Development and Social Issues in Africa

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

President Sata Mourns Ghanaian Leader


His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, President of the Republic of Zambia, has sent a message of condolences to the Ghanaian people over the death of President John Evans Atta Mills.

In a letter to His Excellency, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, the new President of the Republic of Ghana, President Sata expressed shock at the death of President Mills.

“It is with sadness that I have learnt of the death of His Excellency, President John Evans Atta Mills whose untimely demise is a great loss not only for the people of Ghana, but for the African continent as a whole,” President Sata stated.

“On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Zambia and indeed on my own behalf, I express our deepest condolences to you, the bereaved Family, the Government and the people of the Republic of Ghana.”

The Head of State stated that the late Ghanaian President would be deeply missed.

“President Mills will be remembered as an advocate of democracy and good governance in Ghana, West Africa and the African continent at large; a leader who championed political maturity and economic growth in his country which has seen increased investment opportunities in Ghana.  Our brother will be sorely missed by all who knew him for the ideals that he firmly stood for, having dedicated his life to selfless service of the Ghanaian people up to the time of his death,” the President stated.

“During the period of your national mourning, we commiserate with you and join you in spirit, prayerful reflection, and beseech the Almighty to grant the bereaved family and the entire Ghanaian nation his abundant mercy, solace and fortitude to bear the burden of this great loss. May the soul of President Mills rest in eternal peace.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Madam Kaseba promote health-says Chieftainess Mungule


By Brenda Zulu
Chieftainess Mungulu has appealed to the first lady Christine Kaseba to promote health. She said the issue of Tobacco was the heart of the community as people who smoke and those affected by it live in the community.
In her opening address at the Tobacco law awareness workshop for Civil Society Organisations today at the Sanctuary lodge, in Chibombo District, Chieftainess  Mungule, said tobacco was harmful.
Speaking on behalf of Chieftainess  Mungule, Headman Mukwaya said that tobacco was harmful and that it brings problems to people’s lives.
She said doctors have advised a lot of people to stop smoking and that there is a difference today because of people infected with HIV.
She observed that those   youths who continue smoking despite listening to elders are infected and that the ones who suffer are mothers and fathers,
At 78 years old, Chieftainess Mungule recalled that when she was young, elders always advised the young not to smoke.
She urged young ones to listen to elders observing that nowadays young ones were smoking. She recalled that as youths of her time they listened to elders.
Chieftainess  Mungule observed that tobacco was a crop that should be stopped to be grown in Zambia. She said tobacco growing was not encouraged in her chiefdom Mungule.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Impact on trade Liberisation and Privatisation in Zambia

By Brenda Zulu
Despite the copper price being at peak at the London Stock Exchange the profits in the mining sector have not trickled down to the ordinary Zambia citizen.

In an interview with the Civil Society Trade Network of Zambia (CSTNZ) Linda Banji Kalima said based despite the Mines and Mineral Act specifying that mineral royalties should be at 3% for those holding large scale mining licenses, the rate negotiated by most mining companies was 0.6% of the gross revenue of the mineral produced in the mining area.

She said according to the report “For whom the wind falls “ the agreement allows companies to avoid paying a good deal of corporate tax by carrying forward assets for period of between 15 and 20 years. She added that massive unemployment and retardation of local manufacturers have been the order of the day due to domination of not only foreign investors but also South African investors.

She explained that between 1997 and 2000, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) was split into seven different units and sold off. The units were initially bought up by seven multinational mining companies, including Anglo- American which chose to exercise its pre-emptive rights, taking on 65% of KCM, a package which included the right and expectation to develop the massive new Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP).

Kalima said the Anglo America only waited until 2002 for the copper price to rebound before deciding that it was not going to and there was not as much money to be made in the short term from the KDMP as they had hoped. Anglo, along with other minority investors in KCM- the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and World Bank’s International Financing Corporation (IFC) completely pulled out of Zambia, handing the mine back to state ownership and in the process, threatening to bring a halt to production at the country’s biggest asset.

Kalima explained that Zambia’s industrial sector has undergone a major shift since the government instituted the structure adjustment programmes in the early 1990’s. The copper mining sector was not spared. Copper mining industry has played a major role in infrastructural development especially on the Copperbelt province. The Zambian Copper Mining industry has gone through three major phases. From their establishment to 1969, the mines were in the private hands under the control of Roan Selection Trust (RST) and Anglo-American corporation (AAC). In the period after 1969, the mine were first nationalized and then merged to form ZCCM. Although ZCCM was a state enterprise, Anglo-American through its subsidiary Zambia Copper Investment (ZCI) continued to hold 27% of the shares and a pre-emptive right to buy back share that the government offered in ZCCM at a later date before they were offered to anyone.

