Sharon Siwale-Fumbeshi

Sharon Siwale-Fumbeshi
Me, Myself and I

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Christmas Message to my readers

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my readers and subscribers, a Merry Christmas.
Christmas is a time of sharing and giving, being with your loved ones and the less fortunate.
I hope you're spending this holiday season with those dear to your heart and let's not forget the homeless and the orphans.
It's going to be my first time spending Christmas with my son as my husband is away, but you know what? I intend to put a smile on a child' face. I will spend my Christmas with my house helper and her family, Salome.She is in her late 50's, takes care of her three grandchildren.
Remember to always count your blessings and be thankful for everything you have.
Take some time to pause, reflect and share some love to the people that mean most to your life.
This year has been amazing, this blog is only 4 months and it has over 3,500 views. Good things are definitely coming.
Am busy working on ways to improve it, next year, will be an even better year.
Thanking you for your support.
Happy Holidays, till next year. My holiday begins now!!
Much Love
Sharon Siwale-Fumbeshi

Friday, 2 December 2011

Climate change also affects urban women

By Saeanna Chingamuka  
01 December 2011
It has been an exciting journey to be present at the COP 17 meeting currently underway in Durban. I have attended interesting meetings, with charismatic speakers like the one who kept saying that Africa is being forced to adapt to a situation that it did not create. Yes, we did not create the conditions that brought climate change, but since we are a global village, is it not fair for us to face our problems as a global family? Or do we have selective amnesia when it comes to what globalisation means?
The 1994 State of the Environment in Southern Africa points out that between 1991 and 1992, Southern Africa, excluding Namibia, experienced the worst drought in living memory. There were serious food and water shortages and livestock perished.
I lived in a densely populated township in Harare, Zimbabwe. Our household owned an old and massive Supersonic radio whose volume could not be reduced and was permanently on high. This is a radio that was well past its best before date, but being a low-income family, we somehow forced it to work. I remember this because 1991 was very traumatic for me and the messages from that radio were quite disturbing.
Reports on national radio, remember that the volume was very high, said that the country was facing serious food shortages and had to import yellow maize. Through the radio's frequent updates, we went on a journey with the trains that brought maize into the country. When the train got stuck, we would know that by the end of the week, if that goods train was not fixed, there would be no mealie-meal in the house.
Anyway, I want to write about a day in my mother's life during that period.
Firstly, there were the water shortages. We knew back then that every 15 October we would have the first rains. By the time we got into the New Year, most dams would have filled to capacity. But things changed in 1991. We had erratic rainfall.
There were adverts on radio that people should save water, use buckets to water the gardens instead of hosepipes, and that the local municipality would start to ration water. Water rations became water scarcity; we would go without water for one day, then it became a week and then it even got to one month.
My mother had to wake up early in the morning before sunrise to fetch water from unprotected sources on the outskirts of the township. This water would be for the toilet, cleaning the house and washing the dishes, among other things. For drinking, we had two 25 litre containers and we had to use this water sparingly. If one container finished, my mother had to travel to the nearest suburb on foot to get clean water. She would then walk back with her container balanced on her head.
She also had to provide food for the family and our staple food in Zimbabwe is maize. Every day, we have to eat sadza or pap. We were not used to other alternatives like rice or pasta. So she had to go and queue at the local shopping centre several times in the week only to be lucky on one of the days and get a 10 kilogram bag of maize meal. How long would it last before she had to go to the shopping centre to join the queues again?
Climate change had already started knocking on our doors. We just didn't know it.
Being a young woman then, I felt for my mother. She had to provide food on the table, make sure we had clean water to drink, and water for other domestic purposes. My father would not worry about all those things. He would give my mother money to go and look for mealie-meal. The water in the house, he simply did not care.
I have remembered the period between 1991 and 1992 at this COP 17 meeting. Many discussions are around agro-ecology, climate jobs, gas emissions and adapting to climate change. When a presenter refers to women, chances are very high that it will be rural women.
We should not forget that climate change also affects urban women. Just because they are staying in urban areas does not mean that they are spared. The township we used to stay in in 1991 is still there. Taps have since dried up as the local council cannot provide clean water to residents. It is not their own making, but other factors including erratic rainfalls come to play. But residents still have to pay water bills every month end.
 Women have had to fetch water from unprotected sources. This exposes families to water borne diseases such as cholera. Discussions at COP 17 should not sideline women in urban areas. They are equally affected and strategies put in place by local government should take into consideration the differential impact of climate change on women and men.
 The burden of access to clean and safe water remains. We should therefore not forget during this years' Sixteen days of Activism that climate change also perpetuates violence against women. If women have to walk a few more kilometres to the closest clean water source, it exposes them to physical and sexual abuse. Service providers in local government should thus opt to sink boreholes in urban areas at central points that are safe and easily accessible for women.

Saeanna Chingamuka is the Gender and Media Diversity Centre Manager at Gender Links. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service and African Woman and Child Feature Service special series for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence and COP 17 Conference.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Contraceptive Used in Africa May Double Risk of H.I.V.


