PAMBAZUKA NEWS 179: Women and gender in postconflict reconstruction
A weekly electronic forum for social justice in Africa
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SELECTED HEADLINES FOR PAMBAZUKA NEWS 179
* Editorial: Mainstreaming a gender perspective in post-conflict situations
* Unacceptable Attack on Indymedia's freedom of expression
* Comment and Analysis: The sex industry as the world's second slavery
* Conflicts and Emergencies: Is the DRC sliding into war?
* Refugees and Forced Migration: Starving Peter to save Paul
* Development: UK DFID driving South Africa's development from the backseat
* Health: No food for Zimbabweans
* HIV/AIDS: The US Presidential election and its effect on AIDS
* Social Welfare: Proud to be African
* Environment: Sign on to urgent climate change
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*Women and other gender concerns in post-conflict reconstruction
People's experiences during conflict are not gender neutral. The impacts of armed conflict as well as the coping strategies adopted by people in the exigencies of the context tend to differ between men and women. Gender as an important element in determining vulnerability becomes even more acute in the conflict-affected situation.
However, men and women cannot be defined as homogeneous categories whose conflict experiences can be crudely divided along their gender-prescribed roles. It has to be recognized that, besides numerous gender-sensitive constraints, conflict also accentuates resourcefulness in adoption of coping and survival strategies with progressive and empowering gender role changes and fluidity thus occurring in such contexts.
The post-conflict reintegration and reconstruction processes offer a window of opportunity for enhancing women's and men's socio-economic security rather than for re-establishing the status quo ante, including the gender stereotypes and traditional gender division of labour. Therefore, the promotion of a more equitable, just and inclusive society with women and other previously vulnerable and socially excluded groups becoming full players should be one of the overall goals of post-conflict interventions.
Nevertheless, the new post-conflict reconstruction, institutions, structures, policies and laws that are put in place tend to lack the special gender sensitivity required in this context, and therefore they reintroduce the pre-war gender-biased positions and emphasize women's reproductive roles, eroding the strategic gains that accrue to women during war. Women's associations and groups therefore have important advocacy and advisory roles to play in the conflict-affected context to ensure serious consideration of gender concerns.
The importance of including gender concerns in all peace building, postconflict recovery and reconstruction has been recognized by a number of UN resolutions (such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325), meetings and other events in recent years. For example, both the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women and the 2000 Beijing +5 Conference covered this subject among other issues.
Despite this trend, consideration of women's concerns and other gender issues in post-conflict contexts, as well as in the general reintegration, reconstruction and peace-building processes, continues to be inadequate in research, policies, action programmes and debates on current conflicts. Thus the gender differences in human security in post-conflict situations continue to require focus.
Although consequences of armed conflicts affect all population groups, women appear to bear a disproportionate burden owing to the specific nature of the conflicts today. As far back as 1944, the International Labour Organization drew attention to the situation of women in the post-conflict context through the adoption of some standards on the issue. One of these standards is the International Labour Recommendation No. 71 concerning Employment Organization, Transition from War to Peace, which covers some of the vulnerable groups in the conflict and post-conflict context, especially youth, women and disabled persons. With specific reference to women and gender equality, the Recommendation states that: "The redistribution of the women workers in the economy should be organized on the principle of complete equality of opportunity for men and women on the basis of their individual merit, skill and experience, without prejudice to the provisions of the international labour conventions and recommendations concerning the employment of women."
The discussions that took place at the International Labour Conference in 1944 and a resolution adopted on the conflict issue also covered a number of concerns including employment of women. This was in recognition of the fact that special action is necessary to ensure that women as well as men do in fact benefit from the training, retraining and other measures undertaken for employment in the conflict-affected context and that the principle of gender equality is observed.
Still, the special situation of women and other gender perspectives related to this context remain under-emphasized in employment and other interventions. This trend can be used as one indicator of the general lack of gender perspective. An ILO Expert Meeting on the Design of Guidelines for Training and Employment of Ex-Combatants (July 1995), for example, observed that "there has been inadequate planning for women" in post-conflict societies and, therefore, called for action in this area. The pursuit of peace, reintegration and reconstruction needs to go along with equality to avoid compounding old problems, such as discrimination against women, social exclusion and the feminization of poverty.
The Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women (September 1995) acknowledges this and, therefore, has as one of its critical areas of concern, "the effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation". It recognizes that a peaceful environment is vital for women's advancement. It notes the serious human rights violations against women in such contexts (such as systematic rape, enforced prostitution, sexual slavery and other indecent assaults) as well as the large numbers of women and children among refugees, internally displaced persons and civilian casualties who tend to outnumber the casualties among combatants. Additionally, it draws attention to the heavy increase in the burden of women stemming from the rapid escalation of female heads of households and from caring for the large numbers of injured people. It acknowledges the important role of women and their resourcefulness in such situations. It calls, inter alia, for: women's greater participation in decision-making, conflict resolution and peace building; the protection of women in situations of armed conflict; a reduction in human rights abuses; promotion of the vocational and other skills training and self-reliance of conflict-affected women; and promotion of the human rights of women in such contexts. Gender analysis and planning require serious integration in conflict and post-conflict programming, such as in the fields of skills training and employment promotion, to ensure that such programming promotes gender equality.
Armed conflicts have significant impacts on households and the community. As confirmed in ILO studies, the major shifts in household structure are characterized by the drastic decline in the male population and the increase in the number of female-headed households. As a result, more women may engage in income-generating work, while some may lose access to land and labour or more secure livelihoods. In addition, women's work in the household increases due to the increase in the size of households often accompanied by the greater number of dependants, as well as due to the general deterioration of working and living conditions.
The drastic decline in the male population also means that there are large numbers of widows and single mothers in conflict-affected countries. Widowhood affects women's social status, physical safety, identity and mobility and their access to services as well as their rights related to property, land and inheritance. Women whose husbands are declared missing are facing even more difficulties, since their status is not officially recognized. Furthermore, displacement and the increase of violence contribute to the overall feeling of insecurity, uncertainty, and isolation, thus breaking social structures and community support mechanisms. Rebuilding depleted trust and cohesion within the communities is an important part of post-conflict recovery, as community rebuilding often reflects on the context-specific issues depending on the impact of conflict and violence.
The erosion of social capital has important gender implications during and after a conflict. Recent research showed that gender identities that play an important role in determining and restoring trust have significant implications for the roles of different organizations in rebuilding social capital. Institutions, organizations and informal networks that are major actors in shaping the conflict and the post-conflict recovery and in which, consequently, the social capital often erodes or reconstructs the first are more usually men dominated. On the other hand, the experiences show that women and women-run organizations that often build on solidarity of the experienced fear, violence and traumas tend to gain more trust by the communities and to play a critical role in bringing about peace and rebuilding the trust and cohesion in communities.
As identified in the ILO and other studies, armed conflicts impose challenges to the traditional gender roles, and men and women may be pressured to adhere to the traditionally imposed ideals of masculinity and femininity (ILO, 1998a). Men are often portrayed as the defenders of their culture and are expected to be aggressive, dominating and violent. On the contrary, women are proclaimed "mothers of the nation" and are expected to support their brothers, husbands and fathers.
The ability of men and women to adhere to these prescribed gender roles may cause frustration, loss of self-respect and trigger violence. For example, an ACORD study in Northern Uganda has found that the conflict crucially challenged the traditional norms of masculinity such as marriage, fatherhood, and material and security provision. Heavy militarization and displacement limited the ability of many men to provide for their families and fulfil their duties as husbands and fathers. Due to the lack of opportunities to gain assets (cattle or cash) necessary to enter married life, many young men were prevented from starting their families and getting recognition from their community. The study also showed that, although many men were not able to behave according to the norms of masculinity, it was difficult for them not to try to conform to these norms. Men's inability to reach these gender-constructed norms often means disempowerment in the public sphere, to which some retaliate by exercising power in the domestic sphere over their children and wives.
On the other hand, ideals of femininity in many cultures often embody willingness to find non-confrontational solutions and to work for the good of the community. As such, women are often connected to the rejection of war and conflict. However, women are also active members of political movements and armed forces because they are committed to the political, religious or economic goals of those involved in conflict. While during the conflict their participation is often welcomed, their gender identity becomes problematic once the communities start to recover.
Women's personal experiences related to increased participation in the political, social and economic sphere may challenge the existing gender relations and norms, as for many women entering into the public sphere represents an empowering experience. The traditional gender division of labour may break down as more women enter the labour market, often engaging in traditionally male occupations. However, the conflict and post-conflict recovery period may also revive traditional values, thus pressuring women to resume their traditional gender roles.
Since the nature of conflict and its impacts are likely to differ between and within communities of a conflict-affected country, it is best to undertake a community-based needs assessment utilizing participatory methodologies in order to understand and thus address localized issues in an inclusive manner.
Particular attention needs to be paid to those who might be excluded from regular community structures, as social exclusion is likely to increase for some groups during and after conflict (e.g. female ex-combatants, women who are viewed by their communities to have adopted socially unacceptable practices, those who are known to have contracted STDs including HIV/AIDS, etc). This approach is more likely to increase the visibility of women and the gender differentiated needs and interests arising out of conflict.
With respect to demographic changes, the evidence presented illustrates that the number of women who become the sole providers for their families increases as a consequence of conflict. Therefore, this increases their need for Women and other Gender concerns in Post-conflict Reconstruction. At the same time, the burden of women within the home tends to intensify. In order for women to participate in employment and training programmes which will assist them in achieving economic self-sufficiency, consideration must be given to the timing and location of training programmes in relation to the extent and nature of women's obligations.
Experience shows that reintegration programmes for refugee and internally displaced populations tend to neglect "remainee" populations, thus producing further conflicts and tensions. This situation therefore argues again for a more holistic approach to programming, with opportunities open to all community members rather than to specific beneficiary groups. Furthermore, it should be remembered that in Mozambique and Guatemala refugee women lost out because the skills they gained during their period of refuge were not sustained or followed up. Efforts should be made to utilize skills which have been acquired, such as training of trainers, etc. It should also be recognized that some refugees and displaced persons will not return to their places of origin and will construct a new life or continue in a new community. The line blurs between displacement and resettlement.
An opportunity emerges to correct gender stereotypes in educational materials and to increase the number of women trainers. In addition, there is an opportunity to draw women into non-traditional skill areas, given the shift in gender roles during conflict. The challenge is to identify skill areas into which women have moved and to support them (e.g. appropriate extension services in agriculture). Training in life skills is needed to assist people to adapt to the new environments in which they may be located (e.g. rural-urban migration).
Deterioration of the health both of women themselves and their family members as a result of the conflict may be a prohibiting factor to their participation in employment and training programmes and may restrict the kinds of activities they are able to undertake. However, additional income is necessary to pay for medical care.
It is necessary to identify survival or coping strategies which have had a positive transformative role in gender relations at the household and community level and to work toward supporting them through extension of appropriate employment and training opportunities. Additionally, it is essential to reduce women's resort to negative (indecent) strategies by providing alternatives and reaching out to those who may have become socially excluded and increasingly more vulnerable due to the coping mechanisms adopted (e.g. sex work).
The non-involvement of women in government and policy-making arenas and the often failure to cover gender issues in peace accords and other framework documents may indicate a lack of commitment to and possible hostility toward adopting gender-sensitive policies. Yet the fluid post-conflict situation can create a window of opportunity to promote gender equality in the employment field through national policy and commitment to international labour standards and the implementation of appropriate labour market interventions.
Failing to seize this opportunity may create the potential for women to be further marginalized and for gender inequality to persist. Hence, there is a need to build institutional partnerships in an effort to more systematically ensure that gender is taken into account at all levels and across all programme areas.
Finally, the collection and analysis of gender-sensitive labour data may be an important contribution to conflict prevention as part of essential early warning and response work. For example, recent studies suggest that a large percentage of unemployed young men are an indicator of potential instability, as they are prone to entering into the illegal drugs and arms trade or the ranks of militants and fighters. Consequently, the retraining or employment-creation response at the micro level may provide alternatives to participation in armed forces. Clearly there is a need for engendering pre-conflict preparedness and mitigation strategies, with a special focus on the micro level, to ensure proactive and effective post-conflict responses.
