Posts tagged as: gender

Gender Equality Gains Showcase At Rulindo Exhibition

By Michel Nkurunziza

Gender Monitoring Office, in partnership with Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rulindo District, yesterday launched a three-day exhibition showcasing Rwanda’s gains in gender equality initiatives.

The exhibition, that is in the framework of “Gender Accountability Day,” was organised under the theme, “Sustaining gender equality gains, accelerating change for inclusive growth.”

Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Espérance Nyirasafari, said gender-based violence (GBV) and child abuse are serious offences punishable by law and expressed appreciation on how institutions like the Judiciary and Police have stood up strong against the vice.

“Exploit Isange One-Stop Centres and remember that one of the ways of eliminating GBV and child abuse is breaking the silence. Development can never be attained or sustained when some continue to face discrimination and abuse from society in which they live and this is why the Government of Rwanda has maintained a strong stance in the fight against all forms of GBV,” she said.

Among the main exhibitors is RNP, whose stand hosts Mobile Police Station, Isange One-Stop Centre mobile van, and community policing activities.

Present at the launch was the Minister of State in charge of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana; the Governor of Northern Province, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi; and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Emmanuel K Gasana, among other officials.

‘GBV a matter of security’

IGP Gasana detailed Police’s commitment toward ensuring gender equality and promotion, saying GBV should be tackled as a matter of priority.

“RNP has put in place several mechanisms to address cases of GBV and child abuse but also reaches out to the public to educate them as a preventive measure,” he said.

The establishment of Isange One-Stop Centres ensures provision of holistic 24-hour service to victims of GBV under one roof so as to avoid re-victimisation, risk of spoiled evidence and delayed justice. There are 43 operational centres across the country.

Gasana also hinted on the expansion of Police’s outreach facilities like the mobile vans so that the force use in response to crime.

Going forward

The three-day exhibition is also expected to serve as an opportunity to discuss mechanisms to further improve institutional accountability to gender equality and GBV service delivery and also raise awareness on gender accountability and GBV prevention and response.

During that time, the Police mobile vans will be receiving and handling complaints from residents, while police officers will be conducting public awareness under the community policing framework.

Chief Gender Monitor Rose Rwabuhihi said: “We all have to ensure that the existing efforts and synergies toward promoting gender equality and combating GBV are maintained. We also have to ensure that gender equality principles remain everyone’s responsibility at all levels.”

The UN Women Representative to Rwanda, Fatou Lo, said: “Today women from all parts of the country are able to celebrate achievements made in gender equality. What Rwanda has achieved is very remarkable.”

The launch of the exhibition was attended by over 3,000 participants including stakeholders from public and private institutions, security organs, development partners, civil society organisations, local government leaders, as well as Rulindo residents.

The Gender Accountability Day is in the framework of the national governance and family campaign, which was launched last week in Kirehe District and run until December 2017.

Mauritius:Citizen Support Portal Launched in Rodrigues

press release

The Rodrigues Citizen Support Portal, a modern and practical online platform with a view to providing a better service to address complaints and queries of Rodriguan citizens, was launched by the Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence and Minister of Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, on 13 October 2017 at the Anse Aux Anglais Youth Centre in Rodrigues.

The online platform was launched in the context of the celebrations marking the 15th anniversary of the autonomy of Rodrigues. The portal which will be managed by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) is a joint initiative of the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with Mauritius Telecom.

In his address, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, recalled the prerequisite of putting in place such a platform which is called upon to become a one-stop department in citizen support, covering assistance in handling complaints, queries and guidance to the citizens.

He further highlighted that the initiative of extending the Citizen Support Platform to Rodrigues is part of Government’s ongoing efforts to broaden the democratic space and do even more for the Rodriguans enabling them to contribute to the modernisation of the country as Rodrigues is as an integral part of Mauritius.

