The struggle for rights of vendors continues in Bulawayo

On 27 September 2016 was a special day for us and Wild Trust Zimbabwe to face off with the City of Bulawayo and find mutual beneficial ways to address challenges faced by vendors and informal traders especially women and girls at Presbytarian City Church.

The meeting came at a time when sour relations were escalating between City of Bulawayo and vendors due to their violent raids that have been recorded in the past few weeks resulting in some vendors sustaining serious injuries. Vendors and informal traders especially women face harassment on a daily basis. We believe that this kind of dialogue will help curtail cases of human rights violations recorded in the sector daily. Partners such Nango Western Region, NAVUZ, Uhlelo LweZakhamizi (BPRA), SWITA and ZCIEA supported us.

Mr Elliot Panesu from BCC engineering department responding to questions and also speaking on behalf of other four BCC officials present pledged the City of Bulawayo preparedness to always engage with vendors if there are grievances.

(1) BCC pledged to investigate cases of abuse women and girls especially at Egodini Terminus where they are deprived of water by unscrupulous men who are now selling water from a public tap.
(2) BCC pledged to partner with Bulawayo Vendors Trust and Wild Trust Zimbabwe and conduct joint outreach meetings on City of Bulawayo Bylaws
(3) BCC committed desire to allocate more vending bays to vendors associations.
(4) BCC pledged to conduct periodic meetings with vendors associations.
(5) Address cleanliness in public toilets to address special needs of women and girls.
(6) BCC also committed to attend to individual grievances arising from vendors who felt their issues have not been dealt with adequately by some City of Bulawayo officials.

We pay our gratitude to Wild Trust Zimbabwe for choosing to collaborate with us in this important meeting.

Did you know that 17% of cases of human rights violations recorded in the first quarter of 2016 were against vendors?

Did you know that women and girls vendors buy water from unscrupulous individuals to wash hands after using toilets at Egodini vending area?

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BVTA condemns actions of BCC police in injuring a vending minor and victimisation of the mother in Bulawayo Issued by

 

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA)

BVTA strongly condemns actions and the heavy handedness of the Bulawayo Municipal Police that led to a 15 year old minor suffering a broken arm during their violent raids on vendors whose only crime was selling eggs to raise funds for schools fees on Friday 19 August 2016 and subsequent seemingly counter accusation of the mother for assaulting a female municipal two weeks after.

We categorically state that this kind of behaviour is a violation of people rights and inhumane treatment that has no place in the modern society.

BVTA would like to unequivocally remind the Bulawayo City Council authorities of Section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that says; no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the same vein to remind them of the rights of arrested persons.   BVTA further posits that the actions of the municipal police are in violation of Section 19 subsection (2c) of the Constitution that states that the child must be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse.

BVTA also notes that BCC municipal police violated the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.  When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. It also further violated Article 19 that says that children have a right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.

BVTA calls upon the Bulawayo City Council to investigate the violent conduct of their municipal police officers and prosecute all those who have taken law unto themselves to injure and maim vendors who are involved in genuine means to earn a living.

We are also aggrieved by unwarranted seizure and confiscation of vendors and informal traders’ goods and generic brutalizing and harassment of informal traders and vendors especially defenseless women and girls.

We also abhor the subsequent arrest of the mother in spurious charges of assaulting a BCC female police detail two weeks after the injury meted on her daughter.

BVTA believes that dialogue between BCC and vendors and informal traders is a sure way to find alternative means to address the problems faced by vendors in the city.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), is a membership organisation that represents the vendors and informal traders by engaging in policy research and advocacy to ensure that the rights and interests of vendors and informal traders are promoted and facilitated.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) can be contacted on:

Office 406 Fidelity Life Building,

Fife Street & 11th Avenue

BULAWAYO

Mobile Phone : +2638644210108

Email: bulawayovendors @gmail.com

 

Aspiring Activistas fight for the right to learning materials in Northern Ghana.

http://www.actionaid.org/activista/2015/11/aspiring-activistas-fight-right-learning-materials-northern-ghana

Fourteen (14) young people, who recently signed up to join Activista Ghana, have stepped up their ante by influencing the Global Platform Ghana Campaign course 2015 participants to focus on Teacher rationalization campaign in Northern region, Ghana. The advocacy campaign is organized under the theme “Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) for quality education in basic schools”

The aspiring Activista Ghana members have together with other young activists from Burundi, Nigeria and Senegal set their target on building the skills of teachers and schools executives such as School Management Committees (SMCs), Teacher Parent Associations (PTAs) to lobby the Northern Region District Directorate and other key stakeholders in education to provide Teaching and Learning Materials for basic schools. The activists have chosen Kpene, Dabokpa, Dimala and Paazar communities in Tamale to be at the center of their advocacy campaign.