Published: October 3, 2011
The most popular contraceptive for women in eastern and southern Africa, a hormone shot given every three months, appears to double the risk the women will become infected with H.I.V., according to a large study published Monday. And when it is used by H.I.V.-positive women, their male partners are twice as likely to become infected than if the women had used no contraception.  
The findings potentially present an alarming quandary for women in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of them suffer injuries, bleeding, infections and even death in childbirth from unintended pregnancies. Finding affordable and convenient contraceptives is a pressing goal for international health authorities.
But many countries where pregnancy rates are highest are also ravaged by H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. So the evidence suggesting that the injectable contraceptive has biological properties that may make women and men more vulnerable to H.I.V. infection is particularly troubling.
Injectable hormones are very popular. About 12 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 in sub-Saharan Africa, roughly 6 percent of all women in that age group, use them. In the United States, it is 1.2 million, or 3 percent of women using contraception. While the study involved only African women, scientists said biological effects would probably be the same for all women. But they emphasized that concern was greatest in Africa because the risk of H.I.V. transmission from heterosexual sex was so much higher there than elsewhere.
“The best contraception today is injectable hormonal contraception because you don’t need a doctor, it’s long-lasting, it enables women to control timing and spacing of birth without a lot of fuss and travel,” said Isobel Coleman, director of the women and foreign policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. “If it is now proven that these contraceptions are helping spread the AIDS epidemic, we have a major health crisis on our hands.”
The study, which several experts said added significant heft to previous research while still having some limitations, has prompted the World Health Organization to convene a meeting in January to consider if evidence is now strong enough to advise women that the method may increase their risk of getting or transmitting H.I.V.
“We are going to be re-evaluating W.H.O.’s clinical recommendations on contraceptive use,” said Mary Lyn Gaffield, an epidemiologist in the World Health Organization’s department of reproductive health and research. Before the meeting, scientists will review research concerning hormonal contraceptives and women’s risk of acquiring H.I.V., transmitting it to men, and the possibility (not examined in the new study) that hormonal contraceptives accelerate H.I.V.’s severity in infected women.
“We want to make sure that we warn when there is a real need to warn, but at the same time we don’t want to come up with a hasty judgment that would have far-reaching severe consequences for the sexual and reproductive health of women,” she said. “This is a very difficult dilemma.”
The study, led by researchers at the University of Washington and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, involved 3,800 couples in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In each couple, either the man or the woman was already infected with H.I.V. Researchers followed most couples for two years, had them report their contraception methods, and tracked whether the uninfected partner contracted H.I.V. from the infected partner, said Dr. Jared Baeten, an author and an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist.
The research was presented at an international AIDS conference this summer, but has now gained traction, scientists said, with publication in a major peer-reviewed journal.
 The manufacturer of the branded version of the injectable, Depo-Provera, is Pfizer, which declined to comment on the study, saying officials had not yet read it. The study’s authors said the injectables used by the African women were probably generic versions.
The study found that women using hormonal contraception became infected at a rate of 6.61 per 100 person-years, compared with 3.78 for those not using that method. Transmission of H.I.V. to men occurred at a rate of 2.61 per 100 person-years for women using hormonal contraception compared with 1.51 for those who did not.
While at least two other rigorous studies have found that injectable contraceptives increase the risk of women’s acquiring H.I.V., the new research has some strengths over previous work, said Charles Morrison, senior director of clinical sciences at FHI 360, a nonprofit organization whose work includes researching the intersection of family planning and H.I.V.
Those strengths include the fact that researchers followed couples and were therefore able to track transmission of H.I.V. to both men and women. Dr. Morrison said only one other less rigorous study had looked at whether hormonal contraception increased the risk of infected women’s transmitting the virus to men.
“This is a good study, and I think it does add some important evidence,” said Dr. Morrison, who wrote a commentary accompanying the Lancet article.
Although the study has limitations, including its use of data not originally intended to determine the link between contraceptive use and H.I.V., “I think this does raise the suspicion” that injectable contraceptives could increase transmission risk, he said.
Why that would occur is unclear. The researchers recorded condom use, essentially excluding the possibility that increased infection occurred because couples using contraceptives were less likely to use condoms.
The progestin in injectable contraceptives appears to have a physiological effect, scientists said. Renee Heffron, an epidemiologist and co-author of the study, said research examining whether the hormone changes genital tissue or vaginal mucous had been inconclusive. Studies in macaques found that progestin thins vaginal tissue, she said, “but studies among women didn’t show the same amount of thinning.”
It could be that progestin causes “immunologic changes in the vagina and cervix” or could increase the H.I.V.’s “ability to replicate,” Dr. Morrison said.
At one point, the researchers measured the concentration of H.I.V. in infected women’s genital fluid, finding “there was more H.I.V. in the genital fluid of those using hormonal contraception than those who aren’t,” Dr. Baeten said, a possible reason men might have increased risk of infection from hormonal contraceptive users. Those women “don’t have more H.I.V. in their blood,” he said.
The researchers also found that oral contraceptives appeared to increase risk of H.I.V. infection and transmission, but the number of pill users in the study was too small to be considered statistically significant, the authors said.
Previous research on the pill has been more mixed than with injectables, which could have a greater impact because they involve a strong dose meant to last for three months, Dr. Baeten said.
In another troubling finding, results from the same study, published separately, showed that pregnancy also doubled the risk of women’s contracting H.l.V. and of infected women’s transmitting it to men. That may partly be due to increased unprotected sex, but could also relate to hormones, researchers said.
But there are no simple solutions, the authors acknowledge. Any warning against such a popular contraceptive method may not only increase complications from pregnancy but increase H.I.V. transmission, too, since pregnancy itself may raise a woman’s risk of H.I.V. infection.
First, the researchers and others say, greater emphasis should be placed on condom use along with hormonal methods.
Some experts, like Dr. Morrison, favor a randomized controlled trial for more definitive proof, but others question how to “randomize women who may have strong preferences about their contraception,” he added.
Dr. Ludo Lavreys, an epidemiologist who led one of the first studies to link injectable contraceptives to increased H.I.V. risk, said intrauterine devices, implants and other methods should be explored and expanded. “Before you stop” recommending injectables, he said, “you have to offer them something else.”
The New York Times

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Zambian Divas talk HIV/AIDS

More than 34 million people in the world have HIV; over 22 million live in Africa. The disease is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa with approximately 3,600 people dying every day from AIDS. It costs around 40 cents a day for the 2 antiretroviral pills needed to help keep someone living with HIV alive and healthy. This is according to the UNAIDS 2010 Global report.
Held every year on 1st December, World AIDS Day is a date for people to think about and act upon the global HIV epidemic. HIV continues to have a devastating impact on millions of people around the world. Whilst this infection can be prevented, HIV transmission continues to occur. Although HIV can be treated, many people infected with HIV do not have access to life-saving drugs.
Three months ago at the start of this blog, I promised to feature Zambia’s celebrated women.
In commemorating World AIDS day, I thought of interviewing women who changed the entertainment industry, to a whole new level.
 Daputsa Nkata A.K.A ‘’Sister D’’,  is one of Zambia’s celebrated musicians, who needs no introduction. And who can forget, Lindiwe Bungane,2004 Pan-African Project Fame winner, who recently played a major role in the SA Dream Girls musical. And Song-bird Saboi Imboela one half of the celebrated female music group  Shatel.
 These women brought excitement to the music industry, they were fearless, they exiled in an industry that was dominated by men.
But what exactly are their views on HIV/AIDS and what are they doing as role models in helping combat the scourge?? Let’s find out.

