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Nelson Mandela University (NMU) recently celebrated the inauguration of Professor Sibongile Muthwa as vice-chancellor and Dr. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi as chancellor.

They join NMU chair of the council, former ambassador Nozipho January-Bardill.
“I am honoured to form part of this trio of women,” said Fraser-Moleketi at the ceremony.
She said NMU was the only university to have three women at its helm, according to the NMU Facebook page.

Fraser-Moleketi added that she was “deeply humbled” by the confidence the council and university community had in her.

Her acceptance speech paid tribute to many prominent leaders, including the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya, who she said were her former colleagues.

The university announced Fraser-Moleketi, a former minister for public service and administration, as its new chancellor last month, effective from April 1.

She was awarded an honorary doctorate at the institution last year for her contribution to leadership in social and economic transformation, with specific emphasis on the empowerment of women.

Muthwa assumed her position on January 1.

Between 2010 and 2017, she was the deputy vice-chancellor for institutional support at NMU. Before that, she served as director general of the Eastern Cape government.

In 2014, Muthwa was appointed as a commissioner of the financial and fiscal commission, and in July 2017 she was appointed as its deputy chairperson.

Source: News24

The Government of Japan contributes $781,326 to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, for its work in Yemen to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and to maintain their dignity. The escalating conflict in Yemen has taken a heavy a toll on women and girls, who make up 76 percent of those displaced and more than half the 12.9 million people in need of protection.

“With number of women seeking gender-based violence services rising by 36 percent in 2017 alone, it is urgent that essential services for gender-based violence are expanded to meet these needs,” stated Anjali Sen, UNFPA’s Representative to Yemen. “We are extremely grateful to the Government of Japan for recognizing the life-saving nature of gender-based violence interventions and helping survivors of gender-based violence to be provided with comprehensive care and support during this crisis.”

The funds will also help provide dignity kits to the most vulnerable women and girls affected by the conflict. With the personal hygiene items and culturally appropriate clothing in these kits, women will be able to maintain their personal hygiene and it will their improve mobility and reduce vulnerability to gender-based violence when seeking humanitarian aid.

“We are pleased to support UNFPA’s efforts to improve the well-being of women and girls in Yemen,” stated the Embassy of Japan in Yemen. “This assistance shows Japan’s strong and faithful commitment for the protection and relief to women and girls who continue to be among the most vulnerable and at risk of violence.”

The Government of Japan has been a key partner to UNFPA’s humanitarian response, supporting the Fund’s interventions and services to women and girls across Yemen. UNFPA’s support to the humanitarian situation in Yemen also responds to the needs of women and girls for reproductive health services.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Source: ReliefWeb

Seychelles’ capital Victoria has been chosen to host the African forum for the emancipation of women leadership in Africa in a decision made at a three-day event that took place in the island nation recently. The event which was organized by the Global Forum for Women’s Empowerment in collaboration with the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) was under the theme “Press for Progress”, which coincides with that of the 2018 International Women’s Rights Day.

“We want Victoria to be the capital of victory against all inequalities and challenges faced by women in Africa,” Kassoum Coullibaly President of the Global Institute for Women’s Empowerment (GIWE) told the press. While the initiative is a worldwide campaign, African countries like Mali, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles wanted to have a regional group that deals with the challenges affecting the growth of women in Africa.

The Monday through Wednesday forum was held a week after the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in New York. The session, which is the United Nation’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s rights, took place March 12 to 23.

The ‘Forum of Victoria’ which is expected to meet annually, is aimed at appealing for the acceleration of gender equality among African women and those living outside of their homeland.  “We believe it is time for Africa to take charge in an autonomous manner among Africans, to think for itself and build a future that is certain for itself and humanity as a whole,” says Coullibaly. The Forum will include research and create a database on the situation of women in different sectors. It will also advocate and create strategies for the political changes in those situations and develop programs that will support women in Africa. It will also bring together intellectuals, researchers, policymakers and journalists from Africa to take part in discussions, media-related activities and training for the future of the African nation.

