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As the world battles through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping across continents, physicians and healthcare professionals continue to share  information to help the public stay safe and prevent further spread of the deadly COVID-19.

What is a pandemic? Merriam Webster’s English dictionary describes it as a disease, prevalent over a whole country or the world, or occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. This is the situation of the COVID-19 today.

Based on what is currently known about the virus from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus in general occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. 

Health professionals continue to share Information and sensitize the public on healthy ways to stay safe and prevent infection. Most of this information are being spread through the social media, community outreach, hashtags, and the like. Companies have also made it their responsibility to share updates on COVID 19, while sanitizers, disinfectants and social distancing have become a prevalent part of household and media conversations.

As the infection continues to spread across the globe, and scientists work around the clock for a permanent cure, it has become very important to keep the public updated about the dangers of the virus and the importance of practicing the health tips provided by professionals to prevent the virus, Some of which include:

 Social Distancing: This refers to a set of non-pharmaceutical infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately, mortality. This disease control method is most effective when an infection can be transmitted via droplet contact (coughing or sneezing); direct physical contact, including sexual contact; indirect physical contact (e.g. by touching a contaminated surface); or airborne transmission (if the microorganism can survive in the air for long periods). Which makes Social Distancing a suitable preventive measure for COVID 19.

Social distancing is not a new form of infection control. Historically, leper colonies were established as a means of preventing the spread of leprosy and other contagious diseases through social distancing, until transmission was understood and effective treatments invented.

Keep Your Hands Clean: The WHO advises that the most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations: Current evidence suggests that the coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. It is aimed at limiting the survival of the coronavirus in key environments. 

Finally, what happens beyond COVID-19? I have received several calls and messages from friends, colleagues, and family sharing information about how to stay safe during this pandemic. The messages range from wash your hands, wear a face mask, drink a lot of water, sanitize your hands, and drink a lot of vinegar (please do not do this). I have to ask, will these healthy habits become a part of our lives or do we drop them off and move on when the virus is defeated?

I think not, keeping a clean environment, washing our hands and maintaining a decent social distance in public places should be a part of our lives beyond the pandemic. These habits generally reduce the risk of opportunistic infections which keeps us healthy.

Therefore, while we practice these habits to overcome the coronavirus, let’s remain conscious of our health and make it a lifestyle to stay clean and conscious beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Boma Benjy – Iwuoha

The UAE is among four countries that have attained the largest progress in women’s political representation over a 25-year period, revealed an Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, report.

According to the report ‘Women in parliament: 1995 – 2020’, the largest progress in women’s representation has been achieved by “Rwanda, the United Arab Emirates, Andorra and Bolivia, with +57, +50, +42.8 and + 42.3 percentage points gained between 1995 and 2020, respectively, in their lower or single houses.”

The IPU report noted that global women’s parliamentary participation has more than doubled over the past 25 years, reaching 24.9 percent in 2020, up from 11.3 percent in 1995.

The UAE has positioned itself in fourth position globally as a result of the UAE’s 50:50 ratio for parliamentary participation. The report noted that the UAE is among three countries that have made “great strides in women’s participation” following the adoption of the 2019 presidential decree mandating gender parity in the UAE’s Federal National Council, FNC.

The report went on to cite the importance of quotas to drive up women’s representation in parliaments. “Before 1995, only two countries – Argentina and Nepal – applied legislated gender quotas,” the report noted adding that today, “elections in 81 countries are held under legislation that provides for gender quotas.”

The FNC and the IPU strengthened their mutual ties by signing a cooperation and technical partnership agreement in March 2014, which is the first to be signed by the IPU with a national parliament, on the sidelines of the participation of the Emirati Parliamentary Division in the IPU’s General Assembly “129-130,” held in Geneva from 12th to 20th March, 2014.

Source: wam.ae

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, the Amazons Watch Magazine and CELD wish to celebrate the different shades of women’s achievements all over the world. Women who fought for change and so many noble causes in their communities; women who held the fort in their families and communities; women who made and continue to make history, treading uncharted waters and leaving a trail of examples for upcoming women to follow.
 