* Eugenia Date-Bah is director of the ILO InFocus (International Focus) Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction and former manager of the ILO Action Programme on Skills and Entrepreneurship Training for Countries Emerging from Armed Conflict.
* This article is based on extracts from 'Women and other Gender Concerns in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Job Creation Efforts'. The article is part of a collection of articles in a book entitled 'Jobs After War: A Critical Challenge in the Peace and Reconstruction Puzzle', edited by Eugenia Date-Bah and published by the InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction of the ILO. The publication documents some of the ILO's experience in tackling the post conflict job challenge. ILO publications can be purchased on line at http://www.ilo.org/publns or email email@example.com
Urgent action in support of Indymedia "An unacceptable attack on press freedom, free speech and privacy"
On 7 October 2004 two Indymedia Web Servers were seized from the US-owned web hosting company Rackspace operating in London (UK), at the request of the US Justice Department, which apparently acted at the prompting of Italian and Swiss authorities. Indymedia is a global alternative media network that provides challenging and independent reporting, particularly of political and social justice issues, with a newswire where any member of the public can publish their own reports and articles.
The seizure of the servers in London shut down around 20 different Indymedia websites including Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille, Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, and parts of Germany Indymedia. Many are still offline, those few that have returned have suffered data loss.
The particular legal framework under which the seizures took place is unknown. Five Days after the seizures there is still an almost total information blackout from the authorities in the UK, US, Switzeland and Italy. Indymedia still has no confirmation of who ordered the seizures, who took the servers in London, why the seizures took place, where the servers are now located, and whether they will be returned.
We are concerned over the growing use of international co-operation frameworks by Governments and Law enforcement agencies which can be used to obscure clear legal process, and call for openness and clarity in international co-operation, to ensure due process and that civil liberties are protected. Statements of support for Indymedia and condemnation of the shutting down of over 20 Media outlets have been recieved from The Electronic Frontier Foundation, The International Federation of Journalists, the National Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and many other organisations.
Indymedia UK condemns the seizure of the servers as an unacceptable and unprecedented attack on press freedom, free speech and privacy and asks for urgent solidarity action in demanding:
Please write to the British Home Secretary and the US Attorney General:
1. Expressing grave concern at the action taken against Indymedia.
2. Demanding the immediate return of the servers to Indymedia with all data intact.
3. Requesting a full investigation into the circumstances and legality of the action taken to seize the Indymedia servers and to close Indymedia websites, with the disclosure of the names of the organisations and individuals involved in the seizure.
Rt Hon David Blunkett MP Home Secretary The Home Office London - UK Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Ashcroft Attorney General US Department of Justice Washington - USA Email: email@example.com
Please send copies of letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org Organisations and individuals are also encouraged to issue their own statements in support of Indymedia and against the seizure of the servers. Please send copies to: email@example.com Additionally, organisations and individuals can add their statements of support at: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/298931.html For background on the Server Seizures see: http://indymedia.org/en/static/fbi
The world's second slavery
Recent years have witnessed a dramatically growing spiral in child sexual abuse and exploitation in almost all African nations south of the Sahara, to such a degree that at the July 2003 African Union Summit held in Maputo, Mozambique, 17 Southern African Campaign Against Child Abuse and Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation (SACO) member organisations, together with their international partners, tabled an urgent appeal to all African Heads of States and Governments urging them to address the plight of African children without delay.
SACO members' concerns are common to the whole of Africa. This sex industry is a new form of slavery and tied up to the world's unbalanced globalization. It is part of the US$7billion a year human trafficking trade, which, according to the US Department of State's 2004 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, already involves 143 (74.4%) of the world's 192 nations. Global intra-country trafficking in persons is estimated at between two to four million, and 600,000 to 800,000 people are estimated to be trafficked across borders each year.
Although to-date there is no concrete research to establish the exact level and extent of the problem of trafficking in children and young women for exploitation purposes in Africa, UNICEF has estimated that as many as 200,000 to 300,000 children are trafficked out of, and between West African countries every year. And although Africa continues to go on as if nothing is happening to its children and young women, the US Office to Monitor Human Trafficking has already indicated that 45 of its 54 nations (representing 83.3%) are involved in the trafficking of children and young people, especially girls and young women for commercial sexual exploitation and labour.
Research by The Movement for the Prevention and Protection Against Poverty, Destitution, Diseases and Exploitation (Mapode), a community-based, youth-at-risk focused Non Governmental Organization (NGO) which has implemented youth risky behaviour prevention and protection programs in Uganda and Zambia since 1997, indicates that Africa's receiving nations are mainly the Western Industrialized nations.
Mapode conducted two research projects, the first on trauma among prostituted women in 1998, and the other one on street girls in 2001. It has also just concluded its SACO supported study on 'Children and Young Women in Prostitution and Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Labour and Crime in Zambia'.
The findings of this research serve to confirm both SACO and UNICEF concerns and pose a serious challenge to child protection and the promotion of women's rights, not only in Zambia where the research was undertaken, but in Africa as a whole.
The research found that prostitution and trafficking of children and young women showed a dramatic increase. A total of 36.5% of respondents indicated that they had been trafficked, with 15% having been trafficked out, against 21.5% who said they had been trafficked in. Forty nine percent were aged between 11-18-years, 47% 19-26-years, and 3% from 27years and above.
Prostitution was found to be highly poverty driven. Sixty four percent gave their reasons for entering prostitution as poverty. Educational status was another factor: Nearly half (49.7%) had dropped out of school due to lack of funds. Interestingly, the period that 42.1% of Grades 8-9 girls dropped out of school corresponded with the decade 1990-2000, renowned for the implementation of the World Bank's Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) in Africa that resulted in Zambia's mass closures of its mining industry and huge state-owned parastatal companies that left thousands of Zambia's urban families almost destitute.
Preference for child sex was often talked about. As an 18-year-old prostitute, who operates with her 13-year old sister, said: "The men prefer the baby; she is a goldmine." Preference for unprotected sex was exceedingly high at 78%. Given the high prevalence of HIV infection in Zambia - estimated at 19.8% - each sexual encounter carries an extremely high risk. Sex charges ranged from the equivalent of US$1 to US$50 in hotels, with a preference indicated for European tourists and business executives who are believed to pay more and to be safer.
On the other hand, heath issues such as Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS were not priority concerns. As expressed by one prostitute: "You are telling me about AIDS. I know about it. We were 37 in our group. I am the only one remaining now! But no money no life! AIDS might come tomorrow or next year. I don't know. But hunger and rent are now - they cannot wait."
Sadly, as the Mapode research clearly demonstrates, this human trade is also gender biased. The majority of its victims are females, particularly female children.
The reason for targeting children and young women are many and varied. The 2002 ILO Global Report points out that children's childhood is their vulnerability, and that although children are generally less productive than adults, their child state makes them less assertive, and easier to abuse. They can be made to work longer hours in services such as domestic, factory, agriculture, and sex work, with little food, poor accommodation, and little or no benefits.
Legal Protections at local, sub regional and regional levels are for now non existent. For instance, whereas Zambia has ratified the two African Human Rights Charters and most UN Conventions, it has not domesticated them in its laws, and has not ratified the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Although Article 18 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights prohibits discrimination against women in the context of the family, it does not include explicit provisions guaranteeing the right of consent and equality in marriage, a situation that leaves room for exploitation and injustice to women and their children.
Urgent action is needed to end this 'second slavery' and the following conclusions and recommendations offer a starting point:
- Prostituting and trafficking of a person for exploitation degrades and erodes a person's humanity physically, morally, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually.
- Public awareness, interventions and legal protections are either limited or non-existent at local, sub regional and regional levels since protective regional and international laws have not been incorporated into domestic law. Only three SADC countries of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa have ratified the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
- Combating trafficking will be very difficult unless all SADC and AU nations form a united front. Africa must unite to declare this modern slavery a crime against humanity.
* Merab Kambamu Kiremire (Mrs,), a Development Worker with over 30 years working experience in community-related programs and projects is the Initiator and Director of MAPODE which operates in Zambia and Uganda. She was a FAWE Laureate 1997, and Africa Gender Institute (AGI) Rockefeller Associate 2004, University of Cape Town (UCT). She coordinated MAPODE research on Children and Young Women in Prostitution and Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Labour and Crime in Zambia in 2002, with financial assistance from Terre des Hommes of Germany.
* Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Africa: PAP President petitioned to urge African governments to ratify Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa
On the eve of African Human Rights Day, the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network has petitioned the President of the Pan African Parliament, Gertrude Mongella, to urge African governments to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa as a matter of urgency.
The petition, endorsed by 58 GEMSA members from 15 countries calls for the immediate ratification of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa by African governments. GEMSA members have emphasised that a true celebration of human rights is not possible if the rights of African women are not given full protection. GEMSA Chairperson, Colleen Lowe Morna said: "The failure by leaders to formally adopt the Protocol, after it took eight years to get it tabled, is unacceptable." At the Third Ordinary Session of the African Union in Addis Ababa in July 2004 governments and Heads of State undertook to sign and ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa by the end of 2004. They also committed to support the launching of public campaigns aimed at ensuring its entry into force by 2005.
The Protocol requires ratification by only 11 countries before it enters into force. Despite this, only five countries - Comoros, Libya, Namibia, Rwanda and Senegal - have ratified the Protocol. In the Southern African region, Namibia is the only country to have ratified the Protocol. GEMSA believes that it is deplorable that the mere six country signatures required for ratification have not been forthcoming to date. The Protocol is consistent with the position taken by governments in other regional and international instruments. It provides a framework for comprehensive reform of national legislation to guarantee the rights of women. It is therefore inconsistent for African governments to resist the ratification of this Protocol as they have made regional and international commitments towards advancing gender equality. At a time when women's rights continue to be threatened because of poverty, HIV/AIDS and other crises, GEMSA urges governments to send out a strong message of commitment to redressing gender imbalances by ratifying the Protocol. -ends-
For more information contact Janine Moolman Tel: +27 11 622 2877 or email email@example.com
Darfur and the African Union
Waranya Moni, Nairobi, Kenya
How can information reach out to the poor?
The article by Riaz Tayob of the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini) in South Africa is very education and informative. One wonders whether some of the African leaders spare time to read this kind of literature. It would should help them become exposed and understand on how to deal with their counterpart leaders from the North. Institutions like World Bank and IMF have literally taken over the roles and responsibilities of the states in Africa through pushing through the throat of high indebted countries in Africa with a bitter pill aimed at underdeveloping them. Like Riaz says, this is done through imposed free trade and liberation policies. Which from the countries in the North, who appear to have the control in these IFIs, did not in their time when they were developing dared not to follow. My observation is that this type of information, that Riaz is sharing, must reach out to more people in Africa. Especially the poor. The challenge remains how to do this in the context of the prevailing underdeveloped information communication systems. Even the language used, is of the oppressor, which very few urban based intellectuals can access. Who may use it for themselves and not even widely share this knowledge to empower the African populace. This is one big weakness with our 'educated' Africans. How then do you think Pambazuka could assist to popularise such information and widely communicate it to reach out to the grassroots. This I believe can be one way towards liberalisation of Africa from both social and economic bondage. If the people of Africa are empowered with information, knowledge and their anger evoked, they would control their destiny with or without the elite, whose interests appear to compromise with the oppressor as 'consultants' opportunists at the expense of the poor and Africa as a whole.
Editor's response: Like you, we think it is important that articles such as this should be widely circulated both at grassroots level as well as to parliamentarians. We would like your help in sending copies of Pambazuka News as widely as possible, and encourage everyone to write to their members of parliament with a copy of the article.