This year’s theme is ‘’getting to Zero.”
 ‘’ Zero new infections.”
  ‘’Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related deaths.’’
 How do you interpret the theme?
The theme gives renewed hope in the fight in that it provides a visionary direction and focus towards Zero new infections and related deaths. It is also a huge challenge to health providers, care givers and advocates who are faced with the huge question of “HOW’ to attain the goals set in the theme.
Daputsa Nkata a.ka. Sister D
  What is your stance so far on the efforts, been made in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS?
The current efforts are appreciated very much. However, more needs to be done especially at the very grass-root level where the approach should be simple and basic yet effective with emphasis on prevention of mother to child and multiple concurrent sexual partnerships. Strong negative cultural beliefs will have to be nipped in the bud which is going to prove to be a difficult task as culture is embedded in every African setting.
 Are you involved in any projects to combat HIV/AIDS?
I have been involved in several projects but I believe the power of advocacy lies in an individual. which I have done and still do in my years as an artiste and activist.
As a musician young women look up to you, what message do you have for them with regards to HIV/AIDS (As singing is not an easy career)?
First focus on what you want to achieve in life and career. When one is focused everything comes second. Like you say singing is not an easy career but it takes determination and self control.
 What’s your message to those who are already infected?
It’s not the end of the world and they could be a blessing in disguise because from their experiences, we are able to learn how to live positively or how not to be infected. I believe they are the best teachers and advocates in this fight. 
 They say” if you are not infected then you are affected.” What have been the effects of HIV/AIDS on your personal life?
I have lost a sister and a brother to HIV, my mother’s house was full of orphans and now that my mother is dead, we are the ones to take care of these children left behind by our relatives and it’s not only in our families. HIV has affected us in all sectors of life as the saying goes “if you are not infected you are affected.”
 Any message to the readers of the blog, to Zambia and your fans?
To the parents let us take care of ourselves so that we see our children grow in a way that we want them too. To my fans I always value your support no award in my collection can surpass the award which the people have awarded to me which is the acceptance of my work and my music.  One Love!


This year’s theme is ‘’getting to Zero.’’
 ‘’ Zero new infections.’’
  ‘’Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related deaths.’’
How do you interpret the theme?

I interpret it as it is possible to have no new infections, no discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths if we all took the information available to us about the disease seriously.
Lindiwe Bungane
What is your take so far on the efforts, been made in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS?
I think a lot has been said and done but unfortunately maybe too much and the seriousness of the disease has now become old news and in a way the fight has taken a few steps back because we now have to find new ways to reinvent that awareness previously created.
 Are you involved in any projects to combat HIV/AIDS?
Not with an AIDS organisation but I am working with a community school back in Ndola.I hope to build a bigger school for them and offer free education, skills development and meals to the kids. I believe a lot of infections result from poverty and ignorance and if these kids can have a better education, freedom from desperation and a little hope they might carry their flames into the larger community.
As a musician young women look up to you, what message do you have for them with regards to HIV/AIDS (As singing is not an easy career)?
Like any career, there are temptations but I’ve always prided myself in working my way up. It might take longer and it will definitely be harder but at the end of the day, you can always hold your head up high and walk with dignity knowing you did it the right way, and let’s face it, a woman’s dignity is a fragile thing. There is always a deep satisfaction when you make the right choice despite the hardships and temptations to cheat your way to the top.
What’s your message to those who are already infected?
It’s happened and there’s no going back so you just make the best of what life has handed to you. Find a good support system with people who understand what you’re going through because I believe in any had situation the biggest battle is in the mind and once you have the right outlook on your circumstances everything else will begin to play out positively for you.
They say “if you are not infected then you are affected.” What have been the effects of HIV/AIDS on your personal life?
I have had friends and family die from it and it’s just given me more insight on how a positive mind can get you through the toughest situations.
 Any message to the readers of the blog? to Zambia and your fans?
Learn to fall in love with yourself and never let anyone tell you, you don’t deserve the best life has to offer. To my fans anyone in the Johannesburg area should follow me on facebook to know where I’m next performing and I thank everyone for the continuous love I get from them.


This year’s theme is ‘’getting to Zero.’’
 ‘’ Zero new infections.’’
  ‘’Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related deaths.’’
How do you interpret the theme?

The theme talks of an ideal world where there would be no more new infections and where discrimination would be a thing of the past. It also means that a lot of opportunistic infections that have come up and are killing our people will be controlled and will no longer kill people as it is happening today.
Saboi Imboela
What is your stance so far on the efforts, been made in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS?
The efforts have been tremendous and it is no wonder we are hearing that there is now a reduction in the HIV infection rates in the country. People are more aware but of course a lot needs to be done to make sure that the rate keeps going down until we have zero new infections. When people learn more about AIDS it will also decrease the levels of discrimination and the people that are infected will be able to live normal, happy lives and not hide or fear to take medicine.
  Are you involved in any projects to combat HIV/AIDS?
I’m involved with charities that seek to better the lives of women and children and some of these concentrate on women or children that are HIV positive. For me I want to see a better future for these disadvantaged groups whether they are HIV positive or not and we talk to young girls to stay away from premarital sex and concentrate on school. Once we teach our young girls and women of their rights such as the sexual reproductive rights and the need for them to be in control of their sexuality, the abuse from men is minimised as they put a high value on themselves and their bodies. 
 As a musician young women look up to you, what message do you have for them with regards to HIV/AIDS (As singing is not an easy career)?
My advice to young girls and women is always to put high value on themselves. The Bible puts it best when it says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and so we should treat them as such. The Bible also says unlike other sins sexual immorality is one sin that you commit against your own body so young girls should treasure, respect and highly value their own bodies because no one else will do it for them.
What’s your message to those who are already infected?
To the people that are infected, it is not the end of the world, you can live a long and healthy life for a very long time. I personally know a number of people that have been infected for a long time but are living positively and are very healthy. Sometimes what kills people is denial and so they do not get the proper medication, but once you test positive and accept that you can live a healthy, productive life even when you are HIV positive, you find that you really live a happy, prosperous and long life like everybody else.
They say “if you are not infected then you are affected.” What have been the effects of HIV/AIDS on your personal life?    
I have lost friends and relatives from the disease so we are all affected by HIV AIDS. I don’t think there is a single person in the country today who can say they have not lost a relative, friend or even church mate from AIDS- it has really hit Sub Saharan countries like Zambia badly and we need to work together to mitigate the scourge. 
Any message to the readers of the blog? to Zambia and your fans?
My message to Zambia and readers of the blog is what Nelson Mandela said “It always seems impossible until it is done”.  So looking at the HIV/AIDS rates today and this year’s theme some people might look at it as an impossible task. I personally believe it can be done and we can reach zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths if we all put our efforts together to eliminate HIV/AIDS from our societies. The only thing that is needed is you and me to work together to achieve it- NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

