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Uganda: Traders agree to end import of cancer-risky cosmetics

October 9, 2015

By Andrew Bagala originally posted on Monitor

Kampala — Uganda National Bureau of Standards and traders dealing in cosmetics have agreed to stop the importation and distribution of cosmetics that contain mercury and hydroquinone suspected to cause skin cancer.

Both parties met last week at the Ministry of Trade and signed a communique in which they agreed on six steps to ensure cosmetics with deadly substances are removed from the market.

“All cosmetics products containing prohibited substances, especially hydroquinone and mercury; and expired products are banned from importation, distribution, sale and use in Uganda. All importers shall follow the Pre-Verification for Conformity to Standards (PVoC),” a communique reads in part.

The communique was signed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade, Ambassador Julius Onen, and the cosmetics traders and dealers at the ministry headquarters in Kampala.

Hydroquinone and mercury are skin-bleaching agents which were banned because of their numerous health effects on humans.

Most of the dangerous cosmetics are said to be imported from Democratic Republic of Congo, and are brought into Uganda through Mpondwe border post.

The meeting followed UNBS and police impounding prohibited cosmetics in different shops in the city centre.

Some of the affected cosmetics traders said they were not informed by UNBS about the new standards and that problem should be dealt with through massive sensitisation.

 “Our clients put us on pressure because they are saying the products with mercury or hydroquinone work for them. The high demand for these banned products has caused many traders to import them. You need to educate the public first before closing our shops,” one trader said.

Until recently, UNBS has been allowing cosmetic products containing two per cent of mercury or hydroquinone.

Mr Onen agreed with the traders to have a joint sensitisation programme in which they will educate the public and traders about the adverse effects of using the cosmetics containing banned substances.

“We, as government, have the duty to protect the people’s health and at the same time ensure that businesses progress. So we shall educate the people so that we have a middle ground,” Mr Onen said, adding that Ugandans spend approximately Shs100b on cosmetics annually.

Harmful effects of the agents

Agents. Hydroquinone is a severely toxic and very powerful chemical used in photo processing, the manufacture of rubber and is an active agent in hair dyes.

Mercury in the form of mercury chloride and ammoniated Mercury is carcinogenic (cancer-producing).

The effects. Hydroquinone or mercury applied to the skin in the longer term actually react with ultra violet rays and re-oxidise, leading to more pigmentation and premature ageing. More products are then applied in an attempt to correct the darker blotchy appearance. These are the beginnings of a vicious cycle. By altering the skins natural structure and inhibiting the production of melanin, the skin’s natural protection, the skin is more susceptible to skin cancer.

Nigeria: Stakeholders Urge Women to Go for Cancer Screening Test

October 9, 2015

By Segun Olaniyi originally posted on Ngrguardian

cancer screening test

Abuja — Stakeholders in the health sector has called on women to go for cervical cancer screening test so as to reduce the incidence and mortality of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the body.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection that affects both men and women. It is so common that most sexually active people will get some variety of it at some point, even if they have few sexual partners.

The call was made at the sensitization meeting for implementing partners organized by the Nigeria National Cervical Cancer Screening Scale Up Project (NNCCSuP) in Abuja yesterday, by Vice Chairman, Technical Working Group of NNCCSuP, Prof. Francis Abayomi Durosinmi-Etti, who said cervical cancer is recognized after breast cancer as the second most cancer in women in Nigeria, stressing that the this high prevalence of cervical cancer is worrisome as there is a general lack of awareness within the populace about the disease.

He explained that there are insufficient resources for prevention through HPV vaccination as well as capacity in form of human and maternal resources to treat the large number of those affected.

Durosinmi-Etti pointed out that the disease could be cured at an early age if the patients go for early medical checkup, adding that many NGOs both national and international are on the field complementing government efforts to combating the disease.

“It is known that well-organised cervical screening programmes can reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality. It has also been observed that countries that have high coverage of cervical cancer screening have significantly reduced incidence of cervical cancer and mortality over the past seven decades and it is envisaged that doing it in Nigeria can produce similar positive results.

 He added: “The aim of the NNCCSuP is to increase access of Nigerian women to cervical cancer screening services with the overarching goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer in Nigeria.”

The vice chairman noted that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has offered to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) in facilitating the scale up of cervical screening in 10 African countries including Nigeria through funding.