Seychellois AlissaPerine, representative of the Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles said, “The conference provided the ideal environment for exchange between the participants.” This she added will “serve not only to empower the women of Africa but also to find common grounds of interest and identify ways for women to invest, contribute an be more involved in our communities, homes, workplace, and country.” Coullibaly said the Forum is “an engagement of women citizens within the society but we need to recognize that we cannot do it without our governments.”

He added that the forum will include monitoring and counselling activities that will be undertaken by all governments and that “we will be working together in close partnership, honesty to ensure that we all win in the end.” Last Tuesday, the Forum also launched the award of Ellen Johnson Sirleef, valuing women leaders in Africa. The award is in honour of the first elected women President of Africa.

Sirleaf was elected as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018 and became the first elected female head of state in Africa. We wish that Africa has some models and Mrs. Sirleef was able to show an incorruptible leadership within her 12 years in power. I think it is important for us Africans to symbolize her achievements, put it to light and inspire others,” said Coullibaly.  The award will be presented to its first recipient during the second workshop to take place in Seychelles next year. Criteria’s for the award will be published soon on the new Forum of Victoria website. 

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Women leaders involved in community work throughout region four, recently participated in a special capacity building workshop to enhance their leadership skills and to prepare them for participation in the upcoming Local Government Election later this year. Some participants are already serving members of both Regional and Neighborhood Democratic Councils. The training was organized by the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute, an institution under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection. It is the first in a series of similar workshops to be held is several regions across the country. Present at the opening were: Regional Chairman, Ms. Genevieve Allen, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Protection, Mr. Adrian Ramrattan, Administrator of the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute (GWLI), Ms. Tricia Watson and members of the Board of Directors of GWLI.

The Workshop is a part of the Ministry’s commitment not only to the development of women, but to the achievement of gender parity and the inclusion of women in decisions that affect their communities, families and lives. Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adrian Ramrattan in his remarks said Gender parity is among the top priorities for the Ministry of Social Protection and it is with this in mind that the Ministry continues to empower women. He noted the importance of the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute in the achievement of Gender Parity and the responsibility of women to take up leadership roles.

He said while progressively women have been successful in overcoming the barriers to participate in the development and decision-making process at both the national and international levels of society; traditional values continue to play a fundamental role in their employment in rural and urban areas.  Noting that in most cases, it is still the women who continue to bear the bulk of domestic and child nurturing responsibilities, which overall limit their participation in waged work and other civil responsibilities.

Administrator of the Institute, Ms. Tricia Watson, said it is vital that such workshops be held to break down barriers and continue to improve the individual aspects and institutional competencies of women in their communities. Regional Chairman of Region 4, Ms. Genevieve Allen, told the participants it is imperative that they work together to support each other. She also added that often times when complaints about community infrastructure are made to the Regional office, those complaints come from women. She urged therefore, that women get more involved in the management of their communities at the level of Local Government to have greater control of activities affecting them and their communities.She implored all participants to take the challenge of contesting in their constituencies in the upcoming Local Government Election.

Mr. Vincent Alexander, a GECOM Commissioner, explained to the participants that Local Government is about putting an authority in place in a local area to deal with public affairs and the matters of development for that space. He said it involves both physical development and creating an environment that fosters economic development as well. Ms. Valarie Martin, a participant and resident of Farm, on the East Bank of Demerara – operates a small business in her community and is involved in several community development projects. She said she is looking forward to participating as a candidate in the Local Government Election and has learnt a great deal which would help assist her in the development of her community.

The participants were enthusiastic about the training and all brought varying concerns and interests to the discussion. The Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute is aimed at creating and implementing gender focused education and training programs for women and men in the government, non-government, public, and private sectors in order to promote gender awareness and equity and enable the full participation of women in leadership and decision-making processes throughout society, thereby contributing to the equitable and sustainable development of Guyana.

Source: DPI

Chief of Justice Ivor Archie swore Weekes in at a ceremony at Queen’s Park Savannah in Port Spain at 10 a.m. local time, replacing Anthony Carmona. A retired judge from the Appeal Court, Paula Mae Weekes was the only presidential nominee proposed by the government. Weekes graduated from law school and has a remarkable career in both public and private spheres. She was called to the Bar in 1982 and she served the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for 11 years.

