Learn more about specific causes in Djibouti that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentWater stress and desertification are major environmental issues for Djibouti. The government is beginning to implement strategic measures to mitigate climate change effects. Djibouti is working to improve its poor overall management of water resources and begin investing in renewable energy sources.1 Djibouti has recently drafted and implemented a National Adaptation Program of Action to help protect the ecosystems. The program also outlines the adaptation systems and programs that will help mitigate the negative effects of climate change on the important coastal regions of Djibouti's capital.2
FamilyDomestic violence and violence against women have escalated so significantly that the United Nations Human Rights Committee has brought the problem to the attention of both Djiboutiâ's government and the international community.1 In Djibouti, marital rape is not considered a crime, and female genital mutilation is rampant throughout the country.2 Approximately 93% of women in Djibouti between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone female genital mutilation in their lifetime. Nearly all domestic violence issues are settled within families rather than by outside authorities. This phenomenon has led to a proliferation of unreported domestic abuse cases.2 The USAID is active in Djibouti in promoting family planning measures and ensuring equal and easy access to health services.3
Human RightsDjibouti has attracted international scrutiny for the government’s treatment of human rights activists. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of arrests and general repression of international journalists.1 There are very severe limits on the freedom of speech, and access to public information is limited. Additionally, there is widespread corruption in the government and arbitrary arrests are frequent.2 Domestic abuse and violence against women are also rampant within the country, and usually go unreported. Spousal rape and domestic violence are legal, and female genital mutilation (FGM) is common. Djibouti is one of the countries with the highest rates of FGM in the world.3
EducationEducation in Djibouti is problematic and the root of much international aid. Many families decide to send their children to work instead of receiving an education due to their economic situation. Multiple NGOs have come together to fund the construction of learning facilities within refugee camps and to train new teachers.1 Djibouti began working with the Global Partnership for Education in 2006 and signed on to its Education Sector Plan, which will help boost the professional development of teachers and improve the management of schools.2 Primary school enrollment is also low at just 53%.3
PovertyThe high levels of poverty and unemployment have increased political and social tensions in the country since 2011.1 23% of the population lives in poverty, and about 60% is unemployed.2 Poverty has increased in the past few years due to the rising rate of refugees from Somalia. There are over 27,500 refugees currently living in Djibouti, caused by civil unrest in many of Djibouti’s neighboring countries. This population growth has put a significant strain on the already scarce resources. There are three main refugee camps in the country that are sustainable only through the efforts of NGOs.3
ReligionApproximately 94% of the country is Muslim, and around 6% are Christian.1 The constitution of Djibouti protects religious freedom and is fairly well-enforced. However, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs has authority to monitor mosques and has oversight over prayer and services in the mosques.2 There have also been occasional reports of societal religious discrimination.3
Clean Water10% of Djibouti's population does not have access to clean potable water, and 53% of the total population does not have access to improved sanitation services. Water insecurity has been exacerbated by the rising global climate temperature and infrequent precipitation. Djibouti is also a host to thousands of refugees from Somalia and the increase in population has put further strain on the limited water resources.1 The water crisis in Djibouti has attracted international attention, and the European Commission has been supplying international aid in attempts to alleviate the suffering.2
EconomyThe bulk of Djibouti's economy is based on the service industry connected to port activities. The country does not have an abundance of its own natural resources, and almost all of the food is imported and sold at very high prices. International aid and assistance primarily keeps the country's economy afloat. Unemployment is extremely high at nearly 60% of the population. Djibouti exports mainly to Ethiopia and Somalia, and imports from UAE and France.1 Additionally, Djibouti continues to be challenged by pervasive corruption and a lack of government integrity. Economic and political power is left solely in the president's hands, which stunts the country's economic growth.2
GovernmentThe Republic of Djibouti has both a president and a prime minister. However, the democratic process has been stunted since the country's first leader established Djibouti has an authoritarian one-party state.1 Djibouti's government faces the significant challenge of curbing widespread corruption within the country and political system. Despite the republican form of government, the majority of power has been concentrated solely in the hands of the president, which hinders the country's ability to rid itself of the alleged nepotism, corruption, and manipulation that takes place.2 Additionally, Djibouti's location and large Western military presence make it a prime target for neighboring countries' terrorist groups.3 Transparency International ranks the country 123rd out of 176 countries, and the public scores their own government 30 of out 100 for Read More perceived corruption.4 Show Less
HealthThe infant mortality rate in Djibouti is 46 deaths per 1,000 live births and the maternal mortality rate is 229 deaths per 100,000 live births. Life expectancy is 64 at birth, and around 30% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished.1 The country also struggles with a high death rate from communicable diseases, the most common being cholera, diarrheal disease, and pneumonia. Malaria epidemics are constantly resurfacing after periods of droughts and floods. Furthermore, the rate of tuberculosis among the adult population is one of the highest in the world.2 With such a high poverty level present in the country, it has become very difficult for health care initiatives to be carried out effectively.3
ChildrenAlmost a third of Djibouti's citizens are children under the age of 18 and over a ninth are under the age of five. Children face continual food insecurity, shelter deprivation, and a lack of sanitation services. Many children do not receive an education and there are high levels of child abuse and female genital mutilation.1 Additionally, the government of Djibouti has made little progress towards eliminating child labor in the country. Widespread child trafficking is present within the country, with limited programs and awareness of the issue.2 The average student only goes to school for six years.3
AnimalsAs part of the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is host to many native species. The habitats of many animals, including the Beira antelope and the Djibouti francolin are threatened by several factors. Due to the organizational and political difficulties facing the government, there is little to no conservation effort being made to protect these animals’ homes legally. Additionally, animals are threatened by the increased population and the correlated increase of hunting.1
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