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Rwanda is the best place to be a woman in Africa

November 23, 2015

Originally posted on PesaTimes

Rwandan women legislators at work.Rwandan women legislators at work.

Rwanda ranks sixth in closing gender gaps in the world, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2015.

Rwanda comes after Nordic nations Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden, and Ireland, after measuring factors, including economic opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment and health.

Sub-Saharan Africa boasts three countries, including Rwanda, Namibia (16) and South Africa (17) in the top 20 of the index. Rwanda moved one place better due to improvements in the economic and political pillars.

Rwanda scored 0.794 while Iceland scored 0.881 in the report that ranks 145 economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

The highest possible score is one (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality). No country has completely bridged the gap between men and women across all areas surveyed: economy, education, health and politics.

Rwanda is the only African country in the top 15 best places to be a woman.

Although it is suggested that it will take the world another 118 years – or until 2133 – to completely close the global gender economic gap, Rwandans are convinced their homeland, which entered the Index last year, can actually top the charts before long if it stays the course.

‘Only a matter of time’

Since 2003, Rwanda set a 30 per cent legal minimum quota for women representation across all leadership levels. According to the report, legislation is a key driver of female representation.

Deputy Speaker Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye has in the past argued that it is important to look beyond the 55 per cent women majority in the bi-cameral House and have more women on the boards of banks and private enterprises.

Yesterday, she sounded confident that Rwanda can be number one in the world.

“Yes, it is a matter of time. There is strong commitment for advancing and sustaining gender equality and empowerment. Only 20 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda has made very importamt strides. We started from nowhere but we have many significant achievements as far as gender equality is concerned,” Uwimanimpaye told The New Times.

More gains will come, she noted, with sustainable peace, continuity of steadfast leadership, hard work for women’s economic empowerment, continuous assessment and more efforts to engage men and other stakeholders.

“We need to develop a comprehensive strategy to continue advancing and sustaining the gains. There is no single solution. Political will and commitment are there, programmes and systems are in place, but some historical and structural barriers must be addressed continuously.”

The report indicates that the biggest world progress toward the closing the gender gap is in the political world, although here, much more needs to be done.

It is noted that progress in the economic and political worlds has proven to be self-reinforcing, so interventions such as quotas offer insight into how the gap could be closed further in the future.

Rwanda, which ranks higher than big European economies, including Germany (11), France (15), and UK (18), tops the five-member East African Community (EAC) bloc as conflict ravaged Burundi comes at number 23.

Kenya and Tanzania are at 48th and 49th, respectively, with Uganda at 58th position. The US stands at position 28 and Singapore is at 54.

Janvier Ahimanishyize, country manager at SMEC International, an international consulting firm, is of the view that normally, a big part of women’s contribution to society, say their contribution in giving birth and in early child education, and domestic hygiene and order, is often ignored.

Ahimanishyize, who is an economic policy analyst, acknowledges that Rwanda can get better.

“Areas to be improved include women education, which is currently a priority for Rwanda. Women empowerment has been achieved in many aspects, including high numbers of women in decision making positions but we need to maintain or increase it further,” Ahimanishyize said.

“Family planning is another area to be streamlined as well as improving mother and child health programmes.”

Meanwhile, globally, since 2006, an extra quarter of a billion women have entered the labour force yet the annual pay for women only now equals the amount men were earning 10 years ago, says the 10th annual Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Overall scores have improved by just four per cent and the economic category improved just three per cent globally over the past decade, the report said.

“Companies and governments need to implement new policies to prevent this continued loss of talent and instead leverage it for boosting growth and competitiveness,” Saadia Zahidi, the head of the global challenge on gender parity at the WEF, said in a statement.

Nigeria’s Instagram agony aunt advises women on love, violence, justice

November 23, 2015

By Kieran Guilbert originally posted on Reuters 

A most popular Instagram page is displayed on a mobile device screen in Pasadena, California August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From unrequited love and cheating husbands to domestic violence and marital rape, a Nigerian agony aunt is using Instagram to encourage women to share their stories anonymously, ask for advice and even seek justice in court.

Ziya’atulhaqq Usman Tahir receives thousands of comments and likes each day on the photo-sharing app from women in Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north, where publicly discussing relationship troubles or family issues outside the home is discouraged.

Her Instagram page, which boasts more than 27,000 followers and features some 500 anonymous posts, in English and the local language Hausa, allows other users to offer advice and support.

