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IDAHOT 2021: economic hardship and funding gaps impacting the LGBTIQ+ community

For the second time, we celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we reflected last year, the LGBTIQ+ community has been disproportionately impacted. Limited access to economic support programs and redirection of funds means that the longer this pandemic lasts, the harder it will be for the LGBTIQ+ movement and for civil society organizations to continue their work for equal rights for LGBTIQ+ people.

Despite all the challenges, this year’s IDAHOT theme is one of hope: Together: Resisting, supporting and healing!. Organizations around the world have worked hard – and continue to do so – to provide relief to the people most left out.

Economic hardship

Many people from the LGBTIQ+ community have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to Covid restrictions. Often, regular relief is not helping them. “I found friends who had not eaten for weeks,” reveals Wendy Castillo. She volunteers for Asociación ASPIDH Arcoiris Trans, a trans organization in El Salvador. “I would go to remote places where there is no help from the mayor’s office, or from the government, or from absolutely anyone.”

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Rescinding the Global Gag Rule: a new day for women’s rights

Hivos welcomes the decision of US President Joe Biden to rescind the Mexico City Policy, commonly known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR). It banned international NGOs from accessing USD 8.8 billion in aid meant for the health sector, upon which millions of women globally depend for reproductive health goods and services. While this repeal is a win for women’s rights, the impact and repercussions of the policy will still be felt for a long time to come.

The GGR was first instituted in 1984 by US President Ronald Reagan during the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Mexico City. It required NGOs that receive funding from the US government to not perform, advertise or promote safe abortions, regardless of their other sources of funds.

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Working together for living wages

How do you get governments, producers, retailers, certifiers and civil society to step up efforts together towards a living wage in the agri-food sector? You organize “The Only Way is Up!” – the first major European conference on living wages organized in seven years. Last November, 300 people gathered in the Van Nelle Fabriek in the Netherlands to do just that. It is one of the many activities we have organized over the past five years to ensure women workers in the horticulture sector earn a living wage.

Low wages are a persistent problem in the horticulture sector in East and Southern Africa. Many countries lack a minimum wage, and even when there is one, it is often not enough to afford a decent life. The current COVID-19 crisis further exacerbates this. The impact of the pandemic on women workers in the flower industry is enormous. Massive lay-offs are affecting families that were already living in poverty.

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Ramifications of COVID-19 for workers at the beginning of the supply chain

As COVID-19 unfolds and drastically affects all aspects of our lives, it has brought to light longstanding problems in global supply chains. Low wages, reliance on casual labor, gender inequality, and a lack of social protection make people at the beginning of supply chains suffer the most. Now is the time to demonstrate global solidarity and rethink our unsustainable supply chains.

On March 20, the Kenya Flower Council announced: 30,000 people working in Kenyan flower farms have been sent home. The demand for flowers has decreased, so buyers are canceling their orders and air freight has been reduced. The flowers still being sold are going for dumping prices. In a press release issued on Monday 16 March, the Dutch flower auction asked for help, warning that without support, many companies will not survive. With the flower sector being the third largest export sector of the Netherlands, this would be a big hit to the economy. But since most flowers are being produced in East and Southern Africa, it is here where the impact of COVID-19 will be felt the most.

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Why you should lean into Pisa

Like many destinations that are famous for a single attraction, Pisa in Tuscany is a place where few people know what else there is to do. Get the scoop on why you should visit from Evelien Vleeshouwers, who lived in the Italian city for years.

If you are looking for day trips from Florence, make sure to include Pisa in your travel plans. Although mainly famous for its leaning tower, there is much more to see in this Tuscan city.

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