A review of The Men Do Not Eat Wings
The world of men is a world of biologically inherited privilege. The quality of men's lives often turns on how they balance that privilege with the responsibility it determines and reflects. For many men, the balancing act leads to false pride, cruel dominance, violence, and corruption. For many others, it leads to narrow lives of limited ambition trodden on seemingly predetermined paths marked by regret over dreams and hopes set aside. But for some men, the balancing act yields happiness and contentment in relationships built on equity and empathy. S. W. Omamo's new novel, The Men Do Not Eat Wings is set in that world, in Kenya. This richly peopled book is full of surprises. The style is unusual. Omamo chooses a nonlinear format that covers three centuries and two continents. It is a risky approach that is at times bewildering as the plot dances quickly across time and space. But the storytelling is good enough to keep the pages turning toward a wonderfully graceful ending. Omamo gives words and agency to forgotten people - people whose lives, as he says at the beginning of the book, " come and go without being told, without being recorded." The Men Do Not Eat Wings is a very fine book - one that announces Omamo as a major new voice in African literature. Rarely is a first novel written with such assurance and skill. This is an author to watch. The Men Do Not Eat Wings, a novel by S. W. Omamo (Richardson-Omamo Books, Kampala, Uganda, 2004). By Josiah Turubesa
Africa/Global: Communicating Health: An action guide to health education and health promotion in developing countries
The second edition of the above book is now available. It is a completely revised edition of the book first published in 1993. Chapters include: introduction to health education and health promotion, understanding behaviour, teaching and learning, communication planning, interpersonal communication and patient education, folk media, schools and young people, working with communities, mass media and advocacy and political change. A special feature of this new edition is the inclusion of mini case studies from the Leeds Health Education Database of evaluated health education interventions from developing countries. A dedicated web site for the book has been set up at http://www.communicatinghealth.com with details of the book, links, case studies and powerpoint presentations and training resources. Sample chapters in PDF format will be included in a forthcoming TALC CDROM. The book is available from TALC (http://www.talcuk.org).
Communicating Health: An action guide to health education and health promotion in developing countries. 2nd edition 2004 Macmillan Education. Hubley, J.
Déjà vu: Diamond Industry Still Failing to Deliver on Promises
This report presents the results of Global Witness and Amnesty International's survey into the diamond jewellry retail sector's implementation of self-regulation to support the Kimberley Process, the international diamond certification scheme launched to combat the trade in conflict diamonds.
South Africa: Evolving Democratic Governance in South Africa
Phiroshaw Camay and Anne J. Gordon
This new book is now available from the Co-operative for Research and Education and it explores the extent to which citizens, civil society organizations and government have fully exercised both their rights and obligations so as to entrench democratic governance in the ten years since 1994. This innovative and probing study includes a review of both theoretical and empirical literature from South Africa and elsewhere, a series of five in-depth case studies of interactions or encounters between civil society and government in the period since the early 1990s, and extensive analysis of other processes, institutions and events which have had a direct impact on governance. Many relevant practical recommendations aimed at entrenching sound governance are put forward. Ultimately, sound democratic governance must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty and inequality, and safeguard the right of all citizens to a healthy, productive life based on equal rights and opportunities. The book concludes that much has been accomplished since 1994, but the challenges that remain are significant and must be tackled. The burden of making democracy work as it should belongs equally to government, civil society and individual citizens.
Africa/Global: Gender balance in UN peacekeeping has improved, Annan says
In the four years since the Security Council voted to improve the ratio of women to men dealing with peace and security issues, the greatest progress has been made in UN peacekeeping missions, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says. "Today, gender concerns are raised in all new peacekeeping mandates and there are 10 full-time gender adviser positions in 17 peacekeeping operations, including those in: Afghanistan, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo (Serbia and Montenegro), Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, as well as in the advance mission in the Sudan."
Africa/Global: Summary report of the global women's assembly on environment: Women as the voice for the environment
The United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) first Global Women's Assembly on Environment: Women as the Voice for the Environment (WAVE) convened from 11-13 October 2004, in Nairobi, Kenya. The Assembly focused on generating outputs related to the upcoming Beijing+10 review session, the five-year review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the 13th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13). Over 150 participants from 60 countries attended the Assembly, some from remote indigenous communities and small island developing States. Parallel and joint meetings of the Assembly were held with the Network of Women Ministers for the Environment meeting, "Women in Charge of the Environment," which convened from 11-12 October. Participants in the Network drafted informal recommendations on the "Women and Environment" section of the Beijing Platform of Action (PFA), which will be sent to the 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC) / Global Ministerial Environmental Forum (GMEF) and CSD-13 and addresses future work of the Network. The WAVE Assembly accepted a Manifesto, which included these recommendations. The WAVE Manifesto and WAVE recommendations and project ideas will be forwarded to relevant intergovernmental meetings, including the Beijing+10 review session and the WSSD follow-up. The Assembly highlighted the crucial role of women in promoting: women's leadership in environment; the participation of indigenous, rural and urban women in decision making; a gender-culture-environment; local-global linkages; environment and health linkages; capacity building and education; and peace. Also during the WAVE Assembly, UNEP launched a new publication entitled Natural Allies: UNEP and Civil Society.
Ethiopia: Violence against Ethiopian women 'a national disgrace'
Violent treatment of women in Ethiopia and denial of development opportunities for them "is a national disgrace," World Bank chief James Wolfensohn said Sunday. Ethiopian women often are victims of female genital mutilation and bear the brunt of poverty, poor health care and lack of education. More than 70% of marriages in the country are by abduction, the National Committee on Traditional Practices of Ethiopia says.
Kenya: Powerful Rural Women in Turkana, Kenya
Rural Women's Peace Link has established 14 area networks of women working for peace in their local communities. RWPL has trained women of all ages and many tribes all over the Great Rift Valley, including Turkana, Pokot, West Pokot, Mt. Elgon and Chepsiria Toror, to use and expand their traditional roles for peace. Through the rich history of RWPL, the program has developed and influenced many different areas in society including elders, youth, men, police, government officials and other peace-keeping groups.
Sudan: UN expert speaks out on rape in Darfur
Sexual violence and rape of women and girls in the western Sudanese region of Darfur should be considered a war crime, Pamela Shifman, a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) adviser on violence and sexual exploitation, was reported as saying on Tuesday. "The perpetrators must be held accountable. There are Sudanese laws against rape and there are Sudanese courts, and they have to be used," Shifman, who visited the region last week, said.
Namibia: Criminal Procedure Bill, basically a non-starter
After having perused the Criminal Procedure Bill, NSHR has found the draft legislation to be soaked with serious and inadmissible omissions and ambiguous definitions as well as lacking incorporation of UN and other international instruments on the administration of justice and the protection of persons subject to detention or imprisonment.
Nigeria/Global: Nigerian bishop's anger at church
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria - which has some 17.5 million Anglicans - angrily blasted a report, saying that it was "patronising" and said the world communion could split. The report was ordered by the church's leaders after the ordination by a US church of a gay bishop. It said that both sides of the debate should seek reconciliation and that the US diocese should apologise for making Gene Robinson a bishop. But Archbishop Akinola said this did not go far enough and wanted those who are "promoting sexual sins" to be rebuked.
Sudan: Tragedy in Darfur: On understanding and ending the horror
Alex de Waal
Every genocide is hideous, each in its own grotesque way. Searching for the origins and distinctiveness of the genocidal violence that has convulsed the Sudanese region of Darfur in the last year - leaving tens of thousands dead and perhaps a million people displaced and in danger - we must go to the remotest desert-edge settlements in Northern Darfur near the border with Chad, to the basalt stubs of mountains that march southward until they fuse in the 10,000-foot Jebel Marra massif in the center of Darfur, and to Sudan's capital in Khartoum, far to the east.
Uganda: 'State torture still rampant'
Torture by State agents continues unabated in spite of government assurance that there is no institutionalised sanction of its use, the 2003 Uganda Human Rights Commission report has revealed. "Going by the complaints at the Commission, torture seems to be a method of work in some security organs. It is either presented as part of training, or a learned practice that is indispensable in the operations of some security organs," the 6th annual report said.
Zimbabwe: Amnesty International welcomes acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai
Amnesty International today welcomes the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, on charges of treason. Amnesty International believes that the trial of Mr. Tsvangirai was a politically-motivated prosecution in keeping with a wider pattern of arrest and trial on spurious charges as a form of harassment of the political opposition in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe: Student leader battles for life after savage attack
Zimbabwe National Students Union president Philani Zamchiya was battling for his life on Oct. 18th at Harare's Avenues Clinic after he was kidnapped and severely attacked last Thursday by suspected members of the government's secret service agents. The secret service agents accused Zamchiya of mobilising students and youths to demonstrate at the High Court against President Robert Mugabe during delivery of judgment in opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's treason case that was taking place the following day.
Africa/Global: France and Spain object to plan for EU transit camp
France and Spain called for a rethink on Monday on radical German-Italian plans to set up a European Union transit camp in North Africa for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Their objections came at the end of a two-day summit in Florence held by interior ministers from the big five EU countries. Britain first raised the idea of an EU-funded transit camp where asylum-seekers could be processed before they reached the border of the EU in order to try to combat illegal trafficking that has seen thousands drown in the Mediterranean.
Africa: Starving Peter to save Paul: the Darfur effect
When conflicts are resolved and peace finally takes hold in a country battered by years of strife, the donors who were there to help in the war years tend to melt away – just when their help is really needed to support people who have a proper chance to secure their futures. Look at Liberia, Sierra Leone or Angola, where millions of people are returning home, only to find their farms destroyed, their livestock gone, their land inaccessible because of landmines and no infrastructure or employment opportunities to tide them over. They still depend on our support now, just as they did when they were living in camps as refugees or internally displaced.
DRC/Zambia: Thousands flee fresh DRC fighting
Over 3000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have fled to northern Zambia due to a flare-up in fighting near the border, an official told AFP. Fighting broke out last week in the mining town of Kilwa, located about 400 kilometres northeast of Lubumbashi near Lake Mweru, about 50 kilometres from the border with Zambia.
Liberia: IDPs to return home, participate in elections
The National Transitional Government of Liberia has declared six counties ready for the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Launching a media campaign on the return of IDPs, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Abou Moussa said, "The greatest dream of every displaced Liberian is to go back home in safety and dignity, and we are here to facilitate that." The return will not only give IDPs a chance to begin a new life, it will also enable them to participate in the elections scheduled for October 2005.
South Africa: Caution urged over new human trafficking laws
South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, and hopes to have comprehensive domestic legislation in place by 2006, according to the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). Commenting on the unverified need for additional legislation, Ted Leggett - a researcher with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) - noted that "the bottom line is that virtually everything that is part of trafficking is already illegal, and simply generating more legislation is unlikely to revolutionise the situation".
Sudan: HIV/AIDS swell feared when refugees return - UNFPA
The anticipated return of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees, once peace comes back to the south and west, could lead to a further spread of HIV/AIDS which already affects 2.6 percent of the general population, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) warned in a report. Other experts said factors that had contributed to the increasing vulnerability of the population to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Sudan included war, massive poverty and inadequate health care facilities around the country.
Uganda: Camp of despair
People are confined in the camp, straying is paid for with your life, yet they have to leave the camps to get food for their families. And the rebels come into the camps too. So there is no safe place. In the camps, if the rebels don't kill you, diseases will. Hunger and poor hygiene are the bane of the camps. In the absence of water and soap, fungi has spread through the human population. Scabies cover the children's arms and hands.
Africa/Global: Civil society and the power shift
Civil society organisations have historically played a crucial role in tackling issues of transparency, legitimacy and accountability within governments and businesses, with many positive results says Kumi Naidoo, CEO of CIVICUS. Some government leaders have suggested that, since they have been elected, only they should be able to develop and implement public policy. They argue that civil society organizations can never have the legitimacy of democratically elected representatives. Most governments and intergovernmental bodies embrace the role of citizen groups who seek to provide support, services and direct programmes of relief and assistance to communities and individuals in need.