“It is hard for women to speak about their problems in public, but it is time that we start opening up – we have a voice and we shouldn’t bottle it up,” the 27-year-old, known as Fatibolady on Instagram, said in an interview over Twitter.

Tahir started offering advice last year after a friend came to her with a relationship issue which she shared on Instagram.

An “overwhelming” response and countless comments of support encouraged others to start sending their stories, she said.

Several of Tahir’s followers have volunteered to be mentors to those who post their problems, while the agony aunt has also enlisted psychologists, journalists and lawyers to offer specialist advice in more complicated circumstances.

Many posts on Tahir’s page feature doubts and fears about boyfriends and husbands who do not have a job or enough money, and tales of those who have lied, cheated or fled.

“I’ve been dating this guy for almost 7 years now, he loves me dearly and would do anything to keep me. But the problem is he can’t stop having affairs with women,” one post reads.

But some of the contributions concern cases of domestic violence and rape, and Tahir said the anonymous nature of the page had empowered more victims to speak out and seek support.

Her advisers and followers encourage victims to go to the police and pursue justice, and at least one case is in court after a woman was badly beaten by her husband, Tahir said.

Tahir, whose Instagram page declares her love of English football club Arsenal and the West African dish jollof rice, plans to start a blog and dreams of having her own talk show to reach more people, with the help of her friends and family.

“My family, especially my dad, have been very supportive. He goes through my Instagram every day and advises me on things to say and not say on social media,” she said. “My friends say the phrase agony aunt cracks them up… but I personally love it.”


Uganda: Women demonstrate over court ruling in domestic violence case

November 19, 2015

By Francis Tusiime and Felix Basiime originally posted on Monitor

Women activists march through Fort Portal town to the office of the RDC Kabarole district on Monday as they protested the court ruling in a domestic violence case.

Women activists in Fort Portal town have stormed the office of the Resident District Commission protesting against a lower court verdict in a domestic violence case in which a businessman Mr Switzen Kyamulesire was sued for torturing his wife Stella Kemigabo by allegedly pouring paraffin in her private parts.

Women carrying placards with words reading “We need justice, Police stop corruption, Court stop corruption, we need fairness for poor women, we want rights for women respected” walked from the heart of Fort Portal town on Monday uphill to Boma at the RDCs office.

Fort Portal Grade 1 magistrates’ court presided over by Feizo Mbale on Thursday last week ruled that Kemigabo could not avail court with enough evidence to prove her claims in the case of causing grievous harm.

Kyamulesire, is a resident of Mugoma village in Karambi sub county Kabarole District and a businessman at Mpanga market.

In a case that attracted attention from several stakeholders including the media, women activists and human rights NGOs, among others, Kemigabo sued Kyamulesire, saying on June 26, 2014 at around 12am after a domestic quarrel, he pulled her with the help of his employees and dumped her in a farm, tied her with a rope on the tree and poured paraffin in her private parts.

After the accused and other assailants accomplished their mission, the woman was left helpless crying for help in the forest until she was heard by the local residents who rescued and took her to a clinic in Fort Portal town.

“This case first remained dormant between Fort Portal central police station and the Resident State Attorney until recently when a team of female journalists including NTV’s Ruth Katusabe, Sylvia Kugonza and Beatrice Komuhimbo visited my home and found me rotting. They published my case in the media which picked the attention of other stake holders” Kemigabo said.

Ms Gertrude Balinda, councilor Rutete and Ms Mary Rwakyaka, councilor South Division led Kemigabo to police and the case was re-activated. The case raised more public concern.

The case file was for the first time forwarded to court in May.

Court later ruled that “the accused had no case to answer” because there was not enough evidence adduced in court to prove that paraffin was pouered in the woman’s private parts.
However, the ruling only served to infuriate women activists who on Monday marched to the Deputy Resident District Commissioner’s Ms Rose Monday Byabasaija who said that “It was unethical in a case with such evidence to be just thrown out without fair hearing or justice.”

She observed that many women in the villages are still suffering with domestic violence but they die in silence.

Byabasiaja appealed to the judiciary to ensure that justice prevails in the case so that they can stop other men from mistreating their wives.

But the district police commander Kabarole, Mr Musa Tibakirana said that police carried out thorough investigations into the matter.

He however said that the case was criminal in nature, but grievous harm requires substantial evidence.