“As a result of this magnanimous gesture, we are able to receive the funding that has enabled us to host this sensitization meeting.”

National Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme, Dr. Ramatu Hassan, said the sensitization programme is an effort of bringing stakeholders to deliberate and join hands with the Federal Ministry of Health so that cervical screening can be brought to women.

Hassan added that this is why we are bringing in stakeholders from different organizations both local and international to chart a way forward of bringing the disease to an end, adding that providing screening and vaccinations to those affected by the disease is what the sensitization is all about.

Rwanda: Five Women Among Eight New Prosecutors Sworn in

October 8, 2015

By Athan Tashobya originally posted on NewTimes 


Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi has called on prosecutors to be selfless and uphold the highest standards in their duties. Murekezi, who was presiding over the swearing in for eight new prosecutors at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kimihurura, yesterday, said prosecutors should not conform to anything else that doesn’t represent national interests.

“The vows made represent your new and stronger ties with the nation. Rwandan prosecutors should be mindful not to be trapped into the interests of those using international laws for their own political interests-which in most cases are aimed at bringing contempt to African countries,” Murekezi said.

He added that when handling crimes that require cross-border cooperation and international stakeholders, such as genocide crimes, Rwandan prosecutors should stick to the interests of the nation and its dignity.

The new prosecutors include five women – one at the level of a chief prosecutor.

The seven new prosecutors are Stanislas Sibomana, Vestine Tuyisenge, Sifa Umuranga and Adrien Mukeshimana, who were sworn in to serve in Prosecution High Council.

Egide Dukuzumuremye, Julienne Uwamariya and Jeanne d’ Arc Murekeyisoni were deployed to intermediate level, while Francoise Mushimiyimana was sworn in as chief prosecutor.

Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza said more prosecutors represented additional resource, which would help the prosecution become more effective and improve their output.

“The new prosecutors bring in extra power and expertise, which will help us to deliver on the expectations of the public. We will continue to work together as a team and stick to national values and principles of justice as enshrined in the Constitution,” Muhumuza said.

He added that having more women prosecutors sworn in compared to male counterparts is in line with gender equality.

“We strive for gender equality in all national sectors. There are 81 prosecutors countrywide, including 75 women (41.4 per cent),” Muhumuza said.

Mushimiyimana, the new chief prosecutor, said they would partner with Police and other institutions to tackle emerging crimes, but, most importantly, economic crimes that hinder national development.

“We need to be mindful of the new crimes emerging in the country, for instance, human trafficking, child abuse, cyber crime and economic crimes,” Mushimiyimana said.


TOC to host women sports symposium

October 8, 2015

Originally posted on DailyNews

THE Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) will host a two-day Africa’s Zone Five Women Sports Symposium, starting today at the Beachcomber Hotel in Dar es Salaam. Women Sports Zone Five Africa Chairperson, Irene Mwasanga, said yesterday the symposium will discuss among other issues on how to reach young girls through sports.

She said the symposium which is supported by the Olympic Solidarity, is the first to be held in the country and will be attended by delegates from Zone Five member countries. Mwasanga called on the public to take a more proactive role in advancing the cause of women in and through sports.

 She said majority of women athletes who have succeeded in their sporting career are those who received maximum support from their parents and guardians. “If you want to engage a young girl in sports, you must involve her parents…you must get their blessings,” she said, insisting the need to bring more women into sports.

She said the symposium will be attended by participants from Egypt, Rwanda, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda and host Tanzania.

Nigeria: Access Bank Bags Women Market Champion Award

October 7, 2015

Originally posted on Thisdaylive

B26062013-Access-Bank-Logo.jpg - B26062013-Access-Bank-Logo.jpg

Access Bank Plc has received the Global Banking Alliance for Women Market Champion 2015 Award. A statement from the bank also restated that its ‘W’ awards seek to recognise and celebrate Nigerian women at home and in the Diaspora who have impacted the Nigerian economy and their immediate environment positively.

It further stated that during the just concluded 14th Annual Summit of the Global Banking Alliance (GBA) for Women in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Access Bank bagged the award for the Women’s Market Champion 2015 alongside banks across the world that had implemented successful women market programs.

“This award is coming on the heels of the one year anniversary of the Bank’s W initiative, which was launched in Nigeria and subsequently in the Bank’s subsidiaries in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia. W is the home for everything Access Bank offers to women,” it added.

