Posts tagged as: women

Zimbabwe:Raising Hope – From Street Child to Mother

Abandoned as children, women in Harare are now teaching one another to fight for their futures.

A bright pink comb is perched jauntily on Edith Kanengoni’s head. It bobs and weaves defiantly as she stirs a pot of maize porridge bubbling on an open fire, while jiggling the toddler strapped to her back to sleep.

Her three older children are playing around the fire. Kanengoni (25) is raising them in a shack on the banks of the Mukuvisi River – it coils, putrid and heavy with industrial waste and raw sewage, through the densely populated suburb of Mbare in Harare.

Nobody taught Kanengoni how to be a mother.

Her own died before she reached puberty, as did her father. Left with relatives, who beat and mistreated her, Kanengoni eventually ran away from the rural village of her birth, without much schooling and no money. She was 15 when she came to Harare – naive, if not clueless, scared and not knowing anyone.

By that time, the capital’s streets had already become home, or a source of income, to thousands of children, as Zimbabwe’s battered economy and persistent droughts plunged families into poverty and parents succumbed to Aids.

In 2007, almost one in three children in Zimbabwe – 1.6-million – had lost at least one parent and were orphaned, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said in a statement.

A 2004 report by the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children – in collaboration with the Harare Task Force on Children Living and/or Working on the Streets and Unicef – says an estimated 5 000 children were on the streets of Harare during this period.

Researchers found that many of these children turned to the streets because of a breakdown in the family or sexual or physical abuse, only to then be treated with scorn or once again subjected to rape or other violence. Some participated in sex in exchange for goods or protection.

Now a new generation of children is being raised on the streets by mothers who were street children themselves and are ill-equipped to be parents, explains Enias Marama, a child protection officer at the Italian humanitarian organisation Cesvi.

The nongovernmental organisation runs the House of Smiles in Harare, a drop-in centre for abandoned or orphaned children.

“These street mothers had no role models. Most of them lack basic life skills and parenting skills – knowledge we would take for granted,” says Marama. “The majority of these young mothers come from broken families, particularly if their own mothers died. When the father remarries, they are pushed out to the streets to beg.”

Marama says many young women are sexually molested as soon as they arrive on the streets. There is no one to protect them.

“You can imagine how vulnerable a girl in puberty is. She can be forced into unprotected sex by outsiders or other street children. Many then get sexually transmitted diseases or fall pregnant.”

Within two years of Kanengoni’s arrival in Harare, she had a child with a man who also lived on the street. Their son is now eight years old.

“I gave birth here because I didn’t have the money to visit a clinic,” she says, gesturing in the direction of the Mukuvisi shores where, among piles of dirty plastic containers, more makeshift shelters are knitted together against wind, rain and sun.

The baby fell ill when he was a few months old.

“[His] head started swelling and blood-like seepage started oozing from his head,” Kanengoni explains.

Not being able to a afford a doctor or hospital – and, in fact, not realising it was even an option – Kanengoni took the baby to a faith healer. The young mother trusted him, implausible as his advice would seem.

“[He] prayed and gave my son some holy water and gifted [us] stones together with prayer instructions.” This, Kanengoni believed at the time, healed her son.

She now says she was deceived. Not only is she a regular at the local clinic these days, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), she also encourages other street mothers to take their children there.

Kanengoni is a peer educator – one of 10 women recruited and trained by the House of Smiles to help the other street mothers get medical help and improve their parenting skills. It is part of an outreach programme to women on the Mukuvisi that has been running for about two years.

Marama explains: “They are making a big difference because the other women trust them and confide in them. Edith has become a real leader in her area.”

“Our life skills [training] start with the mothers. They will not be able to look after their children if they can’t take care of themselves,” Marama says. “A big issue is to provide them with sanitary pads – it is important to help restore their dignity.”

Women are also given sexual and reproductive health advice.

Kanengoni says she doesn’t want more children. “I discussed with my husband which family planning methods to use and had an implant as my family planning method, to which my husband agreed,” she says.

It is this confidence to assert her rights that she now imparts to the other women, many of whom are sex workers.

Sensitive matters

Rusty rail wagons in an abandoned locomotive yard in Harare is where Privilege Zvirevo (22) came as a teenager to earn a pittance. Having left school early, she had no skills.

“I was going to a disused National Railways of Zimbabwe site to work as a sex worker,” she says.

That was before she fell pregnant with her first child, Zvirevo explains. Her daughter, now six, was taken to a children’s home when Zvirevo – who claims her own mother beat her up before she fled home – couldn’t look after the child.