Kemigabo has appealed to High court and the case is yet to be heard.

Business Women Laud BRAC

November 19, 2015

By David A. Yates originally posted on LiberianObserver

Cross section of business women with BRAC Country representative, Salam and Advisory Committee members

Business women in Kakata, Margibi County, have lauded the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC-Liberia), an international development organization, for their microfinance initiative, which has helped them improve their businesses as well as their livelihoods.

The business women, who converged at one of their meeting sites to welcome BRAC advisory committee members, praised the organization for helping them to improve their lives.

The committee comprises of Dr. Roland J. Massaquoi, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Liberia, Dr. Tornorlah Varpilah, former Transport Minister and now chairman on the Board of Phebe Hospital, and Madam Ruth Caesar.

Their visit was aimed at observing how the organization’s activities impact the lives of Liberians in Margibi.

Some of the areas the team visited included Microfinance Meeting Ground, Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) Center, Community Health Awareness Center, and the Agriculture Farm, amongst others.

Led by Madam Patricia Seeboe, the women who made the commendation are involved in a variety of businesses such as cosmetics, used clothes, which BRAC loaned them the money to undertake.

“This is the second time that I have received money from BRAC. I sell used clothes and small-small things through which I teach other women who have passion for doing business,” Madam Seeboe said.

“So, the second loan I took from BRAC was L$17,000 and by the grace of God, I am paying it small-small. But I would like to thank them so much, even though it is not much, it is helping some of us to push our businesses forward.’’

She then acknowledged BRAC for the support and appealed to them to consider reducing some of the interest rates on the loan.

One of the women, only identified as Miatta, aged 45, told the advisory committee that the organization has brought relief to the county because some of them no longer sit and look up to their husbands for support.

She said BRAC is willing to improve the lives of everybody, once those taking the loans are willing to pay back what they borrowed.

One of BRAC’s advisory committee members, Madam Ruth Caesar, extended gratitude to the women for the level of cooperation that exists between them and BRAC.

Madam Caesar told the women that their visit was to inspect BRAC project sites in Margibi, and to see whether the people are really feeling the impacts of the organization.

In separate remarks, Dr. Roland Massaquoi and Dr. Tornorlah Varpilah thanked BRAC and urged them to continue rendering their services to the people of Liberia.

For his part, BRAC-Liberia country representative, Mohammed Abdus Salam, also thanked the committee for the visit, and assured his partners and the women of improved services.

Mr. Salam said as long his organization remains in the country, he will ensure that the lives of women are better improved including through agriculture.

BRAC was founded in 2008 in Liberia and is currently working in areas of microfinance, health, agriculture, livestock and poultry.

Tanzania: Women Entrepreneurs Set to Benefit From New TWB-Nida Partnership

November 18, 2015

By Ludger Kasumuni originally posted on TheCitizen

 The TWB Managing Director, Ms Margaret Chacha.The TWB Managing Dierector, Ms. Margaret Chacha 

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania Women Bank (TWB) has partnered with Nida Textiles Mills in a move that will see them cooperating in the issuance of loans to women who deal in textile products.

The TWB Managing Director, Ms Margaret Chacha, revealed this in Dar es Salaam yesterday shortly after she held talks with the chief executive officer for Nida Textiles Mills Limited Mr Hamza Rafiq Pardesi. The loans will increase the women’s capital and thereby helping them to be able to purchase and distribute more of the locally produced textile products.

“This will help us to reach an increased number of women who deal in textile products,” Ms Chacha said.

Women entrepreneurs, willing to grasp the chance, she said, should visit the bank’s branch for further information.

Earlier, Mr Pardesi said the agreement will help his factory to produce increased volumes of vitenge, kangas and bed sheets for sell to women entrepreneurs.

“The aim of collaborating with the bank is to put in place strategies to increase their capital and support cotton farmers and encourage them to increase efforts in farming due to the fact that there is a reliable market for them,” he said.

Nida’s products are also sold in Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Malawi.

Nida has a capacity to produce three million tonnes of clothes annually.

Empowerment of women tops agenda at 2015 WIMBIZ conference

November 18, 2015

Originally posted on TheGuardian 


THE 2015 edition of the yearly conference of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) opened yesterday, at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with delegates from different parts of the world.

Organised under the theme, Leadership… Step Up and Stand Out, the two-day conference, which chairperson was the Publisher of The Guardian newspaper, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, provides a veritable platform for women to engage in meaningful discussions about their pivotal role in nation building and economic development.