Côte d’Ivoire/Global: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Côte d’Ivoire
New York, 18 October, 1004. The Secretary-General notes with concern that key deadlines of the Accra III Agreement, for the adoption of legislative reforms, the revision of Article 35 of the Constitution on eligibility to the Presidency and the commencement of the disarmament process, have not been met. He has taken note of President Laurent Gbagbo's address to the nation on 12 October 2004, and shares his views that the political crisis should be resolved without further delay. To this end, the Secretary-General urges the political forces in Côte d'Ivoire to ensure the full and unconditional implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis and Accra III Agreements, including constitutional reform and disarmament. The Secretary-General recalls that the Accra III Agreement envisaged the timely adoption of all legal reforms, including the revision of Article 35 of the Constitution on eligibility to the Presidency. In this context, he urges adoption of all legislative reforms without delay, and also appeals to all armed elements, including militias, to commence disarmament at the earliest. The Secretary-General welcomes the President's condemnation of all acts of violence against the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French forces, which should be unconditionally enforced by all authorities concerned.
Ivory Coast: Gbagbo's party urges independent prime minister to quit
Former prime minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan of the President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party has urged Cote d'Ivoire's independent prime minister, Seydou Diarra, to resign, following the refusal of rebel forces to start disarming on 15 October as planned. N'Guessan said the broad-based government of national reconciliation headed by Diarra should be dissolved because it had shown "no concern whatsoever" at the rebels' failure to disarm.
Mozambique: Negotiations to allow observers at final vote count "positive"
The European Union (EU) on Tuesday said negotiations with Mozambique's electoral commission to open up the one remaining part of the counting process in upcoming general elections to observers were progressing well. While election monitors may be present at counting stations at the local level, they are excluded from the final provincial and national stages of the count. The final tabulation is seen as crucial, because it is at this stage that spoiled ballot papers are considered, and both provincial and national elections commissions make decisions about polling station results sheets.
Somalia: Somalia's call for troops may fall on deaf ears
A call for peacekeepers by Somalia's new president last week revived memories of the ill-fated intervention in the 1990s, when Black Hawk helicopters were shot out of the sky and the bloodied corpses of U.S. servicemen dragged through the anarchic streets of Mogadishu. Few leaders in the world need more help to restore order in their countries than Abdullahi Yusuf, who was sworn in last week. But bruised by the memory of the failed U.S. peacekeeping mission in 1993 that forced Washington and later the United Nations to quit Somalia, the international community will treat Yusuf's appeal for engagement with caution, seeking guarantees before committing to help, analysts say.
Malawi: Drive to eliminate corruption brings division
President Bingu wa Mutharika's drive to rid Malawi of high-level corruption has opened up deep divisions within the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) party, according to political observers. Since assuming power in May this year, Mutharika has made good on his election promise to tackle graft, earning praise from donors and opposition parties for his efforts. His role as a corruption buster was underlined when his administration recently arrested three top ruling party officials.
Nigeria: Nigeria bristles at corruption rating
Nigeria angrily rejected the results and methodology of the world's best-known corruption study on Wednesday after being named the third most corrupt of the 145 countries surveyed. Nigeria, the oil-rich but socially poor West African giant, has been anchored at or around the bottom of Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index since it was first published 10 years ago.
South Africa: Former Shaik employee spills the beans
Durban businessman Schabir Shaik wanted to discuss "damage control" with his company's French partner after one of South Africa's foremost corruption busters threatened to start investigating the arms deal. This was one of the things a former personal assistant of Shaik's, Bianca Singh, remembered as she gave evidence in Shaik's trial in the Durban High Court on Monday. Shaik has pleaded not guilty to two charges of corruption - related to his relationship with Deputy President Jacob Zuma - and another of fraud.
Uganda: Uganda loses Shs350b to graft
Uganda loses between Shs200 billion to Shs350 billion a year in corruption, the Executive Director of Uganda Debt Network, Mr Zie Gariyo, said yesterday. He was speaking at a two-day workshop on the role of the media in fighting corruption. He said corruption is in the form of outright fraud and embezzlement, illegal payments, payment of ghost employees, false declaration of customs entries, poor contracting systems and fraudulent procurement.
Angola: Report exposes fault lines in Angola peace process
Angola's post-conflict peace process, hailed by the United Nations as an example in the making to the rest of the world, will fail to bring stability and development unless smouldering social and economic grievances are addressed, according to a new publication compiled by Conciliation Resources (CR). For the full report, From Military Peace to Social Justice? Angola's Peace Process: http://www.c-r.org/accord/ang/accord15/index.shtml
Ethiopia: Paris Club nations agree to cancel $758 m debt
The Paris Club of mainly western creditor nations have agreed to cancel US $758 million of Ethiopian debt to help cut poverty and stimulate growth. The debt write-off is part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative (HIPC), launched in 1996 to ease the burden on the world's poorest countries. Ethiopia's external public sector debt was estimated in 2003 by the International Monetary Fund at $6.8 billion, of which the Paris Club nations were owed $1.89 billion as of April 2004. The write-off came as the Ethiopian government launched concerted efforts through its diplomats overseas to gain greater debt relief.
Madagascar: Debt campaigners call for total write-off
A coalition of debt campaigners has welcomed a decision by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel half of Madagascar's debt, but has called for a total write-off of the money owed to the two financial institutions. "The problem is Madagascar is still too poor to service the rest of its debt. We have been calling for full debt cancellation of all the poor countries which fall under the HIPC [Heavily Indebted Poor countries] initiative," Ashok Sinha, coordinator of the UK-based Jubilee Debt Campaign told IRIN.
South Africa/UK: Exploitation on tap
'The agency keeping the South African government on track is Britain's Department for International Development (DFID). This year it is giving £6.3 million to the Adam Smith Institute – the ultra-right wing privatisation lobby group – for "public sector reform" in South Africa. Staggeringly, the Institute has been given its own budget – £5m of British aid money – to disburse as it pleases. By this means, DFID can generate all the support it likes for privatisation and public-private partnerships, while avoiding direct responsibility for the decisions the institute makes.'
World Meeting of Food Communities, Turin, 20-23 October 2004
An alternative to the current industrial food production system exists: one where food quality and variety are valued, rural regions thrive, and links between producers and consumers are strong. Terra Madre is a forum for those who seek to grow, raise, catch, create, distribute and promote food in ways that respect the environment, defend human dignity and protect the health of consumers. Terra Madre is a gathering of an unprecedented scale, drawing 5000 people from dozens of nations. Every participant will represent a 'Food Community' - which means they are part of a chain of production, linked by a common product, ethnic identity, region, history, or approach. There are more than 167 African communities represented. Terra Madre will rediscover the links that connect the primary producer to the vendor: the grain grower, the baker, and the bread shop. Participants in Terra Madre will exchange ideas and solutions about how to promote a healthy, dynamic, and diverse food system.
Africa/US: Aids-ravaged Africa awaits outcome of US polls
Africa is keenly awaiting the outcome of the United States elections and wondering how it will affect the fight against HIV/Aids on the world's poorest continent, which is also the hardest hit by the deadly viral disease. Some slam US President George Bush's conservative policies but others wonder whether his rival, Democrat John Kerry can deliver on extravagant promises to double aid funds to fight the pandemic, reopen the borders to immigrants with Aids and ensure the distribution of cheap, efficient generic drugs.
Africa: African Leaders Challenged
Critical issue of HIV/AIDS to the effective governance in Africa formed the basis of analysis yesterday, at the Fourth Africa Development Forum (ADF IV), with participants challenging African leaders on the priorities of scaling up prevention policies and treatment of infected people. The forum tagged: "Impact of HIV/AIDS on Africa's Capacity to Governance and the Challenges of Scalling up Treatment," urged African governments "to wage a relentless fight against HIV/AIDS with similar vigour and determination which characterised the struggle against colonialism and aparthied."
Africa: Malaria, a Burden for Africa
Malaria has been a major killer disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Several measures have been adopted to eradicate mosquitoes, which cause the disease. The use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) is one appraoch that has been advocated by experts as a panacea to the menace. Malaria has been estimated to cost Africa more than $12 billion every year. It affects between 300 to 500 million people annually with more than one million deaths. It affects mostly young children under the age of five and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa resulting to a death rate of nearly 3,000 people every day.
Africa: Religious and traditional leaders from across Africa rally for child survival
Pan-African Forum promotes the role of local community in child health. Religious and traditional leaders and senior media representatives from across the continent are gathering in Dakar this week to explore how their unique influence in hard-to-reach communities can boost immunization rates and support child survival efforts in Africa, where two-thirds of child deaths are entirely preventable. Immunization and child survival rates across Africa have faltered in the past decade, according to UNICEF country data released last week in the Progress for Children report: http://www.unicef.org/media/media_24252.htm report.
Burundi: Diseases rife in cantonment camps
Hundreds of combatants from various former rebel groups who are cantoned at Bulamata Camp in Burundi's northwestern Bubanza Province are suffering from malaria and diarrhoea and have limited access to medical care, medical officials said on Wednesday. Some 700 combatants at Bulamata live in squalor, the provincial health director in Bubanza, Canésius Havyarimanan, told IRIN. Bubanza Hospital had treated combatants for four months without getting paid, Havyarimanan said, but it is now only treating those with life-threatening diseases.
Nigeria: Media editors pledge support for HIV/AIDS campaign
Editors and managers of top media organizations across Nigeria have committed themselves to supporting the national response to the HIV/AIDS challenge in the country. Face to face to with the reality of HIV/AIDS like never before, the gatekeepers of the media saw the epidemic at personal levels. As a group, the media managers committed their organization - the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) - to deploying their skills and influence to the anti-AIDS campaign.
Editors and managers of top media organizations across Nigeria have committed themselves to supporting the national response to the HIV/AIDS challenge in the country. This commitment was made at the end of a two-day workshop held recently in Calabar, the Cross River state capital. Face to face to with the reality of HIV/AIDS like never before, the gatekeepers of the media saw the epidemic at personal levels. As a group, the media managers committed their organization - the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) - to deploying their skills and influence to the anti-AIDS campaign.
"The AIDS epidemic is a real threat; as editors, we need to do more in terms of sensitization", said Mallam Halilu Baba Dantiye, the Guild's president. For most of the participants, HIV/AIDS had remained an issue discussed only in abstract terms, until the workshop.
The choice of Calabar, the alluring, touristic capital city of Cross River State as the workshop venue, helped to bring home the reality of the epidemic.
Among the 36 states of Nigeria, Cross River, with 12 percent prevalence, has the highest average HIV infection rate. The 25 participants were particularly touched by the delivery by two of the resource persons at the training programme, Ms. Doris Emmanuel and Elizabeth Ndon, both openly HIV-positive. Doris, an energetic speaker, was the
2003 recipient of the Breaker of Silence Award instituted by Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) to honour individuals whose personal actions have broken the silence surrounding aspects of HIV/AIDS. "I am really touched by the optimism and zeal they have shown in their response to being HIV-positive," remarked Ikechukwu Ameachi, an editor with Daily Independent. "It is clear that there is a whole lot of truths about HIV/AIDS that the public is not sufficiently informed about, and which stories the media need to tell", he added.
For Jika Attoh, CEO of Cosmo Radio, Enugu, what has become clear is that the media has to change its current approach to reporting HIV/AIDS. "The work of the media in making change happen is enormous and needs a more pro-active approach than we have shown". Radio especially, he said, has the capacity to make change happen, if media professionals are properly sensitized. The Calabar workshop was part of interventions under a project called 'Mobilising Media', designed to harness the capacity of the Nigerian media towards HIV prevention, care and support. Implemented by Journalists Against AIDS, the project partners with the three professional media associations in the country: the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the National Association of Women Journalists and the Guild of Editors. With support from the National Action Committee (NACA), the project will also develop a HIV/AIDS training manual for the media in Nigeria. Constance Ndubuisi-Enyali Journalists Against AIDS(JAAIDS).