UNICEF study provides new insight into how poverty affects children

 Children in East Asia & Pacific region face multiple deprivations

BANGKOK, 22 November – A new UNICEF study analysing child poverty in East Asia and the Pacific emphasizes that poverty affects children in vastly different ways than adults. As a result, policy makers need to look beyond family income indicators to gain a more complete picture of poverty and the deprivations children face.

The study entitled “Child Poverty in East Asia and the Pacific: Deprivations and Disparities” noted that family poverty often affects children most directly through their access to shelter, food, water, sanitation, education, health and information. When a child is deprived of one or more of these essential services, their experience of poverty deepens.

Analysing the situation of children living in seven East Asia and Pacific countries with a child population over 93 million, the report found over 30 million suffered from at least one form of severe deprivation, such as the inability to go to school, or access basic health care, safe drinking water, a sanitary toilet or adequate nutrition – and more than 13 million suffered from two or more forms of severe deprivation.

“The study demonstrates that income gains, including in middle income countries in the region, have not necessarily translated into gains for all children,” said Mahesh Patel, UNICEF Regional Advisor for Social Policy. “Any national equity and disparity reduction policy must start with child poverty reduction at its centre.”

The report reviews child poverty studies carried out in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Viet Nam from 2007 to 2010.

“The thorough analysis presented in these national studies will help countries target programmes and policies to better reach the most vulnerable in society and to use resources most efficiently,” said Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific.

The seven Asia-Pacific countries were among 53 worldwide that participated in UNICEF’s Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparity, which draws attention to the daily deprivations suffered by children and their negative impact on national development.

In Lao PDR, for example, while 38 per cent of children are assessed as income poor, as many as 75 per cent are assessed as living in poverty based on this broader – and increasingly recognized – measure of child poverty.

In Viet Nam, children from ethnic minority groups are 11 times more likely to suffer from multiple severe deprivations than children from ethnic majority groups - a pattern found in many other countries.

In Vanuatu, nearly one in five children suffers from severe health deprivation.

The report also underlines that much more needs to be done to reduce the disparities that impede the development of large numbers of children in East Asia and the Pacific. Inequity is rampant, with income inequality either remaining stagnant or increasing in all seven countries despite significant GDP growth over much of the last decade. Deprivations and disparities faced by children must feature prominently in national development and poverty alleviation plans in the region and inform how resources are allocated. Child-sensitive social protection policies that address the needs of the most vulnerable children will also be essential to reducing the deprivations children face in the region.

Gaps between rural and urban areas, different ethnic groups, geographic areas, and households headed by well-educated versus poorly educated adults were among the most notable disparities across the seven countries.

“Clearly the challenge now facing us in East Asia and the Pacific is to address the additional dimensions of child poverty revealed in this study, building on, but going beyond the foundation of economic growth in the region,” Rao Singh said.

The report also revealed the following trends:

Rural versus urban - child poverty was 30 per cent higher in rural Cambodia than in urban areas, 60 per cent higher in rural Thailand, 130 per cent higher in rural Philippines and 180 per cent higher in rural Viet Nam;

Geographic disparities – sub-national disparities within countries are, in some instances, more pronounced than the disparities between lower- and middle-income countries in the region– for example, the number of children suffering from severe deprivation in Viet Nam was over 6 times higher in the north-west region than the Red River Delta; and 50 per cent higher in southern Thailand than the North;

Disparities among ethnic minorities - disproportionately high levels of poverty and deprivation are evident among some ethnic minority children. This is an issue in almost all seven countries surveyed in the region. For example, the number of severely deprived ethnic minority children was about 60 per cent higher than the number of severely deprived children from dominant ethnic groups in both Lao PDR and Mongolia, 9 times as large in the Philippines and nearly 15 times larger in Thailand;

Education of household head- severe deprivation more than doubled in households where the household head had only a primary-school education or less, compared to households where the household head had secondary or higher education;

Family size - the incidence of severe deprivation in Mongolia and Viet Nam almost doubled in households with more than seven members, compared to those with four or fewer. In Thailand, the incidence more than tripled under these conditions

Sunday, 20 November 2011

UNICEF and World Day of Prayer and Action for Children to protect children against violence

