President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Launches Country Chapter of African Women Entrepreneurship Program

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf last Wednesday joined hundreds of women at a program marking the celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2012, in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. At the event, President Sirleaf launched the Liberian Chapter of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) and the Adolescent Girls Unit at the Ministry of Gender and Development.

The African Women Entrepreneurship Program, which was started in 2010, based on the recognition that African women are so often the engine of national growth and development, is the brain-child of United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The first chapter of AWEP was formed in Zambia, and since then dozens of African countries have followed. AWEP aims to empower African businesswomen through training, strengthening public-private partnerships, and expanding business capacities and relationships.

In remarks, the President indicated that the themes for this year’s IWD celebration were very appropriate because they support Government’s initiatives to develop and empower women and girls.

She acknowledged the growing number of Liberian women entrepreneurs who are making positive contributions to the country’s economy and other sectors, and appealed for support not just from Government but all Liberians and other nationals within our borders. We must encourage these entrepreneurs to develop by purchasing their products, President Sirleaf said.

The need for the Adolescent Girls Unit at the Ministry of Gender and Development stems from the fact that girls are generally overlooked by many existing structures addressing youth and women issues in Liberia, the President indicated. This Unit will address the issues, needs, and concerns of girls, ages 10-12, with special emphasis placed on girls ages 10-15. Its purpose is to ensure national programs and policies are optimized to work better for girls in order to accelerate growth and reduce poverty.

An Executive Mansion release quotes President Sirleaf as saying that the global theme for this year’s celebration, “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future” and the national theme “Connect, Reconcile and Empower Girls and Women for the Future,” give Government the opportunity to look at the challenges, opportunities and potential for the younger generation of Liberian women. She described the population of Liberia today as one of the world’s youngest populations, with more than 50 percent under the age of 35, half of whom, she pointed out, are girls.

Read entire article here…

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Ernestina Mills, First Lady of Ghana, at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 8.
(Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Ernestina Mills, First Lady of Ghana, at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 8.

(Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Trio of Liberian, Yemeni Women
 
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni women’s rights advocate Tawakkul Karman.The Norwegian Nobel Committee made the announcement Friday in Oslo, saying the three women will split the coveted award for “their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights.”Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland praised the work of the three recipients, saying that “we cannot achieve lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men.”Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 72, became Africa’s first democratically elected female president in 2005. The Nobel Committee praised the Liberian leader for her efforts to secure peace, promote economic and social development and strengthen the position of women.
In an exclusive VOA interview with James Butty, Sirleaf said she is humbled by the award.  She said it is an award for all the Liberian people, given what they’ve gone through - 13 years of civil war, the peace process, and democratic elections.The Liberian leader, in a close re-election campaign leading up to Tuesday’s voting, said the Nobel is recognition of “many years of struggle for justice, peace and promotion of development” in her country.  She said “credit goes to the Liberian people.”Thirty-nine year-old Leymah Gbowee, also from Liberia, helped to end her country’s civil war by encouraging Christian and Muslim women to participate in a series of sit-ins and non-violent demonstrations. In 2002, Gbowee mobilized Liberian women to participate in a “sex strike” until the violence ended. She said the award is “a Nobel for African women," adding that there is "no way that anyone can minimize our role anymore."
Meanwhile, 32-year-old activist and journalist Tawakkul Karman was praised for playing a “leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace” in Yemen. A leading “Arab Spring” activist in her country, Karman told reporters after winning the prize that she dedicated it to the “youth of the revolution in Yemen,” saying it was a victory in her country’s uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The committee said it hopes the prize will help bring an end to the “suppression of women that still occurs in many countries.”The three women will share an award of nearly $1.5 million, which they will receive at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10.Last year, the Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident writer and activist Liu Xiaobo, angering the Chinese government. Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence for what China says is “subverting state power.”Past winners include U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 and former President Jimmy Carter in 2002.  The 2001 prize was split between the United Nations and then Secretary-General Kofi Annan.The prize was created by Swedish scientist and industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Trio of Liberian, Yemeni Women

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni women’s rights advocate Tawakkul Karman.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee made the announcement Friday in Oslo, saying the three women will split the coveted award for “their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights.”

Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland praised the work of the three recipients, saying that “we cannot achieve lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 72, became Africa’s first democratically elected female president in 2005. The Nobel Committee praised the Liberian leader for her efforts to secure peace, promote economic and social development and strengthen the position of women.

In an exclusive VOA interview with James Butty, Sirleaf said she is humbled by the award.  She said it is an award for all the Liberian people, given what they’ve gone through - 13 years of civil war, the peace process, and democratic elections.

The Liberian leader, in a close re-election campaign leading up to Tuesday’s voting, said the Nobel is recognition of “many years of struggle for justice, peace and promotion of development” in her country.  She said “credit goes to the Liberian people.”