It was however clear that through advocacy on Development agreement was done by CSO and resulted in the Mining Bill of 2008. The development agreements had been kept secret 1990’s to 2006 agreements now availed to the public and accessible.

Kalima said there is no tax holiday campaign as result 2008, tax on all mining companies have been revamped.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gender at a glace - Zambia

By Brenda Zulu

Millenium Development Goal (MDG) number 3 ensures the promotion of gender equality and empowerment women. In March 2000, the Government of the Republic of Zambia adopted the National Gender Policy which serves as the blue print for gender and development activities. The Policy has put in place measures to address the critical areas of concern as outlined in the Dakar and Beijing Platforms for Action.
The 2007 Civil Society MDG report shows that Zambian Government is currently pursuing means of ensuring that the Performance Appraisal System takes into account gender to ensure that all officers in the public service are accountable in gender and development activities. To this effect, Government has embarked on the process of reviewing the job descriptions of Gender Focal Points.
The Director, Head of Planning Department in the Ministry or Government Department has been the designated Gender Focal Point with the job description reflecting key result areas and principle accountabilities on gender mainstreaming. This is to ensure that gender mainstreaming functions are performed effectively on a continuous basis without creating additional posts in the public services.
The Government has embarked on the process of engendering the national budget by training all gender focal points in line ministries and other government departments. The training focused on the incorporation of activities in the Strategic Plan of Action (SPA) in their respective annual budgets. Government, in collaboration with National Institute Public Administration, has developed a capacity build programme for gender focal points and their respective sub-committees in order to develop their gender analytical skills. It is hoped that this training will eventually lead to improved gender analysis of government policies and programmes.
There are, however, some challenges in implementing the SPA. Though Government adopted the National Gender Policy, it was silent on the affirmative action and implementation of women empowerment principles which could have developed benchmarks against which to measure the country’s progress in terms of gender mainstreaming. To this effect, Government has directed all ministries and parastatals to ensure that their annual national and sector budgets should take into account the activities outlined in the SPA.
Gender disaggregated data is essential but currently absent or very limited in Zambia. In this regard, Government has embarked on the process of mobilising resources for collection of gender disaggregated data in sector ministries for easy monitoring and evaluation of gender equality programmes. The collection of gender disaggregated data will facilitate the formulation of appropriate policy interventions in line ministries.
There is weak institutional mechanism for implementation of the National Gender Policy as result of lack of appropriate legislation. To this effect, there is need for appropriate legislation which will give clear guidelines for institutional arrangements for implementation of the National Gender Policy. The appropriate legislation will enhance the co-ordination and accountability mechanisms currently in place.
The Government has embarked on the process of developing capacity building programmes which will develop technical capacities for mainstreaming gender in all government policies, programmes and plans. The capacity building programme should also attempt to address institutional weaknesses in gender mainstreaming.
There is a high turn-over of Gender Focal Points in line ministries and government departments due to promotion, transfers, replacements and other reasons. This has affected continuity in terms of implementing the gender and development programmes. In order to redress this problem, Government has embarked on the process establishing Gender Sub-Committees in all line ministries, provincial and district administration in order to address the observed gaps in gender mainstreaming which has been a result of the non-institutionalisation of Gender Focal Points. In regard, the Gender Sub-committee will act as the link between the Gender in Development Division (GIDD) and the various institutions in order to enhance gender mainstreaming in various institutions.
Strategic Plan of Action for the National Gender Policy
Subsequent to the adoption of the National Gender Policy, Government approved and adopted the Strategic Plan of Action (SPA) for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in January 2004. The Strategic Plan of Action which covers the period from 2004 to 2008 is aimed at operationalising government’s vision on gender. The SPA is a tool for operationalising the National Gender Policy and is aimed at achieving full and equal participation and benefit of both females and males in the socio-economic and political development of Zambia.
The SPA intends to achieve government vision on gender by mainstreaming gender into macro and sectoral policies and programmes such as the Public Service Reform Programme (PSRP), Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), the Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) and the new FNDP including economic policy instruments like the Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF) and the national budget.
The SPA takes into account global and regional instruments and development programmes such as the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Southern African Development Community (SADC), Gender Declaration and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Gender Policy. The SPA further takes into account the opportunities and challenges brought about by among others the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and African Union (AU).
Implementation Mechanisms for the SPA

