Strengthening the she-network for female entrepreneurship success in SA

Ashleigh Butterworth, Bizcommunity.com

Image used for illustrative purpose. Getty Images

Female entrepreneurs have made strides in South Africa to overcome gender-related challenges and grow their businesses in an everchanging economic climate. Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs Index (MIWE) 2022, highlighted some of these successes when it comes to female entrepreneurship in South Africa, with improvements in our ranking for both cultural perceptions of women entrepreneurs (up nine places to rank 37th) and competitiveness (up three places to rank 25th) globally.

However, despite these successes, our country still falls by the wayside when it comes to our entrepreneurial framework indicator, having dropped two places since 2020 (rank 54). This indicator is based on access to infrastructure and ease of access to skilled employees. In addition to the never-ending gender biases thrown their way, female entrepreneurs also face inevitable issues such as a high tax rate, loadshedding business disturbance and a rocky political landscape.

According to the 2020/21 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, in Africa more than 50% of entrepreneurs are women with 70% of them from the informal sector, with limited access to financial services. So how exactly have female business leaders managed to stay focused and determined to build their companies even when the odds seem stacked against them? In an effort to help female entrepreneurs thrive in South Africa, a couple of powerhouse women share their own insights on how to take a step up.

Build your she-network and knowledge

Only 17% of 25-34-year-old women have attained a tertiary education in South Africa. This is one of the lowest among African countries according to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Knowledge is power, especially in the case of female business owners who may not have received formal education because of gendered career paths. If you are looking to upskill, organisations such as Get Smarter and CPUT (Cape Town University of Technology), offer business management short courses targeted at entrepreneurs in SA. A less formal route of financial and business education is also an option, with sites like Fincheck Academy and Sage’s blog, being invaluable resources for entrepreneurs. Financial literacy is key for female entrepreneurs. It allows them to be in control of their money and to make smart decisions about costs and cash flow. This is vital for small businesses, as it can help them increase their chances of survival.

Networking and leveraging your female communities are especially important in your early growth stages. Building these strong networks can lead to business growth, but also increased confidence which is something female leaders often lack. According to Harvard Business Review, women can benefit from taking a strategic approach to networking. The report further states that focusing on a higher level of centrality and connecting with people who are connected to multiple networks should be vital in your strategy. LinkedIn reiterates this need to get started on networking, with 14-38% of women globally being less likely than men to have a strong network – one that’s both large and diverse. Organisations like Future Females, a community-based learning experience for women and Women Who Build Africa, a network for women in tech, offer females in South Africa an opportunity to thrive in the business world.

Technological development assists women-owned businesses

According to the Digital Gender Gap, 60 % of global GDP is set to be digitised in 2022, this alone proves how critical it is for female entrepreneurs to get on the digital train. Technology plays an essential role in making sure that business growth is accessible. According to Harvard Business Review, access to tech is not only fuel for business growth but also a key driver in accelerating global gender equality.

The UN echoed this sentiment, by making technology a crucial part of its innovation strategy for 2018–2021. Female entrepreneurs all over the world are using technology to get a step ahead – however, a missing piece of the puzzle remains skills development.

In South Africa specifically, action needs to be taken to drastically improve the training and support that is available to female-owned businesses, so that they can access and utilise new technologies. A sad reality in sub-Saharan Africa is that a majority of female entrepreneurs barely make ends meet, and very often are not found in the formal business sector. These women predominantly operate in the informal sector with very limited opportunities available to increase their profits, and this is where technology can play a significant role.

“Mobile phones and digital platforms are already benefiting female entrepreneurs: connecting them to markets, providing multi-lingual training, and facilitating their collective action.” According to the UN high-level panel, if technology is implemented effectively, it provides an opportunity for growth in this sector. Entrepreneurship is empowering for anyone no matter their gender. For women it’s especially empowering in terms of flexibility, being able to take control of their business journey as well as pursuing whatever other passions they may have. Technology adoption in Africa has also made it easier for women to balance their family responsibilities with their careers and skills upliftment.

On the flip side, another contributor to accelerating global gender equality in the business sector is correcting the underrepresentation of women in tech. We need more females designing products with female business owners in mind. Inclusive product design starts with ensuring that the teams building these products are diverse and truly understand the needs of the end user.

Access to finance

Business funding is probably one of the biggest barriers for female entrepreneurs. For example, in 2019 we saw less than 5% of VC funding for African startups going towards companies with female founders. In Sub-Saharan Africa currently, there is a $42 billion dollar funding gap for female entrepreneurs, and if the gender gap is bridged, it’s estimated that a $316bn GDP could be gained by 2025. These statistics highlight the need for new lending models and more women-focused lending institutions.

