The AHO links CDV to malnutrition and the consumption of less than adequate food to survive. Since 2005, cerebrovascular heart disease and ischemic heart disease have increased by 4.2 percent and 5.4 percent respectively. As of 2015, these diseases were the third and fourth most deadly in Comoros.
  7. Tuberculosis is also rampant on the islands; WHO estimates 28,000 of Comoros became infected with the deadly disease in 2017. Twenty-one thousand of those infected with TB died. Only 10 percent of the population receive a preventative for TB, clearly demonstrating the need for better health care access to increase life expectancy in Comoros.
  8. The leading cause of death as of 2015 is lower respiratory infections. This includes bronchitis, influenza and pneumonia, among others. According to WHO, 47 percent of all deaths in the country as of 2016 are due to communicable diseases such as these infections. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reported that between 1990 and 2010, lower respiratory infections remained the deadliest issue in Comoros with an estimated 27,000 years of life lost among the younger generations fatally affected.
  9. Though illnesses are slowly declining, other health issues are beginning to arise in their place. A lack of adequate nutrition is beginning to plague the people of Comoros. The CIA estimates that Comoros exports roughly 70 percent of all food it grows, leaving very little for its people. According to a report in 2011 by the World Bank, 44 percent of children in Comoros are malnourished and one in every four children is born with low birth weight. This contributes to the infant mortality rate mentioned earlier. Vitamin A deficiency and anemia are the leading causes of health issues among those who are malnourished in Comoros.
  10. Sanitation issues are on the rise due to the overcrowded population. Water sanitation is one of the top concerns. The islands have very little freshwater resources; Grande Comoro, the main island, has no surface water at all and the people import water from the mainland. Meanwhile, the other 50 percent of the population in rural communities rely on collecting rainwater. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) wants to change this dangerous way of living and ensure that all the citizens of Comoros have access to safe drinking water. With the government of Comoros, its goal is to increase the freshwater supply to 100 percent for all by the year 2030. With all parties assisting, the project has $60 million at its disposal.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Comoros show that in recent years, aid to Comoros has increased, especially with sanitation. The life expectancy in Comoros is only one part of the problem that the people of the country faces. Comoros must come to an agreement with Mayotte and other countries accept the refugees who are seeking a better life.

– Nikolas Leasure
Photo: Flickr

 

Poverty in Comoros
Comoros is a group of three volcanic islands located between Africa and Madagascar with a population of just over 800,000. Mount Karthala, which is located on the island of Ngazidja and the bigger of the two active volcanoes in Comoros, has frequent eruptions. The last largest eruption took place in 2005 and caused thousands of citizens to flee. Here are five facts about poverty in Comoros.

5 Facts About Poverty in Comoros

  1. Limited Economic and Trade Opportunities – Comoros relies heavily on its exported goods. The three main crops that are important to the country’s economy are vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang, all of which people use for perfume essence and essential oils. Most of the earnings from these crops go towards natural disasters that occur regularly, primarily fires and severe weather.
  2. Rapid Population Growth – The population has steadily been growing since the 1970s. There are approximately four births to every one death. According to the World Population Review, the average adult woman has about 4.7 babies. The population should continue rising at an even pace.
  3. High Dropout Rates – Comoros has access to two different types of schools; the primary and secondary school system that France established and the traditional Islamic school system. Despite access to an education program, the dropout rate is continuing to steadily rise. Causes of this rate are teacher strikes from lack of proper pay, student strikes from the continuous school shutdowns and political instability. Students who do finish school and obtain a higher education typically do so in another country and do not return after.
  4. Inadequate Health Care Access – Comoros lacks a public health care system. Despite this, the country has been able to keep many of its illness rates low, including HIV and tuberculosis. Many believe that access to clean water that is available to over 90 percent of the country contributed to this. The highest cause of death in Comoros is malnutrition which caused nearly 45.1 percent of deaths between 2007 and 2017.
  5. Lack of Natural Resources – Deforestation is causing the natural forests to decrease due to the lack of re-growing trees. With the increase of population, agricultural lands have less time to regenerate and the food source to decline as a result. These factors and changing weather patterns are affecting natural resources in Comoros at a rapid pace leaving the country in a vulnerable state. Heavy rains and a decline in forest protection are causing floods and landslides, which causes more damage to already weakening agricultural fields. It also causes soil erosion to silt the coral reefs and disturbs the marine life ecosystem and the livelihood of fishing due to fish being Comoros’ main source of protein.