NEW YORK, 20 November 2011 – On the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF today joined with World Day of Prayer and Action for Children in launching a new three-year initiative in more than 30 countries to protect children against violence.
World Day of Prayer and Action for Children is a movement that harnesses the powerful role of religious communities can play in keeping children safer by promoting affirmative measures such as birth registration and positive parenting, and discouraging potentially harmful actions such as child marriage. 
While significant progress has been made in reducing child mortality and increasing child health, around the world, millions of children are subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse.
“Violence does not discriminate,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “It cuts across race, religion, class, and culture.”
One of the most important ways parents can help their children is by practicing positive parenting.  Parental influence and protection pay a critical role in determining a child’s well-being and can be done without resorting to violent discipline, which harms the child and is not effective.
Another key step to protect children is birth registration.  This simple document establishes the existence of the child under law and provides the foundation for safeguarding many of the child's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.  Unregistered children may face challenges in accessing health care, education and social assistance. They are the first to fall through the cracks in protection systems and there is a risk that violations of their rights will go unnoticed.
An important focus of the World Day is child marriage, which affects girls disproportionately.  Child brides are at greater risk of violence, abuse and exploitation, and also more vulnerable to catching sexually transmitted diseases than more mature women.
“To end such violence, we need to work together – across religious faiths, across political parties, across all boundaries – to raise awareness, to reach out in our communities, and to strengthen systems that protect children, said Mr. Lake. “Let it begin with a prayer and end in action.”
UNICEF has a long history of working with religious leaders from all faiths on issues that affect children:  from partnering with imams in Mauritania to eliminate corporal punishment, to joining forces with Buddhist monks in Bhutan to support children affected by HIV and AIDS, and working with churches in Ecuador to address child and maternal health.
Activities that will take place around the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children with UNICEF support in coming weeks include:
In Nigeria, a national workshop with key religious leaders is planned around the Day of Prayer and Action for Children to engage them as advocates for universal birth registration. The effectiveness of interventions by religious leaders will be assessed through regular on-site reporting using RapidSMS technology.
In Panama, a bulletin on the Day of Prayer and Action for Children will appear in the Roman Catholic Church’s newspaper during November, a letter from the Catholic Archbishop will be read in all services on 20 November and the Archbishop himself will celebrate mass during a live broadcast and talk about an end to violence against children. Various other religious communities will also celebrate the Day of Prayer and Action for Children during different religious ceremonies.
In Afghanistan, UNICEF and the Ministry of Religious Affairs plan radio and television interviews with mullahs during the week prior to the Day of Prayer and Action for Children and other broadcasters will provide child friendly information about children’s rights. Mullahs affiliated with the Ministry will use Friday prayers on 25 November to highlight messages on violence against children.

The World Day of Prayer and Action was launched in 2008 to improve the lives of children everywhere.  In 2010, the World Day was celebrated in 46 countries around the world.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Operation Save Iris....

Yes Iris made a mistake, A mistake that will probably, forever haunt her. But the way the girl is been portrayed is not good, being labelled all sorts of names is uncalled for..The girl has a bright future ahead of her..let's not add salt to injury..The girls didn't commit the act alone, yet the boy walks freely with no flogging..Is this the society that we want for our young girls and women??? Let's discuss, let's save Iris

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WISE prize for education goes to Bangladeshi Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

NEW YORK, 16 November 2011 - UNICEF congratulates Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairman of BRAC (formerly known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), on receiving the first WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) prize for his 40-year career dedicated to alleviating poverty through education.

Sir Abed received an award of $500,000 and a specially designed gold medal bearing the word “education” in over 50 languages. In his citation of the award, WISE Chairman H.E. Abdulla bin Ali-Thani  highlighted the achievement of Abed’s vision, that of “millions of people around the world leading healthier, happier and more productive lives.”

Abed founded BRAC in 1972 and over the next four decades has built one of the world’s largest and most efficient NGO’s with 120,000 workers dedicated to learning and teaching activities which now reach almost 140 million people in 10 Asian, African and Central American countries.

Under Abed’s leadership, BRAC has grown to become the largest provider of private, secular education in the world, contributing to the pre-primary, primary and secondary education of millions of students.

UNICEF extremely concerned about the impact of escalating conflict in Somalia on children

UNICEF extremely concerned about the impact of escalating conflict in Somalia on children
NAIROBI, Kenya, 15 November 2011 – UNICEF is extremely concerned about the impact on children of the escalating conflict in Somalia.

“Increasing numbers of children and civilians are being caught in attacks and cross-fire across the south and centre of Somalia” said UNICEF’s Representative to Somalia, Sikander Khan.  “Over the last several weeks, we have seen a very worrying rise in killings and serious injuries of children."

According to the UN’s monitoring and reporting mechanism for grave violations of children’s rights, 24 children have been killed in the conflict in October; nearly double the number of child killings confirmed in every month this year.  In addition, 58 children have been confirmed to have sustained serious injuries in October; the largest number of children injured as a result of the armed conflict in Somalia in any month this year.  To date in 2011, the monitoring and reporting mechanism has confirmed nearly 300 children to be seriously injured and over 100 children killed in the on-going conflict.

“While we have confirmed these numbers of children to have already been killed and seriously injured it is likely that the scale is much greater with many more killings and injuries of children either unconfirmed or unreported,” Khan noted.  

Also of concern are the recruitment and use of children for armed services and sexual violence of children and women.  This year, the UN’s monitoring and reporting mechanism has confirmed over 600 children to be recruited and used for armed service with over 200 more, mostly girls, confirmed to have been raped. 

“Somali children’s lives are being put more and more in grave danger with the increasing conflict.  In accordance with international law, we call on all parties to the conflict in Somalia to stop all killing, maiming, recruitment for armed services and rape of children.  All children must immediately be assured of safety and protection from hostile acts”, stated Khan.

Escalating violence also threatens the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.  

“Many of the hundreds of thousands of children already facing a situation of life and death due to famine and disease are now facing the risk of having life-saving assistance cut off to them.  We call on all actors to enable us to respond fully and rapidly to children and women in urgent need.  Thousands of children’s lives are at stake and on our watch”, Khan declared.

The UN system has been monitoring grave violations of children’s rights by parties to the conflict in Somalia since late 2005, in compliance with Security Council Resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011). Over the last several years, information has been collected about grave child rights violations, including: killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Man rapes mother-in-law, kills her

Police in Samfya district have arrested a 27 year old man of Mungulube village in chief Kalasamukoso’s area for killing his mother-in- law.
The man is alleged to have raped his mother-in-law before killing her.
Sources told ZANIS in Samfya today that the man committed the offence at the deceased’s farm last weekend.
They said the man killed his mother-in-law after a confrontation ensued over the alleged rape.
Luapula province deputy police commissioner, Aaron Mushanga, confirmed the incident to ZANIS in Mansa yesterday.
Mr. Mushanga said the police were holding a 27 year man identified as Friday Mpundu in connection with the death of a 52 year old Judith Nsakanya, who was his mother-in-law.
“We have the report of a young man killing his mother in law,” he said.

Courtesy of LusakaTimes

Monday, 14 November 2011

UNICEF commends Rwanda for focusing on adolescents at 7th Annual Paediatric Conference on Children and HIV

Adolescents should not be the missing face of AIDS

KIGALI, Rwanda,  9 November 2011 - At the nation’s seventh annual conference on Children and HIV, UNICEF emphasized the importance of investing in adolescent-appropriate prevention and care programmes to ensure that young people, who make up almost half of new infections both globally and in Rwanda, do not become the missing face of AIDS.