This month of March, we choose to celebrate these women in a poem, written by our editor.
 
To all women out there, please read on, this is for you:
 
Today, I choose to celebrate women the world over
 
I celebrate the Inventors
 
I see Grace Hopper and Stephanie Kwolek
 
Who? You ask. I bet their names sound Greek
 
How many female inventors do you know by name?
 
When men tell the stories, they keep the fame
 
Today, I sing a song for women
 
Whose exploits have brought us gain.
 
 
I celebrate the politicians
 
I see the likes of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Hilary Clinton
 
Who came in a skirt rather than a tuxedo
 
With chances they knew was anyone’s call
 
Wouldn’t they be better at answering phone calls?
 
And letting the men know when to stop by for dinner?
 
They knew it would be tough but they dared to succeed
 
Amidst tears and all which gave them nicknames
 
Their names deserve to be in a song
 
Today, I raise up my voice to sing their praises!
 
 
I celebrate the Entrepreneurs
 
Those who dreamt big and let their passions soar
 
Who knew doing otherwise will leave them Nillonaires
 
And so, they challenged the status quo
 
Rising early, knowing ‘’there is much to be done’’
 
Making bold moves and raking in the profits
 
No liability zone is her watchword
 
She toiled day and night and now is successful
 
As she provides jobs for countless others
 
Who will begrudge her as she smiles to the bank?
 
Let my tongue be stuck to my palette if I choose silence
 
Today I sing a song for all female entrepreneurs.
 
 
I celebrate the white-collar workers
 
Who often have to work three times as hard to be recognized
 
With a glass and pay ceiling looming over her as a cloud
 
She fights in this turf with a hand tied to her back
 
And when she makes a valid point – she is too assertive
 
While her male colleagues are very confident.
 
Though diligent with a pedigree marked with achievements,
 
Her authority is often undermined because she comes in a skirt.
 
And even as nature gifts her hormonal surges and period pains
 
She has to wear a smile through her grimace
 
Exhausted, she is home at the end of the day
 
But often, as mother, her day is just beginning
 
Yet, she lives both lives perfectly balanced
 
Which makes her every attainment weighted in gold
 
Would it not be injustice if I left them out?
 
I sing the song for working women today!
 
 
I celebrate the stay-at-home mums
 
Who may lack might or intellect
 
But chose to dim their light for others to shine bright
 
Her toil day and night mostly without pay
 
Busy with drudgery on a daily basis
 
The wellbeing of their family is enough wage, they believe
 
They often have to bear the sneer and grunts from their circle
 
To their partners and friends, it seems, they just love whining
 
‘After all they rested all day’, these ones often reason
 
If you know the burden these women bear
 
Then join your voice in this song of mine!
 
 
Kembet Bolton
 
March, 2020

Dubai-based Shimi Shah was waiting in line at a supermarket check-out when she saw a construction worker – in his overalls – in front of her fumbling with a handful of coins and some notes to pay for the items in his basket. It was obvious he didn’t have enough money for the few things he’d chosen – a packet of crisps, apples, milk and a few packs of fruit juice. He was on the verge of putting some back, staring at the crisps that would surely have to go. Instinctively, she moved forward, telling him to keep them. “I paid for his groceries almost like a reflex action,’’ says Shimi, director of Carousel Solutions, a business consultancy firm.

The reason? She is a big fan of the Pay It Forward movement that took off from Catherine Ryan Hyde’s best-seller of the same name, which also spawned the Hollywood hit starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. Shimi was so taken with the concept of doing little acts of kindness which may inspire the recipients to pass on the acts to others, that she’s hoping to spread the movement in the UAE. The look of surprise on the man’s face turned to delight as he tried to thank Shimi. “It cost me less than Dh100, but more than the money, it was lovely to see the effect my act had on him,” she says.

