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The delegation of European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS has advocated for equal opportunities for all persons so as to bridge the gender inequality gap in Nigeria.

The Ambassador of European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, made the call in Abuja recently after watching a stage play, August Meeting, as part of activities marking the 2020 International Women’s Day.

Karlsen said August Meeting sends a strong message to the women of Nigeria and across the world on the importance of fighting for the rights of the women which aligns with the theme of this year’s celebration, “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality,

Karlsen said the objective of the theatre play was to strengthen the engagement in a manner that positions them to overcome significant challenges that hinder women from actively participating in politics as well as reducing the incidence of gender based violence.

According to him, the EU was proud to see the display of August Meeting which is not only an amazing example of the creativity and the excellent art of Nigeria but also a strong message to the women of Nigeria and everywhere and the importance of fighting for the rights of women which fundamentally is human rights and which the Union has been involved in for many years.

“Today we are telling a story of what happened in 1929 and unfortunately now almost 100 years, these challenges are exactly present still. So making sure that we continue to fight for women everywhere, which aligns with this year’s theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” he said.

He stressed that the EU was working with all Institutions to see improvements. He said the EU has supported the opening of a national register against sexual offenders as well as sexual assault referral centres throughout the country.

In her remarks, UN Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, said the August Meeting was a confirmation of the resilience and strength of women of Nigeria.

She said the stage play provided the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the progress made towards full attainment of women’s rights, as well as to build momentum and support for further action.

“I think if there is any message that this play showed to us, it is the confirmation of the resilience and strength of women of Nigeria. We saw a situation where more than ninety years ago when women came together and challenged the system; and actually made some sacrifice.

They made some losses but in the end they came out victorious,” Ms Lamptey said.

Source: This Day Live

To celebrate International Women’s Day, an all-female flight crew from Ethiopian Airlines flew from Addis Ababa to Washington D.C. The flight marked the sixth consecutive year the airline has made the symbolically important flight with a female crew.

“Ethiopian Airlines aims to show African girls that there are no professions reserved for men only and inspire them to have no limits to their dream of becoming anything they set their hearts to,” said Rahel Assefa, marketing vice president for the airline. “In short, as we say back home at Ethiopian, on this day we fly to inspire.” 

The largest airline in Africa has made hiring women a priority and said 40% of its employees are female including 32% of management positions. The airline has female pilots, aircraft technicians, engineers, flight dispatchers, load controllers and ramp operators.

Rahel said too often on the African continent girls are taught that their only worth is to be married and live a domestic life.

“When their brothers are sent off to schools, girls are mostly held back at home, to help out as well as groomed on how to be a good wife, a good mother, a good homemaker,” she said. “Much work is needed to educate parents and communities in general, that their daughters can be anything and everything their sons can.”

Captain Amsale Gualu, who piloted the transatlantic flight, became the first female captain in Ethiopian history in 2010. She said it is important for women to support one another in fields whether they are underrepresented.

“The main thing is networking. Women should have a connection among one another and exchange ideas,” she told VOA’s Amharic service. “The other thing is supporting each other. For example when we fly with an all-female crew, even when there are standard procedures, there are things that make you happy.”

Amsale said at the time of the first all-female flight in 2015, there were only eight female pilots at the airline. Today, she said, there are 20 with another 24 training in aviation school.“

The change has come. Women support each other, we have our own groups and we show that it is possible. And by supporting each other, showing that it is achievable is our responsibility,” she said.

‘Educate a woman, educate a nation’

Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega said the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made it a priority to promote women to positions of power. His cabinet is made up of 50% women and the country now has a female president and chief justice of the supreme court.

“There’s an African proverb that says, ‘if you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation,’” Fitsum said. 

He added that empowering women is a boost to the nation’s economy.

Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew members wait to get onboard the plane before takeoff at Bole international airport in the capital…

FILE – Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew members wait to get onboard the plane before takeoff at Bole international airport in the capital Addis Ababa, Nov. 18, 2015.

“When half of the population is empowered with higher education and actively engaging in the workforce in the formal economy, this accelerates technological innovation, productivity and economic prosperity, which in turn will have a far-reaching multiplier effect on families, communities and the entire nation,” he said. 

Hostess and team leader on the flight Bizuayehu Yilma said there was a special feeling on board. She hopes it inspires women worldwide.

