The Rwandan government must make concrete invest in the specific needs of rural women famers as the only sustainable solution to eradicating hunger and ensuring abundant quality food, said ActionAid in its message to mark the International Rural Women’s Day and World Food Day, today.
The government and its development partners should make clear investments that ensure increased production for rural women like access soft loan, affordable agriculture inputs, improved quality rural extension service, adoption of measures to make extension workers are accountable to women farmers and creation of rural women farmers’ guarantee fund.
Women in Rwanda like those in several developing countries produce 60-80 percent of the agricultural products, yet they face overwhelming discrimination in access to credit, land, inputs, education and other key resources.
“Empowering rural women farmers to produce more food for local markets is the bedrock of global food security. Small farmers, the majority of whom are women, are responsible for over 80 percent of the food grown in Africa and produce about half the world’s food supplies,” says ActionAid Rwanda Country Director Josephine Uwamariya, adding that with enough investment, women are determined, resourceful and incredibly hard-working. “Given a chance, they could literally grow their way out of poverty and hunger.”
However, perverse policies mean that only a tiny fraction of their potential is being utilized. Indeed, about three-quarters of the hungry people in the world are small farmers and the rural landless – a sad indicator of what a mess agriculture is in.
Rwanda has made remarkable strides forward in development since the tragedy of the 1994 genocide. The country is experiencing rapid economic growth (7.1 percent in FY 2010/2011), much of which is being driven by investments in the agricultural sector, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of GDP and 80 percent of employment. Despite these gains, hunger and poverty remain widespread, with nearly half of the agricultural households reporting problems of food self-sufficiency.
“Economic opportunities for women are very limited, particularly in rural areas. High levels of maternal and child malnutrition still exist in much of the country,” adds Uwamariya who is joining women farmers in Murundi sector of Karongi district in the celebrations to mark the International Rural Women and World Food Day. As part of its development agenda for rural women farmers, Actionaid will today unveil support to women smallholder cooperatives with improved seeds and cows and launch of tree planting project.
The government’s pro-poor policies that empower smallholder farmers like ‘one cow per family’, farmers’ easy access to extension services and social protection schemes under Vision 2020 ‘Umurenge’ are laudable and shared lessons for learning,” adds Uwamariya. She however calls on the Rwandan government to put in place strong legal framework that provides for constitutional and legislative guarantees of right to food if Rwanda is to consolidate her achievements in the fight against hunger.
ActionAid, kicked-off on Thursday a week-long HungerFREE campaign in Rwanda, calling on the government and development partners to increase financial support toward rural women farmers as a long-term strategic solution against hunger.
The campaign centers on community awareness and mobilization of women and youth, as well as public dialogue at the national level on food security and training of women in credit and savings within the framework of the International Rural Women and World Food Day.
The campaign ends on October 19th with launch of the HungerFREE scorecard report and a panel of experts round table debate on food security and hunger in Rwanda.
For more information and interviews contact:
For more about the ActionAid, refer to www.actionaid.org.
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:17/10/2011Organisation:ActionAid
- Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth)
The Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth) is the youth platform for information exchange, forum for debate on African issues and a network of future political, corporate, academic, literary, religious and traditional leaders in all African contexts.
The African Youth Day was declared and adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2006 to be commemorated on 1 November each year. It has since evolved as the most powerful platform of young people of Africa.
OAYouth, in collaboration with Phelps Stokes and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is hosting the ‘African Youth Day Conference 2011 (AYDAC'11)’ on 1 November 2011 in Johannesburg.
The youth of Africa will convene at AYDAC’11 to celebrate the African Youth Day. The conference will pave way for youth to examine workable methods to improve youth unity as well as strengthen youth economic empowerment through leadership development, entrepreneurship support and agricultural transformation.
- Echo the voice of ordinary young people of Africa;
- Share information and best practices in promoting opportunities for youth encouraging youth to start new entrepreneurship initiatives;
- Establish suitable structures for meeting the unique needs for youth business start-ups in developing economies in Africa;
- Build lasting relationships between youth and business institutions;
- Infuse a gender perspective and rights-based approach to policies and programs for youth;
- Cultivate in the youth the spirit of accountability, transparency and integrity (ATI).
Cost: R2 430 per delegate.
For sponsorships, exhibitions and applications, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enquiries: Tel: +27 73 445 4355.
For more about The Organisation of African Youth, refer to www.oayouth.org.Event start date:01/11/2011Event venue:Ingwenya Country Escape, Lanseria, JohannesburgEvent type:Conference
- The association of Vulnerable Widows Infected and Affected by HIV/AIDs (AWAIS) has launched a 64-page book sharing insights on the disease.
The book, of which 500 copies released so far, is a result of a survey conducted in partnership with National AIDS Control Commission (NDCC) and Rwandan Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (RRP).
"Information in this book will effectively contribute to the understanding and reduction of stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS," says AWAISA president, Chantal Nyiramanyana.
To read the article titled, “NGO Launches Book on HIV/AIDS,” click here.Source:All Africa
- The four-year prison sentence for Bernard Ntaganda, founding president of the PS-Imberakuri opposition party, strikes a blow to freedom of expression and democracy in Rwanda, Human Rights Watch said today.
