Promoting local democracy: "Must make your voice heard"

In November, the International Center for Local Democracy (ICLD) concluded the 2022 round of the Women's Leadership Program. The final workshop was held in Kigali, Rwanda. In the picture, this year's participants can be seen together with the Swedish politicians who through Sweden's Municipalities and Regions (SKR) are mentors in the program, as well as Rwanda's Minister for Gender Equality Jeannette Bayisenge and Sweden's ambassador to Rwanda Johanna Teague. Photo: ICLD.

Of: Agnes Durbeej-Hjalt

Every year, the International Center for Local Democracy (ICLD) organizes a leadership program for women in local political positions of power in low- and middle-income countries. The aim is to strengthen women in their leadership role to contribute to the development of local democracy. Development magazine has interviewed Anne Scheffer Leander, responsible for the program, about how the promotion of local democracy actually works in practice.  

January 23, 2023, Interview

New foreign policy makes the future uncertain for gender equality projects in Latin America

Maja Magnusson, press officer and information officer at Svalorna Latinamerika, is concerned that reduced aid and scrapped feminist foreign policy could affect gender equality work in Latin America. Photo: Swallows Latin America.

Of: Vilma Ellemark

The new direction of Swedish foreign policy has caused concern among many organizations that work with global development issues. - We are worried about severe cuts, says Maja Magnusson, press officer and information officer at Svalorna Latin America.

December 9, 2022, Interview

Hope for peace in war-torn Ethiopia after ceasefire agreement

For the past two years, the Ethiopian region of Tigray has been plagued by brutal fighting. Now the Ethiopian state and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) have reached a ceasefire. Pictured: A destroyed tank in Edaga Hamus in Tigray, June 2021. Photo: Yan Boechat. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Of: Elianne Kjellman

One of the bloodiest conflicts of the 2000st century has been fought in Ethiopia since November 2020. A solution has seemed far away. But in early November came the surprising announcement that a ceasefire had been reached. Liisa Laakso, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, explains how the friction between the Ethiopian state and the People's Liberation Front in Tigray led to war - and how they have managed to reach a ceasefire.

December 2, 2022, Interview

Researchers criticize Rwanda's commemoration period: 'Worried about large-scale violence'

According to researcher Gretchen Baldwin, ethnic tensions are maintained in Rwanda during the country's annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide. Pictured: Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the opening of the 28th edition of Kwibuka in April 2022. Source: Flickr.

Of: Agnes Durbeej-Hjalt

After the genocide in 1994, Rwanda has been praised by the outside world for its, above all economic, recovery. But new research shows several disturbing aspects with the country's annual commemoration period. Rwandans are forced to remember the genocide in exactly the ways of thinking that caused the genocide - that one ethnic group is superior to another, according to researcher Gretchen Baldwin. And Hon believes that it is a way for the government to retain power. 

November 25, 2022, Interview

"No one is punished for human rights violations in Iran"

Maja Åberg, policy advisor at Amnesty International Sweden, believes that the culture of impunity in Iran means that human rights violations, such as those seen by the regime during the current protests, continue. Photo: Artin Bakhan. Unsplash/Amnesty International Sweden.

Of: Liljan Daoud

The protests in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jhinas Amini in police custody, have spread across the country. By the end of October, 234 people had died in connection with the protests in Iran, according to Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO). The human rights organization Amnesty describes a culture of impunity in the country, where the security forces can kill, torture and abuse - without being punished for it. - The situation in Iran is extremely serious, says Maja Åberg, policy advisor at Amnesty International Sweden.

November 8, 2022, Interview

The war in Ukraine has become a catastrophe for millions of people

Anne Poulsen is the Nordic director of the UN's World Food Program (WFP) - one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations that provides millions of people with nutrition every year. She warns that the number of hungry people in the world is rising - and that the war in Ukraine is making the situation worse. Photo TV: World Food Program. Photo by: Logan Abassi. Source: United Nations / Flickr.

Of: Elise Olsson

Even before the war in Ukraine broke out, large parts of the world were in a famine, where the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 135 million to 276 million in just two years. This is a figure that will continue to rise in the shadow of the war. - We must start taking from the hungry to give to the starving, says Anne Poulsen, Nordic director of the UN's World Food Program.

May 31, 2022, Interview

The Chilean people are hoping for political change

Gonzalo Artigas and his sister Javiera Artigas hope for political change in Chile. Photo: Gonzalo Artigas.

Of: Villemo Warnerfjord

In recent years, Chile's policies have been met with huge protests, a new constitution and a new president. Dissatisfaction has attracted people to the polls and now great challenges await left-wing politician Gabriel Boric. The Chilean people have woken up and now they want to see a change, says the 29-year-old Chilean Gonzalo Artigas.

March 9, 2022, Interview

Cobalt - a tricky road to sustainable transport

Most of the world's cobalt production is extracted in Congo-Kinshasa. Photo: Enough Project. Source: Flickr.

Of: Melanie Alphonse

The extraction of the minerals cobalt and lithium has increased in connection with the demand for electric cars. Several companies are interested in opening mines in northern Sweden, something that risks threatening the Sami right to land and culture. At the same time, multinational mining companies are exploiting child labor and violating human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world's largest exporter of cobalt.

February 24, 2022, Interview

Swedish fund money is invested in polluting oil giants

An oil spill has caused damage to animals and nature in the Ecuadorian rainforest where Mireya Gualinga and her people Kichwa live. Photo: Mike Gualinga.

Of: Elise Olsson

Several Swedish AP funds and several major Swedish banks are investing in companies that engage in deforestation and violate human rights in various parts of the world - something that affects the Amazon rainforest and indigenous peoples, among other things. "These companies are killing our planet. They are looting the last aid the planet can offer - and that's the forest," said Mireya Gualinga, a climate and indigenous activist from the Ecuadorian Amazon.

January 25, 2022, Interview

The decline of democracy in the world disadvantages the protests in Kazakhstan

Democracy is currently facing several setbacks in the world - something that may have hampered the success of the protests in Kazakhstan, according to Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict at Uppsala University. Pictured: Presidential Palace in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan. Photo: Francisco Anzola. Source: Flickr.

Of: Elise Olsson

Poverty, corruption and large economic income gaps - it is not just the shock rise in petrol prices in Kazakhstan that has triggered a violent riot in the country. And even though this type of uprising can be a starting shot for democratization, the weakened democracy in the world can also be an obstacle to the starting shot, says Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict at Uppsala University.

January 18, 2022, Interview