Government has, through the adoption of the National Gender Policy (NGP) and it’s implementation plan, the Strategic Plan of Action (SPA), committed itself to addressing gender issues and concerns at all levels of national development. The National Gender Machinery for Zambia; GIDD at Cabinet Office is responsible for co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the National Gender Policy and the SPA. The role of GIDD in the implementation of the SPA is therefore to provide leadership in the co-ordination of gender and development programmes and activities of all stakeholders in Zambia

All line ministries, provincial and district administration, other organs of government, the private sector, religious groupings and NGOs will implement specific and relevant policy measures and interventions of the SPA.
The consistent adverse experience felt disproportionately by females in the education, employment and health sectors culminates in a situation in parliament where despite some improvements in 1991, only 6 % of the members of parliament were female.According to a report by Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) on the cost of meeting MDGs in Zambia (2005) the total cost for gender interventions is estimated at US$22.9 million in 2005 rising marginally to US$ 30.1 million in 2015.

Constraints

Africa Social Forum (ASF) Gender Focal Point Sara Longwe observes that despite the many efforts for improvements it has been found that most of the gender programmes lack in depth analysis and adequate resources. Measures to alleviate and reduce poverty have not fully addressed differential impact of poverty on men and women. Gender differentials have persisted at all levels of these programmes, suggesting that social and cultural factors, which play a stronger role, are not taken into account during the design and implementation of the programmes.

The lacks of gender specific targeting programs influence women and men’s life and opportunities. They may not be male biased designs, but could well be male biased by omission of a gender disaggregated data required for such assessment and the lack of recognition of women’s role and skills in poverty reduction programmes. At the same time, there has been lack of effective co-ordination among various institutions involved in poverty alleviation, leading to reduced impact on the intended target group.

Conclusion

Zambian government is committed to promoting women’s participation in decision-making at all levels to promote sustainable development. Zambia recognises that full participation of women and men in development is cardinal to achieving sustainable development. This recognition is founded in the empirical realisation that restricted participation of women in socio-economic activities has had a negative impact.
Government is therefore committed to making deliberate efforts to facilitate the removal of existing gender imbalances.

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Reparations of debt in Zambia

By Brenda Zulu
Reparations of debt in Zambia have not improved the lives of Zambians as many still have problems in accessing basic services.

Services such as health, education, clean water and shelter are still a problem of many Zambians as before repapration of debt it was thought to have been a problem because of the strain put on the government by debt servicing. Poverty is also an issue with women being the most affected as many of them are unemployed.

Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number eight talks about to develop global partnership for development. One of the targets is to deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long run.
Debt
The 2007 MDG Civil Society Zambia report explains that in 2002 to 2004, the debt service ratio had increased but remained constant in Zambia. Things changed when Zambia attained the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) completion point in 2005.

Zambia had its US$7.2 billion external debt slashed to about $500 million, as a reward for sticking with economic reforms under the HIPC initiative by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

However, recently the Government announced that the country’s external debt stood at $643 million since the HIPC completion point in April 2005 and that the Government has contracted eight loans totaling US$110.21 million.

The Government stated that negotiations for these project loans had started before the attainment of the completion point. This includes debts contracted earlier, but which were not part of the debt relief as they were outside the cut-off dates of December 2003 and December 2004.

It should be noted that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been against the government taking non-concessional loans that carry normal interest rates and conditions. CSOs prefer concessional borrowing which offers poor countries more generous terms.

“This free-riding borrowing is very unhealthy, where a country begins to borrow just after receiving debt relief. Government is risking the country’s ability to have a sustainable debt, and we stand a high probability of falling back into unsustainable debt, especially if the contracted loans are from non-concessional sources. It is a threat to Zambia’s future debt solution. Years of high levels of debt servicing meant Zambia could afford minimal social expenditure, but with debt relief the government promised investment in priority areas like education and health as part of a poverty alleviation plan,” said Muyatwa Sitali of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections
(JCTR).

Meanwhile, the government stated that it would continue to borrow.

We shall borrow “for right reasons, to promote development… we don’t qualify for low-interest loans from the International Development Agency (the World Bank’s lending arm), as we are no longer regarded as highly indebted poor country, therefore we have to borrow, but we shall only be contracting concessional loans, as opposed to non-concessional loans,” stated Finance Minister Ng’ande Magande.