“Any woman can reach any position she aspires to reach,” she said. “This is not charity but the duty or the responsibility of all. Everyone should support us. This is a show of our strength and how we can stand on equal footing. So I think that we have given a big education to all.”

Source: VOA

The International War Crimes Division of the High Court in Kololo, Kampala has ordered for the release of Dr Stella Nyanzi from Luzira Prison where she has been for months.

Dr Nyanzi was last year convicted and sentenced to 18 months for harassing President Museveni. She however, appealed against the conviction and sentence citing unfairness and that the trial court erred in law.

On Thursday, Justice Henry Peter Adonyo who heard her appeal ordered for her “immediate release” from prison.

The judge noted that Buganda Road trial magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu had no jurisdiction to convict Dr Nyanzi of cyber harassment.

In addition, Justice Adonyo said no evidence was adduced by prosecution showing the location- of the device- where the offence was committed; either Uganda or out of the country.

“Prosecution did not as well ascertain the kind of device which was used to send as the digital prints were not presented before Buganda road,” the judge observed.

Court also observed that Dr Nyanzi and her lawyers were not allowed enough time to prepare their defence thus amounting to unfairness.

The first prosecution witness did not provide a forensic report on his findings indicating which mobile data was used after he asserted that Dr Nyanzi might have used a phone.

The judge also said that in criminal offences, it is the duty of court to ensure that defense witnesses appear by providing the defendant the favorable avenues like issuing arrest warrants for defence witnesses who are not compliant which the magistrate never did.

The judge’s orders forced the fully packed court to explode in excitement as Dr Nyanzi’s supporters, friends and relatives jostled to congratulate her.

Dr Nyanzi was in August 2019 been given an 18-month sentence but had already served nine months in Luzira Women’s Prison after publishing the verse that magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu said should never have been put in the public domain, describing it as “obscene” and “indecent” including suggestions which “could only be made by an immoral person.”

Source -The Monitor

Solar home systems provider Azuri Technologies has recently launched the “Brighter Lives” project in Nairobi, Kenya. The initiative aims to encourage rural women to turn to solar energy. It will also provide training and employment for 250 of them.

In Kenya, training in the use of solar energy will soon be provided to rural women. This will be thanks to the “Brighter Lives” project which has been initiated in early February 2020 by the CEO of Azuri Technologies Simon Bransfield-Garth. It was during the first Women in Solar meeting held at the British Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

The solar home systems supplier Azuri Technologies, offers these women a “comprehensive” training programme at its regional training centres in Kenya. Among other things, they will be trained in finding new livelihoods and adapting technologies to their needs. The women will also be trained in the initial installation of solar-powered equipment, as well as in ongoing personal assistance to their clients at the time of repayment. The initiative will ultimately provide employment for 250 rural women in Kenya.

To facilitate the work, each new recruit will be equipped with an Azuri smartphone. With the smart phone, she will be able to manage and track tasks and access learning and coaching tools. Female agents will also be invited to join internal social networks where they can connect with other women to learn, share and grow in their responsibilities.

The participation of other international organizations

The British company Azuri Technologies and the Dutch-British multinational Unilever are partners in the “Brighter Lives” project. The Sunlight brand of consumer goods company Unilever will give a boost to solar kit supplier Azuri Technologies as part of training rural Kenyan women in the distribution of solar kits.

Azuri’s training project for women is expected to help accelerate household electrification in rural Kenya. In this East African country, access to electricity remains a major challenge. According to the World Bank’s 2017 report, 36 per cent of the population still has no access to electricity.

Source: Afrik21

Angélique Kidjo, Beninese singer emerges winner of the Best World Music Album, recently at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards 2020. Her emergence is hinged on her album ‘Celia,’ a music genre invented in New York by Caribbean immigrants, which pays tribute to the late Afro-Cuban singer Celia Cruz who became the “Queen” of salsa.

Other nominees of the category are; Altin Gün (Gece), Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley (What Heat), Burna Boy (African Giant) and Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet (Fanm D’Ayiti). 

During her acceptance speech, Kidjo took some time to praise the wealth of new talent coming from the African continent. “The new generation of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm and the time has come,” she says.

During the 62nd GRAMMYs Premiere Ceremony she also gave an audience-rousing performance of “Afrika”.

 The award marks Kidjo’s fourth win in the category and fourth GRAMMY win.

