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Editorial Board
Sir John Kaputin, Secretary General
Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
Mr Stefano Manservisi, Director General of DG Development
European Commission
Core staff
Hegel Goutier
Marie-Martine Buckens (Deputy Editor-in-chief)
Debra Percival

Editorial Assistant, Production and Pictures research
Joshua Massarenti
Contributed in this issue
Victoria Burbridge, Maude Dikobe, Sandra Federici, Souleymane Saddi Mazou,
Anne-Marie Mouradian, Nikolaj Nielsen and Okechukwu Romano Umelo.
Project Manager
Gerda Van Biervliet
Artistic Coordination, Graphic Conception
Gregorie Desmons
Public Relations
Andrea Marchesini Reggiani
Viva Xpress Logistics www.vxlnet.be
The bust, Claude Cauquil. Photo: Hegel Goutier/
Graphical adaptation: Gregorie Desmons
Back cover
"Mechanisms put in place in Africa concerning gender equality
are in urgent need of overhaul". REA/Reporters

The Courier
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Publisher responsible
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The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official view
of the EC nor of the ACP countries.
The consortium and the editorial staff decline ail responsibility for the articles
written by external contributors.


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Espace Senghor
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J -


Gender. How to speak of men?

contains no articles that make specific
reference to the noun 'man' in their title.
Nevertheless, man, the male of the spe-
cies, is the principal subject. When we speak of
the injustices condemned in Beijing in 1995 at the
United Nations World Conference on Women -
injustices that are continuing man is there. When
we stress the progress achieved in terms of national
and international laws, education, the combating
of misogyny and iniquities against women, he is
also there. Laws to promote equal opportunities
between the genders could not have been approved
in the parliaments of the world without the support
of the men who make up the majority of the law-
makers who sit in them.

Women and men whether champions of equal
rights between the genders, or chauvinists -are
engaged in a permanent dialectic. When one is in
the light, the other is in the shadows and the light
is only perceived because there are shadows. When
one speaks of injustice against women, from rape
to the pre-empting of important political posts, one
also speaks of the perpetrators. The perpetrator or
the subject, the one who "does commit the act".
While women are conquering certain male bastions,
such as high-level posts in the US black community
or academic success at Jamaica's universities, we
also see the emergence of complexes among men
that translate into reactions that are chauvinist,
suicidal or self-deprecating. The film by the direc-
tor Denys Arcand, The Decline of the American
Empire, which takes place in Quebec, illustrates
the fact that disarray among males is not limited to
certain societies.

When we speak of women, man is also present.
Elisabeth Badinter, in X Y. De l'identit masculine,

remarked that the male will proclaim successively
in the course of his life that he is not his mother's
boy, that he is not a girl and that he is not gay. She
concludes that "being a man is said more often in
the imperative than in the indicative... it implies a
labour, an effort that does not seem to be demanded
in the same way of women... as if femininity were
natural and masculinity had to be acquired at great
cost*." She adopts the words of Pierre Bourdieu**:
"To praise a man it is enough to tell him that he is
a man." She then concludes that "contrary to patri-
archal belief, it is not men who are the first referents
of humanity but women. It is in relation to women
and in opposition to women that men have been
defined... Until now."

Until now. Because men are changing. A new mas-
culine identity that seeks similarities with women,
rather than dissimilarities and opposition, is in the
making. We must no longer ignore the violence and
the strength of women considered as the eternal
"victims of masculine oppression, of the other, of
the all-powerful torturers"*** in a humanity that is
divided into two.

Failure to combat misogyny in the name of misan-
dry. That is a way of speaking of men.

Hegel Goutier

* L'Un est l'Autre, editions Odile Jacob, 1986, p. 249
** La domination masculine, Actes de la recherche
en sciences sociales, no 84, Sept. 1990, p 21.
*** Fausse route, editions Odile Jacob, 2003, p. 113.


Ilges or I 'udC

DfnIli Io niesl'

Reading the studies by institutions and experts on the development of the situation of women
since the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, it is difficult to detect any clear trend. At the
public level, in both the legislative and employment fields, women's rights have progressed
in nearly ail regions of the world and the same is true in the fields of education and political
representation. However, at the private level, injustice in its most brutal form, namely physical
violence, remains an issue and has even been on the increase. Moreover, there is the further
problem of the reliability of data.

> The hundred flowers since Beijing

Already by 1995 in Beijing, a great deal of
progress was claimed in areas like women's
participation in the political process. On
the stage in Beijing stood symbolic figures
such as Benazir Bhutto, at the time Prime
Minister of Pakistan, who gave a reading
from the Koran that combined a defence
of Islamic values with a rejection of funda-
mentalism. Later, then U.S. Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton, attacked the delegation of
conservative representatives from her own
country's Senate. But the final declaration
of the meeting was positive, laying down
in international legislation principles that
countries were bound to respect. These
principles included the right of women to
decide freely their own sexuality as well as
the classification of rape as a crime, or even
(in the case of war or other conflict) as an

act of genocide for which the warring par-
ties, even if victorious, could one day be held
responsible before a court of law. Another
obligation was to facilitate the access to
credit for women, with a view to improving
their independent financial status.
In ail, representatives of 184 nations put their
signatures to the final document, although
around 50 of them added a number of cave-
ats. The Courier, present in Beijing*, raised
the question of whether the pledges given
would be respected given these reservations
from some of the delegates.