According to Minister Mentor, the new Portal specifically designed for Rodrigues, accentuates the country’s autonomy by offering a platform for the Rodriguan population to communicate directly with the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and eventually shape up regional policies. He also called upon the citizens to make use of this online platform which has been put at their avail for the betterment of the country.

For his part, the Chief Commissioner of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, Mr Louis Serge Clair, recalled that in his last budget speech, he expressed the interest of setting up a Complaints Desk at the Rodrigues Regional Assembly to assist Rodriguan citizens to improve their living conditions. Thus, he welcomed the launch of the Citizen Support Portal in Rodrigues which according to him has come at an opportune time to help improve the quality of life of the Rodriguans.

The Chief Commissioner, appealed for a concerted effort between the public officers and the different stakeholders to collaborate and make of this platform a success while deriving the appropriate solutions to their queries and shape up a modern Rodrigues for the future generations.

The Rodrigues Citizen Support Portal which is a digital platform will embark Rodrigues in the Vision 2030 strategy for a digitalised economy and provide a 24-hour facility that can be accessed on computer, laptop or mobile phones for more convenience to Rodriguans and also offer a better service delivery to the Rodriguans by the RRA.

The platform will also promote an even greener island by encouraging a “paperless” interaction of the citizen with the authorities and a greater transparency and trust between the citizens and the Government and is accessible 7 days a week enabling citizens to monitor the progress of their application.

Moreover, it will allow the RRA to review political decisions based on suggestions and complaints recorded on the portal and harmonise and streamline the procedures of the different Commissions.

Mauritius

Workshop to Promote Gender Concepts in the Mauritius Police Force

Some 100 officers from various departments and units of the Mauritius Police Force participated in a workshop on the… Read more »

TRA Collects Sh64.65bn in First Quarter Revenue Boost

By By Alawi Masare

The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Zanzibar Zone , has managed to collect a total of Sh64.65billion, equivalent to 108 per cent of collection estimates in a period of three months from July to September, 2017.

The TRA Taxpayers’ Education Officer, Mr Saleh Haji Pandu, revealed this in his Gulion Office in Zanzibar when releasing a report on tax revenue collections and payments spanning the past three months.

Previously, he said, they were expected to collect Sh59.77 billion, equivalent to 101 per cent of tax revenue collection estimates from business operators, investors and other services including businesses for motorized vessels.

“This has been possible as a result of the big efforts that we have made, as an authority, to ensure an increase of Sh4.87 billion beyond the Sh59.77 billion that we collected previously,” said Mr Pandu.

Mr Pandu made a clarification on month-to-month revenue collections, saying in July they managed to collect Sh22.1 billion, in August (Sh21.3 billion) whereas in September Sh21.1 billion was collected.

He said in initial revenue collection projections over the months they targeted to collect Sh19.3 billion in July, Sh19.5 billion in August and Sh20.8 billion in September.

For his part, Zanzibar’s Planning and Finance minister, Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed, said despite the big increase in various tax revenue collections, more efforts were still needed to ensure a much bigger increase in revenue collections.

Tanzania

Gender-Based Violence ‘On the Decline’

The rate of gender-based violence has decreased compared to a few years ago, it has been said. Read more »

Tough FGM Laws Keep Numbers Down in Uganda, But Hotspots Still Rampant

opinionBy Evelyn Lirri

Beatrice Cheptoyet underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) at the age of 16. That was three decades ago.

At the time, it was common practice for girls from her Sabiny tribe as well as a section of the Karimojong tribes of eastern and northeastern Uganda to undergo the procedure as a rite of passage into womanhood.

A girl who was not circumcised was considered impure. She was called promiscuous and faced daily ridicule. She had little chance of getting married and was not be allowed to pick food from the granary or cow dung from the kraal.

“Even if you got married and bore children, you would still be called a child,” said Cheptoyet, who is now an anti-FGM crusader. “Every girl was therefore eager to undergo the rite, not knowing what dangers they were exposing themselves to.”