“It gave me tremendous satisfaction that I was doing something directly for a person rather than giving to a charity where a chunk of it would likely go towards costs for paying incidental expenditures of the organisation.” Shimi explained to the man why she’d paid for his shopping, and what she hoped would come out of it. “I told him I didn’t expect him to do the same, but that if he could help anybody in any way, that would be enough,” she says. “He was immensely relieved and grateful, and promised me he’d pass on the act of kindness. I am sure he has already.”

Can we resolve to be like Shimi today? Did you notice the colleague who has not gone out for lunch break for some days now? He might not be on a fast. How about your domestic workers? Do you go out of your way to try to see how you can kindly impact on their lives away from their wages which can barely take care of their basics? Can you offer to pay their kids fee for a term? Or let their kid spend one midterm break with you and feel what life is like on the other side? If you think deep, you will see ways to show little acts of kindness like Shimi. Remember, while it may be little to you, the recipient of such acts might remember for the rest of their lives.

A great philanthropist once said: “It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved.” –Mother Teresa

As years and decades pass by new troubles and problems continues to unfold all around the world. From hunger to war, climate change, gender inequality, female genital mutilation, poverty, deteriorating health care, insecurities and the list is endless. 

As such various international organisations and non-governmental organisations are continuously established and launched to help solve these problems for a better and peaceful world. 

However, what is more striking and inspiring are the individual responses and reactions through aids and supports channeled towards saving humanity from the various problems that they face daily.

In Nepal Rita Thapa founded Tewa after returning from Beijing, where she spoke on a panel at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing. (The same conference where Hillary Clinton famously declared “women’s rights are human rights.”)

She had been granted a full scholarship to study at a university in New Zealand, but on returning from Beijing she quit her job, declined her scholarship and cleared out a room in her house to start what is now known as Tewa.

Twenty-two years later, Tewa is a well-established nonprofit in Nepal, driving out discrimination and injustice through women’s empowerment programs. Unlike most nonprofits in the country, Tewa, which means support in Nepali, strives to collect more than half of its funds from within Nepal. It is a radical vision for a nonprofit in one of the world’s poorest countries, where the average annual income per person is $2,520 and foreign aid in 2015 totaled $1.2 billion.

Thapa’s decision to launch Tewa may have appeared abrupt. But it was in fact the culmination of a lifetime of events, starting with Thapa’s forced marriage to an older man at the age of 18. Her husband later died in an accident, and Thapa was plunged into the harsh world of Hindu widow rituals, which range from wearing all white to verbal abuse to solitary confinement.

“If a privileged woman like me in Nepal was suffering so many discriminations and backlashes on account of being a ‘Hindu widow’—quote unquote, that’s what everybody thinks I am—I felt that … I had really no choice,” said Thapa of her decision to start Tewa.

Thapa’s struggles as a widow were followed by a period of professional struggles, also central to Tewa’s conception. After her husband died, Thapa went into the field of development to support her children and moved into a house her parents owned in Kathmandu.

To get Tewa off the ground, Thapa asked her girlfriends to sell their best jewelry and donate the proceeds to her fledgling operation. She recruited affluent housewives and influential women in Nepal to become Tewa advisors and support the organization through membership dues. She referred to herself not as an executive director, but as a coordinator, eschewing the hierarchical structures that she would see thwart progress at large INGOs.

Thapa envisioned an organization that would be free from the flaws that she would encountered again and again in her early career. In most of her positions prior to Tewa, she was managed by white, male foreigners who she said disregarded the advice of their Nepali staff at the peril of their programs. The more time she spent in aid and development, the more concerned she became. At a refugee camp in Nepal, she found out that men in charge were distributing extra supplies to women who lived at the camps in exchange for sexual favors. In the grantmaking sphere, she saw nonprofit leaders crafting proposals to cater to the whims of funders; others received grants only if they promised a kickback to the granting officer.

“I could not be part of a system which was contradictory to the very thing it was offering to do. Working to eradicate poverty and injustices from within structures where poverty and injustices were reproduced on a daily basis seemed a little short of schizophrenic to me,” Thapa wrote in her essay, “Feminist Action in Aidland: Experiences in Nepal.

