Pambazuka News 479: Madagascar's hidden crisis: Women's rights and human rights abuses

Josephine Awuor, 34, always looks forward to her turn to receive "merry-go-round" contributions from fellow members of Msingi Bora (Good Foundation), a micro-finance group she belongs to in Kibera, Nairobi's largest slum. Meeting weekly, the 23 Msingi Bora members each contribute 50 shillings (60 US cents), which is pooled for members to take loans from. At each meeting, the members also contribute 20 shillings (26 US cents) each - to be given to one member in what they term their "merry-go-r...read more

Almost 200,000 fewer women die each year from pregnancy-related complications than previously thought, because new survey methodology and better maternal mortality data mean more accurate mortality estimates, says a global study by the US-based University of Washington. The most recent UN-funded assessment of worldwide maternal mortality estimated there were 535,900 deaths in 2005, while the new study put the number at 342,900 in 2008, after drawing on birth records, censuses, national surve...read more

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says the controversial diamond mine in Chiadzwa, Manicaland Province, must be nationalised. ZCTU chairman Lovemore Matombo said no single individual or company should be allowed to exploit the diamonds now at the centre of a row between a British company which claims title and the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC).

Gertrude Hambira doesn’t look like someone who gets arrested regularly. Nor do the other women and men in suits who work with her at the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), formed in the mid-1980s to protect farm laborers. But arrest, harassment and even torture have been regular occupational hazards for Gertrude—the General Secretary of GAPWUZ—and her staff for many years. Unfortunately, things have not gotten much better since the 2008 elections when Pres...read more

The workers are pushing for the reinstatement of 25 members of the union sacked last week and a change of management over what they termed as physical harassment by senior managers. The employees are vowing to bring operations at Telkom-Kenya to a halt come Monday May 17 if their demands are not met.

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