A situational analysis tour carried out by these activists to the four selected communities revealed that rural teachers feel disadvantaged as compared to their urban counterparts. Bulk of the teachers who spoke to the campaigners lamented long distance, bad roads, inadequate teaching and learning materials as demotivating and an impediment to effective teaching. They also argued that lack of cooperation from parents to support them with social amenities like alternative housing has negatively affected the moral of teachers. The tour also exposed alarming levels of low pass rates in rural areas; one school visited recorded a pass rate of as low as 28% in 2014.

According to the Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2010 – 2020 Vol (1) p14 improving the conditions of Teachers is a top priority coupled with availability of Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs). The strategy also highlights the importance equipping teachers with improvisation of mechanisms as stop gap measure in the short term.

One of the Activista Ghana aspirant member Yakubu Yussif  who is part of the campaign said “We chose to campaign on Teacher Rationalization with a bias towards Teaching Learning and Materials because it motivates teachers, it improves the performance of students.”  He continued “ The current conditions dissuade rural teachers who have no adequate teaching and learning materials,” “ What is striking the most is the fact the very rural teachers have to prepare their students for the same examinations that their urban counterparts sit for who have a better competitive advantage as their conditions are better “ he added.

The activists have argued that provision of teaching and learning facilities is a right.  The Ghanaian Constitution of 1992, Article 38 (1)  provides  that the “ the state shall provide educational facilities at all levels in all the regions of Ghana and shall be to the greatest extent possible make those facilities available to all citizens “ and hence the government has a duty to provide for teaching and learning materials as guaranteed in the constitution. Article 21 (1) further gives credence to their argument that basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all.

The course has so far covered 5 weeks. The young activists have been equipped with knowledge and skills to run an effective campaign.  The next four weeks will witness an intense series of activities as part of the campaign on Teacher Rationalization – Teaching and Learning Materials. A durbar at the Chief Palace has been lined up to mobilize people to support the campaign and be aware of challenges faced by teachers and promote the importance of provision of teaching and learning materials. Radio programmes and stakeholders meetings will build the momentum towards a march expected to bring together over 200 residents of Tamale Metropolitan advocating for teaching and learning materials in four (4) target basic schools.

The campaign is in sync with ActionAid International Key Change promise six (6) which harnesses youth leadership to end poverty and injustices. The campaign course creates confident and skilled social change agents and campaigners who will contribute significantly to the realization of successful campaigns in ActionAid and formation of new Activista networks.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

For feedback: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com

Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

http://www.actionaid.org/activista/2015/09/mindset-change-will-address-inequalities-ghana-northern-region-youths-speak-out-mi

he Action Aid Ghana Global platform has hosted a Youth Panel discussion that featured youths from various civic and interest groups found in Tamale, Ghana and students drawn from the Northern Business School (Nobisco). Outstanding in the panel discussion was the need to deal with mind to liberate young people and address inequalities. The Youth Panel was part of advocacy activities held in the build up to the United General Assembly (UNGA) that will also discuss the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York from 24 – 27 September 2015 .

Action Aid youth hub #YouthDiscuss #Inequality is spearheading a number of advocacy campaigns to push the United Nations General Assembly to focus its discussion on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on addressing inequalities within countries. The Sustainable Development Goals are proposed set of targets relating to future international development set by United Nations member states.

The activity was held under the theme;

The role of youths in challenging inequalities in the Northern region”. The speakers unpacked the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its proposed key results areas.

In pursuit to locate the role of young people in fighting inequalities in the Northern region, Ghana, the keynote speakers Mr. Gideon Adjololo a Senior Administrative Assistant  from University of Development Studies (UDS) as well as the founder and  Chief Executive Officer for Transformational Leadership International  (TLI) spoke about the importance of young people taking part in decision making.