Thirty-nine year-old Leymah Gbowee, also from Liberia, helped to end her country’s civil war by encouraging Christian and Muslim women to participate in a series of sit-ins and non-violent demonstrations. In 2002, Gbowee mobilized Liberian women to participate in a “sex strike” until the violence ended. 

She said the award is “a Nobel for African women," adding that there is "no way that anyone can minimize our role anymore."

Meanwhile, 32-year-old activist and journalist Tawakkul Karman was praised for playing a “leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace” in Yemen. A leading “Arab Spring” activist in her country, Karman told reporters after winning the prize that she dedicated it to the “youth of the revolution in Yemen,” saying it was a victory in her country’s uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh

The committee said it hopes the prize will help bring an end to the “suppression of women that still occurs in many countries.”

The three women will share an award of nearly $1.5 million, which they will receive at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10.

Last year, the Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident writer and activist Liu Xiaobo, angering the Chinese government. Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence for what China says is “subverting state power.”

Past winners include U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 and former President Jimmy Carter in 2002.  The 2001 prize was split between the United Nations and then Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The prize was created by Swedish scientist and industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

African Women and Philanthropy: The Importance of Funding Our Own Movements

by Sarah Mukasa

Philanthropy in Africa has become an area of increasing interest in the past 10 or more years. A key focus for interrogation is the manifestation of philanthropy in the African context – its areas of strength and weakness. Another is how to build on the traditions of philanthropy in Africa to attain stronger institutional processes that scale up localized forms of giving and ground these in principles of social justice, equality, peace and sustainable development. Africans are challenging the notion that Africa is purely a ‘donor recipient’ continent and instead are pointing to the rich traditions of giving and philanthropic practice in Africa – which in many instances have been the mainstay of entire communities.

Whilst it is known that philanthropy is an age-old practice in Africa, there is little recognition of the contributions it has made in developing and sustaining communities.  In Africa today, much of the giving takes place in familial and informal community networks responding often to immediate/ welfare concerns. Burial societies, individual support to the payment of school fees and, building of community facilities are examples of philanthropy that can be found in many variations on the continent. Religious organizing has also formed a critical avenue for much of the more formal and institutionalised mechanisms for philanthropy, with programmes driven by local actors providing a range of services including education, health services and feeding programmes.

More recently, a number of African philanthropic actors and organisations seeking to address social, economic and political inequalities and disparities have emerged. In addition there has been an increase in the number of high net worth individuals in Africa establishing their own, more formalised philanthropic initiatives and organizations. At the same time, the private and corporate sectors in Africa are increasingly developing corporate responsibility programmes. These developments have raised the visibility of philanthropy in Africa, highlighting its critical role in our societies and communities. Initiatives such as the African Grantmakers Network- a network developed by African grant makers to promote and strengthen philanthropy in Africa- are testament to the shifts in thinking and organisation on the continent. Increasingly Africans on the continent and elsewhere are seeking to make a difference as collaborative and organised donors to the kinds of change they wish to see.

This is both evident and urgent within the feminist movement. The role of women within the growing field of philanthropy in Africa- their contributions, successes and challenges – remain largely undocumented and unrecognised. Yet the establishment of organizations such as the African Women’s Development Fund and Urgent Action Fund –Africa amongst others, has concretised the central nature of African women’s participation and influence in philanthropy, especially social justice philanthropy.

Within the feminist movement, there is a growing body of thought on the need for us as women to fund our own movements. This partly reflects an increasing unease with external donor practice in support of short term, project based approaches- which do initiate some change, but which are in the long term difficult to sustain, since often they can only address symptoms, and not root causes. Mounting pressure  to demonstrate immediate results or face the risk of losing funding has driven many to develop projects that are all SMART but have little in the way of substance and relevance.  

Continue reading here…

(Source: awdf.org)

The World Mourns the Passing of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai 
NAIROBI, Kenya — Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees and who went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, died here on Sunday. She was 71.
The cause was cancer, said her organization, the Green Belt Movement. Kenyan news outlets said that she had been treated for ovarian cancer in the past year and that she had been in a hospital for at least a week before she died.
"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," the organisation said in a statement on its website.
"Prof Maathai passed away on the 26th of September 2011 in Nairobi. Her family and loved ones were with her at the time," the statement, signed by the movement’s Executive Director Karanja Njoroge, added.
Dr. Maathai, one of the most widely respected women on the continent, played many roles — environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977. Its mission was to plant trees across Kenya to fight erosion and to create firewood for fuel and jobs for women.
Dr. Maathai was as comfortable in the gritty streets of Nairobi’s slums or the muddy hillsides of central Kenya as she was hobnobbing with heads of state. She won the Peace Prize in 2004 for what the Nobel committee called “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” It was a moment of immense pride in Kenya and across Africa.
Her Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees in Africa and has helped nearly 900,000 women, according to the United Nations, while inspiring similar efforts in other African countries.
Continue reading here…

The World Mourns the Passing of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai

NAIROBI, Kenya — Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees and who went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, died here on Sunday. She was 71.