The GBA is one of the leading international consortium of financial institutions and other organisations interested in building women’s wealth worldwide.

Chief Executive Officer of GBA, Inez Murray who presented the award to Group Head, Inclusive Banking, Access Bank, OpeWemi-Jones, commended the women program at Access Bank and reiterated that the Summit was designed to deepen the sharing of know-how among GBA member banks as well as create the opportunity to network and support one another as a community of practitioners.

Meet the three women that made Buhari’s ministerial list

October 7, 2015

By Abiodun Alade originally posted on Vanguard

Meet the three women that made Buhari's ministerial list

Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday announced to the Senators 21 ministerial nominees. The list include three women, namely Amina Mohammed from Kaduna state, Kemi Adeosun from Ogun state and Aisha Alhassan from Taraba state. Vanguard takes a look at the profile of the three nominees.

Amina Mohammed- Kaduna

Amina Mohammed is the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. She was appointed to this position on 7 June 2012

Ms. Mohammed has been working in the field of development for more than 30 years both in the public sector and the private sector. Prior to her current appointment, she was the CEO and founder of the think tank Center for Development Policy Solutions.

Previously, she worked as senior adviser to the President of Nigeria (Late Musa Yardua and Goodluck Jonathan) on Millennium Development Goals for six years. In this position, she was in charge of designing and developing government projects to reduce poverty around the country.

Between 2002 and 2005, she worked in the United Nations Millennium Project as a coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education.

In 1991, Ms. Mohammed founded Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of Engineers and Quantity Surveyors, and from 1991 to 2001 she was its Executive Director. Between 1981 and 1991, she worked with Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn United Kingdom.

Ms. Mohammed has also served on many international advisory boards and panels such as the Gates Foundation and the UN Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel. Ms. Mohammed was born in 1961. She has six children.

Kemi Adeosun -Ogun

A finance professional with over 23 years experience gained in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. Mrs. Adeosun is an Economics graduate and a member of the Institutes of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales, as well as Nigeria.

Born and bred in London, her father was a civil servant and she is the third of four children. A graduate of Economics from the University of East London. She was a senior manager at the Price Waterhouse Coopers, London. She is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales. She is a mother of three. She was born in 1967.

Aisha Alhassan – Taraba

Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan is a former Senator representing Taraba North constituency of Taraba State, which she won under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

She later decamped to All Progressive Congress (APC) and was the Governorship Candidate of Taraba State for the 2015 general elections. She was defeated in the election re-run held on 25th of April 2015 and failed to become Nigeria’s 1st female democratically elected Governor.

A lawyer by training, Jummai is the former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Taraba State. She was appointed the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on 17 December 2003. She was born in 1959

Uganda: Teenage Sex Workers Flood Lukaya

October 6, 2015

By Martins E Ssekweyama originally posted on Monitor

kulunguA health worker explains to school girls how to use the female condom at a recent health camp in Masaka Town. Many young girls in the neighbouring Kalungu District have joined commercial sex business.

Kalungu — The number of teenage girls joining commercial sex business in Lukaya Town Council, Kalungu District, has gone up, HIV/Aids peer educators have said.

Some rehabilitated commercial sex workers, who are now championing the anti-HIV/Aids campaign, under their umbrella group, “Yes We Can HIV Task Force”, say the area is experiencing an influx of new adolescent sex workers, including secondary school students.

Ms Vanessa Birungi, the chairperson of the task force, said the influx has complicated their efforts to reduce the spread of the disease in Lukaya Town .

“Many of the girls are very vulnerable and cannot effectively use condoms, thus standing higher chances of contracting infections. Only male condoms are accessible in the area, which also increases their vulnerability,” Ms Birungi said during a press conference last week.

She attributed the problem to high school dropouts, parental negligence and presence of many lodges and bars that hire young girls to work as waitresses.

According to Ms Birungi, the group is doing its best to lure girls out of prostitution, but their efforts are frustrated by limited resources.

Apparently, the Alliance of Mayors Municipal Leaders Initiative on HIV at the Local levels, Uganda Chapter, operates a rehabilitation project in Lukaya Town council, but Ms Birungi says this is too small compared to the problem.

Ms Alice Namatovu, the task force secretary, noted that besides those that come in from other parts of the country, many other girls that reside within Lukaya Town Council also escape from their parents’ homes to get involved in prostitution.