Youths must change their mindset in order to deal with inequalities in the society.Harmful cultural practices are an inhibiting to women and girls participation and also in addressing inequalities.Many women and girls are unequal to men and boys because they are involved in unpaid care work that the society still undervalues and does not recognize says Adjololo.

He further took participants through the three priority goals selected by Action Aid Ghana Global Platform youth hub which are:

  • Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities,
  • Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and
  • Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries and explicitly explained their targets.

The second speaker Mr Ibrahim Mustapha, a young motivational speaker from Public Speaking Institute who was the discussant in the Youth Panel urged youths to embrace social media as a tool to add their voice in fighting inequalities. He said that women and girls must be supported to access education and other opportunities such as paid jobs in order to address inequalities.

He also reiterated the submission by Mr Adjololo that it was of paramount importance that young people get involved in decision making process and the need for youths to think positively and change the way they view things.

On the sidelines of  the panel discussion one female participant Miss Addae Matilda said “The creation of spaces for dialogue is very useful because it gets us as young women equipped with knowledge that will ensure our effective participation in economic  and public issues”  She continued  “It will help us exhibit our potential and claim our rights”

Young people summed the panel discussion by suggesting issues that need to be addressed or followed by various interest groups that were represented in the panel discussion.

The youths challenged each other to hold the government to account on its promises to fulfill their rights.

  • Youths challenged each other to participate in decision making processes and add their voice.
  • Youths agreed that there is need for youths to put pressure on the government to implement policies and other blue prints that it puts in place as a response to such developmental agendas.
  • They emphasized the need to empower ad girls with education as a strategy to address inequalities.
  • Youths urged organizations present to foster partnerships to increase impact of the work they are engaged in and applauded those that have already started working together in addressing faced by young people in the Northern region.
  • Evidenced based advocacy and research was pointed as key tool to be effective in addressing inequalities.
  • Youths urged each other to play the watch dog and point excesses of the government that undermine or violate the rights of citizens.
  • Youths said interventions that deal with mindset change will be panacea in addressing a plethora of problems faced by young people.

Michael Mdladla Ndiweni  is an Inspirator at ActionAid Ghana

Mindset change will address inequalities in Ghana, Northern region – Youths speak out

The Action Aid Ghana Global platform has hosted a Youth Panel discussion that featured youths from various civic and interest groups found in Tamale, Ghana and students drawn from the Northern Business School (Nobisco). Outstanding in the panel discussion was the need to deal with mind to liberate young people and address inequalities. The Youth Panel was part of advocacy activities held in the build up to the United General Assembly (UNGA) that will also discuss the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York from 24 – 27 September 2015 .

Action Aid youth hub #YouthDiscuss #Inequality is spearheading a number of advocacy campaigns to push the United Nations General Assembly to focus its discussion on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on addressing inequalities within countries. The Sustainable Development Goals are proposed set of targets relating to future international development set by United Nations member states.

The activity was held under the theme “The role of youths in challenging inequalities in the Northern region”. The speakers unpacked the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its proposed key results areas.

In pursuit to locate the role of young people in fighting inequalities in the Northern region, Ghana, the keynote speakers Mr. Gideon Adjololo a Senior Administrative Assistant  from University of Development Studies (UDS) as well as the founder and  Chief Executive Officer for Transformational Leadership International  (TLI) spoke about the importance of young people taking part in decision making. He said youths must change their mindset in order to deal with inequalities in the society. Mr Adjololo lamented harmful cultural practices as an inhibiting to women and girls participation and also in addressing inequalities. He also pointed the many women and girls are unequal to men and boys because they are involved in unpaid care work that the society still undervalues and does not recognize.

He further took participants through the three priority goals selected by Action Aid Ghana Global Platform youth hub which are: Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities, Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries and explicitly explained their targets.

The second speaker Mr Ibrahim Mustapha a young motivational speaker from Public Speaking Institute who was the discussant in the Youth Panel urged youths to embrace social media as a tool to add their voice in fighting inequalities. He said that women and girls must be supported to access education and other opportunities such as paid jobs in order to address inequalities. He also reiterated the submission by Mr Adjololo that it was of paramount importance that young people get involved in decision making process and the need for youths to think positively and change the way they view things.