On February 11, 2011, the High Court in Kigali found Ntaganda guilty of endangering national security, "divisionism" - inciting ethnic divisions - and attempting to organize demonstrations without official authorization. The court sentenced him to two years each for the first two charges and fined him 100,000 Rwandan francs (approximately US$175) for the third. The charges relate to his public statements criticizing government policies. Human Rights Watch is not aware that he advocated violence in any of these statements. Ntaganda was not present when the judgment was read in court.
Three members of the FDU-Inkingi, another opposition party - Sylvain Sibomana, Alice Muhirwa, and Martin Ntavuka - were also fined 100,000 Rwandan francs each for attempting to organize demonstrations without official authorisation. Another PS-Imberakuri member, Jean-Baptiste Icyitonderwa, was acquitted of the same charge.
The verdict comes just one week after two journalists, Agnès Nkusi Uwimana and Saidaiti Mukakibibi, were sentenced to 17 and 7 years respectively in connection with articles in the independent newspaper, Umurabyo, that were viewed as critical of the government and of President Paul Kagame. On February 4, the High Court in Kigali ruled that by publishing these criticisms, the journalists had incited the public to rise up against the state. It found both women guilty of endangering public order. Uwimana, the newspaper's editor, was also found guilty of "minimizing the genocide," which accounted for 10 years of her sentence, "divisionism," and defamation. Both were arrested in July 2010 and have been in detention ever since.
"These are blatantly political trials," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director of Human Rights Watch. "Ntaganda, his colleagues, and the two journalists - as well as many other men and women across Rwanda - are paying a heavy price for daring to express their opinions."
Ntaganda, an outspoken critic of the government, was arrested on June 24, six weeks before the August 9 presidential elections. Neither his party nor the FDU-Inkingi nor another opposition party, the Democratic Green Party, were able to participate in the elections, which Kagame, the incumbent, won with 93 percent of the vote.
The PS-Imberakuri was the only one of these three parties that succeeded in registering as a political party. In March 2010, members of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), together with dissident members of the PS-Imberakuri, engineered a takeover of the PS-Imberakuri and replaced Ntaganda with a new and compliant leadership.
Ntaganda and party members faithful to him were subsequently subjected to other forms of intimidation and harassment. These included threats to themselves and their families, causing several party members to go into hiding or exile; administrative restrictions designed to paralyze their political activities; and a statement by members of the Senate's Political Affairs Commission in April that accusations of "genocide ideology" and "divisionism" against Ntaganda were well-founded.
The intimidation culminated in the arrest of Ntaganda in the early morning of June 24, just hours before a public demonstration planned by his party in Kigali. Several other members of the PS-Imberakuri and FDU-Inkingi were arrested later that day as they attempted to proceed with the demonstration. Further arrests of members of both parties took place in the following days.
Some of those arrested were released in July, after several days of ill-treatment in police custody; they were beaten, held in harsh conditions, and threatened with death in connection with their party activities. Some were handcuffed to each other for several days without interruption, including when using the toilet, eating, and sleeping.
Others remain in detention. On August 11, two PS-Imberakuri members, Sylver Mwizerwa and Donatien Mukeshimana, were sentenced to prison terms of three years and two years respectively for "rebellion" and destruction of property, allegedly for breaking into the PS-Imberakuri office after the landlord had reclaimed it.
"These prosecutions demonstrate that the Rwandan government won't stand for any criticism or opposition - despite its numerous public commitments to free speech and political pluralism," Bekele said. "These charges are wholly inappropriate, and the justice system is being used as a tool to stifle dissent and intimidate the public."
Human Rights Watch called on the government of Rwanda to take the following steps:
- Allow opposition parties, journalists, and others to express their views, including criticizing government policies, without fear for their safety;
- Take measures to restore and respect the independence of the judiciary;
- Accelerate the revision of the "genocide ideology" law, announced by the justice minister in 2010, to include a more precise definition of the crime, in order to prevent misuse of this charge for political or other purposes;
- Review the 2009 media law, which imposes burdensome restrictions on journalists, and decriminalize defamation.
The trials of Ntaganda and the Umurabyo journalists are a part of a longstanding pattern of government repression against opponents and critics in Rwanda. The repression intensified during the pre-election period in 2010, with the suspension of the two independent newspapers Umuseso and Umuvugizi; the murders of an Umuvugizi journalist, Jean-Léonard Rugambage, and the Green Party vice president, André Kagwa Rwisereka; and persistent threats against others opposed to the government or seen as sympathetic to the opposition. Contrary to some observers' expectations, the repression has not eased following the elections.
Accusations of "genocide ideology" and "divisionism" have often been used by the government to silence criticism. Other charges incurring heavy prison sentences, such as endangering national security and inciting public disorder, have also been levelled against opponents and critics.
Victoire Ingabire, president of the FDU-Inkingi, was arrested on October 14 and remains in prison awaiting trial. Her application for bail has been rejected several times. She was first arrested in April, accused of collaboration with armed groups, "genocide ideology" and "divisionism," and released on bail with travel restrictions. The current charges against her, yet to be confirmed by the prosecution, are believed to include forming an armed group and endangering state security. Members of her party have suffered repeated intimidation and threats.
In January, four former senior government and army officials turned outspoken critics - Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, Patrick Karegeya, Gerald Gahima and Théogène Rudasingwa - were tried in absentia by a military court in Kigali and found guilty of endangering state security, destabilizing public order, "divisionism," defamation, and forming a criminal enterprise. Karegeya and Gahima were each sentenced to 20 years; Nyamwasa and Rudasingwa each to 24 years, with an additional charge of army desertion.
Although the government has publicly accused the four men of forming an armed group and of being behind a spate of grenade attacks in Rwanda in 2010, the trial did not deal with these allegations. It focused instead on public statements and documents published by the defendants in which they criticized the government and Kagame. On June 19, an assassination attempt was made in Johannesburg against Nyamwasa, who lives in exile in South Africa.
Less prominent individuals who are not politicians have also been severely punished for criticizing state policies. For example Abbé Emile Nsengiyumva, a priest in Rwamagana, eastern Rwanda, was arrested following a Christmas sermon in December in which he had opposed certain government policies, including plans to destroy thatched houses (known as nyakatsi) in favor of more durable housing and proposals to introduce family planning restrictions. In January he appeared before a court on accusations of endangering state security; he remains in preventive detention awaiting trial.
For more about Human Rights Watch, refer to: www.hrw.org.
To view other NGO press releases, visit: www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:11/02/2011Organisation:Human Rights Watch
- Amnesty International (AI) has called on Rwanda to take steps to reverse a climate of fear that is looming over next week's presidential election.
In a press statement, AI’s deputy director for Africa programme, Tawanda Hondora, points out that in recent months killings, arrests and the closure of newspapers and broadcasters have reinforced a climate of fear.
Hondora says that the Rwandan government must ensure that investigations into the killings are thorough and reinstate closed media outlets, adding that his organisation condemn the June arrest of opposition leader on charges of genocide and divisionism under what it calls ‘vague laws’ designed to repress dissent.
To read the article titled, “Amnesty presses Rwanda on rights,” click here.Source:News24
- The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that insecurity and political repression are increasing in advance of Rwanda's August 2010 presidential elections.
HRW Africa director, Rona Peligal, points out that the security situation is rapidly deteriorating, adding that with only 45 days left before the election, the government is lashing out to silence its opponents and critics.
The organisation has called on the Rwandan government to investigate all incidents of violence and ensure that opposition activists and journalists are able to carry out their legitimate activities in safety.
To read the article titled, “Stop attacks on journalists, opponents - government actions undermine democracy as presidential election draws near,” click here.Source:All Africa
- Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global agency with a chapter in Rwanda, has trained over 1 500 entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses in the last eight months.
JCI Rwanda's incoming president, Fabrice Ngoga, says that the agency will continue partnering in the country's development especially through empowering young people with skills to do business.
"We have a mandate of changing lives, we are happy with the activities in the past year and JCI will continue reaching out and impacting people," argues Ngoga.
To read the article titled, “Local NGO trains over 1 500 entrepreneurs,” click here.Source:All Africa
- The Rwandan minister of gender and family promotion, Jean d'Arc Mujawamariya, has urged the civil society organisations (CSOs) to be vigilant and identify loopholes in the Child Act by promoting and advocating for the protection of children's rights.
Mujawamariya says that the government of Rwanda had many achievements in terms of domestication and implementation of the African charter on the rights and welfare of the children.
She was officiating at the opening of the stakeholders workshop on the implementing the convention on the rights of a child and the African Charter on Rights and Welfare of a Child in that country.
To read the article titled, “Govt, NGO discuss children's rights,” click here.Source:All Africa
- Rwandan lawmakers have criticised the Dutch government's aid policy that mainly looks at funding NGOs and commits a small portion to direct budget support.
The members of parliament (MPs) say such money that is sent to NGOs is normally unaccounted and could be missued by the beneficiaries.
The criticism came during the parliament's meeting with the visiting members of the Dutch lower chamber of parliament. A delegation of eight Dutch MPs led by the chairperson of the Dutch parliament standing committee on foreign affairs, Henk Jan Ormel, was in parliament to pay a courtesy call on Rwandan lawmakers as well as to assess the impact of the Dutch aid to Rwanda.
To read the article titled, “MPs press Dutch lawmakers on aid policy,” click here.Source:<br /> All Africa
- The Rwandan NGO, Assist Rwanda, says human rights need regular enforcement if societies are to embrace sustainable peace.
Addressing a group of youth trained to monitor and evaluate mediators, prisons and Travaux performances across the country, Assist Rwanda national director, Emmanuel Shamakokera, urged the youth to visit the rural areas and make residents understand their rights and how to fight for and safeguard them.
The trained youth will train others who will work in two sectors of each district in the country to report where the government is not meeting standards of respecting human rights.
To read the article titled, “Human rights need regular monitoring - local NGO,” click here.
Source:<br /> All Africa