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Liberia

Kevin Ferguson | Liberia

Organization: Oxfam America

Bomi County, Liberia, has a large number of blind residents, likely due to onchocerciasis, or river blindness. This young boy has not contracted the disease, though his parents have. The disease is called river blindness because the blackfly that transmits the infection lives and breeds near fast-flowing streams and rivers and the infection can result in blindness. The disease is endemic in parts of Western Africa, including Liberia.

Liberia’s national elections in October 2017 will be a watershed event for the country’s women. Seven Liberian women now lead the government’s executive branch, including the president and five six full cabinet and assistant ministers. Yet, efforts to improve the lot of women are moving at a glacial pace. Women-owned businesses, decimated by 14 years of civil war and the two-year Ebola virus outbreak, are only now reopening. Domestic violence is pervasive. And only 40 percent of females can read and write, compared to 70 percent of males.

Oxfam America

kevin@narrowbackfilms.com

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