> Despite everything, major

In areas such as politics, the economy and
education progress has clearly been made
since the Beijing declarations and there are

several examples to illustrate this. Literacy
has increased sharply almost everywhere in
the world. Indeed in three developing coun-
tries, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Uruguay,
literacy among women is now higher than
among men. In four other countries -
including Cuba there is now total gender
equality. Elsewhere, women fill 58 per cent
of the decision-making positions in the
Philippines, ahead of Tanzania with 49 per
cent. These two are followed by Barbados
(with 43 per cent), another ACP country.
The United States ranks fourth**.
In the employment sector, the numbers of
women in the workforce have increased
continuously in most parts of the globe since
1989, falling only in Eastern and Central
Europe, the Middle East and North Africa,
where it still remains below the global aver-
age of 40 per cent***.


> The many facets of continuing

All the same, real progress often suffers
setbacks. This is the case with a similar
increase in recent years in both the rate of
paid employment among women and the
rate of unemployment among women. Also,
in education, two-thirds of the illiterate
continue to be women. This can be at least
partly explained by the progress in literacy
rates among men.
There are only five countries where men and
women are represented equally in the ranks
of government: Spain, Iceland, Sweden,
Austria and Denmark. However, today, a
total of 15 countries have gender parity in
their parliaments, with Rwanda leading the
world and South Africa also ranking highly.
Three ACP countries, Botswana, Tanzania
and Eritrea, draw a third of their parliamen-
tary law-makers from women.
But the overall picture is far from perfect
and, despite the provisions laid down in
national and international legislation stat-
ing that discrimination or violence against
women are crimes that carry an appropriate
punishment, those guilty of such violations
often continue to escape justice. Sexual slav-
ery, for example, is on the increase, includ-
ing in European countries.
Today, the ineffectiveness of the justice


system, in certain cases, is in itself criminal.
Consider this: one woman in four is the
victim of serious violence in the home****.
Rape by armed men is widespread and
has become a national disaster in both the
Congo and Darfur. In Mexico, which has
ample police and legal means at its disposal,
305 bodies of raped and murdered women
have been found and not a single suspect

> Which way is the balance tipping?

The data for assessing serious gender imbal-
ance or discrimination lacks precision and
the institutions that use this information
often regard it as less than accurate. This
is even true of the most well-known data:
indicators on the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs); the Gender-related
Development Index (GDI); and the UN
Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM).
Now, however, a growing number of studies
are seeking to develop indicators that reflect
the true gender dimension and can meas-
ure change with greater accuracy. A study
published by the UNDP in 2007, entitled
Gender and Indicators Overview consid-
ers that a start should be made by "measur-
ing the difficulty of measuring." The gender
dimension or women's emancipation, for

example, are realities for which it is diffi-
cult to set parameters. Equally, a study on
women's poverty should include so-called
"time poverty", to quantify the unremuner-
ated work of women.

Neither is the data supplied by individual
countries always reliable and there are situ-
ations where studies and data are spoiled
due to negligence during the research proc-
ess. Then again, a result can be more about
the mathematics than a real social switch.
For example, a reduction in the number of
male students at universities in Jamaica and
other countries has the automatic effect of
boosting the figures for women. But is the
result a mere statistic or a true measure of
gender change?
* The Courier, Issue 154, November-December
** UNDP, 2006 report.
*** 2006 report by the UN Commission on the
Status of Women on the economic promotion of
**** According to the UNDP 2007 report.
***** French movement for family planning.

Women; UN Conference on Women in
Beijing; Benazir Bhutto; Hillary Rodham
Clinton; Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs); Gender-related Development
Index (GDI); UN Gender Empowerment
Measure (GEM).

D rawn up by the EC's Directorate
General for Development, in tan-
dem with the External Relations
Directorate, and with the help
of EU Member States, the action plan will
aim at further translating the existing policy
into practice, explains Victoria Correa. The
EC's gender equality policy for develop-
ing countries is already laid down in the
'EC Communication on Gender Equality
and Women Empowerment in Development
Cooperation', but Victoria Correa says that
the new action plan establishes concrete
steps for the European Commission and
EU Member States to further jointly deliver
on their gender equality commitments and
have more of an impact on the ground.

Still on the drawing board when the Courier
went to press, the 'action plan' will propose
a three-pronged approach involving further
political and policy dialogue with develop-
ing country partners on gender issues, the
mainstreaming of gender this means ensur-
ing that a gender perspective is integrated
into all policy areas, programmes, strategies
and interventions from road building to
rural development for instance and specific
actions to address situations that require
targeted support. Building on existing EU
and EC resources, instruments and mecha-
nisms, the action plan will put forward a
series of activities and performance indi-
cators to be carried out jointly during the
period 2010-2015.