On the sidelines of  the panel discussion one female participant Miss Addae Matilda said “The creation of spaces for dialogue is very useful because it gets us as young women equipped with knowledge that will ensure our effective participation in economic  and public issues”  She continued  “It will help us exhibit our potential and claim our rights”

Young people summed the panel discussion by suggesting issues that need to be addressed or followed by various interest groups that were represented in the panel discussion.

  • The youths challenged each other to hold the government to account on its promises to fulfill their rights.
  • Youths challenged each other to participate in decision making processes and add their voice.
  • Youths agreed that there is need for youths to put pressure on the government to implement policies and other blue prints that it puts in place as a response to such developmental agendas.
  • They emphasized the need to empower ad girls with education as a strategy to address inequalities.
  • Youths urged organizations present to foster partnerships to increase impact of the work they are engaged in and applauded those that have already started working together in addressing faced by young people in the Northern region.
  • Evidenced based advocacy and research was pointed as key tool to be effective in addressing inequalities.
  • Youths urged each other to play the watch dog and point excesses of the government that undermine or violate the rights of citizens.
  • Youths said interventions that deal with mindset change will be panacea in addressing a plethora of problems faced by young people.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni – Inspirator Action Aid Ghana

@mdladlaspeaks

Email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com / Michael.Ndiweni@actionaid.org

Vibrant youths are doing it in Bulawayo

During the end of month of August 2015, I visited my country of birth Zimbabwe and uMthwakazi capital ko Bulawayo. I was left believing that Bulawayo youths can still change their situation. My visit coincided with a massive residents campaign to send a big NO to the Bulawayo City Council towards their unilateral decision to install prepaid water meters to already disadvantaged communities at the same time violating their fundamental rights.
The campaign was led by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association a vibrant resident’s movement that empowers grassroots communities to take a political stand and claim their basic rights. The campaign came after a series of other lobbying and advocacy activities that came as a result of the Bulawayo City Council resolution to install prepaid water in Bulawayo.
I was humbled by the commitment shown by scores of young people who volunteered their time and energy to carry out door to door campaign sensitizing residents on the importance of refusing to accept the unilateral council decision by the city council. The youths braved chilly weather for a worthy cause.
This demonstrated the power within youths that can be explored and bringing about meaningful change within communities. This proved that youths can move mountains if they build alliances with grassroots organizations and begin to speak in one voice.
I was also inspired by youths who participated in the demonstration against the Bulawayo City Council to stop its ill-advised decision that brought over 2000 residents from townships of Bulawayo. I saw the power of mass mobilization. I saw the duty bearers trembling and locking their offices because the people had had spoken. The message was very loud and clear that Bulawayo is saying NO TO PREPAID WATER METERS #antiprepaidwater
I do not have words to express my satisfaction and gratitude to amazing work done by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association. I was left with hope that youths are still the vanguard. I urge for more such initiatives to be carried out. Slowly but surely the youths in Bulawayo are claiming their space. The momentum built on these campaigns must cascade to the economic sector.
I believe youths can still change the face of Bulawayo. There is need for the youths to continue putting their heads together and organizations such as these creating spaces for youths to meet and shape their own destiny. The struggle is continuing.

Young Female Parliament – Unique to ActionAid, Beneficial to Every Young Woman

http://www.modernghana.com/news/627649/1/young-female-parliament-unique-to-actionaid-benefi.html

After observing the nature of humanity and the evil that pervades our world, Mahatma Gandhi left this in the sands of time: “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.” Jostein Gaarder, a renowned intellectual and author also affirms that “A state that does not educate and train women is like a man who only trains his right arm.” The scholar had resolved that development cannot be achieved if women are discriminated in socio-economic and political activities.

These two philosophies epitomize the work of Northern Sector on Awareness and Action Center (NORSAAC), a Local Non-Governmental Organization based in the Northern region of Ghana and supported by ActionAid Ghana. The two organisations have programmes to groom and inspire young women to be part of the political and development discourse within their schools and beyond. Advocacy on issues affecting women and girls resulted in the creation of the Young Female Parliament (YFP), a unique innovation that is turning around the lives of young women in the Northern region.

The making of YFP
The initiative was propounded in 2009 by NORSAAC and ActionAid Ghana (AAG), having discovered the glaring disparities between young women and young men in their participation in local decision making processes, which are caused by the profound patriarchal cultural practices, beliefs and systems in the Region. The two partners have a mandate to build the capacity of the marginalised to access their needs on a sustainable basis and enjoy equal rights.