In 1996 she became a judge at the Criminal Division of Trinidad’s High Court before being promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2005. She was then sworn-in as Justice of Appeal in the Turks and Caicos Islands for three years. She was also Chancellor of the Anglican Church and was responsible for their finances. Shortly after being elected, Weekes admitted she felt “completely terrified” about the idea of being president.

“I can tell you that apart from feeling honored and humbled, I felt completely terrified. And that terror has not yet abated,” Weekes said.

In Trinidad, the president is the head of state and is responsible for approving bills before they become law, for “casting an eye on the operations and behavior of the Government,” as well as being the head of the armed forces.

Most of the president’s actions in Trinidad and Tobago are implemented in accordance with the advice of the cabinet, the prime minister or the leader of the opposition. Among her constitutional mandates is to appoint the nation’s senators: 16 according to the prime minister’s advice, six based on the opposition’s advice, and nine at her own discretion.

Trinidad and Tobago have a parliamentary system in which the president is elected by an Electoral College, consisting of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Following the Weekes’ inauguration, Trinidad and Tobago became the only republic in Latin America and the Caribbean to have a woman head of state after Chile’s Michelle Bachelet left office on March 11.

Source: Guardian TT

H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, has recently donated US$1 million to the Fund for Refugee Women. The Fund, launched in 2000 in collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, and the UN High Commission for Refugees, seeks to provide protection and assistance for refugee women and children. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak said that the UAE’s aid programs and initiatives are in line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and follow up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, Chairman of the ERC. “The UAE leadership continues to step up its efforts to ensure the stability of displaced persons and refugees, with the aim to return to their homeland feeling safe and secure,” she added.

Her Highness went on to say that the UAE has always placed the plight of refugees and displaced persons at the forefront of its foreign aid agenda, to help ease their suffering and improve their dire living conditions. “The strengthening of partnerships between humanitarian organizations is necessary to improve the status of refugees and draw attention to their urgent needs. The UAE’s refugee aid policy reflects the values of tolerance, love, and brotherhood between peoples, as instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.” Sheikha Fatima expressed her hope that the Fund for Refugee Women will make greater strides in assisting vulnerable communities, and providing refugee women and children with necessary support and better living conditions, away from the consequences of natural disasters, crises, and wars. She highlighted the role the UNHCR plays in providing care and protection for the millions of displaced persons and refugees across dozens of countries, adding that she is proud of the strong partnership between the Fund and UNHCR, which promotes wider horizons of cooperation and serves the interests of refugee women and children.

Her Highness directed for the donation to be distributed in aid programmes and initiatives that directly benefit refugee women residing in marginalized areas, improving their conditions, and providing them with basic necessities for their individual and family needs. Marking the Mother’s Day, Sheikha Fatima called on the international community to shoulder its humanitarian responsibilities towards refugee women, children, and youth fleeing violence and persecution. “With the increasing number of refugees and displaced persons as a result of wars and crises around the world, united efforts to provide greater protections for the vulnerable must be applied,” she added.

Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, highlighted the importance of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s generous role in providing humanitarian aid and strengthening solidarity with victims of crises and disasters around the world. “This latest donation to the Fund for Refugee Women confirms Her Highness’ ardour to ensure that the lives of women are improved across the world.” Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC, said that the aid authority has developed a plan to make the most of Her Highness’ contribution, and implement development projects and initiatives to improve the lives of women and children. He went on to say that this latest donation will see the expansion of the programmes and initiatives that will benefit displaced persons.

For his part, Khalid Khalifa, Regional Representative of the UNHCR Gulf Area Office, commended Sheikha Fatima’s humanitarian initiatives that strongly contribute to alleviating the suffering of refugees, preserving their human dignity, and improving the level of care provided to them. He added that the Fund reflects Her Highness’ keenness to improve the life of displaced persons, especially women and children, the most vulnerable among refugee populations.

Source: Emirates News Agency