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The Challenges Facing Internally Displaced People in Africa

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Today, there are five times as many internally displaced persons as they are refugees. This makes them the largest groups of people affected by forced displacement.

IDPs are people who are forced to flee. Like refugees, they have to leave their homes because of fear of persecution or conflict. But there’s a single fundamental difference between the two: to find safety, IDPs move from one area or region to another but still stay within their country, while refugees leave the country that they live in and cross the border for safety.

Also Read: The Plight of African Women Migrating to Europe

Why don’t IDPs leave the country like refugees?

Some IDPs may want to stay close to their homes with hopes that things would get better soon, so they can return. Others lack the physical strength or the means to go through the uncertain and sometimes, dangerous journey to a safer country. Often, the internally displaced persons are stuck in conflict areas where threats like violence restrict them from reaching the border.

The troubles that IDPs go through

When refugees move to another country, they are protected by the international law. However, the IDPs depend on their government for protection from persecution and violence. In most cases, the government may not be able or may be unwilling to offer such protection. For this reason, internally displaced are among the most vulnerable displaced persons across the globe.

But like refugees, they also face challenges like loss of jobs, properties, and even livelihoods. Some get injured, some lose loved ones.

IDPs in Number

African countries have more IDPS than refugees – Precisely, there are nearly five times as many internally displaced persons. Towards the end of 2010, there were about 2 million refugees and 11 million IDPs in sub-Saharan Africa.

For the longest time, Africa has been leading region with the most IDPs in the world. From approximately 26.4 million IDPs globally in 2011, 9.7 million were from sub-Saharan Africa.

The irony

One would imagine that because the IDPs are in their country, they would receive a special type of care. Unfortunately, this is never the case. Most African countries still do not have a comprehensive and coherent policy or legal framework to address the internal displacement issues. And while they may have a range of laws that they can use to take care of the problem, it’s highly likely that none directly focuses on protection and provision of help to the internally displaced and affected communities.

Following the Post-election Violence incident in Kenya, for instance, the government initiated Operation Rudi Nyumbani (go back home) campaign and provided goodwill payments to the IDPs. While this intervention sufficed the immediate need, it did not take care of the long-term need as envisaged by the Kampala Convention or the UN Guiding Principles.

Problems facing the internally displaced persons in Africa

Some documented challenges that the internally displaced persons in the African countries encounter are:

  • Finding employment
  • Finding housing’
  • Discrimination
  • Impact of disrupted education
  • Financial difficulties
  • Ongoing mental issues because of trauma
  • Community attitudes
  • Changes in status and roles of family members
  • Separation from family members

Impact on children

UNHCR

Children face specific challenges because of their experiences and age. It is difficult for them to forget what happened, so they stay with the scars of violence and displacement. And while children are often resilient, some will:

  • Experience psychological effects of trauma
  • Have identity and belonging issues
  • Go through changing family responsibilities
  • Loose out in education

Impact on women

During wars or violence, women and children experience all kinds of abuses, including sexual and physical violence. They even end up losing their husbands or fathers, who often, are the providers. And when they flee, they have to figure out a way to fend for the children. It’s difficult because they have to start from the scratch.

Also Read: If Not You, Who Will End Violence against Women in the Sub-Saharan Countries?

Diseases

Since the IDPs are moving to a new place, and are doing that suddenly (without preparation), they are forced to stay in temporary structures like tents. This means they will experience frigid nights, lack of clean water, bites from insects, and even attacks from people and animals.

In conclusion

There are three ways to handle the IDP situation: resettlement in a third location, voluntary repatriation, and local integration. Repatriation is perhaps the easiest solution to displacement because most displacement crises are temporary. However, it can be a poor option due to limited prospects of a safe return.

In cases when the displaced people can neither continue to live in the temporary shelter or dire camp nor go back to their homes, then they can be resettled in a new and safe area within the country.

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4 Reasons Why Exercising Daily is Beneficial for Your Health

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Exercise

Are you feeling lethargic and drained by the end of the week? It’s all you can do to get yourself to the weekend so you can rest to try and recover to start the new working week?

This issue seems to be a frequent topic of discussion these days: and for good reason.

Lethargy and exhaustion: Why?