Between 2000-2007, a 'mainstreaming' ap-
proach to projects was adopted as opposed
to specific gender projects but the '2007
Communication on gender equality and empow-
erment' also recommended specific actions as a
complement to gender mainstreaming in order

to achieve targeted results and foster women's
empowerment in developing countries.

> 2007 Communication

The EC's 2007 Communication refers to the
Millennium Development Goals (see previous
article) and goes beyond them, highlight-
ing some of the critical areas that are not
addressed in the MDGs, and in particular in
MDG 3 (promote gender equality and women
empowerment) and MDG 5 (improve mater-
nal health). For instance, the Communication
lays emphasis on addressing issues such as
female genital mutilation (see separate article);
gender-based violence in all its manifesta-
tions, and trafficking in women.

Daniela Rofi, Gender Desk Officer at the


, J

From Beijing to now

EC's EuropeAid Co-operation Office,
explains that the EC provides assistance to
advance the gender equality agenda in the
partner countries through the European
Development Fund and the EC Thematic
Programmes. The European Development
Fund (EDF) assists ACP countries in their
structural reforms of the education, health

and justice sectors to make them accessible
to both boys and girls, women and men.
The EDF is also instrumental in building
the national capacity to design and imple-
ment gender policies. Through the Thematic
Programmes, especially "Investing in peo-
ple 2007-2013, which contains a budget for
'sexual and reproductive health and rights"

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and 'gender equality and women's rights', the
EC supports civil society organizations active
in the field of gender equality and women's
rights. Also the EC cooperates with the United
Nations (see below).

Gender; Victoria Correa; Daniela
Rofi; CEDAW; MDGs; Female Genital
Mutilation; Swaziland; Ethiopia.

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--.- T

Applying good intentions

A body of international legislation recognizes gender equality as a fundamental right and of
importance in combating poverty although implementation has often fallen short of targets,
notably the Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) on improving maternal health. Progress
often depends on individuals taking up the mantle such as Sweden's Minister for International
Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, who has put women's participation in peace
and security talks on the agenda of the Swedish Presidency of the EU. President of Liberia,
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is aiso leading by example in having organised a women's international
leadership conference in Monrovia in March 2009.

approach to gender empowerment
has evolved since the 1970s when
the United Nations' International
Year of Women in 1975 and international
women's decade (1976-85) saw the formation
of a rash of women's ministries and the adop-
tion of 'Women in Development' policies by
governments and non-governmental bodies,
although such projects had limited success
since they did not include issues of land
ownership and access to markets, credit and
The mid-1970s brought in a move towards
a more strategic approach to empowering
women, encompassing legislative change.

The 30 articles of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW), adopted by the
UN General Assembly in 1979, was based on
the principles of equality, non discrimination
and state obligation. CEDAW's obligations
are binding although reservations (meaning
non-compliance) are permitted on individual
articles. One hundred and eighty five states
are currently party to the Convention.
The Beijing Action Plan, put in place follow-
ing the Fourth United Nations' Conference
on Women in 1995, confirmed the move from
projects under the banner of women in devel-
opment to mainstreaming of gender empow-
erment policies. It highlighted the inequalities

where action was required across all branches
of governments who signed up to the plan from
unequal access to health care and related serv-
ices to the effects of armed conflict on women.

> "Best practices"
But as President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-
Sirleaf, said at European Development Days
in Stockholm, Sweden, national plans post-
Beijing have "fallen below expectations". In
Stockholm, she made an appeal to look at
"best practices". She told the conference she
had placed women in strategic cabinet posi-
tions such as Justice, Finance (traditional
male preserves) and put the girl child at the



< A refugee-camp area de-forested by Sudanese refugees in
Chad. Women have to trek far from the camp to find fire wood,
increasing their risk of being attacked 2009. c Reporters
> Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at European
Development Days (EDD) Stockholm, Sweden,
22 October 2009. 0 Reporters/Scanpix

centre of her strategy which had included
bringing in a tough rape law to stamp out
the violence against women which was rife
when she became Head of State, post-
conflict, in 2006
Progress lags on the attainment of some of
the specific United Nations' Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by
governments at the turn of the century
relating to women, highlights the United
Nations' own 2009 Millennium Goals
Report, notably MDG 5 on improving
maternal health. The number of maternal
deaths per 100,000 live births has hardly
fallen in sub-Saharan Africa declining from
just 920 in 1990 to 900 in 2005, and half
of all maternal deaths (265,000) annu-
ally occur in sub-Saharan Africa, says the
report. Progress on MDG 3 the promotion
of gender equality and female empower-
ment meant to eliminate gender disparity
in primary and secondary education, and in
ail levels of education not later than 2015 is
also wanting. "In the developing regions as
a whole, 95 girls were enrolled in primary
school for every 100 boys in 2007, compared
to 91 in 1999. However, the target of elimi-
nating gender disparities in primary and