The conference, organised by Rwanda’s Biomedical Centre in partnership with UNICEF, will span three days and bring together over 200 experts from Rwanda and neighbouring East African countries to discuss issues facing adolescents in the national HIV response. Adolescents, including those who live with HIV, will also attend sessions to share their ideas about how to improve prevention, care and treatment programmes adapted to their needs.

The conference’s opening ceremony was attended by Rwanda’s Minister of Health, UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Ms. Elke Wisch, Rwanda’s UNICEF Representative, Ms. Noala Skinner and other top officials.

Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, who was also the Guest of Honour for the opening ceremony, spoke to youth, during her address, asking them to speak out and make their views heard. She also promised them that she would do her best to implement all the recommendations that they put forward at the end of the conference. “No country can build its future if we do not invest in our children,” she emphasized.

Ms. Wisch, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, commended Rwanda’s for addressing the concerns of adolescents. “We hardly hear about the challenges facing adolescents affected by HIV on the global stage,” said Ms. Wisch. “We rarely see them targeted in prevention efforts and, of increasing concern, we find few treatment programmes adapted to their special needs.”

According to UNICEF, two million adolescents aged 10-19 already live with HIV, many of who do not know their HIV status. In addition, 2,500 young people are infected with HIV around the world every day. And young people aged 15-24 account for 41% of new infections globally and 40% in Rwanda.

Rwandan adolescents face three main challenges. One, they lack information and knowledge about how to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Two, many of them do not know their status and are at an age when they are sexually active and engage in unprotected sex. And three, those who live with HIV have often lost one or both parents to AIDS, face stigma and discrimination and sometimes live in child headed households.

According to UNICEF the time to act for adolescents is now. To reduce new infections, mortality and morbidity in adolescents, actions that result in increased access to information, adolescent-friendly HIV testing and counseling, treatment and prevention services including condoms and medical male circumcision, and strengthened social protection for these young people are key.

Kuwait funds UNICEF for drought affected areas in Somalia

NEW YORK, 10 November 2011 - The State of Kuwait has contributed 250 thousand US dollars to UNICEF in Somalia for humanitarian response to the continuing food crisis. The support was announced by His Excellency Mr. Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the United Nations.

Somalia sits at the centre of a region suffering from a deadly combination of the worst drought in six decades, soaring food prices and now escalating conflict in southern Somalia. Thousands have already died and more than 13 million people still need humanitarian assistance across the region.

UNICEF and its partners over the past several months have saved the lives of thousands of children in the Horn of Africa, Some 110,000 severely malnourished children were treated at UNICEF-supported centres across the Horn. So far, UNICEF has vaccinated 1.2 million children against measles, including 1 million in South and Central Somalia. More than 2.6 million people were provided with access to safe water across the Horn and over 1.5 million were reached with hygiene awareness and supplies.

Since the beginning of July, UNICEF has transported more than 24,000 metric tons of life-saving supplies to Somalia, with 140 chartered flights, on 106 vessels and 90 trucks – ready to use therapeutic foods for 350,000 children and supplementary food for 350,000 families.

UNICEF is one of just a few organizations still operating in South and Central Somalia, working with more than 120 partners to reach hundreds of thousands of children and their families. Between July and the end of October, a total of 85,300 families, or 512,000 people, received blanket supplementary feeding in southern Somalia. Another 236,000 people including 47,000 children received prepared meals in Somalia between July and October.

However, despite increased humanitarian operations and som

Sunday, 6 November 2011

UNICEF urges media to hear the voices of children on climate change

As South Africa prepares for the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011, UNICEF is urging media to consult with children on what they believe to be the key issues surrounding climate change, its impact on the children of South Africa, and what role children can play to address climate change.
A new study commissioned by UNICEF in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, to be launched in mid-November 2011, highlights the importance of child participation in designing effective responses to climate change.
The study ‘The Impact of Climate Change on Children in South Africa’ highlights the expected impact of climate change on children’s health, education, nutrition, safety and access to adequate housing and sanitation in South Africa – both directly and indirectly. However, in spite of their increased vulnerability, children cannot be viewed simply as victims of climate change. Children need to be – and have a right to be – actively involved in the discussions and planning of mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as policies and plans by various levels of government.
The study also reveals that there are a number of existing initiatives in South Africa through which children are participating in the climate change agenda. These could be strengthened to create a solid foundation for effective participation by children on climate change issues that can feed into, and strengthen policy and national response. Currently, most climate change-related policies do not adequately examine the specific impact of changing climatic conditions on children.
In preparation for the launch of the study in November, shortly before COP 17, UNICEF and partners have been engaging with children from school-based clubs across the country, to better understand their concerns and ideas for addressing climate change.
UNICEF is able to facilitate a limited number of interviews with children from the clubs, as well as experts on the impact of climate change on children, for interested media. An invitation to attend the official launch of the study will be shared with all media in the first week of November.
About UNICEFUNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Countries worldwide are saving mothers’ and children’s lives at a faster pace

International efforts to address maternal and child health challenges appear to be working, yet few countries will meet Millennium Development Goals for maternal mortality and child mortality.