In her welcome address at the conference that continues today, the Chairperson of WIMBIZ, Osayi Alile said the initiative has from its inspired beginning 14 years ago, grown to become the largest gathering of women professionals, policy makers, thought leaders and experts in Nigeria.

This congregation of great minds, according to Alile, will have far reaching impact on lives, not just of women, but Nigerians in general.

“Our conference climaxes the strength of our commitment to empower women to work together and to accomplish great things. It equally serves as platform to gauge how the systematic pursuit of our vision continues to yield positive outcomes in ways that serves to reinforce our resolve.”

She noted that, while WIMBIZ place a premium on organising and celebrating achievement by women across all spheres, the organisation strongly believes that Nigerian women can do much more than we get credit for.

“We must understand that leadership is never given on a platter. We need to step up and stand out to get it. That is why the theme for this year’s conference, Leadership… Step Up and Stand Out, is timely. We will over the course of the next two days, explore, examine and exchange ideas on the options, opportunities and openings for the Nigerian woman today in the quest to enhance our role as accelerators of Nigeria’s development,” she said.

Lady Alex-Ibru commended WIMBIZ for creating a platform that will be beneficial to not only the young women of today, but also to generation yet unborn.

“This organisation is the epitome of hope, not only to the young ones, but also to generation yet unborn. You have acquired great reputation of seeking to foster excellence among women executive in business and government in particular and other areas of human endeavour. I therefore, consider it a privileged to be asked to chair this conference,” she said.

For Lady Alex-Ibru, this year’s conference and its theme, points to the fact that sustaining the quest for learning has been the creed of WIMBIZ as an organisation, urging women to step out of their comfort zones and reach out to greater heights.

 “In other to stand out in life, you must step out of your zone of comfort to a zone of discomfort. As a woman, the odd are already stacked against you and you have a point to prove. Bill gate once said, ‘a sustainable business isn’t anymore.’ I say, ‘for a woman, a sustainable success isn’t anymore.’ Hence, a woman must continue to change and grow at the speed of the time in other to stay relevant to herself, in her business and even in her family.

“You need to be uncomfortable, however, successful you may be in your business, stay in competition, especially in a male dominated world. If the competition has a bigger hammer, you must go get a sharper nail. If they work hard, you must work smart. And if they work harder, think and work smatter.”

In the midst of discomfort in which women seek to excel in business, politics and other ventures, Lady Alex Ibru tasked women to stay comfortable in their own skin as women, as wives, as mothers and as ultimate molder of character and the custodian of those things that made you success.

“The winds of change will blow you of course, if you are not anchored by core set of values. This is true for all person, but especially so for a woman,” she hinted.

Advocating for more inclusion of women in positions of authority in both the corporate and government agencies, Lady Alex- Ibru informed that recent research has shown that most women, who leave their jobs, do so because of frustrating problems at work, adding that the higher one goes in the corporate ladder, the fewer the number of women executive.

She noted that most organisation are not diligent enough to spot the qualities of women in management, adding that women tend to be more appalled by ethical missteps than men.

“Women are less willing to take actions that attract big financial benefit to their organisation at the risk of flouting underlined principles of the organistaion,’’ said.

She observed that women generally are hindered from ascending the corporate ladder for a number of reasons.

“The most important of which being how to balance the conflicting demands of work and family. Many women aspiring for political positions do not recognise the importance of cultivating and maintaining a depth of self-confidence that will enable them thrive in a competitive environment like the corporate world,” she said.

The opening day featured a keynote address by Wendy Luhabe, a pioneer Social Entrepreneur and Economic Activist from South Africa, panel discussions and breakout sessions where issues concerning women were thoroughly discussed. There was also a presentation of WIMBIZ Achievers Award to former Vice Chancellor of University of Benin, Prof. Mrs. Grace Adele-Williams and former Vice Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Prof. Sidi Osho.

‘Nigeria must move from patriarchy to gender equity’

November 16, 2015

By Sola Ogundipe originally posted on Vanguard


In an effort to ensure better care for heart related problems, Medtronic and SoWIFE of former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Arese Carrington, has called for sustained emancipation of Nigerian women in the drive to attain a developed status for the country.

Carrington, an International Public Health Consultant and Vice President, Africana Consultants, USA, noted that Nigeria would only attain a developed status if it adopted and maintained the culture of gender equity like is the situation in the developed countries.