The girl ended up with Zvirevo’s grandmother. Her nine-month-old baby and a child of three are still in Zvirevo’s care, who says she sells sweets, beer and airtime.

Marama says it is important to empower the young women to negotiate for safer sex. “It is not an easy process. The abuser will always ‘dangle a carrot’ such as the promise of more money for sex without a condom. She is in the weaker position, so we have to empower her to insist on protection.”

The women are helped to get tested for HIV and to use antiretrovirals correctly if they test positive. The peer educators make sure street mothers also know to have their children tested for HIV if they are infected themselves.

“We tell them to immediately take their children to the clinic if they aren’t well,” Marama says. “We also work with them to get their children immunised [against childhood diseases].”

He explains: “You have to approach these matters with sensitivity. So a peer educator will explain informally that you can’t leave a sick child in a shack and go looking for your boyfriend all night if they have noticed that happening.”

If there is an outbreak of diarrhoea, for example, they will get the mothers together and tell them how to sterilise water.

“They need to be able to respond to what they see,” Marama says.

So popular has Kanengoni become that even the men in the community are seeking her confidential advice.

Kanengoni and the other peer educators are all volunteers, but get their “reward” in the higher status they enjoy in the community.

“The difference in the educators is incredible. We have seen such a tremendous change in the way they look at issues and assume authority. They now have pride and the more knowledge they get, the more they gain in confidence.”

It is not only this knowledge they are slowly imparting to the other mothers, Marama says, but also self-belief in their parenting.

Outside her shack on the river bank, Kanengoni has dished up a small bowl of maize porridge for each of her bigger children. The family is gathered around the fire. “Eat,” she smiles, and strokes the back of one of her girls. “You have to grow strong and healthy.”

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Tanzania:Dear Women, Don’t Turn a Blind Eye Towards These Cancer Signs

By Dr Chris Peterson

If you are relatively young and healthy, gynaecologic cancer signs probably aren’t on your radar, hence you’ve not paid attention. But they should be.

Statistics show many women in Africa are increasingly getting gynaecologic cancers such as endometrial also known as uterine, ovarian or cervical cancer.

All women need to be vigilant about signs, but women in their 30s and older should pay particular attention to their bodies. It’s crucial to know what symptoms to look out for.

Warning signs women shouldn’t ignore

1. Abnormal vaginal bleeding: More than 90 per cent of women who get endometrial cancer experience irregular bleeding. For post-menopausal women, any bleeding including spotting should be evaluated by the gynaecologist. For premenopausal women, bleeding between periods, heavy bleeding, or bleeding during intercourse should be evaluated.

2. Unexplained weight loss: If you have lost weight by exercising and eating healthy, keep up the good work! But if you haven’t changed your diet or exercise habits and lose over 5kgs, this could be a sign of cancer.

3. Being tired all the time: Most of us get run-down from juggling a busy week at work, running errands and taking care of our families. But ongoing fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest can be a sign of a bigger problem. If you are constantly tired for more than two weeks, don’t assume your busy life is the only cause.

4. Vaginal discharge coloured with blood: Bloody, dark or smelly discharge is most likely a sign of infection. But it can be a sign of cervical or endometrial cancer too.

5. Swollen leg: If one of your legs look or feel swollen for no apparent reason, this may be the sign of advanced cervical cancer.

6. Feeling full all the time: Trouble eating or always feeling full are also common symptoms of ovarian cancer. Talk to your doctor if unintended changes in your eating habits lasts for more than two weeks.

7. Pain in the pelvis or abdominal area: If you experience constant pelvic or abdominal pain for more than two weeks, see your doctor.

8. A bloated belly: It is common to feel bloated after heavy eating or drinking especially during your menstrual cycle. But if that bloated feeling doesn’t go away even after two weeks or period is over, see your doctor.

9. Constantly needing bathroom breaks: Beware if you suddenly have to go to the bathroom all the time or need to take frequent or urgent bathroom breaks due to the pressure on your bladder. This is typically a sign of cancer.

10. Persistent indigestion or nausea: Occasionally, persistent indigestion or nausea can be a warning sign of a gynaecologic cancer. See your doctor if you find yourself feeling queasy more often than usual.

In many cases, these symptoms don’t mean you have cancer. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

See your gynaecologist if you have more than one of these symptoms for two weeks or longer.

sonchrispeter@gmail.com

Tanzania

Agriculture Minister Orders Sacking of Three Officials

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Angola:Economy Diversification Demands Major Investment in Agriculture

Luanda — The country’s economic diversification process necessarily demands major investment in agriculture, be it in technical and technological resources or in the area of infrastructures, as well as in terms of human resources, this being a conclusion reached by the Ministry of Social Action, Family and Promotion of Women.

