As the weeklong international conference on water concluded Friday, it was left to one of the keynote speakers from the United Nations to focus on a much neglected perspective on water and food security: the role of women.
A rash of recent rape cases has sparked local criticism of the weakness of the justice system in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where inadequate resources and simple incompetence mean survivors of sexual violence hold little hope of obtaining justice.
Nine women in the northern Côte d'Ivoire town of Katiola have been convicted for carrying out female genital mutilation – the first time that a 1998 law banning FGM has been applied.
Salou Bandé is proud to stand at the front of the only classroom in the village of Bénnogo, 90 kilometres north of the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, sharing his knowledge with his students. He is part of an initiative to improve education for nomadic children in the West African country.
Each year, 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth. 50,000 of them die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 95 percent of those births occur in developing countries.
"When I was still at school I was abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, along with 139 other girls," says Grace Akallo. "I spent seven months in captivity, but I survived, I escaped and I went back home."