The mother of 10 has four scars on her right arm, known in the local Sabiny language as “mamitek,” which identify a girl who is circumcised. None of her five daughters is circumcised.

“I never wanted my daughters to go through the same pain I underwent,” said Cheptoyet.

She says her mission is to see an end to female circumcision, even though she admits it is a tall order.

Big threat

A law passed in 2010 banning FGM in Uganda has helped to bring the number of incidents down. Communities that continue to perform the rite do so secretly. Anti-FGM crusaders refer to such communities as hotspots.

Female circumcision often involves partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says there are about 200 million girls and women around the world who have gone through the cut. The consequences are both physical and psychological and can last a lifetime.

The procedure can cause severe bleeding, infections as well as complications urinating and during childbirth, UNFPA notes.

“FGM is a big threat to the reproductive health of women and girls,” said UNFPA country representative for Uganda Alain Sibenaler.

According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (2011), the FGM prevalence in the country stands at 1.4 per cent, but the figure rises in communities where the practice continues. This is despite the tough penalties imposed on those convicted.

Penalties

Such a person faces up to 10 years in prison. If the cut results in death, disability or infection with HIV/Aids, the punishment is life imprisonment. Anyone who provides aid or takes part in the practice in any way is liable, upon conviction, to a prison term of up to five years.

Kenya passed the law against FGM in 2011, while Tanzania did so much earlier in 1998.

Officials from the Sebei region of eastern Uganda say that despite the decline in the number of incidents the hotspots remain a challenge.

In Kapchorwa district of eastern Uganda, officials said the number of women who have undergone the cut declined from 970 per circumcision season in 1990 to as low as 120 cases by 2012.

In Kween district, a senior community development officer Saul Chebet said that while there have been no recent studies on the FGM prevalence rate, there is evidence to show the numbers have reduced drastically.

While this is encouraging, Kween resident district commissioner Kennedy Adolla Otiti said a lot more work still needs to be done to eradicate the practice.

“This is a deep-rooted culture and you cannot wipe out a culture in one go. But one day we hope we shall end it as more girls attend school and become aware of its dangers,” said Mr Otiti.

Yet even as pressure mounts to end the practice, former circumcisers like 61-year-old Prisca Yapkwobei feel that they have been left with no alternative source of income.

“We used to get a lot of money and many gifts including chicken and goats. We were also respected. Now we have been left with nothing,” said Ms Yapkwobei.

In the hotspots, female circumcision is no longer a ceremonial event held once every year. It happens sporadically such as when a woman is giving birth.

Uncircumcised married women facing stigma opt for this route in later years, officials said.

“Those who want to be circumcised seek the services of traditional birth attendants to perform the procedure during childbirth,” said Lillington Mukhwana, an official from Bukwo district.

Others take a trip deep into the forests and mountains at night and perform the rite.

Eliminating FGM

The UNFPA notes that the global target of eliminating FGM by 2030 will only be achieved if efforts are intensified to address the problem.

“We need to ensure adequate allocation for efforts to keep girls in school and provide access to health, legal and psychological services for survivors,” said Mr Sibenaler.

Over the past three years, UNFPA alongside the Church of Uganda and the Ministry of Gender, has been staging the annual anti-FGM marathon to raise awareness about the dangers of circumcising girls.

This year’s event was held on September 16.

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali said since the inaugural event in 2015, at least 15 communities from the three districts of Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo have abandoned the practice.

“There are still a few hotspots, but with improved education and road networks it is possible to phase out FGM in the region.”

Government to Pay Preschool Teachers

Photo: The New Times

(file photo)

By Nasra Bishumba

The Government will next fiscal year begin paying kindergarten teachers in public schools, the parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth heard yesterday.

Addressing the committee, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, said the decision is in line with the Government’s strategic plan to increase the number of children attending preschool.

Rwanda’s fiscal year starts in July and ends in June.

The minister said that, presently, teachers in public preschools only receive bonuses, which vary depending on the capacity of parents and communities in which they operate.