As regards this issue, the said sector thinks it important to continually invest in rural women, guaranteeing their access to land, training, credit and the small technologies of production and transformation of crops, with a view to combining those moves with the agribusiness sector.

This conclusion comes on a press note that reached ANGOP last Sunday, in the ambit of the commemorations of the International Day of Rural Women, marked on October 15.

The note states that the commemorative events in the ambit of this date will happen throughout the month of October in the whole country and also reflect on the results of the national consultation forum on rural women held in the year 2014.

The document reminds that the opening ceremony of the 2017/2018 Agricultural Campaign, which was chaired by the Head of State, João Lourenço, unequivocally showed that agriculture represents a priority on the agenda of the Angolan Executive, also with a view to contributing to the improvement of rural women’s living conditions.

The International Day of Rural Women is being celebrated under the motto “Promoting Rural Women to boost local development and fight against poverty”.

Angola

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Riviera High School Club Wins Swimming Competition

By Jejje Muhinde

Riviera High School Swimming Club were crowned champions of a one-day swimming competition organised by Thousand Kilo’s Women Canoe and Aquatic Swimming Club on Saturday at Hill Top Hotel, Remera.

Riviera Club took the winner’s trophy after four of their swimmers dominated the mixed 200m relay free style category beating Hill Top and Lycee De Kigali Swimming Clubs that came second and third, respectively.

Riviera swimmers including; Cleon Sexerano, Noella Mutabazi, Daniel Audra Casillas Iyongere and Nelly Ange, finished top in different age group categories.

Hill Top Swimming Club won the boys’ 6-15 years (50m breaststroke) category, with Chris Noah clocking 30 seconds to finish ahead of Alex Kamali (32 secs) from Vision Club and Waridi Nshimiyimana, who finished third in 35 seconds.

The 16 and above years girls’ 100m break stroke category was claimed by Claudette Iradukuda from Karongi Swimming club, who clocked 3 minutes and 28 seconds, while the boys’ category was won by Steven Rukundinka from CBS in 2 minutes and 37seconds.

Over 40 participants took part in the competition whose objective was to attract and encourage more women to join the sport, according to Thousand Kilo’s Women Canoe and Aquatic Swimming Club Secretary General, Luvarie Uwambajimana.

He said: “Because of our culture, some (Rwandan) women fear to expose their bodies in public, and I think, for this reason, they don’t take up the sport, so we tend to educate and encourage more girls to take up the sport, that’s why we formed this club as women to inspire others.”

Rwandan Swimming Federation president, Samuel Kinimba Ufitimana, thanked the organisers, the sponsors as well as encouraged participants, who did not finish on the podium to train harder for the next competitions.

Rwanda

Hilton Shopping for a Second Hotel in Rwanda – Official

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Women Represented At 6 Percent in Media, Says Afjo

By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

Burundian women journalists say they are not sufficiently represented. They accuse media officials of underestimating them. The Association of Burundian Women Journalists calls on media officials to increase the representation and participation of women in the media.

The number of male journalist is far superior to that of women, Agnès Nindorera, Chairperson of AFJO said on 11 October. The study conducted by the National Communication Council (CNC) reveals that male journalists represent over 82% while women represent only 17.9%. The same study reveals that women who participated as resource in Burundi media represent only 40%.

The chairperson of AFJO said in the meeting held in May 2017 that some media officials were still unconvinced that women and men have the same ability to work. They say women are fragile and cannot conduct a fieldwork like men, hence preferring to recruit more men than women, says Nindorera. “Women are capable. They have attended the same schools as men, so they have to benefit from the same advantages at work,” she says. She calls on females to break with sexist prejudices. She encourages women journalist to show that they are capable.

In Burundian culture, women’s importance is minimized. Burundians consider that women are capable of some household chores that do not require much effort and reflection.

Jérome Ndikuriyo, Director General of Communication, said the number of women occupying posts such as Director or Chief Editor in media varies between 0% and 40%.

Women journalists are underestimated at work

Yvonne Munyaneza, a journalist at Radio Rema, accuses media officials of taking women as lazy and incapable of working. “I personally believe that I am able to do a good report on ground, even in Somalia. But I’m convinced my editor cannot trust me. He will say that women cannot do battlefield reporting, “she said. For her, these are prejudices that everyone should break with.