secondary education by 2005 was missed.
Ensuring the opportunity is not lost again
in 2015 will require renewed urgency and
commitment", says the report.
The same report contains rosier figures for
the proportion of seats held by women in
single or lower houses of national parlia-
ments in sub-Saharan Africa which stands
at 18 per cent, compared with 9 per cent
in 2000 and in Latin Amercica and the
Caribbean, 22 per cent, the highest regional
average recorded. "Sub-Saharan Africa
continues to make strides, with Rwanda out

in front: it made history in September 2008
when its lower chamber elected a majority
(56 per cent) of women members, reads the
report. But nine chambers mainly in the
Pacific islands and Arab Gulf States have
no women members of parliament at all.
The report also says that the 2008 global
financial crisis has created new hurdles to
women's employment. D.P.

Gender; women; Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs); Sweden; Minister for
International Development Cooperation;
Gunilla Carlsson; Liberia; Ellen Johnson-
Sirleaf; European Development Days;
Stockholm; CEDAW; United Nations.

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Today, Botswana has a higher proportion
of females in higher education (see box).
------nw en t e eaio

SBotswana is unique among many Africane

countries in that as far as higher education is

concerned, the gender gap is narrowing.. .

tSlnt p rimr scot oloht Beoty thwr give p *


sion that there will be equality once these
students graduate and enter the job market.
This is not the case, especially if you look at
the University of Botswana's top manage-
ment. The absence of women in senior man-
agement positions raises a lot of questions.
The Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, and
the two Deputy Vice Chancellor positions
are ail occupied by males except for Deputy
Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs. Tilting
the lens to the academic section, 93 per cent
of professors are male and about seven per
cent female.
In her paper, 'Gender Audit at the University
of Botswana: The Case of the Faculty of
Humanities', Rosaline Nhlekisana says
that most positions are occupied by males

because of the institution's "patriarchal cul-
ture" which is not unique to the university
and is rampant in some of the organizations
outside the academy, where the employer is
constantly faced with the challenge to prove
that, perhaps, "the best man for the job is a
Progress on gender equality in traditionally
male posts has been slow although Batswana
women are breaking through with such as
the appointment of Dr. Attaliah Molokomme
as Attorney General. The Botswana Defence
Force is also now welcoming women into
the army.
But the giant leaps women are making into
careers traditionally reserved for men do not

sit well with some males. Some detractors
feel that Batswana women have sufficient
opportunities and no longer need affirma-
tive action policies. There is hence a lot of
backlash with the need to curtail women's
efforts for equality if they get too powerful
and oust men from their privileged posi-
tions. Access to education is one thing,
gender equality another. We need measures
to improve equality within managerial posi-
tions, boardrooms, parliament etc. This
calls for a change of mind-set.

Dr. Attaliah Molokomme; University of
Botswana; gender equality.


In Niger, men are taking action to improve the health of women and children by engaging in
awareness-raising campaigns initiated by women's groups and associations.

hostile to any issue pertaining to
sexual health. Even now, a consid-
erable number still prevent their
wives from visiting family health centres.
"When chatting, 1 make my friends aware of
the benefits of pre- and postnatal consulta-
tion", explain a shopkeeper in Niamey, and
someone who knows a lot about maternal
and child health. Most often, awareness-
raising events take place in the public square or
during local festivities.

The work, carried out by men, leads to
impressive results. "Women are now visiting
family health centres more and more. At the
slightest worry regarding their health, they
go to their nearest centre", recalls Aichatou,
a midwife at Niamey. "Results are even more
striking in the many villages where the men
themselves drive their wives to their appoint-
ments, which was unheard of only a few
years ago", adds a colleague.

> Broken taboos

Without inhibition, men now allow their
wives to make use of contraception. "This is
all thanks to the emancipation of the woman
in Niger. Our associations have made great
strides. It's taken a long time, but the effort
has been worth it", rejoices a militant advo-
cate of women's rights.

Views have changed regarding contracep-
tion. In the past, opposition was widespread
in both rural and urban areas. "My husband
forbade me to take any medication to space
out the births. Even so, 1 still used it all
the time. Now, though, we both decide on
whether to use it", explains a 33 year old
mother of four. Many women like her took
contraception without their husbands know-
ing. But a large number now do so with the
approval of their spouses, who are better
informed on the subject.

"In the past, 1 thought this kind of idea was
a very Western one. But since meeting with
the group of men who have agreed to change
their relationship to family planning, 1 have
quite a different take. Now 1 discuss this
type of question with my wife", confides a
47 year old man.