Although 15 percent of the 2007 national budget has been allocated to education, and 10 percent to health, critics said little would be invested because much of the budget was donor driven.

Most of the money from China was being spent on developing infrastructure like road networks and providing power in rural areas.

“Social funding was still minimal because more priority and resources are allocated to maintaining non-social issues like State House and supporting international trips than promoting social protect, and money continues to be misapplied. Even if there is allocation of funds or savings from debt relief, very little trickles down to the poor people. The whole country suffers when funds are misapplied because we still have to pay, even if there is nothing to show for what the loan was used, at expense of improving hospitals, education and our roads,” said Saviour Mwambwa, from the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR).

The Auditor General’s reports are famously known to contain numerous reports of misuse, miss-allocation and theft of public funds. A recent report by Auditor-General said misapplication of public funds was rampant in Zambia, and about $1 million in HIPC funds was unaccounted for by the Ministry of Community Development in 2005 alone.

Where is Zambia coming from?
It is important to put the scenario for poverty reduction in proper perspective.
In the case of Zambia, the interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) was submitted to the Bretton Woods institutions in July 2000 and the full PRSP was submitted in March 2002, approved and launched in June 2002 to cover the period 2002 to 2004. On the part of the Zambian government, the goal of reaching the completion point by December 2004 to achieve debt relief was the most important activity.
The completion point was however reached only in April 2005, extending the anxiety of debt relief and therefore becoming the dominant development discourse in Zambia between 2002 and 2005. Zambian CSOs set up Civil Society for Poverty Reduction, an NGO specifically meant to allow Zambian CSOs participate in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of poverty reduction strategies.
The significance of the HIPC process is underscored by Zambia’s own reality: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report states that at the time of independence in 1964, Zambia was a middle income country with a per capita income of US$ 1,500. Since then it has experienced one of the most dramatic declines into the category of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with a per capita income of US$ 380 (2003) as compared to Canada’s US$ 23,930 (2003).
Zambia ranks 177 out of the 190 countries covered by the United Nations Human Development Indicators. 73% of the population lives below the poverty datum line and it is estimated that 20% of the adult population is living with HIV/AIDS virus. Zambia declined into a heavily indebted country with a debt stock of US$ 7.2 billion and an estimated scheduled debt service repayment of US$ 600 million; well beyond its export means and therefore requiring significant debt relief which earlier debt relief mechanisms had been unable to address.
Being a severely indebted low income country with a per capita income of US$ 350 and a per capita debt of US$ 220 in 1999 Zambia had no choice but go through the HIPC process in order to secure the necessary debt relief. At decision point in late 2000, Zambia looked forward to a debt stock reduction of US$ 3.8 billion from a debt stock of US$ 7.2 billion and a reduction in debt service from roughly US$ 600 million to US$ 165 million at completion point. With much struggle, which included policy slippages, Zambia finally reached the HIPC Completion Point in April 2005 securing bilateral debt relief promised at the time of the decision point.
The Gleneagles G8 Summit of June 2005 brought further hope as the IMF announced in December 2005 that Zambia would be granted debt relief through the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) reducing the overall Zambian Debt Stock to US$ 500 million and therefore an overall annual savings of US$ 500 million. The importance of the PRSP in relation to debt relief was realized by the Zambian government. It maintained the required fiscal discipline especially during 2004.

In terms of content, the Zambian PRSP, covering the period 2000 to 2004 drew up programme of action to redress the evident poverty which had deepened to cover 73% of the population by 1998 as noted above. The main purpose of the PRSP was to promote sustainable economic growth and to improve social services and infrastructure. The PRSP identified HIV/AIDS, Gender and the environment as crosscutting issues and good governance and improved public sector management as providing an enabling environment for implementation of the PRSP. There were clear intervention strategies in various sectors for achievement of PRSP objective of poverty reduction.

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Tele health can help bridge brian drain in the health sector

By Brenda Zulu
Less than 10% of doctors trained in Zambia since its independence in 1964 are still in the country: the other 90% have migrated, mainly to Europe and the United States indicates press reports.

Lack of financial resources for the health sector and policies of some developed countries have caused a mushrooming of doctors and nurses in the west, hence exacerbating the problem of brain drain. It is evident that the US and UK receive the highest number of medical practitioners from Africa, who often migrate for search of greener pastures, oblivious of the dent they leave in their own countries.

