Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Women's Empowerment

My father is from Nigeria. In 1967, a terrible civil war broke out in his region. Biafra wanted to proclaim it independence, to which the Nigerian state reacted with bloody slaughter and systematic starvation. Millions of Biafrans died, and images of malnourished children shocked the world.

Now that the 2017 elections are behind us (or so we assume), it is important to reflect on some of the issues emerging from the polls that are dear to us. One of those being women in leadership. Last year when the debate about the 2010 Constitution’s two thirds gender rule was so heated (“not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”), we in the women’s movement reached a moment of despair. I actually wrote an article asking whether Kenya would ever be ready for women in political leadership.

Today, most African youth seems uninterested in working in the coffee sector as they see it as an "old man's" hobby. However, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) states that it is women who form the majority of the world’s estimated total of 25 million coffee farmers.

Working for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. This is especially so when progress (no matter how little) is made towards uplifting women and girls. However, this work can be depressing sometimes because GEWE happens to be one of the topics that are very easily trivialized and demeaned. Just when you think progress has been attained, you are bombarded with the most retrogressive thinking which makes it very difficult to realize change.

I am Angélica Choc, a Maya-Q'eqchi ' nativehuman rights defender and defender of El Estor community of the Izabal Department in Guatemala.

The World Bank on June 7, 2017 projected Ethiopia as the fastest growing economy in Africa. In a report, Global Economic Prospects: Sub-Saharan Africa, the bank predicted Ethiopia to be at 8.3 per cent followed by Ghana and Tanzania at 7.2 and 7.8 respectively.

In September 2015, Governments adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (commonly referred as the Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs) as a response to eradicate poverty. Each year, countries are encouraged to review their progress in implementation of the SDGs.

Just one day at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) showed me that this year’s theme, ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the changing world of work’, may finally bring some well-deserved attention to the feminization of migration and the plight of women in domestic work. But - will this attention actually result in measures to protect their rights? For those paying attention, Hivos’ panel discussion on 13 March, “I work without Rights, Do you care?” revealed some very necessary steps to take.

Last week, the world celebrated the International Women’s Day. While tremendous gains have been made economically, socially and politically in the last decade for women, a lot more still needs to be done. Take for example the role of women in food production. Over the weekend, The New Vision newspaper, Uganda, highlighted a story noting that women's lack of control, acquisition and ownership of land has incapacitated their ability to increase production in the agricultural sector.

Approximately, 250 million roses will be produced for Valentine’s Day globally. Kenya is the lead exporter of rose cut flowers to the European Union with a market share of 38 per cent as of 2015.  In 2016, Kenya’s earnings from cut flowers rose 18 per cent to Sh53.3 billion from Sh45.1 billion in the previous year. While the sector has seen strides in the provision of safe and healthy working conditions, adherence of companies in payment of minimum wage and complicacy of certification regulations, much more is yet to be achieved in terms of social responsibility for the workers.