The media have made a considerable contri-
bution alongside women's organizations to
convince men of the arguments in favour of
changing their attitudes towards reproduc-
tion. These efforts have met with consid-
erable resistance, however, on the part of
the marabouts (Islamic leaders and teach-
ers). But as times change, the latter have
started preaching on the subject in their
sermons. Since then, the prevailing climate
has changed appreciably. "Limiting births is
prohibited in Islam, but not their deferral."

Niger; Health; men; women; civil society.


It was in the aftermath of the World
Conference on Women in Mexico in
1975 that the majority of African coun-
tries began to take measures to insti-
gate gender equality. There was one nota-
ble exception, Rwanda, which from 1965
onwards already had a system in place, but
one which still has little substance, as Fatou
Sarr explains in a report drawn up in 2008.
Nonetheless, remarks the expert, the min-
istry for gender and women's promotion
(referred to as Migeprofe), set up in Rwanda
in 1999, is a model of its type in as far as its
role has been clearly defined, namely that
of promoting gender fairness and equality
within the development process and lead-
ing the shift from a 'vertical' approach to a
'horizontal' one.

This is not the case in countries such as the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
Senegal, Gabon or Togo. "Very often", she
explains, "these countries have confined
themselves to action plans containing eclec-
tic, ad hoc programmes which correspond
to the particular needs of the development

Since the 4th World Conference on Women
in Beijing in 1995, various 'national women's
councils' have been set up in the majority of
these countries. As advisory bodies to gov-
ernments, their main activity is the organis-
ing of special events. A further innovation
are the 'gender focus points'. Unfortunately,
adds the sociologist, these lack the necessary
skills and expertise, meaning they exert lit-
tle influence, owing (with the exception of
Rwanda) to their lack of strategic position-
ing. Moreover, they sorely lack the financial
means they seek from their national minis-
tries (often less than 1 per cent of the national
budget, as in Togo (0.29 per cent), the DRC
(0.042 per cent) or Senegal (0.2 per cent).

The solution? According to Fatou Sarr, meas-
ures need to focus on heads of state "in
Africa, the social structure is still very strati-
fied" to encourage them to raise the budget
allocated to the issue, reinforcing this social
movement and thus giving it the necessary
clout to have a decisive impact on policy.

Fatou Sarr; gender equality; Africa;

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Bassilla Renju-Urasa, executive coordinator of Tanzania's
Network of Women Against Female Genital Mutilation
(NAFGEM) says that although Tanzania outlawed Female
Genital Mutilation (FGM)/circumcision in 1998, the practice
continues. "We exist because the law is not applied"' she says.

S ome of the women who work with
NAFGEM have themselves suffered
through the procedure as girls. The
body disseminates information and
documents cases to try to change attitudes
to some deep-rooted customs. Education,
according to NAFGEM, is essential to com-
bating FGM. A lot of women live in remote
rural areas and find it difficult to bring for-
ward a case.

NAFGEM's little office on the third floor
of a side street in Moshi is the epicentre of a
movement that has made a positive change
in the Kilimanjaro Region. But among the
Masai, says Mrs. Renju-Urasa, the practice
of FGM stubbornly persists. "The Masai
cannot imagine someone not circumcised. It
is a must. And the uneducated...the women,
accept it", she adds.

Just outside Chekimaji, a village nestled at
the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, a mother and


daughter from the Kamba tribe are standing
ground. The girl's father, a school teacher,
has recently passed away and now her uncle
has taken over the household. He demands
that her mother become his concubine. She
refuses. Furious, the uncle says he will stop
paying for Pascalini's secondary schooling in
Dar-es-Salaam. The uncle wants to marry
the girl off; circumcised. Circumcision
entails serious psychological impacts and
potentially life-threatening physical com-
plications. According to NAFGEM, some
girls can subsequently develop an abnormal
growth that obstructs normal bodily func-
tions. The most common mutilation proce-
dure involves simply cutting off part of, or
the entire clitoris. Tanzania's National Plan
of Action to Combat FGM (2001-2015)
attempts to address the issue but so far, with
limited success. Penal Code 1930 was enact-
ed to criminalise the practice of FGM but the
passive nature of law enforcement means the
practice is condoned.

The mother reported the uncle's intentions
to the authorities but without results. Her
daughter then threatened to kill herselfrather
than undergo the procedure. Frightened for
her daughter's life and unable to rely on the
local authorities, the mother sends someone
from the village off to NAFGEM.

The next day 1 find mother and her daughter
standing under the sparse shade of a tree
Pascalini remains, for the most part silent, as
her mother speaks on her behalf. "My daugh-
ters hate this hell", she says. She has seven
children, four of whom are daughters. The
family feels abandoned and is despised by
everyone in the village, she says. "Most have
turned their backs on us", she says. A letter,
unsigned, was delivered to her doorstep.
Threats were made against her children,
she says. Back in Moshi, Mrs. Renju-Urasa
listens to the report that the girl in question
is facing the threat of FGM and notes that
her fear is tangible. A proper investigation is
required but only by those that understand
the intimacy of the Kilimanjaro region: by
someone from NAFGEM.
* Brussels-based journalist.
NAFGEM; Female Genital Mutilation.