In studying poverty in Comoros, not everything is bad. An NGO called Dahari stemmed from the Engagement for Sustainable Development (ECDD) in 2013 and has since been working in the Comoros islands to provide sustainable agriculture, technology to farmers and increase environmental protection. It provides aid towards controlling the environmental factors and shaping landscapes for future generations and increase the economy. The organization also uses ecotourism to help manage marine life and natural terrestrial resources. Dahari works closely with local communities to achieve peaceful collaboration and help adapt locals to the new technologies and ways they can increase their agricultural development.

The Comoros government continues to work towards its country’s improvement. Despite its efforts, these five facts about poverty in Comoros show that the rapid rise in population and ecosystem decline that changing weather patterns caused continues to affect the country’s efforts to climb out of poverty. With much-needed help, Comoros can work towards rising out of poverty and work towards becoming a resilient and prosperous country.

– Chelsea Wolfe
Photo: Flickr

Girl’s Education in Comoros
Comoros is located off the coast of East Africa near the northern section of the Mozambique Channel. It is made up of more than 800,000 people spread across three main islands (Grand Comore, Anjouan and Moheli). For years, it has been known as one of the poorest countries in the entire world consisting of inadequate transportation, an increasingly young population and a dearth of natural resources. Even though they are still struggling, they have made strides over the years in many areas, specifically in the light of girls’ education in Comoros.

Dubai Cares

In 2013, Dubai Cares, a philanthropic organization focused on improving children’s access to education in developing countries, chose to launch a program specifically targeting girls’ education in Comoros. The program took the time to educate and train teachers and local authorities on how to create gender-friendly classrooms and teach gender-friendly class material. Furthermore, Dubai Cares made it a central part of their program to raise awareness in the community, specifically in topics such as the demand for quality education and gender disparities.

According to Tariq Al Gurg, the chief executive of Dubai Cares, the program for girls’ education in Comoros was focused on three main goals:

  1. Improve upon the accessibility of quality education
  2. Reduce or attempt to eliminate any gender disparities and improve female attendance
  3. Improve development in childhood education

Dubai Cares’ chose these aspects as their focus because they understand the importance of education for women. Girls are consistently tested and faced with obstacles that boys simply do not have to face when it comes to education. It is important to acknowledge the impact that girls’ education in Comoros, and worldwide, can have in the fight against poverty.

Al Gurg, emphasizes the importance of improving upon girl’s education when he states, “It creates a ripple effect of positive change in the community and country. As future mothers and wives, who will play an integral role in nurturing and raising families, these girls hold the key to a future generation of educated and enlightened children.”

Measurable Success

Dubai Cares’ four-year program, implemented by UNICEF, has considerably improved girls’ education in Comoros. The improvements and results include:

  • Approximately 58,000 students benefitted through the program
  • $2.6 million  had been raised to improve educational standards and reduce gender disparities
  • Education reform in 309 public primary schools
  • 190 renovated Koranic Teaching Classes created in 153 public primary schools
  • 6,200 children, ranging from 3-5 years of age, receive aid for school enrollment

Dubai Cares has laid the groundwork for other programs being launched around the world. The Dubai Cares program has created an environment for girls’ education in Comoros that fosters positivity and an eagerness to learn. Comoros is in an amazing position to build off the improvements that have been made.