Female entrepreneurs in South Africa generally own fewer assets than men, and because they don’t have this collateral it often makes the loan process more difficult. Lending networks like Xena Capital, give women access to funding tailored to their needs – by doing so, they are unlocking the potential of the female economy. FundingHub is another such platform, although not only for women, which puts the power at the fingertips of the borrower, by letting shepreneurs choose between offers from various lenders. According to Sage, women manage credit much better than men do, and when invested in, women have a 27% credit turnover, compared to 8% in a male-run business.

The South African government especially needs to take the necessary steps to give female entrepreneurs better financial support. NEF Women Empowerment Fund and Isivande Women’s Fund, are two such funds (aimed at black female business owners) that have been created with the help of both the government and large banks. Having formal financial structures like these in place for women to use, will catapult their businesses from ideation to success in no time. There’s no denying that women-led businesses are just as profitable as those led by men, if not more so. But what’s even more valuable is that these businesses are more likely to have a positive social impact.

If you can’t see it, you can’t be it

Role models and mentors are crucial for entrepreneurs, especially for female business owners where there aren’t as many female leaders to look up to. It’s alarming that there were only four female CEOs among the top 40 JSE-listed companies in 2021. In addition to that, only 5% of all listed companies have a female CEO. So how do we get more women into leadership roles, and how do more women become thriving and successful entrepreneurs?

Every bit of advice, and guidance is essential on your business journey, but role models you resonate with, give you that extra boost of confidence to reach your goals. “You can’t be what you can’t see”, is a phrase that too perfectly fits the women in business narrative – budding entrepreneurs need to be able to talk to women who have gone through and overcome the same challenges as them.

Tips on how to stand out from your male counterparts, how to put together an innovative business plan that investors can’t resist, or simply how to get people to buy into your product – are all valuable questions best answered by people who have walked a similar path to yourself.

If women are to be equal players in the entrepreneurship game in South Africa, support needs to be facilitated by government, lenders, private companies and mentors. This support combined with the drive and determination to succeed will be pivotal in growing the number of thriving female-owned businesses.

Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur honoured on postage stamp

By David Ochieng Mbewa

Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur is one of 22 Tunisian women honoured in commemoratory postage stamps released by the country’s postal service on Saturday.

The stamps were issued to celebrate women who have influenced the country’s course of history and events on the day the North African nation marked National Women’s Day.

A photo of the commemorative stamp bearing Tunisia tennis player Ons Jabeur’s image to be issued by the country’s postal service. /TWITTER/@OnsJabeurFans

National Women’s Day is a public holiday in Tunisia celebrated annually on August 13 to commemorate the adoption of progressive laws supporting women’s rights in the country.

Jabeur has put her country and, indeed the continent, on the global tennis map following her exploits in the sport, particularly during the last couple of years.

The 27-year-old, who is currently ranked fifth in the world, has set many firsts for African and Arab women, and in some cases men, as she has rocketed up the WTA rankings and won several admirers both on and off the court.

In 2020, she became the first Arab woman to make an appearance at a Grand Slam quarterfinal when she progressed to the last eight at the Australian Open.

In June last year, she became the first Arab woman to win a WTA title when she triumphed at the Viking Classic Birmingham and just a month later became the first Arab woman to qualify for and play in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

In October that year, she became the first Arab player – man or woman – to break into the top 10 rankings.

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur during an award ceremony after the 2022 Wimbledon women’s singles final match. /CFP

2022 has been even more successful as she became the first Arab and North African player to win a WTA1000 event after claiming the Madrid Open. She also went on to reach the final at Wimbledon where she suffered a surprise defeat to Elena Rybakina. Jabeur has also managed to climb as high as second in the WTA rankings.

She has previously said that she wants to inspire young girls in Tunisia, Africa and the Arab world to get involved in tennis. Her success has seen the number of people playing the sport at Tennis Club de Tunis, the country’s oldest tennis club, rise sharply.

Last month, Jabeur received an Order of Sports Merit from President Kais Saied for her sporting success and raising Tunisia’s profile in international sporting events.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)

‘There is 100 per cent chance of having a child via IVF’

By Chukwuma Muanya

Ashiru

The most typical cause of infertility in men, and women are sexually transmitted diseases, especially gonorrhoea, followed by chlamydia

Oladapo Ashiru is a professor of Anatomy and Consultant Reproductive Endocrinologist as well as Associated Reproductive Technique (ART)/Joint Pioneer of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)/Test Tube Baby in Nigeria.