Fidélite Ishatse, a journalist at the Radio Voice of America, deplores the fact that the majority of Burundian journalists do not consider gender parity when reporting. “Rarely do I hear women express themselves in the media,” she says. She calls on journalists to interview both men and women.

Edouard Nimbona, Executive officer at the Iwacu newspaper, believes that women should not be discriminated in their media. “They are as intelligent and responsible as men,” he said.

However, he finds that in some activities and jobs, women need special treatment. He says Burundians’ mentality and culture require men not to expose the lives of women.

Policeman Denies Raping Girl in Cell

By Ndung’u Gachane

A police officer has denied that he defiled a 13-year-old girl inside a cell in Murang’a.

Mr Laban Njogu, who appeared before Chief Magistrate Margret Wachira also denied a charge of committing an indecent act with a minor.

The court heard that Mr Njogu, attached to the Murang’a Police Station committed the offence on September 30 while the minor was remanded at the police station.

His application to be released on bond was objected by the Prosecutor Solomon Njeru, who argued that he may interfere with the investigations.

The magistrate will deliver the ruling on bond on Wednesday and directed that the suspect be remanded at Murang’a GK Prison.

The suspect was arrested and arraigned in court on October 6 after an article on his act was published in the Nation.

The incident was exposed by an inmate who witnessed the act.

The minor is being represented by the Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA) and Murang’a Senator Irung’u Kang’ata is the inmate’s lawyer.

Kenya

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Experts – Malnutrition Now Affecting Economic Growth

By Jonathan Musa

Mwanza — Malnutrition has been mentioned as a worrying problem that has been affecting education, health and the economic growth of Mwanza Region.

This was revealed over the weekend by the acting regional administrative officer for Economics and Production, Mr Johannes Bukwali, in a seminar aimed at fighting the rampant spread of the problem in the region.

The seminar attracted representatives from the government, non-governmental organizations, health practitioners, food and nutrition officers and entrepreneurs.

Presenting the statistics, Mr Bukwali said retarding accounted for 39 per cent among children under the age of five in the 2015/16 period while those who were affected by wasting accounted for 4.3 per cent.

Underweight children were recorded at 14.1 per cent. The statistics indicated that 27 per cent of children under the age of five suffered from anaemia.

At least 45 per cent of women aged between 14 and 49 suffered from anaemia, which is caused by lack of a balanced diet.

Meanwhile, Mwanza Region’s Food and Nutritional Officer Sophia Lazarus told The Citizen on Sunday by phone that their target in their attempt to control malnutrition among children under the age of five from 2016 to 2017 had not been easy as most people, especially in rural areas failed to respond to health campaigns and checkups.

“The region has a serious problem on stunting, particularly among children under the age of five. This has been caused by various factors, including poor diet among family members,” she said.

She explained that although stunting cases among children under the age of five was 39 per cent in Mwanza Region, there were now non-governmental organisations (NGOs) trying to fight stunting complications.

Among the factors blamed for the problem in the region is negligence by parents and guardians.

According to health experts, malnutrition occurs when a person eats a diet in which nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems.

This causes damage to vital organs and functions of the body.

Tanzania

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Zimbabwe:Govt Needs U.S.$1 Billion to Deal With Cash Crisis – Report

Photo: Daily Monitor

U.S. dollars (file photo).

Top government advisor Professor Ashok Chakravarti said Zimbabwe currently needs $1 billion to deal with the current liquidity crisis.

Professor Chakravarti was addressing the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe organised indaba which ran under the theme: Women Unmasking the Zimbabwe Economy in Harare.

“Dollarisation cannot be a successful strategy for the long term solutions facing the country. We are suffering from our decision not to move from the US dollar after the situation had partially normalized and now we have about US$300 million in circulation down from about US$ 600 million in 2009,” said Chakravarti.

“We need precisely around US$1 Billion to normalize the situation,” he said.

“Dollarisation was a result of the market forces and the government only rectified it through its budget in 2009. It is not a long term solution to solve the economic problems bedevilling the country… It has only worked in countries such as those in South America like Panama which has some sort of government to government pacts with the US government, thus it has a steady supply of the US currency,” he said.

However, he said despite the short supply of the greenback due to the absence of a steady supply, the good thing about dollarization was that it kept prices under control.

Turning to solutions, the former University of Zimbabwe economics Professor said the country should adopt the currency of its biggest trading partner South Africa as a matter of emergency.