The Future of Education in Comoros

In July 2018, Dubai Cares announced the launch of another program in Comoros. This one is set to build off of the success of their prior program implemented in 2013. While the last program’s focus was on girls’ education in Comoros, this program’s focus will be on early childhood development (ECD) among all children. The program will also be implementing parenting practices such as the encouragement of appropriate nutrition, hygiene and early educational stimulation. It is set to help at least 269,382 children as well as teachers across all 394 primary schools in Comoros.

Dubai Cares took the initiative to improve girls’ education in Comoros. This focus to fight and foster positive learning environments for all genders has created a building block for all. The success of the 2013 girls’ education program has afforded the opportunity for success in this newly implemented 2018 program focused on early childhood development.

Although Comoros remains one of the poorest countries in the world, they are far more advanced when it comes to understanding the importance of women and a good education. By allowing women the benefits of attaining an education, many doors are being opened for everyone in the community of Comoros. Other countries should take note.

– Emilie Cieslak
Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to Comoros Assists the Poor and the Needy
One of the least developed countries in the world, the Republic of Comoros has one of the highest population density in Africa. The three-island archipelago is located between Madagascar and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean, with a population of about 800,000 people.

A Country Hungry for Change

Between the 1997-2014 period, Comoros was the third country on the list of world’s hungriest countries. The Borgen Project reported in 2014 that Comoros was “one of nineteen nations still labeled as ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ on the Global Hunger Index, leaving 870 million without food.”

According to the Index, countries with the lowest levels of food security (such as Comoros) are either engaged in or have recently emerged from war. Interestingly, Comoros ranked 159 (out of 188) on the United Nation’s Human Development Index in 2015.

Humanitarian Aid to Comoros

Aid organizations have aimed to provide health, relief and other humanitarian aid to Comoros. The Islamic Relief International Organization has assisted over 1 million people from 2006-2018, giving almost $3 million to uplift the poor and the needy. Almost $2 million has gone to establish health dispensaries and centers for men, women and especially malnourished children in the country.

Last year, Tadateru Konoé, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), visited Comoros and emphasized the development of humanitarian assistance efforts to bolster Africa’s island nations prone to natural disasters.

“More efforts should be made to boost domestic resource mobilization, building community resilience, and country-level policy dialogue between governments and local actors such Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,” he said.

Earthquake Aftermath

After a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Anjouan island in March 2014, heavy rains and deep fissures caused heavy infrastructure damage and cordoned off supplies from tens of thousands of people. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) partners delivered emergency hygiene, water and sanitation supplies that provided relief to those displaced by the disaster.

In its Country Strategy Paper for Comoros (2008-2013), the European Union (EU) provided €63 million in total to tackle three major priorities as part of the 10th European Development Fund: governance, transport and education. Cyclonic rehabilitation was also added to the entire agenda, which comported Comoros’ development strategy as defined in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Document.

Aid for Children

Humanitarian aid to Comoros is also needed to protect children against sexual violence from their teachers in religious schools. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supported legislation in the area of children rights, the fight against child labor and violence against women.

Grants from Global Partnership in Education and Education a Child have led to the rehabilitation of dozens of classrooms and construction of schools for children. UNICEF has also supported the government’s response to emergencies and ensured safe drinking water supplies, devising development plans that protected against possible outbreak of Ebola.

Reforming the Nation

The economy of Comoros is highly dependent on subsistence fishing and agricultural production. As the country lacks natural resources and a well-educated labor force, fiscal and structural reforms are necessary to promote the population’s long-term welfare.

The World Bank predicts that political stability in Comoros after the 2016 presidential elections will lead to increased economic growth and opportunities. As part of that effort, humanitarian aid to Comoros will be critical in both maintaining stability and prosperity in this burgeoning country, and benefitting the poor and the needy.