Uganda: Uganda opens Africa's biggest AIDS training centre
The biggest HIV/AIDS training centre in sub-Saharan Africa opened in Uganda on Wednesday with officials hopeful it will significantly boost the continent's ability to fight the deadly pandemic. The Infectious Diseases Institute, largely funded by drug giant Pfizer, aims to teach hundreds of health care workers advanced techniques in fighting a disease the United Nations estimates has infected 26 million people in Africa.
Zimbabwe: Violations of the right to food
Policies and practices of the Government of Zimbabwe are undermining peoples' access to food, and violating Zimbabwe's obligations under international human rights law, a new report released by Amnesty International on the eve of World Food Day concluded. The report, "Zimbabwe: Power and Hunger, Violations of the Right to Food", examines a number of government policies and how their implementation has resulted in the violation of basic rights. These include the controversial "fast track land reform programme", and the operations of the government-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Kenya: Mastering the ABCs is Not Always Child's Play
Discussions about improving the level of education in Kenya often focus on the challenge of achieving universal primary education, or ensuring that girls are not discriminated against when it comes to schooling. While these matters are undoubtedly important, it appears that a continued focus on childhood education is marginalising another group of people who are also in urgent need of educational assistance: Kenya's illiterate adults.
Liberia: UN peacekeepers disperse Liberian school protest
UN peacekeepers in Liberia used teargas to disperse a demonstration on Wednesday by parents and pupils who want their primary school in the capital reopened. Hundreds of demonstrators, including schoolchildren in uniform, disrupted traffic to protest the closure of the Early Learning Foundation School, which has not opened its doors since the new term started on October 5. UN troops clad in riot gear lobbed tear gas into the crowd after local youths joined the initially peaceful protest.
Zimbabwe: Govt hires retired teachers to counter strike
The Zimbabwean government, battling with a strike action by teachers, has resorted to hiring retired educators to man classrooms and invigilate ongoing examinations. "We have not yet been told how much we will be paid for our services during the invigilation of examinations, but I think it would be something worthwhile. I have not been employed since my graduation in 2002 and I think this is a grand chance for me to get a few [Zim] dollars for myself, as you know how difficult life is these days," a job hopeful, Malvern Mavhaire, told IRIN.
South Africa/Palestine: South Africa will have to live down this shame!
Issued by the Palestine Solidarity Committee
19 October 2004
Palestine solidarity activists around the country and around the world, as well as millions of Palestinians, have been again disappointed this morning when the Palestine Solidarity Committee was informed that the visit to South Africa of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will go ahead. This after a meeting yesterday between solidarity activists and foreign ministry officials (including Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad) when representatives of a number of solidarity groups sought to convince the government that it was not in the best interests of South Africa to allow the trip to go ahead.
At the meeting, there was a general sense that, at the very least, this was not an appropriate time for Olmert to be in South Africa. The massacres in Gaza, the murders of children there and the conversion of refugee camps into wastelands through the destruction of homes and property make this, indeed, the time for South Africa to issue the strongest condemnation it ever has against the Israeli apartheid government. Instead, our government will be hosting a man who is well-known as a racist who supports the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
Of course, the South African Palestine solidarity movement believes that no time can be appropriate for Olmert or any other Likudnik to come to this country. We impressed on government at yesterday's meeting the embarrassment that would be caused to South Africa internationally because of this visit and our view that, in fact, South Africa should be leading a sanctions campaign against Israel.
However, after a meeting that Pahad had with President Thabo Mbeki last night, the decision (which was conveyed to us this morning) was that the trip would go ahead. This will mean a tremendous amount of embarrassment (even shame) for South Africa internationally. Over 100 Palestinian and solidarity organisations around the world had endorsed a statement calling on our government to cancel the trip - especially in the light of the events in Gaza. For them it will be as if the Protection of Investment Treaty that Olmert is due to sign with South Africa will be a treaty written in the blood of the Gaza martyrs.
For our part, we cannot find strong enough words to express our condemnation of and disgust at our government's shameful decision. The Palestine solidarity movement nationally is currently in consultation about possible action to mark Olmert's arrival here.
For more information or interviews, call:
Na'eem - 084 574 2674 James - 072 514 9935 Mercia - 082 368 3429 Ismail - 084 582 3710
South Africa: Xenophobia hearings to take place
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will be hosting open hearings on xenophobia in November and has called for written submissions from individuals, organisations and interested parties. SAHRC chairman Jody Kollapen said in a statement xenophobia was "pretty widespread" but "difficult to quantify" in South Africa, manifesting itself in the workplace, academic communities as well as on the street where it affected informal traders. The problem affected both South Africans and non-South Africans, he said.
Zimbabwe: Zim cricket cleared of racism
The International Cricket Council on Sunday said a probe had found no evidence of racism in Zimbabwe's cricket. Cricket in Zimbabwe is in turmoil following a strike by 15 white players led by former captain Heath Streak who alleged racism in Zimbabwe cricket in April. The Zimbabwe Cricket Union refuted the allegations, sacked the rebel players and has subsequently been forced to field a weak and inexperienced side under young captain Tatenda Taibu.
Africa/Canada: The African Conservation Foundation teams up with High Realist painter Daniel Taylor
The African Conservation Foundation (ACF) is delighted to announce an exciting new Art for Conservation project, "When Paintings Come Alive" - The Endangered Species Project. We are teaming up with internationally renowned creative artist Daniel Taylor to raise funds for the conservation of three endangered species in Africa: gorillas, elephants and lions.
Africa/Global: Sign-on: Climate Change Action
Representatives from organizations and peoples movements from around the globe came together in Durban, South Africa October 4-7, 2004 to discuss realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with this call for a global grassroots movement against climate change. We therefore call on activists, organizations and communities to sign on to the statement that emerged from the Durban meeting and join this growing global movement. Please send sign-ons to firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives from organizations and peoples movements from around the globe came together in Durban, South Africa October 4-7, 2004 to discuss realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with this call for a global grassroots movement against climate change.
Twelve years ago governments took serious note of and agreed to address the issue of global warming. They signed and ratified the Convention on Climate Change. Five years later, they agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, which was to establish concrete commitments to reduce fossil fuel emissions from Northern countries. This Protocol has yet to come into effect.
Representatives from organizations and peoples movements from around the globe came together in Durban, South Africa October 4-7, 2004 to discuss realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with this call for a global grassroots movement against climate change. Twelve years ago governments signed and ratified the Convention on Climate Change. Five years later, they agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, which was to establish concrete commitments to reduce fossil fuel emissions from Northern countries. This Protocol has yet to come into effect.
The emission reductions that the Kyoto Protocol established for industrialized countries were only 5.2% below 1990 levels which most scientists agree is completely inadequate to effectively address global warming. Even these inadequate targets are being evaded through schemes such as carbon trading including the establishment of carbon sinks like monoculture tree plantations mainly in the Global South. These schemes are being embraced by the very entities that are destroying the Earth. Meanwhile destruction of true carbon reservoirs like native forests continues unabated, leading to yet more releases of greenhouse gases.
For this reason, the Durban Group calls on grassroots activists and organizations around the world to stand up for real action on climate change.
Communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and the false solutions put forward by the Kyoto Protocol (including carbon sink projects and continued fossil fuel exploration, extraction and burning) include small island states, whose very existence is threatened, as well as indigenous peoples, the poor and the marginalized, particularly women, children and the elderly around the world.
The refusal of governments and international financial institutions like the World Bank to force corporations to phase out use of fossil fuels, and which in fact encourage accelerated use of increasingly limited fossil fuel stocks, is causing more and more military conflicts around the world, magnifying social and environmental injustice.
Just as peoples movements are rising up around the world against the privatization of water and biodiversity, so must we rise up against the privatization of the air, which is being promoted through the establishment of a massive carbon market.
If we are to avert a climate crisis, drastic reductions in fossil fuel investment and use are inescapable, as is the protection of remaining native forests. The current flawed approach of international negotiations must be met by the active participation of a global movement of Northern and Southern peoples to take the climate back into their hands.
We therefore call on activists, organizations and communities to sign on to the statement that emerged from the Durban meeting and join this growing global movement.
The Kyoto Protocol is expected to enter into effect later this year.
[Statement for sign-ons below] Climate Justice Now!
The Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading As representatives of people's movements and independent organisations, we reject the claim that carbon trading will halt the climate crisis. This crisis has been caused more than anything else by the mining of fossil fuels and the release of their carbon to the oceans, air, soil and living things. This excessive burning of fossil fuels is now jeopardising Earth's ability to maintain a liveable climate.
Governments, export credit agencies, corporations and international financial institutions continue to support and finance fossil fuel exploration, extraction and other activities that worsen global warming, such as forest degradation and destruction on a massive scale, while dedicating only token sums to renewable energy. It is particularly disturbing that the World Bank has recently defied the recommendation of its own Extractive Industries Review which calls for the phasing out of World Bank financing for coal, oil and gas extraction.
We denounce the further delays in ending fossil fuel extraction that are being caused by corporate, government and United Nations' attempts to construct a "carbon market", including a market trading in "carbon sinks".
History has seen attempts to commodify land, food, labour, forests, water, genes and ideas. Carbon trading follows in the footsteps of this history and turns the earth's carbon-cycling capacity into property to be bought or sold in a global market. Through this process of creating a new commodity - carbon - the Earth's ability and capacity to support a climate conducive to life and human societies is now passing into the same corporate hands that are destroying the climate.
People around the world need to be made aware of this commodification and privatization and actively intervene to ensure the protection of the Earth's climate.
Carbon trading will not contribute to achieving this protection of the Earth's climate. It is a false solution which entrenches and magnifies social inequalities in many ways:
* The carbon market creates transferable rights to dump carbon in the air, oceans, soil and vegetation far in excess of the capacity of these systems to hold it. Billions of dollars worth of these rights are to be awarded free of charge to the biggest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases in the electric power, iron and steel, cement, pulp and paper, and other sectors in industrialised nations who have caused the climate crisis and already exploit these systems the most. Costs of future reductions in fossil fuel use are likely to fall disproportionately on the public sector, communities, indigenous peoples and individual taxpayers.
* The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as well as many private sector trading schemes, encourage industrialised countries and their corporations to finance or create cheap carbon dumps such as large-scale tree plantations in the South as a lucrative alternative to reducing emissions in the North. Other CDM projects, such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) -reduction schemes, focus on end-of pipe technologies and thus do nothing to reduce the impact of fossil fuel industries' impacts on local communities. In addition, these projects dwarf the tiny volume of renewable energy projects which constitute the CDM's sustainable development window-dressing.
* Impacts from fossil-fuel industries and other greenhouse-gas producing industries such as displacement, pollution, or climate change, are already disproportionately felt by small island states, coastal peoples, indigenous peoples, local communities, fisherfolk, women, youth, poor people, elderly and marginalized communities. CDM projects intensify these impacts in several ways. First, they sanction continued exploration for, and extraction, refining and burning of fossil fuels. Second, by providing finance for private sector projects such as industrial tree plantations, they appropriate * land, water and air already supporting the lives and livelihoods of local communities for new carbon dumps for Northern industries.
* The refusal to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas, which is further entrenched by carbon trading, is also causing more and more military conflicts around the world, magnifying social and environmental injustice. This in turn diverts vast resources to military budgets which could otherwise be utilized to support economies based on renewable energies and energy efficiency.
In addition to these injustices, the internal weaknesses and contradictions of carbon trading are in fact likely to make global warming worse rather than "mitigate" it. CDM projects, for instance, cannot be verified to be "neutralizing" any given quantity of fossil fuel extraction and burning. Their claim to be able to do so is increasingly dangerous because it creates the illusion that consumption and production patterns, particularly in the North, can be maintained without harming the climate.
In addition, because of the verification problem, as well as a lack of credible regulation, no one in the CDM market is likely to be sure what they are buying. Without a viable commodity to trade, the CDM market and similar private sector trading schemes are a total waste of time when the world has a critical climate crisis to address.