The plan, he said, is to increase the number of preschool-going children from the current 24 per cent of children aged between three and six years to at least 45 per cent in the next seven years.

Official statistics indicate that, in 2016, there were 2,757 public preschool facilities countrywide, up from 1,369 in 2010.

Some of these learning centres are run by parents under the Early Child Development programme, which is coordinated by the Ministry of Gender and Family Planning.

Munyakazi told the MPs that the numbers would increase gradually.

“When things are not working very well on our side, there is usually a reason, which is normally related to finances. That is the reason we continue to lag behind in terms of having all the three classes required for nursery school and qualified teachers. We, however, have a roadmap and we are working on addressing it,” he said.

Adult education

Meanwhile, Munyakazi told the MPs that Government has since broadened the curriculum for adult literacy classes beyond reading and writing, to also include English and general knowledge.

“This programme concerns those aged 16 and above. Originally, the idea was to teach people how to read and write but we have since taken another step forward and included languages like English, and general knowledge lessons for those who have already learnt how to read and write,” Munyakazi said.

He said in the national qualification framework that was approved this year, this type of education has three levels.

The first level is for those undertaking lessons in reading and writing, the second includes lessons in foreign languages and general knowledge, while the third level constitutes adult learners who can sit primary leaving examinations as a pathway to secondary school.

However, Munyakazi said there were still challenges related to shortage of classrooms for the programmes, but added that district authorities often help provide space in formal schools, places of worship, and district facilities.

MP Petronille Mukandekezi commended the Governmen’s decision to start paying preschool teachers, saying lack of a fixed salary affects the quality of lessons offered at this stage of learning.

“Preschool is very significant because it is the base of one’s education, therefore adding these teachers on the payroll is a great deal,” she said. “I am glad that a solution has been found. Parents had to contribute a monetary token of appreciation but I think this move by the Government will transform the entire system.”

Overcrowding

MP Edda Mukabagwiza also applauded the move but appealed to the minister to urgently work on the issue of overcrowding in existing preschools.

“I am happy to hear that these teachers will now be paid. I am, however, concerned about the issue of overcrowding. In places such as Nyakinama, a teacher takes care of over 80 children. In some areas, we found children studying from churches. You can work with community players to improve the situation,” she said.

Munyakazi admitted that the issue of overcrowding was a general one all over the country and largely blamed the situation on the past governments.

“In the past, the number of children in class used to be small not because people didn’t want to study but because someone used to deny them that opportunity. The current government provided full access to education to everyone and this made many people want to study yet the infrastructure wasn’t enough,” he said.

“That’s the challenge we have today but, gradually, and with support from our partners, we are fixing it.”

Asked by The New Times how many public preschool teachers the Government was looking to add to the payroll, Munyakazi said the ministry was yet to ascertain the number.

He was also non-committal when asked how much they were likely to pay a preschool teacher.

Nigeria: Govt, Power Oil Partner to Tackle Heart Diseases

By Omolabake Fashogbon

In its quest to arrest the surging cases of heart problems in the country, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has collaborated with Power Oil Healthy Heart Mission project to boost the fight against heart diseases.

The ministry which gave its nod to the vegetable oil maker’s initiative following the achievements the project has yielded in saving lives, also promised its support to expand the influence of the project.

At the official flag-off of the exercise, the Director, Women and Gender Affairs, Mrs. Annetu- Anne Aliu, noted that the exercise would cater for health challenges like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, body mass index and other related challenges at no cost, with greater consideration for women, the aged and other vulnerable groups.

Referring to the result of the survey carried out by the company which revealed that a higher percentage of women in Nigeria have lost their lives to heart disorder as a result of lack of awareness and access to basic medical information and regular health check-up, she encouraged all to key into the exercise which comes at no cost to know their health status and gain knowledge of the lifestyle to adopt to live a life free of diseases.