The health sector in Zambia is one of the highest hit in terms of brain drain followed by the education sector. The health sector continues to loose it’s most tresured human resource to developed countries.

What should be the role of government in the health sector as regards the issue of brain drain. Not only do people in the health sector spend a lot of time to be moulded into what they are now they also should think about their patriotism to offer their delegate services in their own African Countries. Who is to blame for this brain drain?

When have we felt the need for better health in Zambia? Is it when we have had people die in big numbers because of lack of being attended to by a doctor or is it when we see wealthy Zambians flying to London and South Africa to be attended to by the same doctors who left because of shoudy wages. The situation is a replica of what is also happening in other African countries.

“How can the people in government care about the health situation of the local people when they can afford to go out for treatment to hosiptals abroad and overseas? If indeed they care about the situation in the health sector they should have cared a long time ago as the problem of brain drain has been ongoing,” asked Mercy Mukabila a student of Business Studies.

The causes of the brain drain are among the push factors where we have low and eroding salaries, social unrest and political conflict, including wars, unsatisfactory living conditions, such as lack of housing and transport. Also contributing factors are the lack of research facilities and funding, discrimination in academic appointments and promotions especially when it come to the education sector.

The pull factors, mostly perceived as being offered in the West, are the reverse: higher wages, political stability, intellectual freedom and better career opportunities, among others.

“As African countries we have have been subsidising foreign governments by sending our people to work outside. Our governments have failed to prioritise the plight of health workers who, consequently have gone to seek greener pasture in the developed countries,” observed Thandiwe Daka a widow and mother of four children.

She noticed that health workers in Zambia have not been fully motivated and that this has also affected their attitude towards work. “Some nurses are hostile torwards women especially in reporductive health where the numbers of women who die are quite high in Zambia,” said Thandiwe.

Many rural hospitals are headed by Clinical Officers and have been without doctors for a long time. For this reason Zambia is poised to develop a tele-health initiative in Africa that would ensure that the health system and health care is inter-connected via computers to cater for the ailing populous. Tele-health is simply the use of information technology to deliver health services and information from one location to another. The concept of tele-medicine is a multimedia system using voice, video and data to deliver medical services remotely.

But the new technology overcomes the limitations of the telephone and fax to ensure that patients are diagnosed from remote locations. Tele-medicine has its pros and cons though it meets government needs for bringing health care as close to the family as possible, the need for medical workers will also diminish. It has the potential to bridge the gaps created by Africa’s brain drain as health professionals seek greener pastures in developed nations.

Challenges in integrating Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the health sector outlined in the National ICT Policy include the need to improve ICT infrastructure to support basic communication systems and specialised applications such as tele-medicines.

Inadequate ICT awareness and skills among health professionals to effectively utilise the ICT tools and services, inadequate support services for installed ICT equipment especially in rural areas and incorporating and priotising ICT in the core business of health care delivery are all challenges to e-health delivery.

The National ICT Policy states that the potential of ICT in contributing to the effective performance of the health sector is very high especially in remote diagnosis and treatment.

It sees timely collection, management and dissemination of critical information has significant bearing on the performance of the sector in general and to this extent, the health sector has embarked on reforms that include development of health management information systems at various levels.

Equally important is the Telemedicine programme being initiated as a deliberate effort to maximise the services provided by the few but highly experienced medical personnel whose services can only be extended through technologies such as Telemedicine. Therefore, connectivity of medical institutions to services such as telecommunication and Internet is an important milestone in the use of ICTs in the health sector.

Telemedicine also can be used to provide both basic and continuous skills transfer to health professionals. This would help mitigate isolation of health professionals in rural areas. The dissemination of medical information through ICTs will facilitate informed decision- making particularly in hard to reach areas.

To improve access to quality healthcare as close to the family as possible through the deployment and exploitation of ICTs and other modern technologies, the Government of Zambia is committed to invest in ICT based healthcare systems to increase the opportunity for Zambians to have access to adequate and appropriate modern health services irrespective of time, distance and location.

The Government shall also facilitate the development and implementation of a national telemedicine programme to efficiently and effectively utilise scare human resources and to further improve human capacity in the healthcare delivery system.