“I felt development had to be done differently,” she wrote, “with more heart, respect and compassion.”

Empowering women through grantmaking

Tewa has done things differently. To date, the organization has awarded nearly 600 grants, typically to registered women’s organizations in remote Nepalese communities.

“That group takes the money for whatever their greatest need is. It may be a beekeeping project that they want to do with the community women. It may be a goat-raising project. It may be a vegetable-farming project. But basically, they are building a small infrastructure for income generation or capacity building projects,” Thapa said.

The value of Tewa’s locally rooted approach crystallized in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015.

The quake killed nearly 9,000 people, destroyed more than 500,000 homes, and left some 2.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Major aid organizations scrambled to reach the hardest-hit communities. But Tewa reached 120 communities in 15 affected-districts within 70 days, often delivering the first wave of relief in struggling remote villages.

While many INGOs struggled with bureaucratic trappings, Tewa mobilized a group of 22 Nepalese women named “Shadow Barefoot Volunteers.” They carried cash to earthquake-devastated communities and gave it away to survivors in $100 batches.

“We were told it would not be secure, but we felt whenever disaster strikes suddenly people become victims. But people are like you and I. Yes, we’d be in shock for a little while, but how would we lose our common sense and our integrity and whatever we hold dear? So, we just trusted that they knew what they most needed for themselves,” Thapa said.

Tewa’s disaster relief model quickly evolved to include asking grantees if they would be willing to redirect $1 of their $100 grant to another earthquake survivor in need. Almost universally, they agreed.

“We met with the same success everywhere. You treat people like people and not victims, and they’ll respond like that,” Thapa said.

Tewa’s success stands in stark contrast to earthquake recovery as a whole in Nepal. The Accountability Lab, a nonprofit that operates in Nepal, reported earlier this year that barely 5% of earthquake-destroyed houses have been rebuilt.

Direct giving programs that follow similar models to Tewa’s have also yielded promising results. MIT’s Poverty Action Lab, in partnership with an American charity, GiveDirectly, found that people don’t waste direct cash grants on cigarettes and booze. They use it to buy better food for their families, invest in their children’s education and start profitable businesses.

Institute of Cultural Affairs, another nonprofit in Nepal, also distributes grants to women with entrepreneurial goals. High above Kathmandu valley, in a hilltop village called Changunarayan, an ICA-funded women’s center is transforming the community. When I visited Changunarayan a few months ago, I met a woman who makes sanitary napkins, by hand, to distribute to other rural communities where menstruation is still taboo. I met a woman who manages a thriving candy-making enterprise, using a fruit native to Nepal. I met Devaka Shrestha, who runs the center, including its new library, and the grant program that is fueling it all.

“The community has changed a lot,” Shrestha told me from a tidy room on the top floor of the center. “Instead of the men, the women are taking initiative. They’re not limited to household activities.”

Backed by Tewa, women in a village hit hard by the 2015 earthquake, Sindhupalchowk, are also stepping into new roles. One woman in the village recently ran for public office. This is exactly the kind of locally led progress that Rita Thapa has fought her whole life trying to foster.

“It’s women who are holding the peace in their communities. It’s women who are holding their communities together, and without focusing on them, there is nothing,” Thapa said from Kathmandu, where she remains determined to change the aid system in Nepal, no matter how long it takes.

Source: Forbes

By Miracle Nwankwo

Every business whether startups or not are in dire need of business angels (Investors). These business angels will not just keep running to you because you need them badly, but they also want to know what you have to offer and what you will be bringing to the table. Before a prospective investor can freely and without fear invest in your business, there are red flags they always look out for, so as to avoid the possible pitfalls that may arise from investing in the wrong business.

Below are 6 genuine reasons why you never attract a potential Investor to your business. 