“Let’s adopt the Rand and remove exchange control at our borders with South Africa. Having our own national currency is another option but the biggest problem is that people have lost faith in our own currency as a result of the previous experiences in 2008.

“I have told the government to adopt the Rand for the past nine years but, it is too reluctant to do so,” he said.

Chakravarti urged Zimbabweans not to panic in the current economic environment though he warned that prices of commodities will slightly continue to rise.

Zimbabwe

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Gambia: Former Circumcizer Explains Reasons for Chucking Up Circumcision

By Rohey Jadama

Former circumciser and FGM practitioner, Aja Babung Sidibeh Diab, asserted that she has stopped the inhumane practice of FGM, because she observed it caused more harm than good to women and girls.

The ex-circumciser made this assertion to journalists during their media field visit organized by the UNFPA, at her residence in Janjanbureh, CRR.

Madam Sidibeh who is now an anti FGM Activist and an Influential Women’s Leader in Janjanbureh, said the renown Maccarty Culture, is held at their compound in Sidibeh kunda; that her grandfather, Makang Sidibeh, was the first one to established a “Jujuo” otherwise a gathering of circumcised youth in the custody of a village elder.

“Five years ago, I circumcised sixty-three people, but two children fell ill. Some people said it is the witches and wizards that attacked them, but I said no to this and decided to take the children to the hospital,” she said.

She continued: “I took them to the hospital and it was found out that it was the unsterilized knife that caused the tetanus and they were treated by the Doctors until they regained their health. Because of this experience, I called the women for a meeting and told them that I have decided to stop practicing FGM, simply because I have observed that it has caused more harm to our children and young women. Therefore, I have stopped the practice,” she said.

Madame Sidibeh, stressed that she advised circumcisers that if it was her grandparents who gave them orders to circumcise, she is appealing to all of them to drop the knife.”

She added that before her decision to stop the practice, she was an ardent activist against GAMCOTRAP in the region; that she usually gives orders for the women not to listen to them. But that when she stopped the practice, they (GAMCOTRAP) bought Kolanut and “took me” as their mother.

“I told them that this is my culture but I have seen that it has caused more harm to our women and girls and I will join them to stop the practice. If God wills, the knives will be dropped and from Kartong to Koina. We have begun working to ensure that the practice is stopped.” she said.

The renowned Anti-FGM activist added that if her grandparents knew the health implications of FGM, they would not have practiced it.

Gambia

Euro Africa Group Proprietor, Wants to Be Heard in Camera

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Nigeria: Over $60bn Invested in ICT Since 2001 – Minister

By Prince Okafor

THE Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, had said that more than $60 billion has been invested in Information Communication Technology, ICT in Nigeria since 2001.

Shittu stated this at the sixth European Union-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos, with the theme: “Youth as Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation”.

The minister said: “The government of Nigeria has been conscious of the role ICT can play in national development and has, therefore, been committed over the last 15 years to ensuring that ICT facilities and services are expanded rapidly. So far, over $60 billion US dollars has been invested in the ICT sector since year 2001 when digital mobile services were launched.

Highest potential

“Since the democratic governance that was bathed in May 1999, the attention of the world returned to Nigeria as the country with the highest potential for investment on the continent.”

Shittu noted that the government is addressing the issues of investment in ICT infrastructure and ICT education and regulation in order to build on the successes of this digital revolution.

“We are very mindful of the fact that the youth play a key role in developing the ICT sector, and we are putting in place the right business environment and regulatory framework to allow our young people to unlock all the potential of digital economy. Globally ICT has changed the way people communicate, learn and conduct businesses. A World Bank econometric study carried out in 2009 showed that every 10 percent increase in ICT investment generates a 1.38 percent in GDP,” he said.

Shittu reiterated government’s commitment to mainstreaming innovations and ICT to enable growth and development for the country. He stated: “Our national strategic ICT roadmap, eGovernment master plan and national broadband plan outline our desired path to a knowledge-based economy where ICTs underpin service delivery, and provide the bedrock of activities in critical sectors of the economy.

Nigeria is in a digital revolution, we are moving towards interventions such as Smart Cities, ICT University, ICT Development Bank, ICT Park and Exhibition hubs, amongst others. These interventions cannot be done alone by the government; we need partnership and collaborative support of the organised private sector. Government would encourage EU to pool managerial and technical resources together for this establishment.”

Nigeria

Coca-Cola to Launch ‘Safe Birth Initiative’ for Ivory Coast and Nigeria

In line with its long-standing commitment to Women and the Well Being of Communities, Coca-Cola will support the… Read more »

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