Speaking recently during the Eminent series lectures of the University of Benin, Uniben, with the theme “Nigeria and the future of the Black World,” held in collaboration with Pfizer Nigeria, she urged Nigerian women to get better educated and enlightened because education gives ability to think and analyse things critically.

Noting that there is a patriarchal treatment ruling Nigeria, she avowed that Nigeria must move from patriarchal society to a gender – equal one.

Her words: “An uneducated population is a population in bondage. Education is the passport to freedom. Hence, we must speak the truth to ourselves. With education, no one can pull the wool over our eyes.

“Education, health and income generation form the axis of development. So, it is essential for more Nigerian women to have access to these. They need to be given the opportunity to advance in science and technology.”

Further, she noted that a lot of women are gifted in Mathematics and Science but lamented that some can’t harness this potential to halt the problems that have stunted the growth in Africa.

 A UK study on gender issues in Nigeria shows that 49 percent of the Nigerian population is female (80.2 million) and nearly one out of every four females in sub-Saharan Africa is a Nigerian.

Carrington argued that if given opportunity, Nigerian women are great potential for development, urging that Nigeria must, thus, lead the change in stopping education disparity, dehumanization and control of women.

“Nigeria and Africa’s future is dependent on not discarding the role of females in the society nor their potentials to contribute economically and politically. Rwanda has harnessed this opportunity. After the genocide, the women were in the forefront in the reconstruction and the emotional healing of the nation. Realizing this, President Paul Kagame made the extra effort to empower women. Half the Supreme Court population is female.”

 She emphasised that the 2015 data from the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) shows that in Rwanda 63.8 percent of the lower chamber of parliamentary and 38.5 percent of the upper chamber are women.’But in Nigeria, only 5.6 percent and 6.5 percent are women in the lower and upper chambers respectively.

A 2012 UK study data ranks Nigeria 118 out of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index. It showed that women make up only 21 percent of the non-agricultural paid labour force, majority concerned in casual, low-skilled, low-paid informal sector employment.

She regretted that each day, 144 Nigerian women die in childbirth, equivalent to one death every 10 minutes. “Women don’t have to die because they want to give birth. Birth should be a thing of joy. It is essential for women to have access to education.”

Nigeria: Michelle Obama, Ezekwesili, Abike Dabiri Listed Among 250 Influential Women in the World

November 16, 2015

By Andrew Essien originally posted on Naij

Top 100 Women Leaders
Wife of United States President, Michelle Obama, US Secretary of State,Hillary Clinton, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, former minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former minister of education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, have been listed among 250 most influential women in the world.

Some of the notable influential women in the list include Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff; IMF boss, Christine Lagarde; Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda Gates; Oprah Winfrey; US National Security Advisor, Susan Rice; former US Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Nancy Pelosi and CNN Special Correspondent, Christian Amanpour.

Richtopia, an online business platform that covers a mix of valuable content on success, inspirational people, finance and economics, compiled the list of top women leaders. The medium said the list is of influential women have been adjudged to have been proactive in their public life.

I’ll Prosecute Female Genital Mutilators In Osun – Aregbesola

November 12, 2015

By Joshua Dada originally posted on Leadership 


Governor Rauf Aregbesola has threatened to drag anybody found promoting or engaging in female genital mutilation in Osun State under any guise to court.

Speaking at the opening of a high level meeting on female genital mutilation in Osogbo organised by United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and Shericare Foundation (SCARF) Aregbesola described the act as borne out of primitive idea of the effort to continually dominate females in the society and hence must be stopped by all well-meaning Nigerians.

While commending former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for signing the law that prohibited the act in Nigeria, Aregbesola held that it must not go unnoticed that it was under the administration of Jonathan that it became a crime for anybody to mutilate the genital organ of a female in the name of circumcision or any other guise.

Aregbesola averred that government at all levels must ensure that they work towards the eradication of the act which has no advantage whatsoever.

Earlier, the wife of the governor and president of the Shericare Foundation (SCARF) Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola in her welcome address described female genital mutilation as primitive.

Mrs. Aregbesola stated that it is disturbing that the primitive practice is prevalent in Osun, saying all hands will be on deck at ensuring that the archaic practice is eradicated very soon.

She chided the procedure of female genital mutilation which involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, noting that the procedures intentionally alter and cause injury to the female genital organ.