With four years left for countries to achieve international targets for saving the lives of mothers and children, more than half the countries around the world are lowering maternal mortality and child mortality at an accelerated rate, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
In 125 countries, maternal mortality has declined faster since 2000, the year that countries signed the Millennium Declaration, promising to make improvements in child and maternal health, and the progress has been particularly strong in the past five years. Over the same period, in 106 countries, child mortality rates have declined faster between 2000 and 2011 than in the previous decade.
The number of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth decreased from 409,100 in 1990 to an estimated 273,500 deaths in 2011, and the number of deaths in children under the age of 5 fell from 11.6 million deaths to an estimated 7.2 million over the same period.
The trends indicate that efforts to educate more women, to prevent infectious diseases, and to implement other targeted health programs in developing countries are having an impact. They also show, though, that few countries are going to achieve international targets for improving maternal and child health.
An estimated 31 developing countries will achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4), which calls for a two-thirds reduction in the child mortality rate between 1990 and 2015, and 13 developing countries will achieve Millennium Development Goal 5, which calls for a three-fourths reduction in maternal mortality ratio over the same period. Of those countries, nine will achieve both goals: China, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Maldives, Mongolia, Peru, Syria, and Tunisia. The study, “Progress toward Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on maternal and child mortality: an updated systematic analysis,” is published in The Lancet.
“If the world is going to achieve these goals, we need to see immediate, concerted action on the part of governments, donors, and bilateral agencies to move these trends in the right direction,” said Dr. Rafael Lozano, Professor of Global Health at IHME and the paper’s lead author. “We know that accelerated progress is possible because we are seeing it already.”
Over the past decade, a significant number of countries saw declines of more than 8% annually over the past decade – twice the global rate – including Kenya, Morocco, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Afghanistan, which has
– more –
one of the worst maternal death rates in the world, has seen a 4.9% annual decline in maternal mortality since 2000, after increasing 2.2% annually over the previous decade. In Cambodia, Ecuador, Rwanda, Malaysia, and Vietnam, child mortality fell by 5% annually or higher, while globally the child mortality rate fell by 2.6% annually.
Part of the decline in maternal mortality in much of sub-Saharan Africa is due to improved prevention and treatment efforts for HIV/AIDS, the researchers note. In looking for other key drivers for the mortality declines, the researchers point to global health programs, such as the scale-up of insecticide-treated bed nets in countries with a high malaria burden, and to country-level programs, such as the government of India’s ongoing investment in rural health clinics. In 2010, IHME published a paper showing that educational attainment among women of reproductive age accounted for 51% of the decline in child mortality.
“We must not let the focus on MDGs detract from what has been real and impressive progress with maternal and child maternal survival, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Alan Lopez, Head of the University of Queensland School of Population Health and one of the report’s co-authors. “It is critical that this progress be maintained and that lessons learned from this success be rapidly transferred to other countries where progress has been less impressive.”
One area that needs attention is neonatal deaths. Even as the mortality rate in children under 5 fell by 2.2% annually, the mortality rate for infants during the first week of life declined by only 1.7% annually.
“The difference between neonatal mortality and overall mortality in children under 5 might seem small to someone outside of global health, but it’s worrisome because it can be a sign of other problems in the health system,” said Dr. Haidong Wang, Assistant Professor of Global Health at IHME and one of the paper’s co-authors. “If countries can’t make sure that children survive during that first week, they may not be effectively providing prenatal care to mothers, good obstetrical care during the birth, or important follow-up care.”
For these new estimates of child and maternal mortality, researchers used the most recent data and advancements in statistical tools to provide policymakers with more precise information as the world intensifies efforts to achieve international targets for maternal and child health. The authors acknowledge that the new estimates may lead to some confusion among policymakers, who have seen a series of analyses on maternal and child deaths in recent years, including two previous sets of estimates from IHME. For example, maternal death numbers for 2005 were estimated to be 546,000 by the United Nations in a 2007 study and are now estimated to have been 347,000 in this study, a difference of 35%. Reports on child deaths over the years track more closely, mostly because of the larger amount of data available over a long period of time.
“People have argued that we should not be updating these numbers every year, but we think that as new data are available and as methods are being improved it is crucial to show governments, funders, and the public at large how much progress is being made,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of IHME and one of the paper’s co-authors. “Decisions are being made today that could mean the difference between thousands of lives being saved or more women and children dying. That is why improvements in data gathering and measurement are important for guiding policymakers as well as holding them accountable.”

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research center at the University of Washington that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world's most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME makes this information freely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health.

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Monday, 26 September 2011

Zambians in Sheffield congratulate Sata on his election as President

Mueti Moomba

The Executive of Network Zambia Sheffield (UK), on behalf of all Zambians resident in Sheffield wish to congratulate the newly elected President of the Republic of Zambia ,Mr Michael Chilufya Sata on his victory in the Presidential elections. 
This was according to a statement issued by network chairperson, Mueti Moomba.
''We hope under your Presidency that we shall see the rule of law upheld, a zero tolerance stance on Corruption , provision of healthcare for all and labour laws which will be favourable to employees.'' Said Moomba.
''We wish your God's blessing and direction as you lead our great nation for the next 5 years.
May God be with You.'' he said

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dies at 71

NAIROBI, Kenya — Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees and who went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, died here on Sunday. She was 71.
Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, center, in Nairobi in 2004.
Wangari Maathai of Kenya holding her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, 2004

