Gender equality in East African politics isn’t so equal after all

East Africa has developed something of a reputation for gender equality in politics over the years. Rwanda has a higher percentage of women in parliament than any other country in the world while Burundi, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda are also among the highest ranking nations for female political figures (top 31 of 130 world parliaments).

However, the latest East African Community Gender Barometer report by EASSI suggests those numbers don’t paint the full picture of gender equality in the region’s political environment.

The study finds that, despite women sitting in many parliaments seats, they generally lack the same political influence enjoyed by their male peers. According to the group responsible for the study, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are no different from other countries in the region when it comes to handing political power to women.

Female politicians lack power in East Africa
Rwanda and Bolivia are the only two countries in the world where female politicians outnumber men. Rwanda tops the list where 61.3% of the country’s members of parliament are female (source: Continue reading


Campaign for an EAC Gender Equality Bill: EASSI trains champions

Champions in Kenya
EAC Gender Equality and Dev’t Champions after the training in Kenya

EASSI in partnership with her National Focal Point Organizations in Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya selected champions at national and community level to spearhead the campaign for an East African Community (EAC) Gender Equality and Development bill. The Focal Points include the National Association of Women’s Organisation in Uganda (NAWOU), Women’s Rights Awareness Programme (WRAP)- Kenya, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Profemme Twese Hamwe- Rwanda and Collectif des Associations et ONGs Feminines du Burundi (CAFOB).

Each country selected a total of 15 champions with 5 being at National level and 10 at community level. A simplified training guide focusing on understanding gender equality, advocacy in the EAC and the provisions of the EAC gender bill was developed and translated into the commonly spoken languages of Kirundi, Kiswahili and Kinyarwanda.

The two days’ trainings took place between 18th July and 10th August i.e. (Burundi- 18th and 19th July, Tanzania- 25th and 26th July, Rwanda-2nd and 3rd August and Kenya-9th and 10th August). Continue reading

Ethiopia’s Bloody Crackdown: The Case for International Justice

Ethiopian security forces gunned down at least 100 people a week ago in the bloodiest weekend in the ninth month of anti-government protests. Unlike previous protests, which have been largely confined to the Oromia region, the protests on August 6 and 7 were also in the northern Amhara region. Altogether at least 500 people have been killed since November and tens of thousands have been detained during the largely peaceful protests. Continue reading

Ethiopia and Sudan draft MoU on cross-border programs

August 23, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia and neighboring Sudan have drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration and cooperation on cross-border animal health and livestock trade programmes.

The cross-border meeting, which was held last week in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, was organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD).

Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa” (VETGOV) programme and the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) projects supported the program. Continue reading

Media – Catalyst for Preserving and Promoting Local Culture

  ShilpiBy Shilpi Jain

Communication and Knowledge Dissemination Expert with IPE Centre for Knowledge and Development and Co-author of book titled “Reflections of Managing Water: Earth’s Greatest Natural Resource’”

Dance moves of the “Roma” Gypsy from Rajasthan to Spain; stories from the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata on the walls of temples and palaces in Angkorvat, Cambodia; evidence of Indian paintings techniques at Bamiyan in Afghanistan and Miran and Domko in Central Asia depict both the Buddha and Hindu deities like Shiva, Ganesha and Surya.

Influence of the Western drama and One Act plays on Indian literature; imitations of the English sonnet, Ode, and Blank verse by famous Indian poets; Impact of European, Chinese and South-east paintings in India during the rule of the great Mughal king Akbar.

These are just a few examples that connect the dots between the cultures of the East and the West. Information is the key and literacy is fundamental. And, Media is what binds the two together.

Putting all this together, Media Information Literacy (MIL) therefore becomes crucial to promote and are ancient local traditions, culture, heritage for others to know, learn and replicate. However, with India at the threshold of its 70th Independence Day, its time before we delve further into this, after at this point it is important to do a recap of the Indian culture, understand what we mean by Media Literacy and how it can act as a catalyst in promoting local culture and traditions. Continue reading

How ‘Icyumba Cy’umukobwa’ is keeping girls in school

A few years ago, Jeanette Mutuyimana got her first menstruation period. Confused, irritated and with no one to turn to for help, Mutuyimana, a student of Groupe Scolaire Rugando asked for permission and took the rest of the day off. She did not return to school till four days later.

Mutuyimana’s story is not unusual. According to World Bank statistics, at least 20 per cent of schoolgirls in the country, particularly in rural areas, miss school, up to 50 days per year, because they cannot afford buying sanitary pads or due to menstruation related issues. Continue reading

Female Entrepreneurship Thrives in Ethiopia

By Emilie Maarbjerg Mørk
Women-owned businesses pop up all over Addis Ababa, and the days where women stayed in the house and depended on their husband seem to be passing.

It is not hard to find businesses in Addis Ababa that are lead by women. Go for example to the S”k”andinavian Bakery in Bole, where you will be met by the delicious smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and other Nordic pastry, that Ethiopia Belay Gizaw brought to this African capital almost five years ago.
“I have always dreamt of being self-employed, and after I had lived in Sweden for more than 13 years, I decided to come back to my home country, and I took the chance with the bakery. I had always liked to bake, and I wanted to bring something from Scandinavia to Ethiopia that was new here,” she says. Continue reading