The cause was cancer, said her organization, the Green Belt Movement. Kenyan news outlets said that she had been treated for ovarian cancer in the past year and that she had been in a hospital for at least a week before she died.

"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," the organisation said in a statement on its website.

"Prof Maathai passed away on the 26th of September 2011 in Nairobi. Her family and loved ones were with her at the time," the statement, signed by the movement’s Executive Director Karanja Njoroge, added.

Dr. Maathai, one of the most widely respected women on the continent, played many roles — environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977. Its mission was to plant trees across Kenya to fight erosion and to create firewood for fuel and jobs for women.

Dr. Maathai was as comfortable in the gritty streets of Nairobi’s slums or the muddy hillsides of central Kenya as she was hobnobbing with heads of state. She won the Peace Prize in 2004 for what the Nobel committee called “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” It was a moment of immense pride in Kenya and across Africa.

Her Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees in Africa and has helped nearly 900,000 women, according to the United Nations, while inspiring similar efforts in other African countries.

Continue reading here…

(Source: The New York Times)

(via b-sama)

Elite Model Look Nigeria 2011 Finalists
Elite Model Look is the most renowned international modeling contest in the world. It is unique in providing the opportunity for young girls to enter the fashion world, become models and begin fabulous careers. The Elite Model Look contest is a prestigious event open to beginners with a professional aim: looking for and discovering the young hopefuls who will become the top models of the future.
Since 1983, Elite Model Look competition has discovered future industry luminaries. Super models such as Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Tatjana Patitz, Claudia Schiffer, Karen Mulder, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Denisa Dvorakova and Gisele Bundchen were all discovered through Elite.
For the 4th consecutive year, the Elite team toured Nigeria to offer a unique springboard to the girls that dream of becoming models. The 2011 Elite Model Look Tour Nigeria, composed of 5 castings, in different Nigerian cities. The Elite casting team selected 50 girls from Lagos, Abuja. Port Harcourt, Enugu and Benin to participate in the national finals and 14 girls were selected to compete at the semi finals.
The 14 finalists for the 2011 edition of Elite Model Look Nigeria are:
Oiza Olayebi
Rita Ojo
Ubi Mavefe
Sharon Egwurube
Funmilayo Adeoye
Saratu Iliyasu
Chinwe Princess Ejere
Udoma Owia
Rebecca Areola
Ruky Imalele
Ruth Okereafor
Oluwaseun Adebayo
Chidera Loveth Okoro
Dorathy Chizoba Alieze
The finalists will meet in Lagos on the 28th of August 2011 for 7 days of intensive preparation. They will showcase their talent during the Final Show that will be held on September 3rd 2011 at the Civic Center Lagos Nigeria. 

Elite Model Look Nigeria 2011 Finalists

Elite Model Look is the most renowned international modeling contest in the world. It is unique in providing the opportunity for young girls to enter the fashion world, become models and begin fabulous careers. The Elite Model Look contest is a prestigious event open to beginners with a professional aim: looking for and discovering the young hopefuls who will become the top models of the future.

Since 1983, Elite Model Look competition has discovered future industry luminaries. Super models such as Cindy CrawfordStephanie SeymourTatjana Patitz, Claudia Schiffer, Karen Mulder, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Denisa Dvorakova and Gisele Bundchen were all discovered through Elite.

For the 4th consecutive year, the Elite team toured Nigeria to offer a unique springboard to the girls that dream of becoming models. The 2011 Elite Model Look Tour Nigeria, composed of 5 castings, in different Nigerian cities. The Elite casting team selected 50 girls from Lagos, Abuja. Port Harcourt, Enugu and Benin to participate in the national finals and 14 girls were selected to compete at the semi finals.

The 14 finalists for the 2011 edition of Elite Model Look Nigeria are:

  • Oiza Olayebi
  • Rita Ojo
  • Ubi Mavefe
  • Sharon Egwurube
  • Funmilayo Adeoye
  • Saratu Iliyasu
  • Chinwe Princess Ejere
  • Udoma Owia
  • Rebecca Areola
  • Ruky Imalele
  • Ruth Okereafor
  • Oluwaseun Adebayo
  • Chidera Loveth Okoro
  • Dorathy Chizoba Alieze

The finalists will meet in Lagos on the 28th of August 2011 for 7 days of intensive preparation. They will showcase their talent during the Final Show that will be held on September 3rd 2011 at the Civic Center Lagos Nigeria. 

(Source: bellanaija.com)

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