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International Women’s Day: What African women choose to challenge

By Sunday Oyinloye

As the world marked International Women’s Day yesterday, what would probably come to the mind of most people are the challenges facing women and children across the globe.  Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable sought the views of women from ten countries in Africa on what they intend to challenge.

What they said:

NIGERIA

Today is International Women Day and I,  Dr Nihinlola Mabogunje, a National Advocate for Health #Chose2Challenge the high maternal mortality rates(MMR)  and high under-five mortality rates largely caused by preventable- and curable diseases for instance, Malaria .

As of today Nigeria MMR stands at 512 per 100,000 live births and  Under 5 years  is 132 per 1, 000 live births (NDHS 2018). This can be lowered to meet the SDG Targets of 70 per 100,000 live births and 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030, if Nigeria gives the health of Women and Children the priority it deserves.

We need to build the resilience of the National Health System.  One key area is increasing the Domestic Funding for Health and ensuring that Nigeria meets the 2001 Abuja Declaration target of allocating at least 15% of the total National Budget to the health sector. Since the declaration, the health budget has never exceeded 6% of the total national budget; 2021 health budget is about 4% of the total budget. Efficient utilisation of the budgeted monies has also become highly imperative.

So today, I #Chose2Challenge the high mortality rates amongst our women and children.

May God bless you as you work to save our women and children.

Dr Nihinlola Mabogunje is a National Advocate for Health in Nigeria


ZAMBIA

I choose to challenge barriers that are preventing rural women from taking up leadership positions. Women especially those in the rural areas are the main drivers of the informal sector which contributes to job creation and the Gross Domestic Product of Zambia. However, low literacy and education levels cut off rural women from participating in decision making platforms and policies formulation.

The outbreak of Covid-19 further threatens to leave the rural women behind as they obtain their learning through community gatherings which have now been restricted to reduce the spread of the pandemic. Unlike urban women who have the opportunity to continue learning and interacting through various online and social media platforms, most rural women lack these skills and gadgets, hence at a time like this, they are left behind, and their chances of participating in civic and governance positions are further reduced. To achieve an equal future in this Covid-19 world, we need to empower rural women with knowledge and skills needed for them to take up leadership positions at all levels.

Nsama Musonda Kearns, Executive Director Care for Nature Zambia


MALAWI

Women’s Day is about striving to bring the best in every woman. Have you lifted up a fellow woman?

Have you helped in giving room for another woman to blossom? What is women’s Day if you can’t be a sister’s keeper?

Happy Women’s Day to all ladies making a difference in life

#challenge to light a sister’s candle

Angie Chimaliro Banda, CEO Legacy group Malawi


ZIMBABWE

I choose to challenge gender based violence. Many women are being suppressed because they are not financially independent. My message to all women out there is work hard to upgrade yourself so that you will not be violated in any way.

Never   allow any type of abuse be it verbal, sexual, or emotional .Your health and well-being is more important; if the relationship cannot work leave it.  Never force love or entertain abuse or violence.  Run away from poverty and hunger in your life because these two are common sources of abuses.  Empower yourself so that you won’t look up to your husband to provide everything .Help your husband where there is the need, don’t just be a consumer. Invest in the future and above all, be prayerful

 Nadia Vongai Mabvirakare, Founder of Nadia Hope Trust, Zimbabwe


UGANDA

Happy Women’s Day to all the ladies who take charge of their lives

I would want to address the issue of glass ceiling where society thinks that women can’t do certain jobs which is a barrier to women’s growth.

In African, we have less than 10 % women as company heads and in parliament, we got about the same percentage in 90 % of African countries. Let me say that women are as capable as men as long as they are educated.

Sharon Rutega, CEO Diva Taxi Uganda


LIBERIA

There’s is something special about every Woman, we are more valuable than those scars we have. Find yourself and be that light!! Someone, somewhere needs what you carry❣️❣️

Nyanquellah Livingstone,CEO/Executive DirectorRaising Godly Generation, Liberia

SIERRA LEONE

I choose to challenge rape and all forms of Violence against women and girls in Sierra Leone, as women suffer twice the hurt because of the culture of silence which continues to undermine the road to an empowered future for girls.

Precious Amabel  Lebby-Smith, Managing Director, PalsAfrika Online Television, Sierra Leone


SOUTH AFRICA

 I want to challenge patriarchy and also the idea that women belong to the kitchen. I want to challenge a system where men earn higher pay than women.  In addition, I want to challenge society’s idea about  how a woman should dress  and  how she should be less loud on spaces where men are. Again, I want to challenge how women who have fun are labeled with degrading names

Fikile Makhubo. South Africa


KENYA

It’s abundantly clear that women and girls with disabilities in Kenya continue to fall within the cracks of women’s rights and disability rights movement and are marginalized in all spheres of life making our rights left out in many discussions. To advance our rights in society and development, our perspectives must be included in all aspects of women empowerment. We all have a role to play in ensuring a more gender balanced world that is inclusive.

Elizabeth Mang’eni-Senior Trade Development Officer-Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Kenya


GHANA

A fair playing field is blind to the types and forms of gender. Impact and output should not be defined wearing a gender definition because every gender is equally capable. On this day as we celebrate the strength and voice of women, I choose to challenge gender and people living with disability biases in all forms. I will like to call on our male counterparts to see women as allies instead of competitors. Women are the spines on which successful economies thrive. Give women a fair playing field and we will succeed as much as our male counterparts if not more.

#CHOOSETOCHALLENGE

#GIRLSGODIGITAL

#TEENTALKGHANA

Linat Osman Kundaribuo   CEO TEEN TALK Ghana


There is no doubt that all forms of discriminations, violence and other societal clogs preventing the rise and rise of our women across the globe must be removed. After all, they are our mothers. At Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable, we shall continue to be a voice to women and children

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