Ashiru, who is also the Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Medical Art Centre (MART) and Mart-Life Detox Clinic Maryland Ikeja, Lagos, in a chat with The Guardian to mark the World Fertility Awareness Month, June, spoke on why more Nigerians are becoming infertile just as he proffered solution.

The fertility expert, who is also the President, of the African Fertility Society (AFS), identified technology, especially the use of laptops by men, toxins in food and from the environment, bleaching creams, artificial sweeteners, chlamydia infection, obesity among others to decrease sperm count in men and fuel the growth of fibroids in women.

To address the situation, Ashiru recommends medically monitored detoxification, weight loss, treatment of infections and other lifestyle modifications. He said there is a 100 per cent chance of having a child via ART/IVF. CHUKWUMA MUANYA (Deputy Editor) writes. Excerpts:

There are reports that fertility rates are dropping in males and females. How true is this? What are the figures?
IT is not bizarre information that the fertility rate in males and females is declining. Regarding the female gender, it is said that the level of fertility begins to drop from the age of 35 years and approximately 40 years in the Male Gender. These normal physiological body functions are inevitable as the body’s cellular components begin to age and die off at some point. However, with the help of ART, conception can still be achieved.

In recent years, male infertility has been chiefly the cause of why some families can’t achieve a spontaneous conception. As a result, they constitute about 42 per cent and 26 per cent of Nigeria’s female factors. In general 50 per cent of infertility is now due to male factors while the other 50 per cent is a female factor. Hence, it is the responsibility of every couple with infertility challenges to face it jointly.

Other factors that have led to a further decline in infertility are the increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, followed by the severe effects of environmental, occupational, and climate change on fertility.

Why are fertility rates dropping?
There are myriad reasons why these rates are dropping. The major ones would be mentioned as follows: The most typical cause of infertility in men and women is sexually transmitted disease, especially gonorrhoea, followed by chlamydia. These two infection scars the tubes that carry the eggs and the sperm (resulting in blockage of the fallopian tubes in women and stricture of the urethra in males).

Unfortunately, the chlamydia does not show signs early enough; hence by the time the person shows signs of discharge on the urinal passage lot of irreversible damage has been done.

Age is one of the significant factors, especially in females, and it affects men as well. We focused on age at our last retreat of experts reviewing global fertility demographics in Amsterdam. We observed that men and women now delay marriage and childbearing. We, therefore, warned that fertility declines with age; hence people need to be aware that delaying marriage or childbirth may drastically affect their ability to have children.

Environmental factors: This has also contributed immensely to the world of infertility. These factors cause ongoing damage to the body organs, especially the reproductive organs. They include industrial hazards like paint, plastic wares, petrochemicals, oil and gas pollution, diesel and aviation fuel, pesticides, and aerosol fumigations. Many of these affect the reproductive system and go up to the following two generations.

Dietary factors: Any foods that will increase the Body Mass Index (BMI) should be avoided. Adequate exercise is recommended to allow the body’s reproductive system to function at an expected rate. Other dietary factors are heavy metals from a diet like large fish and stockfish. The use of artificial sweeteners has been shown to cause a reduction in sperm. For these reasons that it is now recommended that couples ensure they get rid of years of accumulated toxins in their bodies before attempting conception.

Occupational factor: People who work in the chemical industry, long-distance drivers, Refineries, driving bear footed, and others have been linked with a decline in fertility rate.

Behavioral factors: Genders that engage in substance and alcohol abuse are also extensively linked with a decreased rate of fertility.

Biological factors: couples with co-morbidities like hypertension and diabetes majorly also experience a decline.
What are the implications?

The only implication is the inability to have a child, which can result in so many complications like depression, grief, mood swing, social pressure, divorce among couples, and in extreme cases, suicide.

What are the solutions? How can fertility rates be improved?
Educational awareness is a primary solution. It is done to provide fertility education right from an early age in school. Students need to be educated on the consequences of unprotected intercourse, the damage done by the sexually transmitted disease, damages to infertility from diet and environment, and more. There should also be an orientation for couples to seek the help of a specialist once they have had unprotected sexual intercourse for a year with no pregnancy.

The option of exploring ART for older couples or those who have attempted medical help with no success is one of the best solutions.