President of SCARF stated that the country has existing national policies and law banning female genital mutilation, adding that a recent survey conducted by United Nation Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) revealed a prevalence of 27per cent for women ages 15-49 and 19.2per cent for girls 0-14 years.

She added that if the present trends continue, 2.7million girls born between 2010-2015 will be at risk of experiencing female genital mutilation by 2030.

She said, ” I thank you all for honouring the call to this notable and historic meeting on our collective drive to eradicate a practice that bear no good for girls and women.

“Our meeting here today will be the first in the series of high level collective efforts initiated by the UNFPA to eradicate female genital mutilation. Female genital cutting in our society is very disturbing”.

Tanzania: New Cabinet Likely to Feature More Women Than Ever Before

November 12, 2015

By Damas Kanyabwoya originally posted on TheCitizen

Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli’s first days in office have been characterized by his usual management style. Impromptu visits to public offices to catch lazy public servants unawares.

On Friday President Magufuli visited the Treasury and found some few empty chairs. On Monday he paid a visit to the Muhimbili National Hospital. He visit led to the suspension of both the board of directors and the acting executive director.

There is no indication that he would change his management style anytime soon. Tanzanians would keenly watch how effective that style is in improving the ineffectiveness of the civil service.

Key to the delivery of his administration is the kind of people he would appoint to assist him, analysts say. “Dr Magufuli must appoint people who can really help him move forward. The country needs ministers who can supervise and give proper directives to their subordinates,” said Dr Benson Bana, a political scientist from the University of Dar es Salaam.

Much anticipation is, therefore, expected on the kind of the cabinet President Magufuli will appoint.

Expectations are high that he will select a no nonsense Prime Minister. Hopes are also high that he would appoint a lean cabinet. This is a promise that he made in the campaign trail.

There is also a high possibility that President Magufuli would appoint more women in his cabinet to comprise at least half of the whole cabinet.

 After the 2010 General Election retired President Jakaya Kikwete appointed a 55 person cabinet comprising of 30 senior cabinet ministers and 25 deputy ministers.

But only 13 of all these were women, equivalent to 23 per cent. Nine women were in senior cabinet positions while four were appointed as deputy ministers.

As he accepted the CCM nomination in July in Dodoma President Magufuli said his choice of a female running mate, Samia Suluhu Hassan, was informed by the contribution women have made in his political career and in their role in nation building.

If he chooses to appoint half of all women in his cabinet President Magufuli will not be alone. Justine Trudeau, the new Canadian Prime Minister has just done so. President Magufuli will also be following in the footsteps of Sweden (52 per cent) and Finland (62 per cent).

Despite calls on President Magufuli to dump all Kikwete’s ministers there is a possibility of continuation. Retained ministers are more likely to be women who have acquired experience while serving former President Kikwete. At least seven former female ministers have made a comeback both through the ballot and nomination.

The major stumbling block to a more female cabinet would be the rule employed by past presidents on equal representation from all regions. This is especially the case in all regions where there are few or no female MPs whether elected or nominated, like in opposition strongholds of Arusha and Kilimanjaro. Fortunately President Magufuli has the powers to elect ten MPs who could very well help him get the kind of ministers he wants.

Malawi: Campaign for Female Education in Malawi Calls for Change of Mindset to Keep Girls in School

November 10, 2015

By Lapken Kapoto originally posted on NyasaTimes

Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) in Malawi has indicated that although various organizations were coming up with interventions to help the girl child proceed with education, mindset and poverty were still hampering the process of uplifting girls’ education.

Glory Maulidi, Young Women Empowerment Officer at Camfed said there was still a challenge in the process of uplifting girls’ education in the country.

“Camfed is doing a great work in Malawi in the 17 districts in supporting the girl child but there is still a challenge and one of them is mindset of community members, parents and even guardians that they feel educating a girl child is a loss of money,” said Maulidi

She added that such were major challenges that the girl child faced and could easily feel unwanted, uncared for and she would easily enter into early marriage before completion of education even before they got further with tertiary education.

Maulidi further said: “Challenge of poverty is there although Camfed is there to support the young girls but the demand is high and we cannot manage to reach out and touch every girl.”

She added that the mindset of the parents can be changed through the Camfed Association themselves by enabling girls themselves to act as role models adding that if communities would see good works from the girls who form part of Camfed Association, their mindset would easily be changed.