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Agriculture in Comoros

Sustainable agriculture is an ever-present priority in the Comoro Islands. More than 80 percent of the rural population relies on small-scale agriculture for food and income, therefore sustainable farming practices have become a major necessity. Current agricultural practices do not prevent soil erosion or retain field fertility, but there are a number of projects aiming to improve sustainable agriculture in Comoros. Three organizations operating these projects are:

  1. Engagement Communautaire pour le Developpment Durable (ECDD)
  2. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  3. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The Engagement Communautaire pour le Developpment Durable (ECDD) project works toward environmental conservation in Comoros through the introduction of sustainable farming techniques. These methods increase crop yields and protect natural resources like soil and water. One recommended activity is market gardening, which generates income and reduces reliance on traditional agricultural practices. The ECDD project also provides the necessary support for the people to implement the new techniques.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. also plays a big role in the improvement of sustainable agriculture in Comoros. Some of the focuses of the U.N. organization are boosting domestic food production and improving food safety. Much of the population is affected by low-quality and unsanitary foods, and farmers don’t have access to the technology and methods needed for sanitary production. Additionally, this U.N. organization, as well as the World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility, have run programs supporting sustainable fishing and agroforestry. These are two other industries that are critical for life in Comoros.

Finally, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has a number of projects in Comoros. One of these projects is the Nioumakele Small Producers Support Project, which developed and popularized the practice of planting live fences around plots. This technique has benefited sustainable agriculture in Comoros by both rehabilitating soil in the region and increasing agricultural and dairy production levels. The project officially closed in 1997, but the environmental impact is still growing as local farmers continue to use the methods and take responsibility for the sustainable activities.

Ultimately, sustainable agriculture in Comoros needs to be improved. So much of the nation depends on agriculture, and in order for the country to withstand climate change and further development, it needs to implement more sustainable practices. However, through the help of organizations like the ECDD, FAO and IFAD, the Comoro Islands have the potential to create a much more environmentally-conscious agricultural industry.

– Liyanga de Silva

Photo: Flickr

Comoros, also known as the Union of Comoros, is a small volcanic archipelago island off the east coast of Africa. The country’s constant political and economic instability has led to an increase in poverty since it gained independence in 1975. As of 2014, roughly 18 percent of Comorians live below the poverty line.

Comoros is considered one of the world’s poorest countries. Over the last seven years, many strides have been made to further development in Comoros. Listed below are five development projects in Comoros that have had a big impact on reducing poverty, increasing employment opportunities and helping create a better economy.

  1. Family Farming Productivity and Resilience Support Project
    This project was approved in May 2017 and is still ongoing. The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) financed the project, loaning Comoros around $4 million to improve the country’s agricultural productivity and to get farmers in more rural areas the supplies and knowledge they need to grow more and healthier crops. Since Comoros is chiefly an agriculture-based country, this plan will increase employment as well.
  1. National English Language Education Strategy
    Starting in 2014, the Peace Corps has been sending volunteer English teachers to Comoros to teach children English as a second language. The students range from middle school to high school age. As of 2016, approximately 40 English teachers were teaching in Comoros.
  1. Co-management of Coastal Resources for Sustainable Livelihoods Project (CoReCSuD)
    This project was approved in December 2010 and ended in April 2017. The World Bank loaned Comoros roughly $2.7 million to create and implement a coastal management plan. A large part of employment and income in many rural areas in Comoros is fishing. This project increased credit to many fishing villages, decreasing poverty and increasing employment opportunities.
  1. Social Safety Net Project
    This project was approved in March 2015 and is set to close in June 2019. The World Bank loaned Comoros $6 million to increase access to nutrition services and a safety net for impoverished families, especially in rural areas.
  1. Economic Reform Development Policy Operation
    In November 2012, the World Bank gave Comoros a $5 million grant to strengthen the economy. The operation ended in December 2013. The operation’s goal was to strengthen the economy’s transparency and accountability.

Through these five development projects in Comoros, the economy has slowly started improving. Comoros has borrowed or been granted more than $17 million since 2010 from different organizations to fund these improvement projects. The GDP growth has increased to a little more than two percent from one percent in 2015.