In her remark, the Public Relations Manager of the company, Mrs. Omotayo Azeez-Abiodun who expressed delight at the partnership, pointed out that the initiative has been on consistently for over three years at various states across the country, adding that latest developments would enhance the initiative which she said would see Nigeria heading towards a healthy nation.

The Power Oil Health Camp is a corporate social responsibility of the vegetable oil producer, endorsed by the Nigerian Heart Foundation. The exercise started off in 2003 and has so far expanded to 16 locations pan Nigeria.

Nigeria

More U.S. Backing ‘Forthcoming’ for Buhari’s Drives Against Corruption & Boko Haram – New Ambassador

The Nigerian embassy in Washington, DC – arguably one of the country’s key diplomatic outposts – has an ambassador at… Read more »

Action Plan Urged to Stamp Out Violence Against Women, Children

By Valentine Oforo

Violence against women and children remains high in most remote areas in the country due to the persistence of poor traditional practices, ignorance and unwillingness to shun such tendencies.

Tanzania Gender Network Programme (TGNP) project coordinator Zainabu Mmari yesterday told reporters at the sidelines of a three -day capacity building seminar that there was need for an action plan against gender-based violence.

Relevant stakeholders advocating for gender equity and equality remain optimistic that the five-year National Plan to end violence against women and children will play a major role in curbing the negative situation.

Tanzania

Aga Khan Arrives for Two-Day Official Visit

The founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), His Highness the Aga Khan, is expected in the… Read more »

Government Hard Hit By Own Move to Shut Down IDLO

By Samwel Owino

Key arms of the government and a number of ministries could be hit hard after the decision of the State to shut down the offices of the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) and stop its activities in the country.

Among the institutions that have benefited from IDLO activities include Parliament, Judiciary, Office of the Deputy President, Office of the Attorney General, the National Gender and Equality Commission, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the National Council for Administration of Justice.

Others include the ministries of Mining, National Treasury, Devolution and Planning, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya Law Reform Commission and Council of Governors.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told the Nation that he would check the areas they were coordinating with IDLO before knowing the consequence of their absence.

IMMEDIATE SHUTDOWN

“For now, I cannot really say how their closure will affect us because I have not done any assessment. I will give a comprehensive update later,” Mr Rotich said.

In a two-page letter dated October 5, the controversial chief executive of the NGO Coordination Board, Mr Fazul Mohamed, ordered the immediate shutdown of IDLO offices in Nairobi and asked that all active operations and programmes in Kenya be stopped immediately.

“Following the revocation of the Host Country Agreement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IDLO has effectively lost its legal status in Kenya… the Board therefore directs that you must immediately seek to obtain a certificate of registration under section 10 of the NGO Coordination Act to enable you to acquire the requisite legal status to allow you to operate in Kenya. In the meantime, all IDLO activities are hereby suspended with immediate effect,” Mr Mohamed said in his letter.

The State also asked Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, and the Director of the Financial Reporting Centre to freeze the accounts of IDLO held in Kenyan banks with immediate effect.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed last month withdrew the diplomatic immunities and privileges enjoyed by the organisation.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

IDLO’s technical support to various institutions in the country has seen the enactment of over 50 pieces of legislation since 2010 relating to representation of people, human rights, climate change action plan; mining legislation and over 15 laws relating to environment and natural resources management.

The organisation has worked in the country for the past eight years and has supported programmes aimed at creating awareness on constitutional implementation and the roles of various stakeholders, including development of periodic statutory reports by the Judiciary and key constitutional commissions.

It has also assisted in strengthening public participation through support to the office of Attorney General and the department of Justice in the ongoing development of the national public participation policy.

IDLO was involved with the Committee of Experts that developed the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, and the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution from inception to conclusion of its mandate.

The organisation is thought to have been targeted over its support for the Judiciary that Jubilee linked to the September 1 Supreme Court decision to nullify the presidential election.