“Owners of lodges and bars ask prostitutes to pay an annual subscription fee of Shs5,000 to be allowed to operate around these areas and authorities have failed to check this, denying that it doesn’t exist,” Ms Namatovu said.

However, Mr Dawood Ssengonzi, the community development officer for Lukaya Town Council denied the allegation. He, however, concurred with the observation of the task force that the problem needs to be solved.

Nigeria: Abia Women Raise Fund to Empower Abuja Indigent Women

October 6, 2015

By Levinus Nwabughiogu originally posted on Vanguard


Abuja — Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, Wife of Abia State governor has called on privileged Nigerians to donate generously to charity as a way of closing the wide gap between them and the less privileged people in the society.

Ikpeazu made the call at a fund raising Programme for women empowerment organized by the Women’s wing of the Ngwa Cultural and Development Association held in Abuja on Sunday.

Represented by Mrs. Beauty Odikwa, the Abia First Lady stated that given the level of unemployment in Nigeria, the Programme was a better initiative to assist the less privileged in the society.

She said: “When I received your invitation, I was happy that it is concerned with matters of empowerment. Giving the level of unemployment amongst Nigerians and indeed our people, empowerment programmes are often very valuable in bridging the gaps between the haves and the have nots.

“It is a channel by which those who have been blessed with skills and opportunity of chances of emancipation to those who are favored”

Lauding the Programme, Mrs. Ikpeazu also urged the people to ensure the promotion of peace and unity amongst them.

Earlier in her keynote address, the chair lady of the association, Mrs. Onyinye Ahuchiogu, stated that the decision to embark on the Programme stemmed from the challenges faced by their women in Abuja and beyond.

 “Ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with us that each time there is a challenge in cash flow in most homes, the first person to feel the impact is the woman in the house, followed by the children. Also, each time a woman is widowed, the challenge of raising the children falls on the shoulders of the woman alone without any social support.

“Anytime a family gives birth to the number of children which their income cannot sustain, the woman and the children suffer. The challenge of payment of school fees, feeding and attending to other daily needs of the family becomes overwhelming for most women.

“The decision to embark on an empowerment scheme for the NCDA women was therefore born out of the desire to address some of the observed challenges facing our women in Abuja.

“The leadership of the NCDA women wing strongly believes that the interest of the family, that of our husband and the society at large will be better served if our women acquire skills that can assist them to navigate the harsh realities of modern day living”, she said.

According to her, the empowerment scheme would center on enrollment of unskilled women in skill acquisition Programme, provision of start-up funds for the acquisition of tools and machines on graduation from the skills acquisition programmes amongst others.

The event tagged “Ten Million Naira Empowerment Funds Raising” attracted most Ngwa sons and daughters from Abia State.

Botswana: Teenage Pregnancy Worries School Head

October 5, 2015

By Esther Mmolai originally posted on AllAfrica


Maun — Maun Senior Secondary School head, Ms Selebatso Modisaemang has raised concern about the high number of teenage pregnancy in the school.

She said the school recorded nine cases of drop outs due to teenage pregnancy this year. “This is worrisome, nine is a big number and it calls for all stakeholders to come up with remedies to correct the situation,” she said.

Ms Modisaemang told stakeholders when briefing them about the school’s achievements and challenges. She said some of the challenges included alcohol and drug abuse, noting that seven Form 4 students were recently caught with drugs.

In addition, she said five Form 4 students were also caught drinking alcohol, and that all were punished accordingly. The school head said it was worrying that some parents sell drugs to students. Ms Modisaemang commended Form 5 students for good behaviour, noting that none of them were associated with the above incidents.

She also complained about day students, saying some of them were not safe at their homes.

She said they recorded three cases of rape this year where students were attacked by rapists in their homes. Ms Modisaemang revealed that the school management was forced to transfer some of the victims to a different environment.

She questioned parental care and guidance at home, adding that some students were staying alone. She urged parents to look after their children and to ensure they live in a safe environment.

 “These children are fragile and we have to make sure they live in a safe environment to protect them from activities that could affect their studies and ruin their future,” she said.

Ms Modisaemang also told stakeholders that the school was performing better academically and in other extra curriculum activities.

She said the hearing impairment unit has made the school proud as one of the students from the unit was amongst the top achievers and managed to secure a scholarship abroad. She said the unit was not well established, but that the teachers and students were excelling because of commitment.