 

  1. You are a first-time founder with no experience: according to Matt Paulson, founder of Startup Sioux Falls, “Start-up investors are investing in the people behind the companies they invest in as much as they are investing in the companies themselves.” What were you thinking? Starting a business in an industry where you have no experience? Friend, you are going to have a very hard time finding an investor because investors know that a person who is not a great person or do not have business hormones wired in him/her will not succeed even if they have outstanding business ideas. This is connected to the fact that businesses evolve and as time goes on the business model you start with might not be the business model that you end up in, a principle and dynamics investors are fully aware of
  2. You Have an Unproven Plan: Having a brilliant idea is fantastic, but great ideas are not worth any more than the paper they are printed on. Great business minds can agree that it is about execution, not just the idea.  In an article written by David Kleinhandler, Founder and President at Vest Financial Group, he said “No matter what makes up your business plan, investors want to see proven results. At the least, they will want a picture of your real-world earnings before they commit. That means quarterly reports that show both short-term growth and long-term promise. The investment history books are rife with stories of highly promising concepts that ended up losing a fortune.”  You have to understand that this is more about substance and not ideas. Yes, you have a great idea but you have to move from having a business idea to beginning a process of execution, at least start small but just make sure you have started. Your inability to provide a proven plan can hinder your chances of attracting a potential investor.
  3. You have not checked your product or idea with your customer. Most times, entrepreneurs just want to hit the ground and run. They rarely carry out a proper ground check on their idea or product with their potential customers or consumers before setting out. So how can you thrive in a competitive market place where one product can have multiple manufacturers. Finding out what your customer or consumer thinks about your product or idea is very important before you set out in search for investors. Speaking about customer’s feedback, Paul Judge, Founder and CTO / Purewire (Acquired by Barracuda) said; “It’s become so sexy to pitch to investors nowadays that people forget to first go talk to customers. I have people pitch to me, and when I ask what customers think about this, they tell me they don’t know. So why are you talking to investors right now?” Investors want to know that your business idea will satisfy the need of your targeted demographic. They want to know that you are either creating something new or have come up with a unique business model that outshines your competition and is able to cover up their lapses and above all meet your customer’s requirement.
  4. Your startup probably cost much more than the investor is willing to let go: Investors are often people who have had a firsthand experience of the business you are about to venture into and probably know about many other businesses too, so they definitely have an idea of the financial implications that accompany your trade. Investors normally come with huge experience of your industry and so they have a clear idea about the fund requirements for your business startup. Moreover, they already have invested in other ventures or have gone through many proposals. Figuring out the value of a startup is always a challenge for many entrepreneurs , as a matter of fact Marty Zwilling, CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc, sheds more light on this: “Some entrepreneurs try to start with a huge number, hoping they can negotiate and close on a smaller one, while others understate their requirements, in hopes of getting their foot in the door with an investor. Neither of these strategies is a good one, as both are likely to damage your credibility with potential investors, even before they look hard at your plan.” Therefore, value should be based on past accomplishments and the company’s potential. If a potential investor feels that a startup is being assessed at a value that is too expensive, he is definitely going to look for another investment opportunity. This is why it is preferable to have meticulous details about every facet of investment backed up by breakup of the cost. “The days are gone, if they ever existed, when you could present an idea and a vision, and have investors throw money at you. Now you have to do your homework. Get busy, and have fun,” says Marty Zwilling.
  5. The Prospective investor has not been satisfied with your commitment: Every serious investor wants to see that the founders are enthusiastic with their business and are giving 100 percent dedication to the company before they jump in. “I always look first at the people, and that covers from the customers to the entrepreneur to the team. Second is the product, because when you start a business, it’s a hunch, it’s a guess, and you have to go out and find out if people really want it or are you just a solution in search of a problem,” Gary Sprirer, CEO / Question Mine.

 

 

Business investors have the likelihood of measuring the success of company with how serious the owners are. It has been observed that investors pay more attention to entrepreneurs who run full-time on their business.  Once a prospective investor is satisfied with the entrepreneur’s commitment and dedication, they will be willing to give their all, to the success of such business.

A business idea can be compared to a fetus in the belly of a woman, the beauty of the fetus cannot be seen until it is brought forth to the world after a period of pain. As an upcoming entrepreneur whose desire is to make good profit, you have to make conscious effort surrounded by hard work in order to attract your potential investors.