In an absurd contradiction the World Bank facilitates these false, market-based approaches to climate change through its Prototype Carbon Fund, the BioCarbon Fund and the Community Development Carbon Fund at the same time it is promoting, on a far greater scale, the continued exploration for, and extraction and burning of fossil fuels - many of which are to ensure increased emissions of the North.
In conclusion, 'giving carbon a price' will not prove to be any more effective, democratic, or conducive to human welfare, than giving genes, forests, biodiversity or clean rivers a price.
We reaffirm that drastic reductions in emissions from fossil fuel use are a pre-requisite if we are to avert the climate crisis. We affirm our responsibility to coming generations to seek real solutions that are viable and truly sustainable and that do not sacrifice marginalized communities.
We therefore commit ourselves to help build a global grassroots movement for climate justice, mobilize communities around the world and pledge our solidarity with people opposing carbon trading on the ground.
Signed 10 October 2004 Glenmore Centre, Durban, South Africa [DURBAN SIGNATORIES] See www.sinkswatch.org for up-to-date list of signatories [SUPPORTING SIGNATORIES] See www.sinkswatch.org for up-to-date list of signatories FINAL DRAFT FOR SIGN-ONs To sign on to this statement please send an email to email@example.com or visit www.sinkswatch.org The statement, including regularly updated signature lists can also be downloaded at www.sinkswatch.org
Africa: Locust battle to last two or three years
Donors are belatedly coughing up cash to fight locusts in West Africa, but agricultural experts warned on Monday that it will take two or three years to reduce the number of insects to the point where they no longer present a significant threat to agriculture. Nearly half the crop-spraying aircrafts in West Africa have been sent to Senegal. FAO officials and the representatives of European donors admitted on Monday that not enough has been done to control the largest locust invasion to hit West Africa for 15 years.
Zambia: Turning poachers into cultivators
A World Conservation Society (WCS) project in eastern Zambia's game-rich Luangwa valley is helping to transform poachers into farmers and entrepreneurs. The key is the use of food aid to persuade poachers to turn in their guns and join Conservation Farmer/Wildlife Producer Training Centres (CTCs), established by WCS to teach sustainable farming methods. WCS is linked to the Bronx Zoo in New York.
Malawi: Access to land a problem for rural poor
As Malawi attempts to consolidate gains in agricultural production after three years of drought, experts have highlighted access to land and the preservation of biodiversity as key to future food security. International NGO Oxfam has warned that a lack of access to arable land had contributed to food shortages and was also heightening tensions, with land-hungry communities increasingly encroaching on forests and tea estates. Early last week a land dispute erupted in the Chimaliro traditional area in Thyolo district in the Southern region of the country.
South Africa: Landless People's Movement (Gauteng): Forging a United Front with the SACP
The Landless People's Movement (Gauteng) welcomes the decision of the South African Communist Party to add its voice to our longstanding 'Land! Food! Jobs!' campaign and to rejoin the struggle for land and agrarian transformation in South Africa on the basis of many of the LPM's demands, including our call for a Land Summit and an audit of unused and unproductive land.
Zimbabwe: Fresh land evictions rock Zimbabwe
They were fêted by Robert Mugabe as patriots and pioneers in a radical redistribution of land to redress colonial injustice. But the war veterans who ousted white farmers have now themselves been invaded. Last month, police units fanned across Trelawney, a rural district outside the capital, Harare, and erased settlements with matches and mallets. "Now we are in the position the white farmer was. The authorities used us," Richard Mapuringa (33) said last week, sifting through the ruins of his house.
Gambia: Gambia to revoke controversial media law
Gambia has decided to revoke a controversial 2002 media law requiring journalists and the privately owned press to register with a state-run commission, a local radio station reported on Wednesday. Local media and international organisations from the start condemned the media commission set up by the law, which had the powers of a court and whose chairperson was appointed by the head of state.
Ivory Coast: French peacekeepers rescue missing journalist from rebel zone
Ivory Coast journalist Amadou Dagnogo, who disappeared from the rebel-held town of Bouake nearly two months ago, was flown to the commercial capital, Abidjan, yesterday by French peacekeepers. Dagnogo, the Bouake correspondent for Abidjan-based independent daily L'Inter, said he had been detained, beaten and tortured by supporters of Guillaume Soro, leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebel movement, but had escaped.
Kenya: Finding the Footlights
Former French teacher turned Playwright, John Sibi-Ukumu, is breaking new grounds. His new work, "Role Play" - an unapologetic look at racial stereotypes in modern Kenya - was chosen to premiere at the historic reopening of Nairobi's National Theater this fall. He put off his desire to write for fear of the repressive regimes of presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi. Today, Ukumu is just one of a number of artists and writers flourishing under the new democracy of President Mwai Kibaki.
Somalia: Self-proclaimed president's militia threaten, fire on journalist in Mogadishu
Reporters Without Borders has condemned an attack by militiamen working for businessman and self-proclaimed president Abdinur Ahmed Darman, who slapped, threatened and then fired on radio reporter Abdullahi Yassin Jama in Mogadishu on 16 October, after he and another journalist interviewed the inhabitants of a refugee camp. Jama, who works for Radio Banadir, and Zeynab Abukar Mohammed, a journalist with HornAfrik Radio, had been interviewing civilian refugees in "Camp Bosnia" in Mogadishu whose homes had been devastated by heavy rain.
Togo: Government promises to guarantee journalist's safety following death threats
On 13 October 2004, Minister of Communications and Civic Education Pitang Tchalla assured RSF's Togo correspondent and other representatives of press freedom organisations that the government recognised its obligation to guarantee the safety of journalist Jean-Baptiste Dzilan, publication director of the privately-owned weekly "Forum de la Semaine". "We welcome [the government's] decision and trust that the journalist will henceforth be able to resume his professional activities without disruption," RSF said.
Zimbabwe: Bill to tighten media law introduced
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) Amendment Bill, which is designed to tighten the controversial media law, was tabled in Parliament on 5 October 2004. Among its provisions, the bill seeks to amend certain sections of the AIPPA for purposes of imposing a penalty for journalists caught practicing without a licence. The bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) and it has 26 days to determine the constitutionality of the bill and present a report on its findings to Parliament.
Zimbabwe: Government will not allow opposition party access to public media
The government will not allow the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) access to the public media ahead of the parliamentary elections slated for March 2005. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament during the 13 October question and answer session that the government was not so "stupid" as to allow the MDC access to the state-controlled media. He said doing so would enable the opposition party to disseminate British and American propaganda to "effect an illegal regime change against a popularly-elected government."
Africa: 'We are proud to be Africans'
More than 90% of Africans are proud of their continent, a new survey conducted for the BBC shows. While many people in the rest of the world see Africa as plagued by war and poverty, many Africans are far more positive about their lives. The majority say their family will be better off, or the same, this year compared to last. This survey of African attitudes is a rare event. More than 7,500 people were interviewed in 10 countries.
Benin: General strike for higher pay shuts down country
Normal business ground to a halt in Benin on Tuesday as the country's main trade unions began a three-day general strike to demand higher pay for government employees, better pensions and lower university fees. Only senior managers turned up for work at government offices, schools, banks and most businesses were closed in the economic capital Cotonou, health centres were short staffed and the city's normally busy streets were empty of traffic.
Mozambique: Human Capital, Household Welfare, and Children's Schooling in Mozambique
For the well-being of today's families and for future generations, how important is investment in education and other forms of human capital? This report analyzes the potential for investments in education--by individual households, by government, and by donor agencies--to reduce poverty in postwar Mozambique. It provides an assessment of the existing stock of human capital and examines the association between human capital and both monetary and nonmonetary dimensions of household welfare. It also explores the factors that influence the decision to send children to school, and how long children remain in school.
Nigeria: 'Things fall apart' in Nigeria
World-famous Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has rejected an award from his home country, criticising the "dangerous" state of affairs. "The situation is getting worse and worse," he told the BBC, saying that President Olusegun Obasanjo bears primary responsibility. Achebe told the BBC's Network Africa programme that he hoped that rejecting the Commander of the Federal Republic - Nigeria's second highest honour - would serve as a "wake-up call". He also said that he hoped the recent wave of strikes and protests would continue until there is "change".
Africa/Global: If I had got married, I'd be dead today
Better late - then never. A couple days after our official start at UPEACE (University for Peace), we noticed another colorful shirt and a new face of a tall strong man. As for many other African students the trip to UPEACE, was anything but easy. Sam's journey included five stopovers, two countries in Africa, two in Europe and one in Venezuela before finally arriving in Costa Rica. Yes, many of us take the one-day trip and many other things for granted. Nevertheless, Sam luckily made it.
Africa/UK: Black World: ACE Co-ordinator
Arts Council England wants to appoint someone to co-ordinate a range of projects that are being developed in association with the British Film Institute's Black World initiative. "Black World 2005 is a six-month national programme of seasons, events, workshops and critical debates to engage a diverse range of British communities, specifically trageting young people." There will be some project management, but this is primarily a development and liaison role. Time Period: November 2004 through October 2005, part time. Fee: £14,000, plus £1,000 expenses. To Apply: Please write and tell us why you're interested, indicating your relevant experience, along with a CV, by 28 October 2005.
Africa: How Africa is courting its exiles
On the fringes of the European Social Forum in London, people of African descent are holding their own conference - and discussing how Africa could benefit from their achievements. Suddenly Africa is wooing its exiles. Some of the continent's best brains, and deepest pockets are in London, Paris or New York, not in Lagos or Nairobi. Best estimates suggest that Africans working abroad send home some $45bn a year.
Africa/Global: US, UK Retailers Vague on 'Conflict Diamonds'
Diamond sellers in the United States and Britain are not doing enough to ensure that proceeds from the gems they sell are not financing wars and that buyers understand what are "conflict diamonds," says a new report. Nearly two years after the global diamond industry committed itself to prevent the trade in diamonds from areas where they have fuelled civil war and violence, most of the retailers contacted by activists were unable to provide a clear account of the origins of their jewels, according to the survey released by Amnesty International (AI) and Global Witness on Monday.
Burundi/Africa: The Long Road to Peace
Motivated by the success in resolving Somalia's conflict, African leaders have stepped up efforts to end the civil war in the tiny central African nation of Burundi where more than 300,000 people have been killed since 1993. Attending the 23rd Summit of the Great Lakes Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi in Kenya’s capital Nairobi Oct. 15, the leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa pushed Burundi's elections forward to give more time to the country's independent electoral commission, appointed at the end of Aug. 2004, to prepare and put in place modalities of running free and fair elections.
DRC: Expert Poll-Is Congo sliding into war?
With the international spotlight on high-profile hotspots such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan's Darfur region, NGOs are increasingly concerned that conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo may be allowed to escalate unchecked, threatening to unravel the country's fragile peace process. Congo is struggling to recover from a five-year war that pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. More than three million people were killed either as a direct result of fighting or through hunger and disease.
Nigeria: Day of the locusts
Asari and his foes have pulled back from the brink in the Niger Delta but the threat remains. After Mujahid Dokubo Asari's 'Operation Locust Feast' effectively declared war against Olusegun Obasanjo's government and oil companies working in Nigeria on 1 October, world oil prices soared above US $50 a barrel and Obasanjo feared the threat of more violence. The crisis was unfolding on three levels: local clashes over oil shipments and political rights; national political competition between state governors and presidency; and the effects of these conflicts on an already volatile world oil market. Asari stated that while his group had put down their weapons for the moment, they were willing to pick them up again if his demands were not met or if the government threatened him.
Beyond the three-sided conflict in Rivers State – between Asari, Ateke Tom (Asari's former rival for political control and theft operations) and the government task force, Operation Flush Out 3 – there are the crime and political syndicates which sponsor their own gangs which carry out hijacking, kidnapping of oil workers, protection and other criminal rackets which supplement the gangs’ income from bunkering.