“When these young girls have gone further with their tertiary education and get back to their communities where they would hold various positions in nursing, teaching, engineering among others the mindset of their parents, guardians will be changed,” added Maulidi

Camfed Association is a grouping of young women who have completed secondary school education. They are trained as agents of transformation where they get committed to the positive generation and address concerns of their communities without discrimination.

Camfed Association Seed Money Schemes

Some of the programs within Camfed Association include provision of tertiary education where girls are helped throughout college or university education through fees and other necessities.

At the same time, girls especially those that have not done well at their Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) are assisted with grants amounting to K30, 000 which they call Seed Money Schemes (SMSs) to invest in various businesses.

 One of the beneficiaries, Aluberia Dave who after received the grant invested it in selling dry fish can now sing a good song after the money started baring her good fruits.

She stated: “Through the profits I realized, I pay school fees for my siblings, I buy uniforms for them, shoes among other things. Currently, I have K140, 000 in savings after buying a cow which is being reared at home. My message to my fellow friends who got this grant is that they must use it in the best way possible.

It is through the same K30, 000 someone can buy goats, they can build a house, can pay school fees on top of assisting fellow disadvantaged communities if it’s put to its best use.”

Chikwawa Camfed elections

In Chikwawa, Camfed managed to set up clusters that included schools under its arms based on their closest to each other. Within the clusters, members hold positions of chair-ladies, vice chair-ladies, Secretary and vice as well as treasurer.

There are ten Camfed clusters in the district that include; Chapananga, Chang’ambika, Livunzu, Mfera, Mbiya, Makande, Chifunda, Dzumila, Mthumba, and Nchalo.

These clusters among other activities members decide to do include charity works in their communities, visiting school going children and offer them model talks, visiting the disadvantaged among others.

On Friday, each cluster was represented by three people who gathered at Chikwawa Teacher Development Center to elect district chari-lady and her vice, secretary and her vice as well as treasurer who would at a later date especially the chair-lady in the same month of November would compete at nation level.

Therefore, Aluberia Dave maintained her position as Chikwawa District Chair-lady for Camfed Association whereas Mary Mwandidya from Dzumila cluster was voted as secretary while Zepha Lupenga from Nchalo cluster was voted as treasurer.

So far, Camfed Malawi through Camfed Association has managed to disburse grants to 504 girls and there are 500 more that will be given grants next year covering all 17 districts the organization is working in.


November 10, 2015

Originally posted on FrontPageAfricaOnline

Monrovia – Women of Liberia have been urged to clinch at least 50% of the seventy-three seats in the National Legislative come 2017 general elections. Montserrado County District #1 Representative and Chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus of Liberia (WLCL) in the 52nd National Legislature now Advisor, Josephine George-Francis, said women of Liberia should use every opportunity given them to propel themselves to higher levels.

“Given our new constitution that will be coming into force, women must now begin engaging our male lawmakers and other stakeholders on affirmative actions for women” Francis said. She noted that Liberia is in a new dispensation, where women can use their voices, as their participation cuts across all lines.

The WLCL Advisor emphasized that the more women ascend to leadership positions, especially at the Legislature, the easier it will be to address issues related to women. “Let’s stop the blame game, and work along with our male counterparts towards achieving our much-desired goal of gender equality. The ball is in our court and we have to be armed with the necessary tools to speak out and make changes” Madame Francis stressed.

Madam Francis was speaking at a two-day capacity building training session under the theme: “Strengthening Women’s Capacities (in advocacy, negotiation & communication skills) to Engage Lawmakers, Political Parties on Gender Parity & Quotas” in Monrovia. With funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the two-day training and coaching session was intended to build the human resource development capacity of women through knowledge-based skills training,  to ensure that women are empowered to enhance their potentials to fairly compete in all open electoral processes.

It brought together about fifty women from a cross section of the society including present and past female Legislators, female political parties’ executives, female heads of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CBOs) among others. Bong County Senator and current Chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus of Liberia (WLCL), Jewel Howard-Taylor made a presentation on the “State of Women Political Leadership in Liberia”. Senator Taylor said there have been a dramatic decline in women’s representation at all levels of the country’s governance structures.

“As women of Liberia, we have taken notice of the sharp decline in women representation at all levels of governance structures. This situation is one of which should claim the attention of all well-meaning Liberians; but must claim our most urgent attention as women. Your presence here today is proof that this is a priority on the women’s agenda” Senator Taylor noted.