Beyond these five development projects in Comoros, the nation’s government still has more room to grow. The unemployment rate is still high, around 19 percent. However, progress is slowly but surely being made, and these projects have left a lot of room for Comoros to move forward.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

women's empowerment in comoros

Women’s issues in Comoros are closely associated with tradition, customs and religion. Challenges for gender equality include women being under-represented at the political level, a need for women in leadership, violence against women and women’s healthcare. By focusing on women’s empowerment in Comoros, these challenges could be properly addressed.

Women in Comoros, as well as Nigeria, Swaziland, the Republic of the Congo and Benin still have less than 8 percent female representation in their legislatures.

U.N. Women Working Towards Women’s Empowerment in Comoros

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women) works towards building capacities for women to participate in leadership. This transformative leadership training allows women to engage from a perspective of basic human rights and understand broader governance issues and democracy in general.

In Comoros, U.N Women has peacebuilding projects underway in partnership with the U.N. country team. Its contribution is to build the skills of women to understand the issues of gender relations in peace and in peacebuilding. It also strives to help women understand conflicts and how conflicts occur in order to help women build allies within the traditional leadership.

Addressing Domestic Violence and Women’s Healthcare

Violence against women, including domestic violence, is widespread in many places of Comoros. The physical, sexual and psychological violence against women threaten women’s empowerment in Comoros.

There has, however, been an advancement in women’s empowerment in Comoros through the improvement of healthcare services and decreasing maternal mortality.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) programs are key to the improvement of healthcare services. These programs provide emergency obstetric care and family planning, aim to maintain the low prevalence of HIV/AIDS and manage sexually transmitted infections. They also increase the availability and use of timely and reliable demographic data and integrate population variables into gender policies and development programs.

Reproductive health is a priority in the national health strategy of Comoros. According to U.N. Women, maternal mortality rates fell from 381 to 170 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2007 and 2012. Programs have extended services to women during pregnancy, delivery and after birth.

Comoros pledges to strengthens its multi-sectoral strategy on HIV, enhance women’s access to microcredit, and continue to implement actions to bring more women into key decision-making posts across national institutions.

With efforts to provide women with more opportunities to succeed, women’s empowerment in Comoros will effectively address the challenges women face in society.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

ComorosComoros is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa. It is located between Mozambique and the island nation of Madagascar. According to the World Bank, the most recent survey of households in Comoros, conducted in 2014, showed about 18 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

Improving access to finance is one way to boost economic activity and lift people out of poverty. Looking at recent changes in credit access in Comoros offers clues as to where the country’s economy is headed.

Business Reforms in Comoros

Over the past few years, the government of Comoros has instituted several reforms that make doing business easier. These reforms have made it easier to start a business by reducing the minimum capital requirement. In turn, this has made resolving insolvency easier for small companies and made trading across borders easier with an automated customs data management system.

The International Finance Corporation reports that these reforms have reduced the number of procedures and days needed to start a business. Comoros has also improved its investment potential by offering political risk insurance to foreign investors, which may mitigate fears over Comoros’ recent decades of instability.

Credit Access in Comoros: Looking Ahead

At the 21st session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts, in November 2017, participants adopted the final report of best practices and research results for catalyzing growth in East Africa. It clears a path for more cooperation between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and member states, like Comoros.

Topics emphasized included investment in infrastructure and renewable energy, as well as the need to improve credit access in Comoros, which will support the private sector. The goal is to make Comoros an emerging country by the year 2030, if not sooner.

The Takeaway on Financing in Comoros

Comoros is finally beginning to establish political calm after decades of political strife and coups, initially ushered in by its vote for independence from France in 1974. Time will tell whether peace lasts, but, if it does, business activity and good credit in Comoros will likely continue to grow.

With a better business environment, Comoros will have the funds to address poverty factors like hunger and malnutrition, and, hopefully, it will continue to make gains in the U.N.’s Human Development Index.

– Chuck Hasenauer

Photo: Flickr