CHanGE (Campaign for sexual Health & Gender Equality) is an UCOS project on gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRHR). Together with our partners in the Global South and our students in the North we strengthen public support within Flanders for the global struggle for gender equality and access to SRHR. Through this project and our effort, we contribute to a powerful international movement.

Each new academic year, a group of young and motivated CHanGEmakers from Belgium joins grassroot organisations in DR Congo, Uganda, India and Cuba. Students actively engage with the partner organisations, and share their experiences and stories about local activists with the Flemish public. By placing the activities of our partners in the spotlights, we don’t only increase their impact, but we also shine a light on how change happens around the world.

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Meet Maharouf. 
Having originally come from Togo to Morocco to play football on a professional level, Maharouf struggled a lot when he arrived. Once he got a stable situation he started volunteering, as a  way to give back to his community
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Maharouf performs ‘community HIV-tests’ for the ALSC, the association fighting AIDS in Morocco.  The ALSC believes strongly in the peer-to-peer awareness. As Maharouf knows a lot of people and is known by a lot he is a better fit for raising awareness about possible symptoms and groups at risk.  Maharouf means ‘to be known’ in arabic, we don’t think his name is a coincidence. He is the kind of person the sub-Saharan community contacts whenever they need help. He knows the people and ngo’s who can help them with their day to day struggles.
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Limited access to sex education mixed with a lot of misconceptions and taboos surrounding sexuality, gender and STDs means that awareness around HIV is not widespread. Civil society organizations such as the ALSC have become focal to Morocco’s HIV response. ALSC is heavily lobbying for the health authorities to take more serious and long lasting initiatives on the national level. Because cultural and socio-economic barriers still block the way to more awareness and treatment..
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#alsc#maroc#luttecontrelesida#aids#sida#volunteer#community#awareness#hivaidsawareness#menaregionalhealthsystem
Darija: What’s wrong with me/ What are you accusing me of.

Meet Betty the real definition of an activist and the co-founder of the movement called M.A.L.I. (Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties). M.A.L.I. is a disobedience civil universalist, feminist and secular movement that defends the individual freedom in Morocco. The protection thereof and more specifically of those of women is a necessity in Moroccan society. Women’s individual freedom is infringed by the abuse of power, the socio-religious inequality and discriminating laws. M.A.L.I. organises creative campaigns to shine a light on this reality in order to break the taboos and start a conversation.

Betty is the mind behind the campaigns that create a real buzz. M.A.L.I. is therefore also known for its creative and buzzworthy campaigns such as the symbolic pique-nique during the holy month of Ramadan as a protest against article 222 of the Moroccan penal code that punishes those who break the mandatory daytime fast. She talks about topics without any filter, despite the censorships that is imposed on her by the complex Moroccan society. It is unnecessary to say that she has come to be under fire, but this won’t stop her activism. She is unapologetically herself  and is one of the few openly atheist Moroccans. She will never stop fighting back the patriarchy and all the discrimination resulting from it.

#feminism #genderequality #equality #activism #activist #morocco #womensrights #bodilyrights #changemaker #UforCHanGE #UCOS #humanrights #fightthepatriarchy #enddiscrimination #religiousfreedom #atheism #srhr #breakingtaboos #strongwomen #femalepower
Sometimes all it takes in the buzzing streets of the medina, is to take a step back and talk to random strangers. This is how we met Diara, a woman who left everything in Senegal to make a living in Morocco. Despite the obstacles she had to face, she managed to create a business that offers her financial autonomy. With the help of her own family and community she feels she can now empower others to do the same. She’s proud to have realised her biggest dream; building a stable home for her kids and parents in Senegal.

The Role of Senegalese and even more broadly the Subsaharan women within their communities should not be underestimated. The Senegalese women in Morocco are a diverse mix of students, domestic workers and storekeepers. From a gender perspective they are equally represented in the trading sector, which allows them to have leverage and handle their own businesses. Domestic workers are in a more difficult position, some of the women had complaints about the exploitative character of their jobs, excessive working hours or even cut off their families.

Diara represents the dominant role of woman in difficult migration situations, they take matter into their own hands, find a way to make a living.  Even in the most precarious situations they will stand tall.
Meet Reuben @yemoh_and_theminorityglobe: ‘’If the lioness raises the king, who is the lioness?’’
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Reuben is the founder and bandleader of Minority Globe, an association and a music band that uses art as a language to unify the Sub-Saharan community as well as bring a message of peace and tolerance. He believes that a huge potential of immigrants is being overlooked and needs to be fostered. **
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‘’After being assisted by NGO’s I felt the need to give back”.** The Sub-Saharan community faces different kinds of gender-related issues, one of them being sexual violence. To shine a light on this matter, the Minority Globe has created theatre projects as a means to empower women that have been victim of sex trafficking. **
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Reuben has a particular way of seeing the migration dynamics; he sees the world through the eyes of a nomad, a traveller of the world. It is with this in mind that he creates art and aspires others to do the same. ** Who is the lioness? Comment below
🇲🇦🇲🇦🇲🇦Morocco is a country of many contradictions. The last decades it has become a transition country for many refugees and immigrants coming from different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa as well as countries of the Middle East which are currently war-zones.

It goes without saying that this mass of immigration has forced the Moroccan society to encounter different set of moral and social values. Even the King Mohammed VI launched a regularization campaign in 2013 ofor all African immigrants residing unauthorized in Morocco. This was a strong message send to the many immigrants trying to survive and work in Morocco. 
Despite the regularization, the Subsaharan community is still threatened by racial discrimination, harassement and gender related violence in the streets. Subsaharan women are often the target of violence in their workplace. The Migrant LGBTQ+ community 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈is very much still underground and is at risk to constantly being thrown out of their houses,  attacked and raped by men on the streets, which make them one of the most socially vulnerable groups in Morocco. 
Nevertheless the Subsaharan community is a resilient community, with many creative ideas💡 to sustain themselves and be independent💪🏽 in a country that is not always making it easy for them. It is those resilient and never stopping activists that we will put the spotlight on the coming days.
“We are running away from one unsafe space to another. Only to get the chance to live - and maybe… love.”
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Many LGBT+ people seek refuge in Lebanon, because of the country’s reputation as a safe haven within the Arab world. Yet, due their double minority status, queer refugees in Lebanon face incredible hardship. In order to avoid getting deported and to meet their most basic needs (such as food or housing) they are forced to work. While, due to unchecked discrimination, they are also constantly at risk of getting fired or not getting paid and have no legal protection whatsoever.⁣
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Since its founding in 2004, Helem, the first ever LGBT+ organization in the Arab world, has put great effort into providing a safe, warm and welcoming community space for all queer people in Lebanon, regardless of their nationality. 🏳️‍🌈🌍 Moreover, through their hotline, which receives more than 200 calls per month, Helem stays prepared to assist all queer people in need. ☎️ ⁣
Their work is truly heroic. Find out more about them at: ⁣@helemlebanon
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#lgbt #lgbtrights #queerrefugees #refugees #lebanon #beirut #syrianrefugees #syria #equality #sexualrights #sexualhealth #pride #genderequality #transrights #translivesmatter #gaylivesmatter #queerlivesmatter #lgbtmiddleeast #gay #activists #activism #minorities #intersectionality #queermigrants #stophomophobia #stoptransphobia #UforCHanGE #ucos

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