Mauritius: New Cancer Centre to Be Constructed in Vacoas, Announces Minister Husnoo

press release

The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life will proceed with the construction of a new state-of-the-art cancer centre in Vacoas with the collaboration of the Hospital Service Consultancy Corporation (HSCC) Limited from India. Under mutual government agreement between India and Mauritius, the HSCC will assist the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life as consultant. The construction of the new cancer centre is expected to start early in 2018 and will be completed in about 15 months.

This announcement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, yesterday during the launching ceremony of a Cancer Screening Caravan by the NGO Link to Life, in collaboration with CIM Group. The Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Alain Wong, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Stephan Toussaint, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, and other personalities were also present on this occasion.

In his address, Minister Husnoo highlighted that October has been designated as the breast cancer awareness month and commended Link to Life and CIM Group for the laudable initiative of offering cancer screening to the population as it was the appropriate time to launch this caravan. This initiative, he underscored, is important as it will encourage people to come forward for screening as early diagnosis may not only save life, but also ease much pain and suffering. He also stated that cancer is the third cause of death in Mauritius, after diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

He pointed out that his Ministry welcomes programmes which supplement the work being done by his Ministry for timely screening and sensitisation of the population on cancer, its risk factors and measures that can be taken to prevent it. The caravan, equipped with ultrasound machines, will therefore add to the Ministry’s efforts in raising awareness and providing necessary facilities to members of the public, especially in vulnerable areas, he emphasised.

Furthermore, he added that the screening campaign organised by Link to Life and CIM Group is proof of the commitment of NGOs and the private sector to deal with major health issues.

Mauritius

Commonwealth Climate Finance Hub Work Session Examines Progress Report

A working session on the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CFAH/Hub), aimed at giving an overview of the support… Read more »

Namibia: Proposal for Compulsory Contraceptives for Schools

By Selma Ikela

Windhoek — Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has proposed compulsory contraceptives for school-going girls in order to prevent escalating teenage pregnancies. The minister is of the opinion that parents should give approval alongside the concerned girls before using such contraceptives.

Hanse-Himarwa suggested that public hearings be held to gather input from society, parents, learners, the church and other necessary stakeholders on the matter.

The minister made her input during the national gender advisory committee high-level dialogue on the national gender policy, organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

Hanse-Himarwa proposed the idea after the gender ministry’s permanent secretary Wilhencia Uiras pointed out that high teenage pregnancies were identified as a problem at the regional gender permanent task force.

The one-day event was held in Windhoek and was attended by regional governors, their advisors and ministers, deputy ministers and permanent secretaries, amongst other officials.

Hanse-Himarwa maintained the country has done and continues to do everything in its power to create awareness and sensitise learners to abstain from sexual intercourse.

“I know this is a controversial one and I will get a lot opposition and pressure from parents and churches but as I said, the problem is with us and sometimes we need to take unpopular decisions,” she said.

“Why can’t we have public hearings to gather input form society, parents, learners, churches and whomever are the necessary stakeholders that compulsory contraception to be given to learners?” she remarked.

The minister said a lot of discussion is expected to go into this. She added that at school level, parents and the concered girls should give their consent.

“Of course, there will be those who will say ‘my daughter will not be given contraception’ or the learner saying ‘I will not take contraceptives’, but at least let’s have a starting point. I say when they are sexually active, let’s give them contraceptives to prevent these escalating pregnancies. Those who choose not to take will not take but at least we will be able to help a quarter of those who say ‘indeed I need this or I want my girl to take this’,” she stated.

The minister added that forms will be designed and parents will give approval along with the daughters’ consent.

According to a newspaper report, Ohangwena Region has one of the highest rate of teenage pregnancies.

The report stated 109 pupils fell pregnant in Ohangwena during the first trimester this year, which includes 16 primary school learners.

Namibia

Slain Woman’s Father Says His Heart Is Heavy

THE father of the slain Otjomuise woman was too dumbfounded to speak yesterday at his home in Katutura. Read more »

Subscribe To Our Mailing List

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google
    Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes