Accessible Jordan, Radio Shams, Rubbish Artist of Zarzis and Universal Values


This week, we turn our attention to some wonderful initiatives and leaders in North Africa and the Middle East.

  • Ms Aya Aghabi (pictured above) founded the website page “Accessible Jordan” in 2017 and now has over 33,000 places listed in terms of their accessibility to People with Disabilities.  In her own words, “my hope is that this website encourages the Jordanian government and all business owners to work on the accessibility of spaces to make Jordan inclusive for all people.  I also hope that this website will make it easier for people with disabilities from all around the world to come and visit Jordan.”  You can read more about Aya’s initiative in a piece from Arab Weekly here.


  • Shams Rad is a radio station in Tunisia known as the Arab world’s only LGBT radio station and broadcasts across 15 countries in the region.  Read more about the station in a BBC article here and follow their Facebook page here.


  • Still in Tunisia, Al-Jazeera has a great feature called “The Rubbish Artist of Zarzis” about the remarkable story of Mr Mohsen Lihidheb, a former Post Office worker who has dedicated his life to preserving the Environment and promoting human rights for Refugees, Women and other disadvantaged groups.


  • We also honour and celebrate the life of Mr Raed Fares, former radio host/ Manager (Radio Fresh FM) and activist from Syria who was gunned down on 23 November 2018 in Idlib Province. Read about him here

    ”Take his response to another of the powerful jihadist group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham/JFS’s demands, to get rid of women news readers – who are also haram, they say. Has he, I ask him, agreed to swap the women for men? “No, I have another solution for that issue. We simply put their voices through a computer software program which makes them sound like men.”

  • Finally, from Yemen. Please take a few minutes to listen to a beautiful Tedx talk by Ms Zuha Al-Hammadi  on Universal Values here … The video is in Arabic – for subtitles in English, please click the cc icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the you tube screen after you have pressed play. Enjoy!



Women in the Horn of Africa

Greetings and Happy New Year.  For our first post of 2019 we are dedicating some space to the ground-breaking work of SIHA (Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa).

The picture above is taken from an article written by Hala Al-Karib, Regional Director of SIHA, called “the Dangers of NGO-isation of Women’s Rights in Africa“, originally published by Al-Jazeera.

SIHA has for several years been producing a series of short, powerful and educational videos on Gender-related issues, the latest of which is called “Breaking the Silence – Sexual Harassment in Sudan.”  Other videos can also be accessed here.

SIHA also produces the annual journal “Women in Islam“, which explores Gender relations in Muslim communities in the Horn of Africa region and beyond.  The journal is produced in both Arabic and English, and is available both online and in hard copy here.  There is also a Facebook page for the journal.

Finally, SIHA also produces regular newsletters, which can be accessed here, as well as various other publications, including Gender briefings for the various countries in the region where they work, all of which can be accessed here


We would also like to request that you take a few minutes to complete our Readers’ Survey HERE to give us valuable feedback that will help us to improve Embrace Everyone in the future.  Many thanks! 

Human Rights Day 2018 – Highlights

Today on this Human Rights day (10 December) we marked the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The day also marks the end of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence.  How are we tracking on all these? And a simpler question, what has impacted you the most during these last 16 days?

We will share a few posts that have resonated with us.

  • An interview by Dr Mercy Korir and persons with vitiligo in Kenya (KTN News). What struck us was how open and vulnerable the young people were in responding to the questions raised, and how society has shown rejection rather than inclusion and acceptance. We can be better, do better.


  • The #In Her Shoes# campaign by HIVOS East Africa on Ending Gender Based Violence. The images were vivid and spoke loudly. Below are two images from the campaign.


  • And last but not least, an inclusion campaign by CBM Australia to mark the International Day of Persons with Disability 2018 with the theme #Dont Underestimate Me#

16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence 2018

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence runs from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) until December 10th (Human Rights Day).

The 16 Days Campaign has been running every year since 1991 and you can read more about its history here.

This year’s theme is “End Gender Based Violence in the World of Work”.  An action and advocacy kit can be downloaded here.  It has been produced by the Prevent GBV Network, a network of over 500 organisations across the African continent.

During the 16 Days period, there are a wide range of events taking place globally.  A few examples can be found by clicking on the relevant country – Liberia, Singapore, Malta.