We can improve fertility rates if couples refrain from those factors mentioned earlier and quickly seek the help of a specialist when appropriate.

Unfortunately, babies born through ART and IVF have been associated with adverse side effects. Some reports suggest that they are more prone to many other diseases, allergies, etc. How true is this?
I don’t agree that is a true statement. Several studies in the past have shown that the rate of congenital anomalies in babies born via IVF is not statistically different from that of their background populations.

Speaking for myself, I’ve not seen any so far, especially in my line of practice in the last 40 years.

Besides, we do anomaly scans for our pregnant patients between 18-21 weeks gestation. With this scan, any form of malformations would be detected and noted. I’ve also seen babies born reporting to the clinic for just a courtesy visit, and they still look healthy and intelligent. What is known is that the chances of abnormalities in ART are the same as it is in the general population.

How many children have been born through IVF in Nigeria?
Nigeria started a data registry in 2014. Before then, we participated in the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) surveillance and the international monitoring team.

The total number of babies born worldwide from ART interventions is about 12 million. It is still challenging for us to know the exact number of babies born through IVF in Nigeria to date. There are several factors responsible for this.

For example, the total number of IVF cycles reported in Nigeria is about 7000 per year from about 15 reporting IVF clinics. However, today the number of clinics in Nigeria is over 100. I would estimate the actual number of cycles in Nigeria to be 10,000 per year. The estimated number of babies in Nigeria should be about 12,000.

What is the future of these children considering the challenges they face?
They probably won’t have to face any challenges because they are as bright and healthy as those conceived naturally. The oldest test-tube baby Louise Joy Brown is about 44 years and has her baby.

What are the chances of having a child through IVF? How much does it cost for a session of IVF?
There is a 100 per cent chance of having a child via IVF. The statistical chance of conceiving naturally is about 20 per cent in a given cycle, this increases to about 22 per cent in Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and to about 27 per cent in IVF. When we control for things like egg quality, and sperm quality using treatment of the patient or third party options, this can get as high as 35-45 per cent. The implication is that a couple might have a 110 per cent chance at the first attempt while some might have a 100 per cent chance after two or three attempts.

The fact is that treatment of infertility at all levels is costly. Starting from the drugs used to cause ovulation, improving sperm count for low technology treatment, and buying the media, In Vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET) infrastructure, and supplies. Unfortunately, none of these items is produced in Nigeria. Hence they are always affected by the devaluation of the Naira. When we started IVF-ET in the 1980s, it cost about $5000 for one IVF cycle, about N3000. Today average cost of IVF is in low-middle income countries is about $4000, which about N2 million. It is far above the average income of the population. That is why many organisations come to the aid of those who have difficulties in meeting their financial obligations to ensure they are blessed with babies in their families. In Nigeria, we have Parah Foundation, Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation, OARS Foundation, and recently the Aneden Gives. They all support needy couples with grants for their IVF treatment, and we collaborate with them in realising that objective.

In 2005 we started the OARS Foundation in Collaboration with Medical Art Center to get the less privileged the opportunity to carry their babies. We are happy to say that we have been able to have several such babies annually. All the foundations have reported the same success stories. In the final analysis, the Federal Government needs to ensure that ART treatment is covered by insurance. Currently, IVF is not covered by insurance. Since having a baby is a human right, Government should support the realization of the objective.

June is now celebrated as World Infertility Awareness month. World Infertility Awareness Month is celebrated every June to increase awareness regarding numerous infertility issues faced by couples across the globe. It includes problems related to female as well as male fertility. Several myths regarding infertility are debunked during this month, and many options are brought forward to those who may want to conceive.

The purpose of the month? To improve the lives of millions of people who fail to conceive due to a lack of scientific knowledge, more so, in Africa to de-stigmatise infertility myths. Yes, some causes of infertility can be overcome! All you need is a good doctor, a supportive family, and an open mind. Fertility education focusing on preventable causes such as sexually transmitted diseases, occupational hazards, environmental and climate changes, and nutritional and dietary causes would be highlighted.

The International Federation of Fertility Societies, in partnership with the MERCK Foundation, will celebrate the month with a World infertility Summit on Friday, June 24, at 3 pm for all who have an interest in fertility. To celebrate the month OARS Foundation will be giving out several grants to needy infertile couples that require IVF-ET to help them achieve their dreams.

Many centres are now springing up, promising to enhance fertility and ensure conception. How are these claims and practices regulated?
We have a body that regulates the practice called the AFRH (Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health), which oversees and ensures good practices across the nation. In Nigeria, like in many other countries in the world, doctors are guided by their fertility societies’ regulations and direct fertility clinics.

The Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health of Nigeria has had very robust guidelines for the practice of Assisted Reproductive Technology since 2012. The Guidelines are comparable to those used by the America Society for Reproductive Medicine, the European Societies for Human Reproduction and Embryology, and the International Federation of Fertility Societies.

Furthermore, the discipline of doctors in all medical specialities, such as organ transplants, surgeries, infertility, cancer, and others, is within the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. What is needed further is that many countries provide a broad enabling law to empower the professional to affect the operation of their guidelines.

I heard MART Center now has an all-inclusive centre where a couple can be taken through the whole process- pre to post-conception and delivery. How is that? How does it work? What technology does it use?
Medical Art Center is a world-class reproductive center that puts a premium on providing cutting-edge technology with highly skilled and trained specialists in rendering the state of the art management of reproductive health, a fertility centre where couples are evaluated thoroughly before embarking on treatments.

For instance, couples are evaluated before doctors decide on which line of treatment protocol is best for management. The patient always loves to continue with our mother and child care centre, where high-risk antenatal care and delivery are provided with a neonatal intensive care unit equipped with incubators, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), respirators, and ventilators. All to ensure babies born prematurely as early as 24 weeks can survive. For a patient that needs a thorough body cleansing to get rid of dietary, occupational, and environmental toxins, we recommend detoxification before treatment starts. They are sent for Modern Mayr Medicine therapy (Precision Medicine) at our Mart life Detox Clinic.

Zimbabwe: International Day of Action for Women’s Health – Young Women Supporting Young Women to Make Healthy Choices

Peer educator having a group discussion with young women

Tanatswa (20) is a vibrant peer educator for Doctors Without Borders(MSF). She is a core member of the MSF Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) project in the high-density suburb of Mbare, Harare in Zimbabwe.

Growing up, Tanatswa had a passion to do something meaningful and life-changing in her community. She grew up in Mbare, one of the oldest suburbs of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. Mbare has high poverty levels, overcrowding, with high drug and substance use amongst adolescents and young people. This environment predisposes adolescents and young people to risky sexual behaviour that fuels the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV and amplifies the vulnerability of adolescents.

Youths (15-24 years) make up 20% of Zimbabwe’s estimated 15 million population.

“As I was born and bred in this environment, I have seen the challenges that particularly affect adolescent girls and young women which include early unplanned pregnancy, early marriages, drug and substance abuse. Some girls run away from home to stay at the drug bases where they sell sex in exchange for drugs. I always wanted to change and save my peers’ lives, but I was not sure how best to do it,” says Tanatswa with enthusiasm and determination.

After her grandmother heard about the peer-to-peer model that MSF was rolling out from a local clinic in the suburb, she encouraged Tanatswa to apply.

“When my grandmother referred me to enquire about the peer education programme, I was not sure if I was eligible. I was 17 at that time, having finished my ordinary level, ” Tanatswa explained.

Tanatswa was recruited for the MSF peer to peer programme in January 2020. Her enthusiasm and passion made her a good candidate.

“The training I got from MSF staff equipped me with all the necessary information on how to engage with the community. It made it clear what my role was.”

“Peer education opened doors for me. It boosted my confidence and fostered interpersonal communication skills in engaging and working with young people and the community at large,” Tanatswa says.

The community could not accept Tanatswa at first. For them, she was too young to give them such important information. However, with further engagement and interaction with her peers, she became the community role model, with the necessary information to save their lives, facilitating access to free SRH services and other important health care information.

“It was not easy at first, but because I was working with people I already knew, they understood my assignment. Many adolescents and young women are benefiting from this programme. I can assist them with HIV self-testing, pregnancy testing, provide emergency contraception, menstrual hygiene management commodities, condoms and refer them to other service providers accordingly based on their needs. I am happy to be a community resource that supports women in my community.”

Through the peer-led approach, the SRH project has reached out to communities and ensured access to essential SRH services. Peer educators play an important role in raising awareness of SRH services, increasing acceptance of contraceptives and managing menstrual hygiene in communities. To engage effectively with the community, MSF trained peer educators to work with adolescents and young women to provide SRH education and facilitate access to services.

When she is not in the community, Tanatswa spends time at the project’s youth hub in Mbare, where she can access free Wi-Fi. Access to Wi-Fi enables her and other peer educators to research and empower themselves with the information they will share with the young women in their community.