There are also hundreds of disputes in the Delta. As Asari and Tom were talking peace with Obasanjo, Operation Flush Out 3, which was formed to take out Asari and other ‘cultists’ whom Rivers Governor Peter Odili blames for the crisis, was drawn into a dispute in Bille and Ke, two small communities in Degema Local Government Area. Shooting their way to negotiations Nigerian activists are drawing harsh lessons from the Delta crisis: taking up guns gets a place at the negotiating table, particularly if a group threatens economic assets. A leading human rights activist, Ayo Obe, said that the Delta events showed that while peaceful protesters were chased off the streets, armed opponents would be flown to to Abuja for high-level talks. She was sceptical that renewed talk of a national conference based on demands by ‘warlords’ would make progress.
Before peace talks, Odili called Asari a ‘joker’ and said that he couldn’t wage war on the government and oil companies. In fact, Asari is waging war through the international media, relying on the nervous oil market and the oil-hungry United States to push for deals to keep the oil flowing.
For the full article: http://www.africa-confidential.com/
Nigeria: Rebel Leader – Voice for the Masses, or Skilled Opportunist?
"The Nigerian government cannot protect all the oil pipelines in the Niger delta. If somebody says that they can protect all the pipelines that criss-cross the Niger delta, the person is a liar or maybe he does not know...the area," says Alhaji Mujahid Dokubu-Asari, leader of the rebel Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force. At the beginning of October, Dokubu-Asari reached a tentative agreement with government to disarm. However, the situation in the delta remains volatile, and could easily descend into renewed violence.
Sudan: If this isn't genocide then what on earth is?
While the international community procrastinated last week about whether events in Darfur constitute genocide, I visited the Ardamata refugee camp in Geneina and found that nothing much has changed. I have sent a full report to Tony Blair and will ask a question about Darfur in the House of Lords today [Monday]. My report is a catalogue of systematic violence driven by ethnic hatred and aided by the Sudanese regime. The report is on the website of the human rights group the Jubilee Campaign, which arranged the visit (www.jubileecampaign.co.uk).
Sudan: Prospects for Peace in Sudan: Briefing September-October 2004
Peace in Sudan looks precarious. There is still important uncertainty around Naivasha. The Abuja process is all-but-paralyzed. The Cairo initiative threatens to become a spoiler for the other two. Focused efforts are needed to consummate Naivasha and move Abuja on to political issues, or to find a means for merging the post-agreement phase of Naivasha with the search for a political settlement for Darfur and Eastern Sudan. The conflict in Darfur retains an astonishingly high level of public interest, especially in the U.S. The UN Security Council is seized of Darfur and will remain so.
Tchad: Un monde de brut
Le conflit entre le gouvernement tchadien et le consortium qui exploite le pétrole continue de susciter l'intérêt de la presse. L'hebdo « L'Intelligent » et « Le Courrier Africain » reviennent cette semaine sur un dossier sensible. N'Djamena accuse Exxon-Mobil et Chevron de ne pas respecter le contrat. Les pétroliers affirment jouer franc jeu. Qui dit vrai?
« Quand le brut sent le souffre ». Tel est l'article « L'Intelligent » qui écrit que « rien ne va plus entre le Tchad et le consortium qui exploite les gisements de Doba. N'Djamena formule un certain nombre de griefs à l'égard du consortium. Notamment le fait que le comptage se fasse au port camerounais de Kribi où transite le pétrole tchadien et non à Komé, lieu d'exploitation, comme le stipule la convention signée entre les sociétés pétrolières et le Tchad. Pour ce journal, « Cette affaire risque de se transformer en crise durable ( ) ».
Justement, « Le Courrier Africain » publie un article indiquant qu'une ONG africaine plaide pour qu'obligation soit faite aux compagnies de déclarer les sommes versées aux gouvernements des pays producteurs. Une procédure qui pourrait devenir gênante pour certains Etats comme la Guinée Equatoriale ou l'Angola mais qui serait profitable au Tchad où la transparence est de rigueur. D'ailleurs, le mensuel parle de « kleptocraties » pour désigner les régimes angolais et guinéens.
L'Intelligent-Jeune Afrique N° 2284 du 17 au 23 octobre 2004 Le Courrier Africain, octobre 2004
Africa/Global: New OSISA ICT Handbook on Cyber Law and Civil Society
Cyber Law for Civil Society- A Resource Guide is useful for civil society organizations in understanding the basics of the Information society and the various global and regional institutions, policies and processes that govern the Information society. It is filled with many case studies and supplemented by useful links and referrals. In the post World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) is critical for African Civil Society organizations to mobilise, participate and decide on key ICT policy and regulatory issues that affect us. For a free copy, please email Nomthandazos@osiafrica.org
Angola: TV reunites Angolan families
The Angola Television programme Ponto de Encontro, or Meeting Point, has played an important role in the reunification of many families after 27 years of war. For over two years, they have been recording messages from people in the square in the hope their relatives will see them and get in touch after being separated. Victoria had been to Independence Square four times to record her message to her sister, Rosalina, who she had not seen for 28 years. On 7 April, 2004, Rosalina saw her sister's message by chance. She contacted the Orion production offices in Luanda to check if it really was her. It was.
Nigeria: Nigeria losing out in quest for control of the Internet in Africa
Despite increasing dependence of the Nigerian public and private sector operations on the Internet, there were fears over the weekend that Nigeria might be losing out of the critical issue of Internet governance in the African region where it prides itself as a giant. Such fears come from the apparent lack of positioning by government and private sector operatives in the relevant bodies that are striving to seek control the administration of the Internet in the African region.
IWPR's Africa Reports, Pilot issue no. 1, part I, October 16, 2004
With this package of articles, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) launches work in Africa. IWPR has been working elsewhere to strengthen peace and democracy in crisis areas through the development of responsible local media. Moving to include Africa for the first time, the Institute will be developing a programme of activities across the continent, with a focus on areas of conflict and acute crisis, and its long-standing themes - war crimes and conflict resolution, representative governance, minority and women's rights and development and social concerns.
Southern Africa: DEBATE mailing list
Debate is a listserve that attempts to promote information and analyses of interest to the independent left in South and Southern Africa. Send DEBATE mailing list submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit: http://lists.kabissa.org/mailman/listinfo/debate or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to email@example.com You can reach the person managing the list at firstname.lastname@example.org
Africa: Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism - Call for papers
Created by the European Commission (EC) in 1992, the Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism is awarded each year to journalists from the written and on-line press who stood out for their remarkable understanding and particular involvement in reporting on Human Rights and Democracy. Deadline: 31 October 2004.
Angola/Mozambique: Applications open for Fellows from Angola and Mozambique
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (the Justice Initiative) are pleased to invite applications for the Human Rights Fellows Program for the 2005-2007 session. The Fellows Program is 20 months in duration and involves both academic study and practical experience in human rights/public interest advocacy. Up to six human rights lawyers and activists from Angola and Mozambique will be selected to participate. Candidates must be nominated by human rights NGOs based in Angola or Mozambique. Deadline: November 20, 2004.
South Africa: HEAIDS - Call for proposals
The Higher Education HIV/Aids Programme (HEAIDS) invites proposals from South African organisations to conduct a Cost-Risk Analysis of the Impact of HIV/Aids on Human Resources at selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Deadline: 29 October 2004
The Netherlands: Introducing the Institute of Network Cultures
The Institute of Network Cultures (INC), which was set up in June 2004, caters to research, meetings and (online) initiatives in the area of new media and society with a particular focus on the internet. If you are interested in internships, linked events, providing screenings, lectures and workshops in Amsterdam, fellowships and collaborative research, please contact us.
The Institute of Network Cultures (INC), which was set up in June 2004, caters to research, meetings and (online) initiatives in the area of new media and society with a particular focus on the internet. If you are interested in internships, linked events, providing screenings, lectures and workshops in Amsterdam, fellowships and collaborative research, please contact us. The INC originates from the electorate of the department of Interactive Media at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. The media theorist Geert Lovink was appointed elector of this department in January 2004. The purpose of electorates as these, in principle, four year term positions are called in Dutch, is to introduce research into the Dutch system of higher vocational education, and to enable the development of so-called centres of excellence. Within the department of interactive media at HvA (http://www.interactievemedia.hva.nl/), the responsibilities of the electorate include the provision of traineeships, lectures and the theory programme.
The INC is also involved in the Media Lab (initiated by the Hogeschool and the University of Amsterdam) which started with a BA pilot for 18 students in October 2004. The INC is also closely affiliated to the University of Amsterdam, where Geert Lovink is working as an associated professor at the department of Media & Culture. The University of Amsterdam and the Hogeschool, which have merged at a managerial level, are cooperating in many areas. The URL of the seperate blog of the Institute of Network Cultures: http://www.networkcultures.org/weblog/
- HvA lecture series New Media in the Netherlands (in Dutch), 2004-2005
- Conference Decade of Webdesign, PostCS, January 21-22, 2005. The website of this event will be launched later this week.
- Seminar on German Media Theory, April 2005. See also the recent debate on the German language Rohrpost list.
- Incommunicado Working Conference on Alternatives in ICT & Development, De Balie, June 16-17, 2004. More info on www.incommunicado.info
- Conference on art & politics of netporn (in preparation), October 2005.
South Africa: Open Space Technology Conference South Africa, Feb 2005
The HIV and Stigma: Challenges and Solutions An Open Space Technology (OST) Conference will be held in Johannesburg South Africa, on the 22nd till the 25th of February 2005. Using OST technology, delegates will explore the challenges of HIV-related stigma, with the primary focus being the sharing and exploration of how to overcome stigma in service delivery. The conference is restricted to 100 delegates only, including 20 conference scholarships (refer Conference Fees and Logistics).
HIV and Stigma: Challenges and Solutions An Open Space Technology (OST) Conference is to be held in Johannesburg South Africa, on the 22nd till the 25th of February 2005. The venue is Montecasino (Fourways).
Empowerment Concepts, with its partner MonteCasino are pleased to announce a conference with a difference. Using OST technology, delegates will explore the challenges of HIV-related stigma, with the primary focus being the sharing and exploration of how to overcome stigma in service delivery. This is guaranteed to be unlike any other conference within the topic.
The conference is restricted to 100 delegates only, including 20 conference scholarships (refer Conference Fees and Logistics). We respectfully request that organisations considering sending delegates send people with experience in service delivery, so that their experiences can be used to further solution-seeking processes. This conference is not an academic exercise: Everyone actively participates.
A description of basic OST methods and principles follow this introduction.
Conference fees and logistics:
Venue: Monte Casino is situated in Fourways in the North of Johannesburg.
Conference fees: The cost per delegate is R3500-00 plus VAT (total = R3,990.00) or $550 USD. Fees include all workshop/conference supplies, all refreshments during the conference, lunch every day and a copy of the conference document, which based will probably be 100-150 printed pages. A maximum of 100 delegates will be allowed to attend the conference, including the 20 scholarships. Confirmation of attendance occurs upon receipt of payment. Accommodation and transport: These costs are for the delegates account or sponsoring agency/corporation. The Palazzo Intercontinental Hotel is offering conference delegate rates at R890-00 for bookings of 20 rooms or more and is located within the Monte Casino Complex where the conference will be held. Please use the following Conference code if booking at the Palazzo - 781.71 Scholarships: Twenty (20) scholarships are available. Delegates securing conference scholarships need to be aware that the scholarship covers conference fees only. They will need to secure their own transport and accommodation for the duration of the conference.
Booking: For those potential delegates who need information on the OST process, the facilitators and their work in this field, please contact David Patient at: email@example.com
For those wishing to register or apply for a conference scholarship, please contact Cherylynn O'Brien at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Basic Methods & Principles of OST OST is based upon several principles that include the African Market Place, Native American community meetings and brainstorming. It is revolutionary in its approach as it encourages every delegate to become actively involved in seeking answers to the questions that stigma presents.