Before we look at one of the best ways to counteract the extreme lassitude and fatigue by the end of the work week, let’s look at several reasons why we feel this way by the end of the week:

Our global society has moved from the Industrial Age where people were more active at work to the Information Age where people sit behind a computer for long hours without moving. Not only is the lack of movement an issue but many people do not sit behind an ergonomic workstation. Consequently, they develop conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other maladies specific to the lack of movement.

The article published on Everydayhealth.com titled “The Real Effects of Technology on Your Health” notes that information is continuously available via mobile devices, and it can be consumed 24/7. This often causes the brain fatigue from the constant barrage of information. In summary, part of the reason why we feel overwhelmed all the time is that our brains never get time to relax. They are always processing and sorting out information.

Staring at a computer, or mobile device screen all day (and for most of the night) causes eye strain, loss of vision, migraine headaches, light sensitivity, and exhaustion. It also induces sleep deprivation. Firstly, we spend too long on our mobile devices when we should be sleeping. And, because our brains are so busy processing all the information consumed, it never calms down enough so we can fall asleep.

Exercise: One of the best ways to counteract exhaustion and fatigue

At the outset, it’s important to note that I am not a medical professional. Therefore,  it’s important to check with your doctor before embarking on a programme of rigorous exercise.

That being said, here are several benefits to exercising on a daily basis:

Improves the quality of your sleep

As long you don’t exercise just before bedtime, it promotes better sleep than if you don’t exercise. Not only will you fall asleep quicker, but your quality of sleep will also be better.

Helps with weight loss

There is no doubt that our sedentary lifestyles are a major cause of the global obesity epidemic. The World Health Organisation’s statistics show that “worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.” Therefore, exercising every day will help us reduce excess weight and reduce the likelihood of contracting obesity-related diseases like heart disease, and diabetes.

Is a mood booster

The Mayo Clinic website notes that “physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.” It gets your heart rate going, increases your natural endorphin levels and helps reduce the stress hormones like noradrenalin and adrenalin.

Improves energy levels

Does walking from your car to your office, or completing household chores exhaust you? Exercise increases muscle strength, density, and endurance levels. It also “delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.” Therefore, when your muscles, heart, and lungs receive more oxygen, you will be able to go about your daily life without feeling tired and out-of-breath.

Final thoughts

Starting an exercise programme can be demoralising and tiring in itself. However, on the other hand, it can also be exciting, especially when you notice your fitness levels improving and your lethargy levels reducing. It is important to persevere, break down your fitness goals into bite-size chunks, and celebrate every small milestone.

Succinctly stated, your joie de vivre and raison d’etre will return, thereby, improving your quality of life and your ability to cope with all of the modern-day stresses. It is for this reason alone that it is worth embarking on a daily exercise programme.

 

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What do you need to make sure your online store is successful?

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Over the years there have been many different and exciting trends from within the wonderful world of retail. One of the more recent advancements or rather crazes which is still an extremely popular trend which is still be used today is the trend of online stores.

What is an online store?

An online store or an e-commerce store as it is more commonly known as amongst the tech-savvy are virtual stores which have been created to sell a business owners products online to costumers on both a domestic and international level.

The main idea behind this is to provide customers with a service that will minimize the amount of time that they would spend in a physical store, whilst by choosing to make use of an online store the same customers would be able to start-up their devices and log on into their online profiles, browse what they want from the store and then check out.

The item which they are looking for and the items which the customers have paid for will then be delivered to the customer via a courier service or in some cases the customers have a choice of whether they want to pick up the item from the store to minimize the amount of time which is being spent in the store.

The benefits of an online store

After reading the above one can assume that it is a good idea to make use of an online store, right? Well, here are some reasons why making use of an online store is a good idea.

  • Minimize the amount of time spent in store
  • Creates a covenant shopping method
  • Allows users access to a large array of items

As you can see one of the main ideas behind creating an online store is to provide the users with a covenant and easy to use shopping system which is can help the users save time, by not having to travel far distances in order to go to the only shop in the area which sells a certain product.

One of the downsides about online stores is the amount of time which it could take to ship a certain item which a customer has just ordered. This can become problematic for some people as having to wait for the product which they have just ordered is the last thing that they want to do.

Another really important item which many online stores don’t take into account is the level of hardware and time that you as the owner will need to devote to the online store in order for it to survive and function at a proficient level.

What do you need to run an online store?

In order to set up an online store is, you require a website and an e-commerce store platform installed on the hosting platform. For example, platforms such as WordPress is one of the many hosting platforms you can make use of if you start your own website.