The Government shall also partner with private sector and civil society in the development and utilisation of ICTs in the health sector and develop a legal regulatory and ethical framework for effective use of the Health information and implement security measures to safe guard the privacy of patient information inherent in health care records. The Government will also mainstream ICTs in the management and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other pandemics.
In 2001, African leaders meeting in Abuja committed themselves to dedicating 15% of their countries' annual bugdets on the health sector. This emcompasses training of more health workers to counteract the current shortages of medics in Africa. Unfortunetly, six years down the line, the committment remains under the ceiling.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) report for 2006 states that although there is universal health worker shortage, it underlines that Africa is the only continent where the total number of health worker shortages(817,992) exceeds the existing number of health care workers(590,198). Consequently Africa has more health workers working outside Africa than any other continent.

Meanwhile, a Lusaka Citizen noticed that, while all this brain drain is still happening, Zambians continues to die from many diseases that can be prevented, managed and treated. How can our government account for the deaths of thousands of its people when health is not a core priority? Asked Thom Mayowe.

Figures from WHO indicate that an estimated 40 million Africans have died from health related conditions. A failure to reverse the health worker shortages within the next 4 to 6 years means that all of Africa's 2010 Universal Access targets for prevention, treatment and care for HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria will not be met. Could we then say that brain drain is also caused by lack of developed countries to train their workers?

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Power of Interaction to impact CHOGM

By Brenda Zulu
More than a 100 people selected from 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) have in the past two days experienced the power on Interaction and are expected to impact in the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) and later in their societies.
A Consultant on Human Rights and Governance, Norah Matovu Winyi said that the Interaction Leadership Programme was targeting dynamic leaders from all sectors of the society that are interested in transformation or change. She said that the interaction leadership programme had provided space where the participants would explore their expectations and also have an opportunity to stop and think about their leadership.
Winyi said the Interaction Leadership Programme currently operates in 19 countries across Africa and in the UK and that it has proved to be a valuable tool in equipping and encouraging community leaders. She added that it also helps the participants to understand what assumptions and introduces the concept of Ubuntu (people living together in harmony) and how its application supports social transformations.
She said that the programme was inspiring as participant’s new ideals and new approach shows how they realize their own dreams as they created a visual image for the future. She added that the purpose of the programme about understood the leaders, get participants curious about thinking and looking at systems and also enable them to understand their leadership journey and transformation in the context of systems thinking.
The interaction leadership programme also looked at the chaos of communication and listening model whose purpose was to enable participants to understand that communication was not a straightforward as they increased the capacity of the participants to be curious, hear to be heard and unhear rather than angry when communicating.
The programme also looked at the art of questioning whose purpose was to encourage participants to become curious and passionate about developing the art of questioning and also prepare sufficiently to engage with the CPF and with the government delegations in CHOGM.


The programme has a unique approach that enables participants to engage with the challenges that their countries face by learning from what has worked and is not working in Africa and other parts of the world.
On the gender dimension of the programme, Winyi said the guidelines in the selection take into account urban and rural based and then government and other sectors because all systems need to move together so as to bring about change.
Meanwhile, British Council Deputy Director, Sarah Barton said that Interaction leadership workshop was a way of the people to give their voice and contribute to the CPF after learning some new ideas and new perspectives on how they can contribute.
This workshop was designed to enable civil society leaders to expand and effectively utilise the ‘Space’ for dialogue between themselves, their governments and the people.
Secretary for Women affairs in Mukono District in Uganda, Robinah Muwonge says she has realised that there is people’s potential in what ever is happening and that it is now important for her after the leadership programme to effect change at herself because of the way she has been looking at things in the past before she could change other people’s thinking in contribution to development.
“At national level I will not point fingers at the Government to say what have they done but I will say what we can do together in order to achieve a better society. In the past I could look at people’s contribution as minor but now any contribution is very important as I thought that I should be telling people what to do and did not listern which is very important,” said Muwonge.
She said that the training has helped her listern to other people’s ideas.

Walls of Greatness image during CHOGM

By Brenda Zulu
Two walls of greatness have been built during the Interaction Leadership Programme at the ongoing Commonwealth People Forum (CPF) as participants created a visual image of the future they desired and also
brought out a paradigm shift through identifying and celebrating what different countries contribute to today’s world.

Common themes that built the walls of greatness on the visual image for the future people desired included the equality of women and men, a world of peace, a sustainable environment, elimination of extreme poverty, society sustainability, shared resources, elite or learned society, society with a well balanced eco-system, better livelihoods, a non violent society and good governance.

It was however noticeable on the walls of greatness that Uganda the host of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) had contributed to the World today in the area of HIV/AIDS awareness, hosting of refugees, affirmative action, fight against global warming, offering of better livelihoods, equal access to opportunities and that it had governance that was responsive.