“With access to free access to Wi-Fi at the Matapi Youth Hub, I managed to study for an online certificate in sexual reproductive health for adolescents and received more information on sexual reproductive health education,” she says.

“Peer education should not be overlooked; it has the potential to transform communities, from the peer educator to the young person he or she can reach,” echoes Shinga Mawarire, MSF Nurse Mentor.

Since 2016, MSF has worked with 143 community peer educators for the SRH project in Mbare. These peer educators are recruited from the community. They are experts by experience, some having been sex workers, teen parents, HIV expert patients, school dropouts, drug and substance use survivors, to mention but a few. The peer educators graduate around the age of 23 to make way for new peer educators. When volunteering for MSF, they receive a scholarship to support their dreams.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202205270450.html

First All-Women Media Outlet Opens in Somalia’s Capital

Ahmed Mohamed

Fathi Mohamed Ahmed, Bilan’s deputy editor at Goobjoog TV during a program recording for Bilan Media, April 2022. (Courtesy: Bilan Media)

MOGADISHU — Somalia’s first women-run radio and television outlet has opened in the capital, Mogadishu. United Nations-supported Bilan Media will produce content aimed at addressing issues affecting women and champion women’s rights in the conservative country.

The launch of Bilan Media in Mogadishu marks another leap in the effort by women to secure their place in Somalia’s patriarchal public arena.

Bilan means bright and clear in the Somali language, and the founders say they will stay true to its meaning by shedding light on some of the most consequential issues relating to and affecting women.

Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim, Bilan Editor reporting for Bilan Media last week. (Courtesy: Bilan Media)
Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim, Bilan Editor reporting for Bilan Media last week. (Courtesy: Bilan Media)

Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim is the editor at Bilan Media.

This project is designed to overcome many of the challenges facing the community, she says. It will focus on the challenges facing women. She says there are stories about women which will be revealed … because there are a lot of stories in the community and they don’t allow them to be published, so Bilan will reveal those stories.

By going all-female, Bilan hopes to break the barriers in Somalia’s conservative society where issues such as rape, sexual assault and women’s medical issues are often ignored.

Bilan says it does not seek to compete with the mainstream media but to chart its course in elevating the voices of women and influencing the agenda in the male-dominated society

Fathi Mohamed Ahmed is the deputy editor.

She says, “I can say that the reason for the formation of this media outlet for women is that in most parts of Mogadishu and Somalia as a whole, there are media outlets where both men and women work but are managed and owned by men. The circumstances of women’s needs are not discussed in detail. For example, violence against women is not discussed in depth.”

Ahmed says the owners of the station are not out to make a profit.

It is not about making money, it is about showcasing the productivity and power of women. So we want to improve our skills and present them at a place free from corruption and abuse by men.

Practitioners in the industry say the launch of a female-only media house is a bold step in a country where Islamist militant groups do not hesitate to harm or even kill journalists.

The situation is even worse for female journalists who have to battle other forms of challenges such as sexual harassment in newsrooms, cultural stereotypes, pressures from families as well as low pay, compared to male counterparts.

Hinda Jama is head of gender affairs at the Somali Journalists Syndicate.

The potential challenges to this radio station are many, she says. As the radio is only operated by women, women could face challenges from Somali culture. Also, she says, Somali society is not accustomed to women doing things alone or being journalists working alone and most people are not aware of it. Religion-wise, she adds, some clerics may consider women unworthy to speak in the media.

The answers will come soon as to whether the station can meet these challenges. Bilan Media is scheduled to go on the air April 25th.

Autistic in Uganda: families persevere amid stigma, lack of services

By CGTN Africa

Occupational Therapist Dr. Hope Igadira plays with an autistic child on a swing in Kampala. (CGTN Africa)

As the world marks International Autism Day, there’s increased focus on ensuring inclusive and equitable education for people living with this condition in Uganda.

But campaigners are concerned about the limited special needs services to support autism patients and extremely low awareness of the disorder.  According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 70 in every 10,000 Ugandans suffers from autism but it’s believed the number could be much higher.

Dr Prossy Nakanwagy started autism awareness campaigns after she discovered her son had autism.

Occupational Therapist Dr. Hope Igadira helps an autistic child to comb his hair. (CGTN Africa)

Nakanwagy first noticed something unusual when her son when he was 7 months old. He was not looking directly in her eyes while breastfeeding. But she brushed it off.  But more signs kept popping up. He was also starting talking later than other children.