Brigid Kosgei, Women’s marathon world record holder will return to defend her championship at the 2020 London Marathon, organizers said on Monday.

Kosgei of Kenya set the women’s world record last October in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds marathon, shattering Paula Radcliffe’s world marathon record, which no woman had come close to in the past 16 years. 

Six months before the Chicago record-breaking run the 25-year-old won the London Marathon for the first time and she is not hesitant about coming back to defend her championship with other elite lineup of Kenyan runners.

“I am very much looking forward to returning to the London Marathon,” Kosgei said in a statement.

“Last year was an incredible year for me and it started by winning in London. Coming back will be very special and I hope it can be the start of another memorable year.”

Fellow Kenyan and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who broke the two-hour mark in an unofficial event last October, has already confirmed that he will be defending his London title.

Other elite Kenyan runners to grace the field this season includes 2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot, three-time Berlin marathon champion, Gladys Cherono and current world champion, Ruth Chepngetich.

Joyciline Jepkosgei, the 2019 New York City Marathon champion, will also feature on the start line in London.

Jepkosgei and Kosgei are currently joint top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XIII with 25 points apiece.

To this end, everyone looks forward to the 2020 London Marathon which has been slated for coming April  26.

Small-scale fishers of the Western Cape have for the first time been granted access to fishing during the 2019/20 west coast rock lobster season as part of the transition to the new small-scale fishing sector.

This was announced by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, following a series of stakeholder workshops with fishing communities in the Western Cape.

“There was a general call for interim relief fishers to continue fishing for the next season and for fishers on the declared small-scale fishers list to be granted access to fish,” said the Minister adding that, in considering the requests from communities, the Department had been instructed to fast-track the roll-out of the small-scale fisheries sector in the province.

The Department was also directed to provide a transition from the current interim relief arrangement to a permanent and more structured small-scale fisheries sector in the Western Cape.

Minister Creecy says that it is imperative for small-scale fishers to be granted access to fishing while they are waiting on their 15-year fishing rights to be allocated. These 2 749 fishers were declared for the first time in 2018 as small-scale fishers as part of the roll-out of small-scale fishing sector in Western Cape. Minister Creecy also noted that the current interim relief dispensation will continue taking into account that some interim relief fishers have already signed contracts for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season. As a form of transition, the department has amended the interim relief lists to include fishers who have been declared small-scale fishers to be part of this last interim relief dispensation. Interim relief fishers and small-scale fishers will equally share the west coast rock lobster allocation allocated to them for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season.

During the Minister’s engagements, concerns were also raised about caretakers in the interim relief dispensation exploiting fishers.

“It is for this reason that in preparation for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season there will be no caretakers,” said the Minister.

All fishers will be required to sign a letter of authorisation drafted by the Department on the amended interim relief list for 2019/2020 fishing season. Interim relief fishers are to nominate an individual who will execute specific and spelled-out tasks on behalf of Interim Relief (IR) fishers. On signing, each fisher is given an opportunity to indicate which marketer they have signed with. This will also allow fishers who have not signed a contract to choose who they want to market their products without being influenced on the choice of marketer.

The person authorised by the majority of fishers in a community to assist interim relief fishers will be able to assist in the completion of permit and license application forms, collating all the

necessary supporting documents required by the Department, and ensuring that fishers do not sign more than one contract at a time. Among other responsibilities, the authorized person will also have to ensure that each fisher is able to exercise their right to enter into a contract with a marketer of their choice, submit completed permit and vessel application forms to the Department; sign landing slips and, if necessary, nominate additional fishers to assist with signing of landing slips against IR community’s permit; and assist any fisher with any information relating to the permit such as total of fish landed, information about export permits, and the like.

One of the many challenges raised by fishers was that the Western Cape small-scale fishers list did not include all small-scale fishers in the province and in that the process was not fair. As a result of the unhappiness among fishers about the final list of the declared small-scale fisher in the Western Cape Province, Minister Creecy appointed BDO auditors and advisory firm to conduct an investigation of the small-scale fisheries registration and verification process, as well as the final list of small-scale fishers for Western Cape Province.

Following the receipt of the preliminary findings of the probe, the Minister is considering the appointment of an independent panel to review the appeals of all unsuccessful applicants, and for it to provide a revised list of fishers who can be declared as additional small-scale fishers to the Minister for a decision.

Source: All Africa