> From redundancy to a thriving
business The Jennifer Williams
Forty-two year old Jennifer Williams was
forced to become an entrepreneur after
she was made redundant from a food and
distribution company in Jamaica where she
had worked for six years as a salesperson.
She has never looked back. With a little

encouragement and not much money, she
started her own fashion design business,
Akira Lyn, focusing mostly on swimwear
and leisure wear made from crotchet mate-
rial. "I used to make doilies", she says of
her early interest in sewing. "There was
no challenge doing that. 1 then started
creating and putting things together and it
looked good." Williams, whose business is
home-based, was able to get wider publicity
for her skills through her association with

C1 don't like the idea
of working for people;
I love being self-

the Jamaica Fashion and Apparel Cluster
group, established by the Jamaica Business
Development Centre (JBDC), a government





agency which provides business and techni-
cal support services to small businesses.
Her pieces were shown at the national level
at House of Flava, an established fashion
house in Jamaica, and at the international
level when she was part of a delegation to
Brussels last year.

She was also part of a team of local design-
ers who prepared a 30-piece wardrobe for
last year's 'Miss Jamaica World' pageant.
"I am always happy and excited when 1 see
people wearing my pieces", she says glow-
ing with pride in being a part of that select
group of designers. "When 1 see my work in
the paper or at a photo shoot, it feels good."
Williams, however, says there are challenges
in keeping the business afloat, especially in
marketing: "People will see your stuff and
like it but may say it is too expensive."

> Economic downturn

Running a young business in the current
economic downturn can be difficult, espe-
cially in getting start-up capital, but she has
learnt from a difficult childhood always to
look for the opportunities in difficult situ-
ations. "Recession prepares you for better
things. You use every bad situation as a step-
ping stone and 1 am used to recession", she
says. Growing up in Bull Bay, a poor com-
munity in the parish of St.Thomas, has been
no barrier to her big dreams for the busi-


ness. "I hope to see myself up there going to
China, Africa... the entire world", she says
smiling. She eventually wants her grand-
daughter, Akira, after whom she named the
business, to take it forward. "I am trying to
pave the way so that she won't have to go
through what 1 did while growing up", she
says, fighting back the tears when recalling
what seems to have been a tough childhood.
While it is difficult to get a business going
in these hard economic times, Williams
believes that it is good to take risks. Her
advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs? "Just
start the engine and drive", she says, "you
have to be a go-getter; you can't give up".
When down to her last few coins, she says
she would use what she had to buy material
to make one of her pieces. "Don't be afraid
to take chances", she says.

> aspiring factory owner -
Simone Garden
Simone Garden, a 36 year-old mother of
three, aspires to one day opening a sewing
factory where she can employ several per-
sons in creating leisure wear clothing from
crush cotton sheer and bright tie and dye
colours. For now, Garden is carving out a
niche market for herself in Jamaica's fledging
fashion industry. She owns a small fashion
boutique in Spanish Town, St. Catherine,
where she sells her own garments. Garden,
who opened her boutique doors just three

years ago, says she has been sewing since the
age of eight. "I started sewing for friends not
collecting any money, just sewing because 1
love it. 1 love seeing people in my pieces",
she says, recounting the first time she cut a
piece of material freehand. With no formal
training, Garden says she learnt her skill at
the knees of her mother who was a dress-
maker and whose mother was a dressmaker
and father a tailor.

"I grew up seeing my mother, grandmother
and grandfather busy with their own lit-
tle business", she says. "I don't like the
idea of working for people; 1 love being
self-employed." Although she completed
secondary education, she says she was moti-
vated to start her own business. She got
help from her mother with buying a sewing
machine but as the business got bigger she
decided to rent a shop in one of the plazas
located outside Spanish Town, the capital of
St. Catherine, the largest parish in Jamaica.

> Unique designs

She says business on the plaza has been
slow, especially since the economic down-
turn, but she finds ways of getting around
this by going where the customers are. "I
try very hard to be creative. So (customers)
even if they don't want to buy are forced to
when they look at the designs. The designs
are unusual and have a unique finish."
Garden says most of her clients are persons
in the entertainment industry especially
those who wear Dancehall outfits. She how-
ever produces for a diverse market including
casual, resort and children's wear. Despite
the challenges, it's her love for her work
that keeps her going. She would like to
open a factory where she can create jobs
for others. "I would love to one day have
some good dedicated workers to help me in
creating my designs", she says of her future
plans. Garden also got local exposure when
she participated in the Caribbean Fashion
Week, a popular Caribbean fashion show
organised each year in Jamaica which show-
cases pieces from several Caribbean design-
ers. Meanwhile, her work was also high-
lighted overseas when she was also asked to
create one of the pieces for the wardrobe of
last year's 'Ms. Jamaica World'.
* Jamaican journalist.

Jennifer Williams; Simone Garden;
Jamaica; Jamaica Business Development
Centre; Caribbean Fashion Week.