When you take a look at the list above it seems like creating and running an online store isn’t a difficult task to do and in the case of many people who have assumed that you will join them in failing at your online business and you will be wrong.

Setting up your online store is the easiest part of the operation, once your website is set up you will begin to move to monitoring and generating traffic to your website, which in return will help you to sell your products.

What do you need to set this feature up?

What you will need in order to become successful in the aspect of monitoring your website, is to make use of something called Big Data and Business Intelligence which is designed to take large amounts of data, (product clicks and searches are a small percentage of the data which will be used) and run the data through an algorithm or in some cases algorithms which will process the data and give you the a report stating what needs to change and what needs to improve in order for your business to perform at a higher level.

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Why Does Sexual Assault Cases Within Family Remain Under-Reported?

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As people are gaining the courage to report incidences of sexual assault in workplaces, churches, schools, and streets, those that are committed within family units tend to stay hidden.

Rape is a global crisis. Women, men, and children of all ages, religions, economic classes and races can be victims of rape. As per the statistics, one in three girls and one in six boys will be raped by the age of 18. Sexual offenses happen every five minutes.

These numbers are staggering, and the question then is, why are so many cases of rape within family units not being reported?

Well, there’s a huge degree of silencing around incestuous or family rape. Shame is a significant factor in keeping the victims silent. Fear of reaping the family apart also takes center stage in ensuring the cases remain unheard.

The Rape Culture

Many survivors who come forward report close relations like; a grandfather, uncle, mother’s boyfriend husband, or stepfather was behind the attack. These are people who the victims trust and even depend upon.

Patriarchy has been the cornerstone feature in African societies for centuries. The systemic domination by men in homes serves to control, and sometimes devalue women,” Ngozi Marima, a Counseling Coordinator at Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust said. “Women lack patriarchal gender norms and economic empowerment. So, if the rapist takes care of all bills, then the child may as well be sacrificed to ensure continued support regarding basic needs. Reporting such cases might mean going without food.”

Victim blaming

“What were you wearing? Did you talk suggestively? Did you lead him on?” are the questions that victims get asked all the times, concerning the attack. Victim blaming insinuates that the victim is somewhat responsible. In reality is, the victim isn’t to blame. The abuser is; because they make a conscious choice to carry on with the act.

The Victim blaming attitude pushes the victim to the side, making it harder for them to report the offense, since they won’t feel comfortable or safe, coming forward to talk. Other family members, who may suffer a similar fate, might be forced to endure in solitude for fear of judgment.

Besides, such attitudes only allow the perpetrators to carry on with their sexual assaults and relationship abuse because they are not accountable for their actions.

“Sexual offense is motivated by power, control, and hostility, not sexual desire. Humans, unlike animals, can control how they choose to behave or express sexual desires. The most unfortunate bit is that perpetrators are people who the victims know, and sometimes trust,” Marima concluded.

Rape is a crime, regardless of who commits the act; whether it’s an acquaintance, grandfather, friend, dad, uncle, husband, aunty or cousin.

Conjugal bed

Can no mean no even after I do? The Spousal sexual assault is amongst the least understood, but most intimate violation form; men treating women as though they are their possessions, not partners. Many cases involve a man physically abusing the wife before sexually assaulting them. And the pleas to stop him always fall on deaf ears.

Sadly, most women can’t bring themselves to leave, let alone report the man they once loved. In fact, they may become hyper-vigilant in the attempt to please their husbands. The equation becomes complex when kids are in the picture. The thought of single parenthood can be intimidating, especially if one isn’t financially empowered.

Furthermore, there’s a stigma for all survivors and victims of rape, and it’s worse for those who are married; after all, they dated and married the perpetrator, lived in the same house and maybe even share children or mortgage. This is what renders most of them silent.

“It should be known that anytime a person is forced into having sex, they’ve been sexually abused, notwithstanding if they said “no” or fought back. Victims might not fight the assailant due to threats, shock, fear or their strength and size,” added Marima.

What to do after a rape

Although you may be in shock after abuse, there are practical steps you can take to ensure your safety and also bring the perpetrator to justice. Remember, failure to come out gives the assailant power to repeat the act.

  • Get to a safe place
  • Talk to someone
  • Do not wash your clothes or bath to preserve evidence
  • Report the rape
  • Get medical attention to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies
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