It was nice to see Ethiopia on the walls of greatness as it is not a member of the Commonwealth whose contribution has been the hosting of the African Union and the resisting of colonialism. The walls of greatness also showed the possibility to get independence peacefully which was a contribution from Mauritius. Contributions from western countries include Technology innovation and education diversity coming from Germany while we see Canada granting asylum to refugees and providing them with a safe place to rebuild their lives and realize their potential.

The Pan African movement contribution towards peace building in communities that are at war was also recognised by the wall of greatness.

Meanwhile in the visual image of the future people want to see a highly educated people in information communication technology (ICT) filed who are literate, a world free from hunger, households with good health and an increased income, a world free of HIV/AIDS, a free brick for the one who had no chance to build, a political stable country with no civil wars and a world with an intact nature and a living space of all people.

The walls of greatness continue to seek for a United Africa, a community that embraces humanity irrespective of race status or origin, zero smoking for all, information and millennium model villages for societal transformation and a community that embraces humanity irrespective of race status or origin.

They also talk about the need to have peace with an emphasis on the society with a humanity which is peaceful, no wars and no boundaries.

Gender comes out strongly in the area of politics where the dream is to offer equal opportunities for all and for the 50 Percent of women to be female Presidents.

On environment the walls of greatness hopes the future is to have biodiversity conservation and sustainable development with appropriate technological transfer in a global village.

Orphaned children have not been left out as they are hoped to be cared for in a caring family environment and a society where the rule of law is where up held by leaders and followers.

The area of health hopes to have an enlightened health and productive society.

It was however clear that in all the Wall of Greatness was rein-enforcing the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are targets to met by all developing countries.

Issues on poverty, gender, education, health, environment and social issues are quite critical and it is hoped that these issues will be addressed by the governments meeting in Uganda.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Friday, October 13, 2006

SADC unite against gender based violence

By Rebecca Chimjeka

Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) participants have urged African leaders’ especially those from Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region to unite and have one voice against gender based violence.

The call was made at the opening of the sub-regional forum which is taking place in Lilongwe the capital city of Malawi.

Priscilla Mpundu of the Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD) said if the SADC leaders would only speak with one voice when they will no longer be any gender based violence on the sub-region.

“Zambia is facing a lot of gender based violence as the levels of rape incest are on the rise though our leaders have been involved in the signing and ratifying treaties which are not been followed. Our system starting from legislature executive, the judicially, as well as people themselves is being challenged with the high level of gender based violence,” said Mpundu.

She also said her association has been trying to lobby for the gender related bills to pass
in the Zambian parliament so that maybe the evil of violence can be minimised.

She added that women in SADC countries should continue to urge their governments to adhere to what they have been signing like the Convention on the elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the child (CRC) and any other treaties concerning women and children rights.

“I want to see children and women in Zambia as well as in the sadic enjoying their rights to the fullest so that they can be able to go to school, and do their work freely,” said Mpundu.

Lillian Dindi from the Livingistonia Synod Aids Program who is also one of the person living with HIV/AIDS, said gender based violence can only be minimised in the country if peoples altitude would change.

“Malawi need to have tough laws in order to curb the gender based violence. Any type of violence is one way or another resulting to the spread of the HIV/AIDS since there is no security if somebody has been forced to have sex,” said Dindi.

She added that government through the judicially have failed a lot of Malawians especially women to bring down the gender based violence.

Malawi judicially has been lenient on the offenders of any type of voice on women.

She however suggested that 40 years imprisonment would be a better punishment for any violator of gender based violence saying that this would help to stop gender legated violence.

A Parliamentarian attending the social forum from Malawi said that it was unfortunate that gender based violence in Malawi is on the increase and that no solution has yet been found.

Boniface Kadzamila Member of Parlaiment of Lilongwe City Central said most of the violence which was being experienced by women and children in the country as well as the whole SADC countries was because of lack of discipline among the perpetuators of this violence.

He said the introduction of democracy in countries has also contributed to this violence since people thought democracy was to do with rights which can be abused.
He observed that time has come for politicians to look into the issue of gender based violence seriously.

Feminist Dialogue unpacks African feminism

By Brenda Zulu

The Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) yesterday unpacked an African feminist ideology during the gender cluster which presented an ugly picture of domestic violence in the sub-region.

Sara Longwe a gender activist shared the feminist principles which was about the attainment of gender equality and asked participants to answer the questions on what they understand by feminism and how people translated it action in Southern Africa.