Ms Modisaemang also noted that the school managed to compete in several fairs and were the national champions in chemistry, mathematics and science, geography and physics.

She was optimistic that the school would be among the top 10 in the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) results.


Nigeria: ‘Why Women Operate Behind Scene in Politics’

October 5, 2015

INTERVIEW by Ahmed Mohammed originally posted on DailyTrust


Gombe — Hajiya Sa’adatu Sa’ad Mustafa was at different times the commissioner for women affairs and women leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Gombe State. In this interview, she speaks on prospects of women in future elections in the country.

What is your take on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State?

To me, it’s a good start for both of them, considering the vision, passion and laudable programmes they have for the country and Gombe State. I think they have brought some changes with reasonable achievements in terms of security of lives and property, especially in the North-East. The president and the security chiefs are doing their best to ensure that we have peace in all parts of the country. Similarly, the way the federal government is fighting corruption is also good because we have to bring back the integrity of our country. I will also give our governor in Gombe a pass mark because he is doing his best in the areas of security and provision of infrastructure.

Many people believe that more feats would have been achieved if Buhari had appointed ministers. There is the same feeling in Gombe because the governor is yet to appoint commissioners. What is your take?

The delay does not affect their work even though I believe in the saying that two heads are better than one. They are taking their time to make the right choices. Nigerians must learn to be patient with their leaders to make things work.

Are you satisfied with the current participation of women in politics?

Well, we still need to do more on women participation in politics. This is because, if you put them on a scale, it is fair but not too encouraging. That is why I am supporting government to give 35 percent of political positions to women. This should be in terms of elective and appointive positions.

Do you subscribe to the notion that women are intimidated by men when it comes to electoral contest?

Men tend to dominate positions because they always think that women want to compete with them. But in the real sense, a woman only wants to contribute her quota, at least, to fill in the gap where men fail to deliver. Men should understand this and give more women chances to participate and contest electoral positions for the development of the country.

How do you think this can be achieved?

With the support of all stakeholders, the gap will be closed. However, we must correct the wrong notion that what women are trying to do is to compete with men or even dislodge them in the scheme of things. We should be seen as partners in progress. Men should be tolerant so that more women will contest in elections and aspire for more opportunities. I want to inform you that we have competent women all over the country. We have women who are willing to sacrifice everything in order to make the society better. However, most of these women operate behind the scene because of the obvious perception of the society about their role. I want to use this medium to advice my sisters that they should always be determined, loyal and, above all, patient.

Your party, the PDP, suffered defeat in the last general elections. Do you think it will bounce back in the nearest future?

By 2019, the PDP will come back with full force. We have seen what transpired before and during the last general elections. We have identified our mistakes and our strengths. We have the experience and we would employ better strategies. The beauty of democracy is that it gives opportunity to different people at different times.


Kenya: Understanding ‘Female Spending Power’ in Business

October 3, 2015

By Millicent Mwololo originally posted on Daily Nation


In Kenya and globally, women are increasingly becoming key decision-makers in major one-off family purchases (such as cars, homes, property). As such, women control a growing share of household purchasing and other spending decisions. Therefore, companies that leverage on the ‘female power’ can gain a competitive advantage by successfully connecting with female buyers.

The just concluded ‘Top40 under40 women’ survey by Business Daily has recognised women not only as business leaders, but a powerful tool that has impacted the growth of markets. To change the culture of business and the internal working in their companies, many organisations are head-hunting for women candidates to fill some senior management levels.

In 2010, The Economist wrote that “Women’s Economic Empowerment is arguably the biggest social change of our time.” In the same year, the UK government and Lord Mervyn Davies revealed a focused plan to address the lack of women in company boardrooms and re-address the balance over the coming two years. Women across the globe account for up to 80 per cent of purchasing decisions and according to the World Bank, women control a GDP that is bigger than that of India and China combined. That said, women drive the world economy.

Against this backdrop of what are clearly changing social dynamics as more women rise to the top of professions, companies have to take conscious decisions to think more deeply about how best to meet the needs of this expanding market.

Women and not men, know what men want

The consumer-oriented companies have to tailor their sales approaches accordingly to suit what women want because ‘women know what men want’. Financial institutions, insurance firms, motor dealers, real estate developers, clothing retail stores and the fast moving consumer goods market have leveraged on this secret through carefully crafted innovative products that target mainly women to eventually reach the male buyer.