Please spend some time reviewing this excellent and comprehensive infographic on Violence Against Women from UN Women that is also available in French and Spanish, as well as English.

Why Diversity & Inclusion Matter

See the source image

Diversity and Inclusion is often perceived as a “nice extra” but not necessarily essential to the success of an organisation or company.  A growing body of research is, however, also developing a strong business case for Workplace Inclusion in addition to the moral and ethical imperative.

Catalyst (Workplaces that Work for Women) has compiled a detailed summary of this business case and this can be viewed here.   Evidence is presented here that workplace Inclusion has positive impacts on Teamwork, Leadership, Financial Performance and Innovation, among others.

Specific evidence from India on the business case for Inclusion is also detailed in a 2010 report entitled “How Companies in India are leveraging the Business Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion.”

MARC (Men Advocating for Real Change) is a learning community created by Catalyst for professionals committed to achieving equality in the workplace. MARC empowers community members, both men and women, to engage in candid conversations about gender and inequality, its impact in the workplace, and how to lead change through member-generated advice, insights, and best practices.  Please also check the Catalyst page on Men and Equality.

Finally, we would like to encourage everyone to take ACTION to promote Inclusion in their workplace (and other aspects of their lives).  You can get many practical ideas from this lovely piece called 50+ Ideas for Cultivating Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace.


A Tribute to Two Great Souls

In the last few days, the world has lost two great and visionary leaders, who both contributed enormously to world peace, equal rights and social inclusion in their different ways.  Embrace Everyone pays tribute to Aretha Franklin and Kofi Annan, and encourages everyone to be inspired by their great legacies.

Image result for aretha franklin impact

Aretha Franklin’s obituary in the Guardian can be read here and another one from BBC featuring some beautiful photos can be read here as well as a great piece describing the political and cultural impact of Respect, one of her greatest songs.  She was a strong feminist and played a big part in the Civil Rights movement.

Aretha’s songs are to be found everywhere and many of them are featured in another article by the Guardian, “from the church to the dancefloor.”  Many more can be found on you tube.  Aretha Franklin passed on August 16th 2018 at the age of 76.

Image result for kofi annan 1938-2018

Ghana has declared a Week of National Mourning for one of its’ greatest sons, Kofi Annan.  He was the first Black African UN Secretary-General from 1997-2006 and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2001.  Please read his obituary in the Daily Graphic here and the Guardian here

Kofi’s legacy will continue in many ways; through the great work of the Kofi Annan Foundation, through the work of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), where he was the founding chair, and through the work of The Elders, where he was Chair and an active member until his final days.  Kofi Annan passed on August 18th 2018 at the age of 80.

May their souls rest in perfect peace and may their powerful legacies continue to inspire us for many years to come.


Tackling Spit and Hatred

The title of this post is borrowed from a BBC news article marking the 25th Anniversary of the campaign (and, later, organisation) called ‘Kick it Out’ aimed at tackling racism and other forms of discrimination in football.  You can read the story here

The key driver of Kick it Out has been Lord Herman Ouseley who, at the time, headed Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).  The CRE merged with two other commissions in 2007 to form the Equality and Human Rights Commission that is aimed at tackling all forms of Discrimination and promoting the 2010 Equality Act in UK.  You can read about the work of the Commission and watch a short video about their work here

To find out more about Kick it Out, please check their website here and please check out another innovative British organisation using football called Show Racism the Red Card

In Kenya, football has been a powerful catalyst in several areas for promoting Gender Equality and Peace amongst young people in their communities.  In Kilifi County, in the Coastal region, Moving the Goalposts (MTG) has been doing innovative work with young women and their communities for over 15 years.   Please read about one young woman’s moving experiences in life and with MTG in an article called “Who are Your Role Models?”

In Marsabit County, the largest county in Kenya in the North of the country, the Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI) has been using football and sport to promote cohesion, girls & women’s rights and build peace since 2003.  You can see a series of their reports and short videos here and some of their inspiring Stories of Change are also here

Social Inclusion has at its heart the belief that, in order to create equitable societies then all forms of discrimination and oppression need to be tackled.  So, we applaud the efforts of MTG, HODI, Kick It Out and many others in their efforts to ensure that sport acts as a vehicle for positive social change and social inclusion.