T he programme benefited 22 ACP* MDG five on maternal

and October 2008. It was launched
by the EC to relieve the dramatic progresss)
impact on poor countries in the wake of
the former administration of United States adoption of a law punishing rapists with 25
President George Bush to cut off the US years in prison, or even life imprisonment for
contribution to international family plan- transmitting fatal diseases.
ning programmes. In 2002, the UNFPA
estimated that if US financing had contin- There is no avoiding the fact, however, the at *
ued, it would have made it possible to avoid the international community is still a long way
two million unwanted pregnancies, mean- frommeetingGoalfiveoftheUNMillennium
ing 800,000 fewer abortions, as well as more Development Goals (MDGs) that aims to
thon 77 000 A ,th f nf ,nt an 1dr1 hi d t ;'lt th, t'

The joint EC/ACP/IPPF/UNFPA pro-
gramme has enabled over 1.6 million peo-
ple to benefit from sexual and reproductive
health services and has trained thousands
of professionals, while at the same time
helping ACP governments to draw up and
implement policies in the sector.

In Rwanda, for example, more than 150,000
people attended awareness sessions on HIV/
AIDS prevention and family planning.
Almost 10,000 young Rwandans underwent
voluntary testing for HIV, while 1,500 peo-
ple who tested HIV-positive were assisted
by health insurance funds in gaining access
to treatment. About 100 peer educators
were trained and almost 40,000 people ben-
efited from family planning and reduced risk
maternity services. The IPPF representative
in Rwanda also drew attention to Kigali's

between 1990 and 2015. Currently falling at
the rate of scarcely one per cent per year, of all
the MDGs, this is without doubt the one that
has seen the least progress.

Conference participants therefore stressed
the urgent need to strengthen the capacity
of healthcare professionals in ACP coun-
tries and to encourage governments to make
reproductive health a priority in their strate-
gic documents to reduce poverty. In future,
it is important for health ministers to have
an input in such documents. And despite
the financial crisis, donors must pledge to
step up universal access to reproductive
health and achieve the 2010 milestone of
35 million more births attended by trained
medical staff each year. The EU is to invest
C86M up to 2015 with a special focus on
involving civil society in ACP countries and
helping the most vulnerable and unders-

erved young people, among whom unwant-
ed pregnancies are most prevalent.

President Obama's decision to resume US
contributions to the UNFPA and the IPPF,
confirmed by the US representative to the
conference, was welcomed with relief by the
event participants.

* Financing: 32M. Countries: Burkina Faso,
Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea,
Ghana, Jamaica, Niger, Rwanda, Suriname,
Tanzania, Congo, Dominican Republic, Gambia,
Haiti, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nigeria,
Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tuvalu, Zambia.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme;


e Ie th o

The African Diaspora are increasingly recognized as significant development actors,
providing remittances, Foreign Direct Investment, technology and knowledge transfers and
positive political contributions to their countries of origin. African women in the Diaspora
are coming to the fore. But as Stphanie Mbanzendore, Chairperson of Burundian Women
for Peace and Development (BWPD) notes, better targeted policies are needed.

A member of the Diaspora her-
self and chairing the Diaspora-
led BWPD in the Netherlands,
Mbanzendore is an empowering
voice for her counterparts. There is no deny-
ing the role that women in the Diaspora
have played in developing the continent,
she says, "particularly in the fields of intel-
lectual cooperation, technology transfer,
education and healthcare and the fight for
peace and development in Africa".

In the EU and Africa, opportunities are
opening up for women to establish con-
tact with decision-makers and express their
views through regular conferences and sem-
inars. These include BWPD seminars on
fostering unity, youth and development and
AIDS prevention.

But with opportunities come challenges.
"The same women who lobby are never
taken seriously when it comes to implement-
ing projects for their countries", she says.
Accessing EU funds for some Diaspora-led
projects can be "very difficult" and "more
complicated than in bilateral cooperation",
she adds.

> Global presence, local impact

Living abroad, the Diaspora run the
risk of being disconnected from realities
on the ground. This is where Diaspora
organizations can play a major role, says
Mbanzendore, providing the missing link
between stakeholders in African countries
and the rest of the world.

Through "cooperative relationships with
organizations on the ground", African
Diaspora organizations are constantly kept
informed, she says. This is essential for


BWPD which is implementing various
Diaspora-led projects in Burundi, includ-
ing 'Social Harmony', which has established
'peace committees' for conflict resolution
in local communities and has organised
local visits for former refugees. In the
Burundian province of Kirundo, they have
organised and participated in advocacy
campaigns encouraging women to vote and
stand for elections, provided mills to groups
of women and trained local teachers. The
crown jewel of their efforts can now be
found in a new multi-purpose centre in
Kirundo city with conference, library and
cinema facilities which serve as meeting
points for people from the provinces in the
north of Burundi.