The female economy recognises women as consumers of goods and services, social networkers to influence buying decision, entrepreneurs, and experts in business and market knowledge.

In addition to this, women and not men, know what men want. This is the sharp irony that has driven the numbers over the years. It is convincing that ignoring the role of women as decision-makers in the modern business world would be a big mistake.

Significantly, more women than men use social media networking sites. confirms that significantly more women than men use Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. In Kenya, and the East African region, a growing trend is that women are increasingly becoming entrepreneurs using mobile internet marketing technology as the basis for a global business built around family commitments. Even more is the fact that women business leaders and decision makers have different backgrounds and interests to men, as they mainly prioritise the social and the economic impact of purchasing decisions.

How companies can tackle the Female Economy

 Corporate inclusion of women

An increasing number of business organisations are silently observing the two-thirds gender rule, as they know how powerful it can be in the positive transformation of their businesses. Even without regulation, companies are increasingly adopting inclusion policies to make the workplace more gender-balanced and sustain women in senior leadership. Such companies are better equipped to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse customer base.

Tailored sales and delivery approach

An increasing number of companies are shifting the emphasis of sales training programmes from product knowledge to relationship-building and behavioural analysis. This trend, in the manufacturing, engineering, and professional services sectors, is sure to lead to higher awareness and better roles for female leaders.


Successful companies strive to deepen relationships with women by reaching out and by organising external events with female buyers, female influencers, and opinion leaders of either gender.

Workforce diversity

It is vital for companies today to diversifying the workforce to address the multiplicity of groups – including women – that increasingly make up the universe of buyers.

There you have it. It is a female economy and there is more to heels and dresses in business.


Women put traditional art on limelight

October 3, 2015

By Stephan Garan’angaoriginally posted on Herald


It was also a moment of song and dance for a troupe of peace loving and forward moving women in basketry from outer Chilelema village of Binga at the official opening ceremony of their current “Ilala” exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare.

They paraded their performance skills uniquely Tonga, a minority tribe constituting about 2500 people confined in the blazing underdeveloped arid region of northern Matabeleland province.

They were ecstatic to be on the spotlight and in the capital for the first time providing an insight on their way of life especially how they earn their livelihood from their developed intricate patterns of mathematical and geometry measurements and calculations by a people who haven’t acquired formal education in modern day Zimbabwe.

Theirs has to be the uncompromised grip on the old age basketry craft, fishing in Lake Kariba for survival as other means are unviable in a region of perennial food insecurity due to poor soils and agricultural seasons characterised by persistent dry spells.

Extremely poverty stricken and mostly in polygamous marriages, the women’s basketry efforts have to be a collective creative process of a whole village and families relying on the ilala palm tree leaves which they propagate, harvest and process to be ready for use.

Natural dyes of various shades are extracted from barks of specific fruit trees in a gruelling process.

Unfortunately limited knowledge and incapability to access the market for their wares has not alleviated their situation. That is where Kunzwana Women’s Association established in 1995 to equip women and youths with vocational skills, socio-economic advancement, civic development and linkages to sustainable markets got involved to assist the basket makers from Chilelema village.

For the project that resulted in this exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust and its cooperation with the United Nations Development Program and the Government contributed with the aim to assist peace building, prevention, management and peaceful resolution of conflict to achieve national development priorities.

Its implementing partner Kunzwana Women’s association has been able to capacitate the Chilelema group of women to sustainably access livelihoods through basketry weaving as a strategy for consolidating the peace dividends in their communities.

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe said it was pleased to be associated with the project as it increases and provides much needed insight into the profiles of new emerging women in this sector, the skills level and the transformation taking place in the production techniques and quality of crafts.

In 2014 the National Gallery hosted the “Basket Showcase II” exhibition which contributed to the elevation of some of the country’s basketry skills of various rural groups by collaborating with many creative and innovative international and local artists. They have an extensive collection of traditional Zimbabwean baskets which serve to identify and document the various weaving skills spread across the country.

At the “Ilala” exhibition opening three participants were presented with rewards for excelling in their basketry in form of small complete solar system sets for improving the lighting in their homes.

The work in the exhibition consist of pieces of various functions such as domestic utility in home, food processing, storage, laundry baskets, wedding presents, off-set debts, decorations, fruit baskets to mention a few.