The key to the success of the process is that the people who attend - the delegates - care about the subject matter, thus ensuring participation. It is not assumed that anyone has the answers to the theme challenges: The point of the process is to evolve solutions, based upon inputs of many different people, with widely diverse experiences. The first step of the process is to identify the issues. Delegates simply state what they consider to be the challenges, and these are listed. The only issues discussed are those issues raised by the delegates. These are then organised into streams, and times are allocated for workshopping each issue. Whoever raised the issue chairs the session. Each session is recorded in writing. Issues can be workshopped once, or several times, depending upon the outcome of each session. Each issue work group is given 20 minutes to clarify the issue. The remaining session time is focused upon finding solutions. The role of the facilitators is to stimulate discussion and raise questions to be considered, if required. Key issues and outcomes are recorded, then typed and distributed to all conference delegates.
During the day, as many as 10-15 groups operate simultaneously. Unlike conventional conferences, delegates are encouraged to sit in on as many discussions as they please, and to get up and leave whenever they want to. This is called 'The Bumble Bee' principle, which ensures that delegates only participate where and when they feel they can receive and add value to a discussion. It should be noted that this process of cross-pollination requires encouragement initially - as it is customary to remain seated even when you are not adding or receiving valued input in a meeting - but is highly effective in ensuring that every person's experience and ideas are incorporated where it is most needed. It also ensures that boredom is not an issue!
This also includes the so-called 'Coffee Station' principle, where a great deal of discussion and networking occurs around the refreshment stations, which are located in the conference room itself. In other words, it is a highly fluid process, where everyone is heard, and contributes to the outcomes. The outcomes are therefore based in reality, and not theory. To ensure that nobody misses out on any particular issue or concerns, each delegate receives a full account from every group by way of the conference document that is given to each person when they leave on day four. Forwarded by David Patient Email: email@example.com
South Africa: Ten Years of Democracy: A Critical Appraisal of South Africa's Transition
Civil Society Conference
The conference is to be held from 26 - 28 November 2004 at the University of Cape Town, in the spirit of the World Social Forum and its methodology of openness, plurality and respect for a diversity of views within popular movements of civil society, will create a space where activists, progressive social theorists and academics can discuss the successes, failures, strengths and weaknesses of the transition from apartheid. The conference will represent one of the voices of civil society that is celebrating and critically evaluating the new period our country has entered since the end of apartheid.
The conference kicks off on the Friday night with a public meeting with Tariq Ali, Jeremy Cronin and Mahau Pheko.
Other meetings that are sure to be fascinating debates feature Thobekile Radebe, chair of the LPM, Glen Thomas, Director General of Land Affairs and Lungisile Ntsebeza of UCT. Mike Muller has agreed to debate Greg Ruiters and Virginia Setshedi and Ferial Haffajee and Jane Duncan will be talking about the media. Plus stalls, films screenings, an open mic debating space, a photography exhibition on land struggles and poetry, dance and music on the Saturday evening.
Nature of the conference The conference, in the spirit of the World Social Forum and its methodology of openness, plurality and respect for a diversity of views within popular movements of civil society, will create a space where activists, progressive social theorists and academics can discuss the successes, failures, strengths and weaknesses of the transition from apartheid. The conference will represent one of the voices of civil society that is celebrating and critically evaluating the new period our country has entered since the end of apartheid.
The conference will examine the following themes:
State and Politics: Here, focus will be on the transformation of the body politic, including the economy, the nature and role of the post-apartheid state and South Africa's integration into the global economy.
Delivery of Services: Simultaneous and parallel discussion commissions will focus on the state of service delivery in areas of education, health, housing, land, water, electricity and welfare.
State of civil society: Focus will lay on the role of the labor movement, popular organisations, social movements and other social forces that sought to influence the transition.
Objectives of the conference To use the occasion of the celebration of 10 years of democracy in post-apartheid South Africa to facilitate a discussion amongst activists of the popular movement around the progress made in building democracy, redistributing wealth, overcoming racial inequalities and divisions, and eradicating poverty. Such a discussion will not only highlight the achievements of the past ten years, but will also analyse the blockages and challenges that lie ahead. It is hoped that these discussions and debates will provide a platform upon which activists will be able to determine strategies for achieving social transformation and justice.
Critically examine the challenges confronting civil society, 10 years into building the new South Africa. These challenges are defined by both the unfinished business of dealing with the legacy of apartheid, engagement with the policies of the current government as well as the state of civil society.
Discussing strategies for the struggle ahead over the next 10 years that can deepen democracy, ensure development, social transformation and economic justice.
Audience The conference is aimed at 120 participants who will be drawn from the broad progressive movement in South Africa. Leaders of trade unions, social movements, popular organisations and NGO's will be invited. While the majority will be drawn from the Western Cape where the conference will be held, travel subsidies will be offered to activists coming from other parts of the country. A special emphasis will be placed on ensuring the participants of women activists and conference subsidies will be weighted in favor of women.
For more information, please contact Simphiwe Dada at Phone: (021) 447 57 70 Fax: (021) 447 58 84 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Africa:FES Socio-Economic Forum - Women and Entrepreneurship
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Izingwe Foundation initiated an Innovative Forum on Socio-Economic Issues in April 2004 to promote dialogue on socio-economic issues with innovative ideas and strategies to inform developmental policies. To this end, the Forum invites "women entrepreneurial pioneers" and their supporters from all sectors (government, unions, business, academica and media) of the South African society to an interactive dialogue on the 1 November 2004 in Johannesburg.
Uganda/UK: Museveni scholarship at Oxford
The Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) invites applications for a scholarship of £10,000 to support Africans wishing to pursue economic research at the University for the degree of DPhil. Candidates will be drawn from students accepted for D Phil research by the University of Oxford. The thesis topic should be of relevance to African economies. Museveni Scholars will be attached to the CSAE and will normally be supervised by members of the research team. The CSAE will now consider a new round of applications for the Museveni Scholarship for the academic year 2004-2005. The closing date for applications is 29 October 2004. Applications, which should include a copy of your research proposal together with your c.v. and details of other applications for funding and/or funding obtained for your DPhil studies should be sent to the Administrator, CSAE, Department of Economics, Manor Road Building, Oxford OX1 3UQ.
USA: Scholarships for AIDS Conference
Each year the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)sponsors the National AIDS Update Conference in the United States. The next conference will be held April 10-13, 2005, in Oakland, California. A limited number of scholarships to travel to and attend the conference will be available to people working in HIV and AIDS around the world. Those working in African countries are invited to submit an application for free travel, hotel, and registration. Applicants should be prepared to give a presentation on their work. Scholarship applications will be available after October 15 and can be accessed two ways:
* If you have internet access, you can find a description of the conference and the scholarship application on: http://www.nauc.org
* If you do not have internet access, please request the information by writing to: Robert Giannesca amfAR 120 Wall Street, 13th Floor New York, NY 10005, USA
Conseiller/Conseillère de Soutien en Technologie de l’Information
Conseiller/Conseillère de Soutien en Technologie de l'Information Front Line, la Fondation Internationale pour la Protection des Défenseurs des Droits Humains, désire recruter un Conseiller de Soutien en Technologie de l'Information pour un projet dans l'Est de la République démocratique du Congo.
Le candidat retenu réalisera les tâches suivantes:
- aider à établir un soutien technique et à fournir des conseils stratégiques sur les systèmes de technologie de l'information utilisés par des défenseurs des droits humains. Cela comprend l'administration de réseaux, de Microsoft Office, des systèmes de courrier électronique et des bases de données;
- aider à établir, installer, tester et fournir un soutien technique pour des ordinateurs et leurs périphériques. Détecter et résoudre des problèmes liés au matériel et aux logiciels ainsi que réparer et remplacer du matériel informatique, des imprimantes et des logiciels défectueux;
- assurer le suivi et donner régulièrement des conseils en matière de sécurité sur des questions relatives aux systèmes de technologie de l'information des défenseurs des droits humains;
- assurer la formation des défenseurs des droits humains pour une utilisation en toute sécurité de la technologie de l'information;
- pouvoir se déplacer régulièrement dans l'Est de la République démocratique du Congo et parfois à l'échelle internationale;
- pouvoir gérer la mise en uvre de projets avec un petit budget et rédiger des rapports détaillés sur les activités et les dépenses;
Exigences minimales :
Langues: Maîtrise du français (une bonne connaissance de l'anglais constitue un atout).
Études: Diplôme universitaire avec spécialisation en informatique et en technologie de la communication Internet et/ou formation et expérience équivalentes.
Expérience: Expérience de la prestation de séances de formation sur des sujets techniques. La connaissance des logiciels libres au code source disponible est souhaitable.
Capacités: Ingéniosité ainsi que bonnes capacités d'organisation et de communication, ce qui comprend la capacité de travailler de façon autonome et de communiquer avec courtoisie et diplomatie avec des gens provenant de divers milieux. Il est essentiel de comprendre les besoins et les méthodes de travail des organisations non gouvernementales dans l'Est de la République démocratique du Congo ainsi que de pouvoir travailler dans un environnement peu sûr.
Le poste est d'une durée de trois ans. Le candidat retenu recevra une formation adéquate en matière technique et en matière de sécurité. Le poste est situé dans l'Est de la République démocratique du Congo. Le salaire est en fonction de l'expérience. Pour poser votre candidature pour ce poste, veuillez envoyer votre lettre de motivation accompagnée de votre C.V. à Mr Andrew Anderson email@example.com ou par fax au + 353 1 212 1001 avant le 31 octobre 2004. Merci.
Rwanda: Regional Programme Director, Central Africa Region
The UNIFEM Regional Programme Director (RPD) in Rwanda is the coordinator and leader of UNIFEM's programme in the Central Africa Region. The RPD is also responsible for the overall management of the programme office and is UNIFEM's representative at the UN Country Team under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator. The RPD reports directly to the Chief of Africa Section at Headquarters. Apply ONLINE at: http://www.unifem.org => ''About Us'' => ''Vacancies''. Closing date: October 22, 2004.
Somaliland: Local NGO capacity building project
ICD is looking to recruit two development workers to work with a range of local NGOs, LNGOs, in Somaliland assisting in building their capacity and specific skills for community development activities.
Somaliland: Capacity building advisor
The postholder should have a degree level education or equivalent in a relevant discipline as well as education/training in specific aspects of community development. A minimum of three years experience in an advisory capacity with NGOs and proven experience in training/facilitation are essential. Of particular importance is the ability to network and knowledge of at least one of the above mentioned project themes. Knowledge of NGO capacity building and organisational development and NGOs roles in community development are essential. A flexible and culturally sensitive approach to work in a Somali/Islamic environment is essential.
Somaliland: Advocacy trainer
The postholder should have a relevant qualification plus a minimum three years experience within the NGO sector. Proven experience of designing, implementing and monitoring an advocacy programme, and knowledge of capacity building within the NGO/CBO sectors are essential. Of particular importance is the ability to network at policy levels and knowledge of at least one priority area (human rights, women's leadership, conflict prevention and peace building). A flexible and culturally sensitive approach to work in a Somali/Islamic environment is essential. Only completed applications will be considered. Please do not send CVs. Job descriptions and an application form can be downloaded from www.ciir.org (see section " jobs @ CIIR"). Closing date: 4 November 2004; Interviews: November.
Tanzania: Behavior Change Communication Specialist
The Tanzania Marketing and Communications: AIDS, Reproductive Health (RH) and Child Survival (CS) Project
The Communications Specialist will function as the communication advisor, developing innovative and effective behavior change and social marketing approaches for the Tanzania Marketing and Communications: AIDS, Reproductive Health (RH) and Child Survival (CS) Project. He/she will work as part of the overall AED team in Dar Es Salaam and will work closely with Government, NGO and private sector organizations/institutions implementing the communications and marketing aspects of the program.
Uganda: Star action research coordinator
PAMOJA Africa Reflect Network
The incumbent is responsible for overseeing the implementation of a STAR (dynamic approach to empower communities in the face of HIV/AIDS), a two-year pilot project in Nigeria, Uganda and Mozambique. All candidates must be within the ages of 30 - 42 years old.
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