BWDP is just one of various examples of
female-led Diaspora organizations making
a difference in their local communities.
How can development cooperation ensure
that there will be many more examples to

"We would like to see the expertise of emi-
grants taken seriously and made better use
of", says Mbanzendore. "We would like
funders and decision-makers to consult us
for advice because a lot of donations are
being used in the wrong places. This is why
development aid has still not been able to
improve living conditions in Africa, and has
in fact had the opposite effect."

Amidst the complex environment of inter-
national development aid, it is sometimes
the small-scale Diaspora-led projects that
have the greatest, most visible and most
direct impact on the lives of the poor, says

This is why existing funding systems

"urgently need to be reviewed and why
such projects should be accommodated if
the financial organizations really want to
improve the lives of Africans", she adds.
For more information, see: www.burundesevrou-
wenvoorvrede.nl (in Dutch)

Stphanie Mbanzendore; African women;
Diaspora; Burundi; Burundian Women for
Peace and Development.


Mask of belly. Wood, pearls, pigments, height :58cm, Muse
Dapper, Paris, Inv. No 0717. Muse Dapper/photo Hughes Dubois

shows how this difference affects
the artistic creation of societies. The
Muse Dapper* recently hosted two
exhibitions on this very theme: Women in the
Art of Africa (October 2008-July 2009) and
The Art of Being a Man Africa, Oceania
(15 October 2009-11 July 2010). Art collec-
tor, Fabrizio Corsi, also put together educa-
tional exhibitions on the topic.

As well as being key figures in African socie-
ties, women play an important role in cul-
tural legends. The male conveys this in his
representations of the female in art; the male
has control over religion, and has the power
to create related images (statues and masks).
Sexual attributes are enhanced, indicating
the natural inclination of the ancestors of a
community to procreate. One such exam-
ple is found in extraordinary wooden body
masks. The stomach of a pregnant woman
is celebrated by a number of ethnic groups,
such as Baul, Yoruba and Makonde. When
a human being does not reproduce, the entire
life cycle of his existence becomes futile, and
for this reason infertility is considered the
worst possible disgrace.

A common theme in the great diversity of
artistic forms and traditions in the African
continent is the celebration of the vari-
ous cycles and stages in life. The woman's
role as wife and mother is the most exalted
aspect, as well as elements of beauty and
sensuality such as ritual sacrifice, sophisti-
cated hairstyles, folds of fat in the neck and
small mouths etc. The relationship between
couples is also revered, with the woman

vvUUU, IU I, plylII[[ [[CI91Il. UU b.. iI1ube J appe ,
Paris, Inv. no 2617. c Muse Dapper/photo Hughes Dubois

often shown as the opposite of the male.

However, due account must be taken of art
created by women, even though this is con-
fined to the so-called 'applied arts', which
is unfortunately defined as a less important
art form by eighteenth century art criti-
cism. The woman creates art mainly in the
following areas: internal and external wall
painting; terracotta containers; pokerwork
on calabashes and fabric painting.

In all cases, the work is carried out jointly
with men or in partnership with other
women. Even in this field, the co-operative
spirit characterising the African woman,
who has a propensity to create harmonious
human relationships in every manifestation
of life, is expressed. The art of the female,
which is identifiable through its use of linear
and geometric forms, is also important in
terms of its influence on the upbringing of
the young and on the visual language of the
ethnic group to which they belong.

While the male being uses hard materials
such as wood, stone, ivory and metal, and
his art par excellence is sculpture, the woman
decorates the communal spaces of the vil-
lage and the home. This is therefore a form
of public art, which exclusively uses soft and
fluid materials, such as earth, pigments,
water and plant fibres.

* The Muse Dapper is located in Paris (France).
Website: www.dapper.com

Gender; Africa; art; woman; Muse
Dapper; woman's role; difference


^^^^^ iiTi IiTT I I I




-.- ---- -- _-- -

Antigua and Barbuda The Bahamas ,i..., Belize Cuba Dominica Dominican
Republic Grenada Guyana Haiti Jamaica Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines Suriname Trinidad a.i Ti.i .1.1

Cook Islands Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru Niue
Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Timor Leste Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu

- "

Austria Belfiur Bulgaria Cy4rus Czech Republic Denmark Estnia Finland France
.'-, ,li .I .I-,, ,I, I: I' 1: i I -I iII l I Ii i l[I, "lii l -I 1 I. l...i 11.1. ll,-, Iill,, l, i I

S...... I 'l I i- l I- I 11,1 ''

The lists of countries published by The Courier do not prejudice the status of these countries and territories now or in the future. The Courieruses maps from a variety of sources.
Their use does not imply recognition of any particular boundaries nor prejudice the status of any state or territory.

Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cape Verde Central African
Republic Chad Comoros Congo (Rep. of) Cte d'Ivoire Democratic Republic of the
Congo Djibouti Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Kenya Lesotho Liberia Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius
Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Rwanda Sao Tome and Principe Senegal
Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Togo
Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

... .


EU 6

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