The show is part of a marketing venture to seek sustainable niche markets to enable the entirety of the basketry industry to retain economic viability.

Being today’s supreme basket makers for Tonga people emanated from a long history and being mainly confined to the southern Zambezi escarpment were they settled after being displaced to make way for the construction of the Kariba Dam in the mid-fifties.

For the majority, their only language is Tonga which is only spoken in region in Zimbabwe and on the other side of the Zambezi river in Zambia and bit in Malawi. Because of their location to the water bodies where the ilala, the palm tree which leaves are used in the basketry grow well naturally and replanting of the trees has been practiced in the region with impressive plantations.

Crafts have been part of the people in the region and recorded from as far back as the early 19th century.

The territories around the Zambezi River were the destination for many European adventurers, travellers, fortune-seekers and hunters since the early 19th century, meaning there was a market for the products and that also influenced the continued development of amazing skills and work uniquely to the region.

Female Police Officers ‘Must Uplift Themselves’

October 1, 2015

Originally posted on NewEra


The Regional Commander of the Oshikoto Police, Commissioner Anne-Marie Nainda, has called on female police officers to celebrate each other’s achievements and ranks, without linking such achievements to sexual favours.
Nainda, who is the chairperson of the Namibian Police Women’s Network, implored female officers to assist and build each other up, instead of regarding other women as threats in the contest for positions.

“We should respect, assist and build each other up and not draw unnecessary comparisons where it is not needed. There is always something that we do not know that we can learn from the next person,” Nainda advised.
Nainda was addressing female police officers at Outapi on Monday at a meeting aimed to create awareness about the Namibian Police Women’s Network.

The network was established in 2009 to advocate for women’s empowerment and equal treatment in the workplace. Similarly, the women’s network sought to address the maltreatment of women and children, violence against women, and also to enable women to contribute towards national building.

At present, the network advocates for an equal employment rate in the police force, for a higher number of women to be sent on United Nations peacekeeping missions, and for a higher number of women to be enrolled at police training institutions countrywide.

Nainda said fair representation in the police workforce would expose women to different areas of work and enable them to acquire much-needed skills.

“We’re not there to fight our male colleagues. However, we do not want to be wheel-chaired into positions. We want our women to be trained and exposed [to different work environments] so that when you are given a rank, you are confident and you can perform,” Nainda said.

The chairperson of the women’s network was, however, impressed with the progress Omusati Region has made in ensuring that there is a fair number of women in leadership positions.

Nainda said although the country is not moving at the desired pace, there is progress in terms of gender equality. In Omusati 554 of the 1 242 officers in the police force are women; 688 are men. However, only three women – compared to nine men – are in commanding positions.

At the meeting, female police officers were also encouraged to acquire driver’s licences and to drive police vehicles to ease their work. Similarly, the women in the force were also implored to study.

At present only 48 female officers in the region have driver’s licences and 33 are studying, while close to 40 have attended various training courses at training institutions countrywide.

President Mutharika says government to put up mechanism to address women issues

October 1, 2015

Originally posted on manaonline


President Peter Mutharika has said government has put in place mechanisms aimed at addressing the plight of women in the country who he said are usually victimized because of their gender.

Addressing Global Leaders meeting on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Professor Mutharika explained that most of the times women are never given the opportunity to express themselves on issues affecting them resulting in the formulation of laws which do not favour their interests though they are in majority at any level.

He said it was for this reason that all efforts are being made to assist women in the country to be part of the activities taking place around them so that they make their position known to everybody.

“He for She campaign is one such strategy that my government has adopted to address gender inequalities based violence and promote women political participation so that their economic empowerment is clearly noticed,” Professor Mutharika explained to other world leaders attending the conference.

In addition to that, the President said government has put in place legal framework to continuously protect women from any form of harassment in society and families. He said the enactment of Marriage Act remains one among many efforts being put in place for the same cause which he said has always been sought by stakeholders.

Professor Mutharika therefore gave an assurance that government will always be in the forefront accelerating the implementation of actions and activities to achieve gender equality and total empowerment of women in Malawi.

He then appealed to other world leaders to mainstream all gender related programs as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals which have just been passed by the General Assembly at the beginning of the current assembly.

The conference was organized to afford opportunities among political leaders to make commitments to protect women and children.


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