According to her, the state of women political leadership in Liberia today has declined from 14% to 9% in the Legislature, 5% in the executive, and about 3% in the Judiciary, adding that the percentage of women in Parliament is too small to make the kind of impact needed. Senator Taylor also mentioned that at the hierarchy In political parties, there are only two women who are heads of the 22 registered political parties, with very few in executive positions; while in local government women representation is put at about 3%, and as heads of public corporations, 0%.

“This sharp decline must be reversed if women’s agenda is to be realized. To do so, all of us as women of Liberia – without any thought to political parties’ structures or personal hurts or disappointments, must close ranks and work for the general welfare of women”, the Bong County Senator said.

Also speaking, Montserrado County District #9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood said 78% of the country’s population is less than 35years; but despite the country’s youthful statistics, youth and women of Liberia are always relegated. Rep. Youngblood said the young people of the country are endowed with abundant energy and enthusiasm that could bring fresh ideas to the table.

“The young people can be agents of change through reading and workshops (as we are here today) to improve on their leadership skills, bringing them closer and educating them on issues; get them involved in negotiations and advocacy to avoid violence” Youngblood intimated.

Kenya receives Commonwealth award for women recognition

November 7, 2015

By William Mwangi originally posted on TheStar

Arif Zaman, the Executive Director of Commonwealth Businesswomen's Network congratulates Kenya's Ambassador to Malaysia Samori Okwiya on Kenya?s win in Commonwealth Award on Women's Economic Empowerment. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya has won the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network award for including women in resource allocation and procurement processes.

In a statement on Thursday, Arif Zaman, Executive Director for CBW said the government has been pivotal in ensuring women are well represented in the bid to empower and enrich women.

“The award recognises an impact across the whole of Government, providing opportunities to women across the country and in different sectors.”

“This has now led to collaboration with CBW to establish the Commonwealth’s – and world’s first – Centre of Excellence for Women in Procurement to help link women entrepreneurs to international procurement tenders.”

Zaman said this is the first time the award has been won by a government and CBW will work with the Kenya to provide more opportunities for women.

“Kenya’s bold approach stands as a beacon across the Commonwealth and beyond when commitment and focus can deliver strong outcomes for women entrepreneurs through an innovative programme on public procurement,”she said.

 “There has been increasing recognition that inclusive government procurement policy, coupled with the effective management of scarce resources, can accelerate sustainable economic outcomes.”

Malaysia’s Prima Berhad won the first Commonwealth Media of the Year in the media category.

Winners in all categories will be announced at a VIP reception in London on November 12.

The Commonwealth Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be announced separately, during the CHOGM Women’s Forum on November 23.

In 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Treasury issue regulations that provided that at least 30% of all public procurement should be reserved for enterprises owned by women, youth and Persons With Disabilities.

The initiative, known as Access to Government Procurement Opportunities, is under the Ministry of Finance.

It is aimed at empowering youth, women and persons with disability-owned enterprises by giving them more opportunities to do business with Government.

Buhari’s Wife Urges Govs’ Wives To Alleviate Health Status of Women

November 7, 2015

Originally posted on Leadership

Aisha Buhari

Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hajia Aisha Buhari has advised wives of governors in the country to ensure that the health status of women are alleviated, saying that the health facilities in Nigeria is improving.

She gave the advice yesterday in Enugu during the flagging off ceremony of the free Health Screening Initiative programme for women in the South-East, adding that Nigerian women played very active role in the process that brought her husband and others to power.

The wife of Nigeria’s president insisted that Nigerian women and their children should receive better healthcare deal from the government, adding that “These women voted for us free of charge and they deserve better treatment than they are used to”.

She assured the women that the government of her husband was government of unity, urging them to extend the programme to rural areas.

Those who attended the ceremony with the wife of the president were Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, wife of the vice President, wives of the governors of Ebonyi, Abia, and Anambra states as well as wife of the speaker of the House of Representatives, among others.

The wife of the president later inspected testing centres and watched women as they queued to undergo tests for various ailments including diabetes, blood sugar, urine analysis, high blood pressure, breast cancer etc.

Earlier, the wife of the Enugu State governor, Mrs Monica Ugwuanyi, had commended Mrs. Buhari and promised to replicate the health initiative for women in the 17 local councils of the state.

While acknowledging that the task was enormous, she stated she would count on the help of Aisha Buhari to accomplish it.


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