“One of the other things was sleep, the baby could go 24 hours without sleep. Now from hindsight, that tells you there was a problem. It was at two and a half years when a neighbor came with an occupational therapist and he was like, clearly there’s a problem.”

She had to take her son to a special needs school in Nairobi, Kenya.

Though there are special needs schools in Uganda, the country doesn’t have public schools designed to specifically manage children with autism. They are instead placed  with children with other special needs.

The private schools available are few and costly.

In Nairobi, Nakanwagy’s son was able to catch up with intensive therapy and can now speak. He’s also more independent and is able to comprehend a lot of things. Nananwgy’s biggest challenge now is the stigma her family faces in the community.

“You visit and because he’s not able to follow instructions, he’s all over. People are supposed to sit down, he’s jumping. You’re at a party, it’s not yet time to eat cake, he’s poked it. So imagine, some people will be like, ‘Ok, if you’re coming for the party, do you mind leaving Mathew behind?’ But as a family, we decided that wherever we went, our child was there.”

Autism is an incurable neurological disorder with different levels of severity. Symptoms range from a lack of speech to repetitive behaviors and constant movement, to trouble interpreting what others feel.

The symptoms are managed through speech, play and concentration therapy.

Very little is known about autism in Uganda. Hope Igadira who works as an occupational therapist in Dawn Children’s school in Kampala. She said many parents live in denial and often seek out traditional medicine, only to worsen the condition of their children.

“We’ve seen many parents who have come and are in denial…they don’t know what is the problem with the kid. The parent just says, ‘This kid is stubborn. When I try calling him, he doesn’t respond, this kid is not performing well in class.’ And after telling him these are signs of autism, it’s likely your child has autism.”

There are also few special needs trainers in the country. Igadira is the only therapist at Dawn Children’s school where she takes care of over 60 autistic children.

So far there is no policy that provides for inclusive education for special needs in Uganda. The country is just developing a streamlined policy that will cater to all forms of special needs before it’s presented to parliament for debate and final passing into law but it’s unclear when this law will eventually be passed.

برلمانية: اليوم العالمي للمرأة دلالة على الاحترام العام لإنجازاتها ودورها الفعال

 محمد بكر

رشا قلج

أشادت الدكتورة رشا قلج عضو مجلس الشيوخ والرئيس التنفيذي لمؤسسة ميرك الدولية الخيرية، بالدور الكبير الذى تقوم به المرأة في مصر والعديد من دول العالم والقارة الأفريقية، ويقام هذا اليوم العالمى للدلالة على الاحترام العام وتقدير وحب المرأة لإنجازاتها الاقتصادية، والسياسية والاجتماعية، وهو مناسبة للاحتفال بأعمال النساء وشجاعتهن وثباتهن في أداء أدوار استثنائية فى تاريخ بلدانه

وأضافت النائبة رشا قلج في بيان لها، أن احتفالها باليوم العالمى للمرأة هذا العالم سيكون مع أكثر من 20 سيدة أولى في أفريقيا باليوم العالمي للمرأة الذي يوافق 8 مارس من كل عام، من خلال تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم ماديا ومعنويا وكسر وصمة العقم عبر تغيير الأفكار والمعتقدات الخاطئة في المجتمع، يأتي هذا عن طريق برامج لدعم تعليم الفتيات وتمكين المرأة في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات بالشراكة مع السيدات الأوائل في إفريقيا

وأعلنت الدكتورة رشا قلج عن حفل توزيع جوائز MARS السنوية لتقدير ودعم “أفضل باحثات أفريقيات في جهودهن لتمكين النساء في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات

وقالت الدكتورة رشا قلج: “يعد تمكين الفتيات والنساء جزءًا من مهمتنا ورسالتنا الأسمى ، لذا نحتفل بيوم المرأة العالمي كل يوم مع سفرائنا من السيدات الأوائل الأفارقة ، فنعمل عن كثب لتمكين النساء والفتيات من خلال برامجنا بما في ذلك حملتنا “أكثر من أم” ، وبرنامج “تعليم ليندا” ، وغيرها من المبادرات التنموية والداعمة للمرأة في القارة الأفريقية