Over 700 girls are part of the leadership development initiative. NORSAAC and ActionAid Northern Region Programme have successfully developed and rolled out YFP in Nineteen (19) Senior High and Tertiary schools in fifteen (15) Districts in the region. This is a stimulant for girls in schools to challenge power structures that have historically oppressed females and violated their rights. The model has already achieved milestones by recording its first Senior Prefect at Chereponi Senior High School. The Zabzugu Senior High school has its first female assistant senior prefect in the school’s history.

A tool for practical coaching
The inventiveness ensures that young girls are acquainted with leadership skills and coached to contest for school and district level decision-making and leadership positions. The concept affords girls the knowledge to develop convincing and implementable school election manifestos and equips them with public speaking skills. It inspires girls to aspire to lead and change negative attitudes, beliefs, norms and perceptions towards women and girls. It motivates girls to be game changers within communities. It is a safe platform for girls to support, open up, share and support each other, to play active roles in decision making.

The YFP innovation is anchored mainly on four core pillars: leadership, human rights, social activism and women’s’ health. These tools empower girls to confront the society with a positive attitude and prove that they are not objects, but subjects.

Barriers to participation of women and girl

An assessment on women`s participation in local governance by Abubakar and Ayuune (2014) revealed that women lack confidence and have inferiority complex compared to men, and this undermines their status. The survey revealed that this is due to the patriarchal nature of the society.To overcome these barriers, a proven model like the YFP has been found to be effective. It restores confidence and promotes respect of human rights while giving women and girls a voice to speak out. It responds to such beliefs and battles allegations that the people of the Northern region have for a long time been subjecting their girls and women to harmful cultural practices.

An analysis by the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) asserts that the Northern region has the highest number of under representation of women at all levels of decision making processes. It argues that this is exacerbated by low literacy levels, food insecurity and poverty that increase the vulnerability of women and girls.

Statistics have also given credibility to NORSAAC`s work and proven that women in the Northern region still play second fiddle to their male counterparts due to deeply entrenched cultural practices that malign women and girls. A glimpse on participation in elections illustrates that out of a total of 137 females who contested in the District Assembly Elections in 2010, only 19 of them were elected. In that same year, while only one was elected to the Tamale Metro Assembly compared to 64 males, no woman was elected in nine other Districts in the region. Overall, only 6 women in the entire region won the elections to become Assembly Members out of a total of 43 women who contested. These disturbing disparities demonstrate the negative views, perceptions and status of women and girls in the society.

The Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA)
This work fits into ActionAid’s Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) that advances women’s rights, promotes rights-based and sustainable alternatives, partnership and alliance building and working with young people. It analyses obligations, inequalities and vulnerabilities in order to address discriminatory practices and unjust distribution of power that impedes progress and diminishes human rights. The HRBA was the motivation of the partnership between the ActionAid and NORSAAC.

NORSAAC on YFP
Extolling the virtues of the YFP, NORSAAC Project Officer, Wasila Abdul Rahaman, explains that the initiative depicts parliament and serves as a lobby group and launch pad for young girls with low self-esteem to build their confidence, gather skills, competencies and knowledge on human rights. This would enable them to effectively participate in decision making in their schools, communities and in the society.

The project officer said the innovation has challenged the conventional thinking of some head teachers who still believe that females cannot lead. She noted that some girls are still trapped in cultural beliefs and predispositions that they are weaker and cannot be heard by boys in schools to campaign and win positions.

An innovation worthy of emulation
The YFP innovative provides a practical approach to mobilize and promote the empowerment of girls to claim their space and voices in decision making and leadership. It involves, recognizes, and nurtures the strengths, interests, and abilities of young women through the provision of real opportunities to become change makers and impact their generation.

YFP resonates with theories of participation proffered by Hart (1997) that argues that youth participation is at different levels. It starts from the lowest stage of participation to the highest stage of active involvement of young people, where decision making is shared and initiated by both young people and adults. The YFP is a model that is worthy to be emulated in other regions in the country.

By Michael Ndiweni and Alia Mumuni
Northern Region Programme
ActionAid Ghana
Emails: Michael.Ndiweni@actionaid.org
Alia.Mumuni@actionaid.org
Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks