Posts Tagged ‘MDGs’

In 2000, world leaders agreed during the Millennium Summit of the United Nations to accelerate social economic development,  human dignity and equity. They agreed on eight goals to be achieved by 2015 which were named as The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and each goal has specific targets, and dates for achieving those targets. It should be noted that  most of these goals are interlinked  and failure to achieve one goal will affect  the others.

I would like to draw your attention specifically to Goal 3: Prompting gender equality and empower women and Goal 6: Combating HIV, Malaria and other disease using a scenario of a young  Ugandan woman.

Nora Nabanoba not her real name walked in my office, greeting me in a local Luganda greeting and asked me how we help women. She started narrating to me her story of how she came to Kampala. “I finished primary seven and because my parents were poor I could not afford to join secondary school. Our neighbour had a daughter who was working in Kampala and she decided to take me to look work for me in Kampala”. Nora narrated.

When she reached Kampala, thing were different, the person who brought her to Kampala never assisted her as she had promised instead took her to her home to become her maid without evening paying her.Nora said that after working for along time without pay, she decided to escape from her and look for work somewhere else which she got work and started working as a house maid and she was being paid some little money.

Two years later, a friend brought her a man whom she accepted to marry. The man was living in a one roomed house and he had chairs (commonly known as sofa sets). Norah revealed  to me she accepted to marry man because he had sofa set in the house which they did not have in their home. They stayed together for a few years and had a baby.

Norah became suspicious when her baby and her husband started  falling sick quiet  often. Unfortunately, the baby died. After the death of her baby she decided take a bold step to go for HIV test and the results came out positive. ‘I felt like my life was ending there and then’. Nora said. Finally, she had to come to terms with reality of accepting her HIV status.

When she told her husband about HIV testing and her results, her husband started abusing her, beating her and accusing her of infidelity and blaming her for infecting him. Little did Nora know that her husband had many wives.  The husband later became critically ill and was admitted in hospital and his condition improved. Nora got pregnant again and had another baby. Since she knew her HIV status, she did not breastfeed her baby.

When the baby was three months old, her husband abandoned her. “I reached at a time when I was giving my baby water only because I did not have any money to buy milk not even food for me” Nora said. She is now   ARVs and she is temporarily staying with a friend who offered her a temporary shelter. Given the costs of living here in Kampala she feels she is a burden to her.

Norah’s story is one of the many innocent young girls whose dreams have been shattered and can no longer see a bright future.Is this the Future We Want?  Therefore as we move from MDGs, specifically  looking at Goal 3 on prompting gender equality and empower women and Goal 6 on Combating HIV, Malaria and other diseases where little progress has been achieved and  in some cases there is reverse,  we should not forget that   poverty,gender inequality are the key inhibitors of sustainable development.

It is therefore important that as we to reflect on the Future We Want by formulating new Sustainable Development Goals, poverty, gender inequality and HIV should be at the center.  So for any sustainable development to be realized, poverty and gender inequality have to be addressed

Read Full Post »

Hon. Miria MatembeEvery year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 aiming to raise awareness of the challenges, struggles and continuing inequality faced by women worldwide. Thousands of events are organised at international, national and grassroots levels to celebrate women’s history, courage and strength by highlighting key events, milestones and achievements. Actually the month of March is commonly referred to as the  Women’s Month though very few people know about this fact. This is also the time in a year when the  UN under the Commission on the Status of Women holds  its annual convening   to  evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment

The 2014 international women’s day celebrations come at the  critical time when  countries are auditing the anticipated change delivered  by the Millennium Development Goals and setting the next development agenda under the Post2015 Development Framework.  It should be noted that the MDGs have been greatly criticized by women’s rights activists for ignoring critical issues that are central to promoting gender equality  and development.

As part of commemorating this year’s International Women’s day, I participated and coordinated a public dialogue on MDGs and Post 2015 Development Agenda: Room for gender equality organized by Isis-WICCE in partnership with the School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University.  It was attended by over 300  people who included university students, lecturers and gender activists. The dialogue was opened by Hon. Miria Matembe, a renowned vocal  gender activist  who regretted that the MDGs have instead slowed down the progress of gender equality and development “before MDGs,  women  were running fast & very vibrant’ but now  women have continued to be in power, serving power and without power” she said.  Hon Matembe also pointed out that MDGs  have  failed to address the critical issues of women such as sexual and reproductive health and violence against women

Likewise, Ms Margaret Kakande who made a presentation on the milestones of MDGs and gender equality expressed concern that little has been achieved for women and girls since 2000 in critical policy areas and actions. She singled out maternal health where many women continue to die while giving birth and regretted that   64% of mothers do not receive any postnatal check-up. She further noted that over 60% of maternal deaths in developing countries are estimated to occur 23 to 48 hours after delivery due to postpartum haemorrhage and hypertensive disorders. She cautioned that if the heath status of women and girls is not improved and maternal deaths checked, the MDGs would have achieved almost nothing for them.

She added that the women who are the care givers suffer poor reproductive health and with the reversal in the prevalence of the HIV/AIDs scourge in Uganda, the situation is of women is critical. Ms Kakande expressed concern that this state of affairs almost reverses any empowerment gains that women would have achieved.

In the sector of education, she noted that school dropout rates for girls especially at primary level have remained high denying them the opportunity to complete the full course of primary schooling which is the first foundation for their empowerment.

In moving forward to the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Isis-WICCE Communications Consultant Archie Luyimbazi warned that if in the last 14 years under the MDGs the plight of women has not been addressed, then the post 2015 stage should devise a plan that is transformational. He urged the women’s movement to seize the opportunity to reflect on what they need to do differently in order to bring about the much desired change for women.

He advised that to be successful in this new front,  Gender Equality and Women’s  Right Activists  should consider changing strategy from the current women’s right’s approach that has faced so much resistance over the years and enter into negotiation and bring on board new actors and energies especially the academia and the young people as well.

A cross section of participantsDuring the discussion participants emphasized that post 2015 development agenda should focus on social transformation of women with emphasis on factors that will give them more time to participate in the economic activities because when you achieve economic rights, other rights will follow. “We cannot achieve sustainable gender equality without economic empowerment of women” said a participant

Young people were also urged to be actively engaged in all development process because they  have a greater stake in shaping the future and time is now for  them  to rise and mobilize for social change, good governance and gender equality. They were advised to effectively utilize the power of social media as a tool

Read Full Post »