A group of widows at a CARE screening are struck with powerful emotion as they watch Taking Root, which tells the story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai. One section of the film chronicles a year-long protest in 1992 organized by Maathai and a group of mothers whose children were being held and tortured as political prisoners, many of whom were killed upon their release by the volatile Arap Moi regime. Audience members wept along with the mothers they watched on-screen, as they learned of their children’s deaths. But later in the screening, tears turned to joy as the women began to sing along with a Kikuyu song in the film, highlighting the importance of forging ahead together through hardship.
Their voices are suppressed, prohibited, and censored. But world-famous bloggers Yoani Sánchez, Zeng Jinyan, and Farnaz Seifi are not frightened of their dictatorial regimes. These fearless women stand for a new, networked generation of modern rebels. In Cuba, China, and Iran their blogs shake the foundations of the state information monopoly – putting their lives at great risk.
Barbara Miller’s film, Forbidden Voices, accompanies these brave young rebels on their dangerous journey and traces their use of social media like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to denounce and combat the violations of human rights and freedom of speech in their countries – thereby triggering international resonance by building up enormous political pressure.
TIME Magazine counts them among the world’s most influential voices. Based on their moving eyewitness reports and clandestine footage, Forbidden Voices pays homage to their courageous battle.
Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg works at the intersection of academia and social entrepreneurship. A professor of political science and international relations, she is also the founder and Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator that is nurturing the next generation of African women leaders.
She spoke with WGLG-Kenya’s Country Engagement Coordinator Josephine Karianjahi — whose “Women in the Red” campaign strives to balance the gender equation in Kenyan politics — about the value of women leaders, and what it will take to prepare more Kenyan women for political office. Continue reading →
On July 10th 2013, WGLG Peru carried out its first community engagement event in the Amazon city of Pucallpa. Inspired by Maro Chermayeff´s film She Matters, 25 youth leaders talked about education and health – exploring similarities and differences between their own stories and those portrayed by girls living thousands of kilometers away from Peru.
The face of recognized political actors is changing in Peru. With scarce resources but strong conviction, youth organizations are fighting for their rights and achieving important social change. Decision-makers are starting to listen. WGLG Peru bets on the power of youth, seeking to build a platform that better connects young leaders to audiences who influence their future. Continue reading →
Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the astonishing story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003. As the rebel noose tightened around the capital city of Monrovia, thousands of women – ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim – formed a thin but unshakeable line between the opposing forces. Continue reading →
In the late 1990s, Rose Mapendo was imprisoned with her family during violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her harrowing experience included the nighttime arrest of her entire family by government agents, the execution of her husband, the birth of their twin sons in prison, and grim negotiations with prison guards to save the lives of her children. She emerged advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. In a country where ethnic violence has created seemingly irreparable rifts among Tutsis, Hutus, and other Congolese, this remarkable woman is a vital voice in her beleaguered nation’s search for peace. Now, Rose is confronted with teaching one of her most recalcitrant students how to forgive – Nangabire, the daughter who remained behind. Continue reading →