The cause was cancer, her organization, the Green Belt Movement, said. Kenyan news organizations said she had been treated for ovarian cancer in the past year and had been in a hospital for at least a week when she died.
Dr. Maathai, one of the most widely respected women on the continent, wore many hats — environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977. Its mission was to plant trees across Kenya to fight erosion and to create firewood for fuel and jobs for women.
Dr. Maathai was as comfortable in the gritty streets of Nairobi’s slums or the muddy hillsides of central Kenya as she was hobnobbing with heads of state. She won the Peace Prize in 2004 for what the Nobel committee called “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” It was a moment of immense pride in Kenya and across Africa.
Her Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees in Africa and has helped nearly 900,000 women, according to the United Nations, while inspiring similar efforts in other African countries.
“Wangari Maathai was a force of nature,” said Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nation’s environmental program. He likened her to Africa’s ubiquitous acacia trees, “strong in character and able to survive sometimes the harshest of conditions.”
Dr. Maathai toured the world, speaking out against environmental degradation and poverty, which she said early on were intimately connected. But she never lost focus on her native Kenya. She was a thorn in the side of Kenya’s previous president, Daniel Arap Moi, whose government labeled the Green Belt Movement “subversive” during the 1980s.
Mr. Moi was particularly scornful of her leading the charge against a government plan to build a huge skyscraper in one of central Nairobi’s only parks. The proposal was eventually scrapped, though not long afterward, during another protest, Dr. Maathai was beaten unconscious by the police.
When Mr. Moi finally stepped down after 24 years in power, she served as a member of parliament and as an assistant minister on environmental issues until falling out of favor with Kenya’s new leaders and losing her seat a few years later.
In 2008, after being pushed out of government, she was tear-gassed by the police during a protest against the excesses of Kenya’s well-entrenched political class.
Home life was not easy, either. Her husband, Mwangi, divorced her, saying she was too strong-minded for a woman, by her account. When she lost her divorce case and criticized the judge, she was thrown in jail.
“Wangari Maathai was known to speak truth to power,” said John Githongo, an anticorruption campaigner in Kenya, who was forced into exile for years for his own outspoken views. “She blazed a trail in whatever she did, whether it was in the environment, politics, whatever.”
Wangari Muta Maathai was born on April 1, 1940 in Nyeri, Kenya, in the foothills of Mount Kenya. A star student, she won a scholarship to study biology at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kan., receiving a degree in 1964. She earned a master of science degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
She went on to obtain a doctorate in veterinary anatomy at the University of Nairobi, becoming the first woman in East or Central Africa to hold such a degree, according to the Nobel Prize Web site. She also taught at the university as an associate professor and was chairwoman of its veterinary anatomy department in the 1970s.
A day before she was scheduled to receive the Nobel, Dr. Maathai was forced to respond to a report in The East African Standard, a daily newspaper in Nairobi, that she had likened AIDS to a “biological weapon,” telling participants in an AIDS workshop in Nyeri that the disease was “a tool” to control Africans “designed by some evil-minded scientists.”
She said her comments had been taken out of context. “It is therefore critical for me to state that I neither say nor believe that the virus was developed by white people or white powers in order to destroy the African people,” she said in a statement released by the Nobel Committee. “Such views are wicked and destructive.”
In presenting her with the Peace Prize, the Nobel committee hailed her for taking “a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular” and serving “as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights.”
Dr. Maathai received many honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, as well as awards, including the French Legion of Honor and Japan’s Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
She is survived by three children, Waweru, Wanjira and Muta, and a granddaughter, according to the Green Belt Movement.
Former Vice President Al Gore, a fellow Peace Prize recipient for his environmental work, said in a statement, “Wangari overcame incredible obstacles to devote her life to service — service to her children, to her constituents, to the women, and indeed all the people of Kenya — and to the world as a whole.”
In her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dr. Maathai said the inspiration for her work came from growing up in rural Kenya. She reminisced about a stream running next to her home – a stream that has since dried up – and drinking fresh, clear water.
“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness,” she said, “to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”  

Courtesy of New York Times   

Female Journalist Lays down expectations for the newly elected government

The Zambian people on September 20, 2011 went to the poll cast their vote. Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) was elected as President of the republic of Zambia. Last week the country was filled with excitement. But now the excitement is slowly fading. meaning, it’s time to get back to business and that’s exactly what Zambian Journalist Lwanga Mwilu has done. She has laid down her expectations as a woman and journalist.
Ms Mwilu expects the following-:

Lwanga Mwilu

1.My expectation is that more women will be involved in key leadership and decision making positions. It is only when women are in positions where they can influence policies and make decisions that our issues are made prioritised.

 2.I also expect the new government to ensure that girls and women have increased opportunities to education so that more of us can compete fairly for jobs and whatever else. Right now illiteracy and lack of economic empowerment are some of  the main problems experienced by our women.

3. As a journalist, my expectation is that the government improves the legal framework within which we operate. Right now there are so many oppressive laws that hinder our work and compromise the editorial independence of public media. It would be great if this government let the media do their work without interference.

You heard Ms Mwilu’s expectations for the government. What are your expectations as a woman to the newly elected government? Please comment or email

Friday, 23 September 2011

Umoyo Women of Substance pledges to work with President elect Michael Sata's government

Norah Chisanga

Umoyo Women of Substance International (UWSI) says time has come for women to help rebuild Zambia under president elect Michael Sata’s government.

UWSI founder Norah Chisanga said in an interview that her organisation will seek to dialogue with the newly elected government.
 ‘’ It’s time for UWSI women to get up and work hard to make sure they get their place in the Zambian society, it’s time to help rebuild Zambia,’’ she said
“When MMD was in it’s infancy, there was a lot of noise and a lot of  women organisations erupted but a lot of things were not carried on as these groups disassociated themselves from government, therefore it’s not easy to be able to measure what support the previous government gave,’’ she said, when asked whether the MMD government paid attention to issues affecting women.
She further said her organisation will seek audience with the president on views relating to working with women especially in political and community issues, with regards to empowering women.
‘’The Zambian women were broken they had no voice, they must now stand up as one to the challenge. Now is the time to get a place on the policy and governance table with the ruling government and put up policies to empower them,’’ she said.

             The group will provide opportunities for debate on current issues facing women today.
o    the Umoyo Woman will embrace all women from different classes and get together in finding ways of making their voice heard in Parliament
o    The Umoyo Women will help each other understand good governance and policies in order to play a vital role in the lawmaking of their country.
o    The Umoyo Woman will endeavor to lobby the government in power to identify the importance of involving women in the law making process and fight for equal representation of women in Parliament.
o    The Umoyo Woman will explore ways in which women will undertake small businesses and identify financial organisations to give support in fornm of small loans and business plans

  • Values and Principles of the UWSI woman.
    • We believe in the personhood of the UWSI woman, and that their rights are an inalienable, indivisible and integral part of universal human rights
    • UWSI believes in acknowledging, valuing and rewarding women’s paid and unpaid labour in the private and public.
    • UWSI believes in solidarity, partnerships, networking, and commitment to young women’s leadership and an inter-generational transfer of skills and knowled
    • UWSI believes in nurturing feminist principles and promoting feminist leadership.
    • UWSI believes in our own diversity and recognise the benefit of working with diverse
    • institutions and individuals.
    • UWSI believes in, and encourage partnerships and alliances with men who are committed to the empowerment of women.
    • UWSI believes in the growth and long-term sustainability of organisations led and managed by women in a democratic, transparent and progressive manner.
    • UWSI believes that the African women’s movement is part of a broader movement within and outside Africa, aimed at creating an enabling environment for good governance, social justice and equality, and which tries to counter the negative consequences of globalisation
    • UWSI believes that our work will be linked to that of a Global Women’s Movement which has worked hard for gains for women and which is sustained by the voices, hands and work of women from all over the world