It was explained that the global Feminist Dialogue (FD) has been present at other social forum and that it was important for Southern Africa to also discuss issues which they can share at the coming World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi, Kenya.

The main objective of the FDs was to provide a space for open discussion on feminist principles and ways of working on issues of globalisation, militarism and fundametalism prior to WSF. It was also mobilise feminists so that other social forum activists embrace femnists principles in their respective areas of operation at local, national and regional social fora.

It was also observed that organisations that deal in gender based violence issues in Malawi have impacted mostly at awreness level and not much at behavioural change. Presenting a research conducted by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation in 2005, Nicky Ndovi said there was a high prevalence of violence in communities.

“This indicates that meaningful transformation has not yet started to take place in mindsets guided by traditions in which men dominate women in the politcial, cultural, and economic spheres,” said Ndovi.

She called on everyone to organise themselves for a war of liberation on the different forms of violence that this study identifed as retrogressive in the light of human rights, gender equality and social transformation but also hazdous for a part of the society which was always looked down upon, not only as inferior and unequal to men, but also viewed as children.

Society for Advancement of Women (SAW) however presented real life moving testimonies of gender based violence by allowing women whom have so far sought help from them to share their plight.

In one case a woman was thrown out of her matrimonial home after she was allegded to have thrown radio cassette tapes in a pit latrine toilet. In the second case the woman with five kids was thrown out after the husband impregnanted her maid.

SAW leagal officer Eddah Ngwira reiterated that domestic violence cases where alarming and wondered what interventions could be done in order to curb the problem.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Embrace ICTs! feminists urged at Bamako WSF

By Brenda Zulu
The women’s movement meeting at the Bamako World Social Forum (WSF) Feminist Dialogue have recognised access to new technologies as one of the strategies, which they need to use to advance themselves as a movement.
Addressing the meeting, Togo-based Femnet board member, Opportune Santos said that there was need to strategise and use information communication technologies (ICTs) to women’s advantage in the movement.
She pointed out that ICTs could help a lot in what women are trying to achieve.
The feminist dialogue has strategiesed to train women and youth in ICTs to make things better.
Traore Oumou Toure, Coordinator of NGO Association of Mali said that Globalisation also brings competition that leads to clear divisions between the rich and poor.
Traore observed that the forum was a place where women could express themselves and that it was an opportunity to bring their ideas in if they have development strategies that are being put forward.
“We have to make sure that women’s rights raise their consciousness in the social forums and must take seriously the matter of using new technologies. We have to advance and learn new skills. No one can develop us if we do not develop ourselves,” said Traore.
She invited all the women and feminists attending the dialogue to take advantage of the new technologies.
Traore highlighted complications arising from lack of schools and access to information.
About 300 women from Africa and the world attended the feminist dialogue.

Bamako march spells out that Another Africa is possible

By Brenda Zulu

Traffic came to a stand still in Mali during the kick off of the Polycentric World Social Forum (WSF) as thousands marched from Bamako’s Independence Avenue through to the stadium called Stade Omini Sports Modibo Keita carrying banners with different solidarity messages spelling out that Another Africa was possible.
The march brought together activist of global and African social movements which are fighting neo liberal systems synonymous with poverty, starvation and violence affecting three quarters of the world population.
The African songs and dance characterised the march with a flavour of solidarity messages and banners in different languages. Traditional masked people where a wonder to look at as they danced and marched while others majestically rode on camels depicting the life of the people in the Sahara desert.
Campaigns Coordinator for Jubilee South Africa, Makaoma Lekalakala was happy to note that 70 percent of the people marching were women.
“I am happy to see that 70 percent of the people marching are women. Even when I can not hear what they are saying, and read what their banners say, I am happy to see the African flavour of their songs as I could dance to them,” said Lekalakala.
She said that African women where the cradle of Africa and was also happy to learn that there would be a woman’s march on the 21st of January, 2006.
In excitement she pointed out that she was happy about the march as it portrayed an African mode in language, music and emotional being.
Awa Coulibaly a street vendor in Mali said she was happy to see and be part of the march. She said she knew this would come to pass as she heard this on radio and television.
Awa was selling fried groundnuts and hoped to make some business as she had just started selling by press time.
Many women said they joined the march to raise voices proclaiming that another world was possible.
The WSF is an event of great importance to African people and offers many opportunities for a collective and democratic expression in the struggles against capitalist hegemony, domination and exploitation of people and their resources.