Wednesday, March 4, 2009

African women´s caucus

Cordaid invited several partners to attend the CSW, as they have special knowledge on the theme of this year CSW. Zebider Yitayew (Mary Joý Aid through Development, Ethiopia) works to improve conditions home based carers in her country and wrote this impression of her third day, 3 march, at the CSW.

”In the morning, our team attended the NGO debriefing session that takes place every morning at the UN (information about the revised NGO Parallel Events schedule of the day and summaries of the various caucus meetings). The Ambassador of the UN encouraged the CSOs and the delegates to keep up the effort and promised that the UN should give attention to gender issues and equal sharing between women and men including caring in context of HIV/AIDS.

I then attended the African Women’s Caucus meeting, (NOTE: In the UN system, a caucus is a meeting organised by NGO’s from a special region and/or around a special theme, so people can share information or discuss lobby issue) where several presentations were done by different countries. The paper presented by Kenya representative was interesting as it focused on early marriage and pointed out as areas that need attention of the collaborators including UN:

• Genital mutilation
• Illiteracy
• Early marriage and forced marriage
• Unequal job opportunities
• Lack of property rights
• Cultural and religious rules towards women
• Violence against women

One case study was also presented on early marriage focusing on stigmatization through poverty, especially for women with financial problems. Final recommendations given by the presenters included:
• Educating the community on equal sharing of responsibilities including caring in the context of HIV/AIDS.
• Allocating adequate resources to support the initiative at grassroots level
• Advocacy to have better policy
• Increasing the participation men
• Establishing grassroots networking that helps to share information and experience
• Supporting women to access information

At the end of the meting the UN delegate informed the participants that the gender equality issue is the major agenda of the General Assembly. Because of these the UN decided to do a campaign on violence against women and equal sharing of responsibility regionally. The UN has developed a system to support each Government and CSO to minimize the violence against women and girls. As at the 6th African Development Forum the decision was made to campaign against violence against women and girls, it is a good opportunity to lobby government officials to give attention to gender issues. For this, a task force was formed (South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria and Liberia) and we recommended the task force to focus on action and the increase of grassroots participation. A position paper will be forwarded to the UN. The next African Women’s Caucus will take place tomorrow, 4 March.

In the afternoon, I attended a session on local Government initiatives around equality between women and men, looking at Korean and Kenyan experiences”. Zebider Yitayew

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