وأضافت: “حملة “أكثر من أم” هي مبادرة قوية تهدف إلى تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم من خلال الوصول إلى المعلومات والتعليم وتغيير طريقة التفكير ضدهن والتمكين الاقتصادي، “علاوة على ذلك ، قدمت مؤسسة ميرك  بالتعاون مع وزارات الصحة والإعلام والتعليم والإعلام والفنون، أكثر من 550 منحة دراسية (من إجمالي 1200 منحة دراسية) للطبيبات الحاصلات على دبلوم لمدة عام واحد ودرجة ماجستير لمدة عامين للتخصصات الحرجة والمحرومة بشكل خاص التي تتعلق بصحة المرأة والصحة الإنجابية مثل تخصص الخصوبة وعلم الأجنة والرعاية الجنسية والإنجابية والتي تعتبر مهمة للغاية لتحويل صحة المرأة في أفريقيا والبلدان النامية، بالإضافة إلى الأورام والسكري والغدد الصماء والعناية التنفسية والعناية المركزة وغيرها الكثير

واستطردت الدكتورة رشا قلج: “أنا فخورة بأننا قدمنا أكثر من 370 منحة دراسية للأطباء (170 طبيبة و 202 طبيبًا) من 37 دولة ، بهدف النهوض بصحة المرأة من خلال بناء الصحة الإنجابية والجنسية، بالإضافة إلى تقديم الدعم للنساء اللائي ليس لديهن أطفال من خلال مساعدتهن على بدء أعمالهن التجارية الصغيرة، بهدف منح كل امرأة الاحترام والدعم الذي تستحقه لتعيش حياة كريمة، مع أو بدون طفل

وتابعت: قمنا أيضًا بتدريب أكثر من 2000 من ممثلي وسائل الإعلام من أكثر من 35 دولة ، ليكونوا صوت من لا صوت لهم ولزيادة الوعي المجتمعي حول كسر وصمة العقم حول النساء وغيرها من القضايا الهامة مثل إنهاء زواج الأطفال ، ووقف العنف القائم على النوع الاجتماعي ، ودعم الفتيات  التعليم وتمكين المرأة

ووجهت الدكتورة رشا قلج رسالة للمرأة في يومها العالمي قائلة: أود أن أخبر كل امرأة أن تؤمن بنفسها وأن تكون واثقة من نفسها في كل خطوة في الحياة.  الشغف والعمل الجاد ووضع القلب والروح والعقل في كل شيء هو عامل النجاح، وكما أؤكد دائمًا، عندما تقومي بتحقيق أهدافك وذاتك في الحياة ، لا تنسي دعم النساء الأخريات من حولك

https://www.albawabhnews.com/4539250

النائبة رشا قلج للمرأة في يومها العالمي: ثقي في نفسك وحققي أهدافك

شروق فتح الباب

النائبة رشا قلج للمرأة في يومها العالمي: ثقي في نفسك وحققي أهدافك

يحتفل العالم باليوم الدولي للمرأة في يوم 8 من شهر مارس كل عام ويعد من أكبر الاحتفالات بالمرأة ودعم دورها الفعال في المجتمع على مستوى العالم.

وأشادت الدكتورة رشا قلج عضو مجلس الشيوخ المصري والرئيس التنفيذي لمؤسسة ميرك الدولية الخيرية، بالدور الكبير الذى تقوم به المرأة في مصر والعديد من دول العالم والقارة الأفريقية، ويقام هذا اليوم العالمى للدلالة على الاحترام العام وتقدير وحب المرأة لإنجازاتها الاقتصادية، والسياسية والاجتماعية، وهو مناسبة للاحتفال بأعمال النساء وشجاعتهن وثباتهن في أداء أدوار استثنائية فى تاريخ بلدانه

وأضافت النائبة رشا قلج في بيان لها، أن احتفالها باليوم العالمى للمرأة هذا العالم سيكون مع أكثر من 20 سيدة أولى في أفريقيا باليوم العالمي للمرأة الذي يوافق 8 مارس من كل عام، من خلال تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم ماديا ومعنويا وكسر وصمة العقم عبر تغيير الأفكار والمعتقدات الخاطئة في المجتمع، يأتي هذا عن طريق برامج لدعم تعليم الفتيات وتمكين المرأة في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات بالشراكة مع السيدات الأوائل في إفريقيا

النائبة رشا قلج للمرأة في يومها العالمي: ثقي في نفسك وحققي أهدافك

وأعلنت الدكتورة رشا قلج عن حفل توزيع جوائز MARS السنوية لتقدير ودعم “أفضل باحثات أفريقيات في جهودهن لتمكين النساء في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات

وقالت الدكتورة رشا قلج: “يعد تمكين الفتيات والنساء جزءًا من مهمتنا ورسالتنا الأسمى ، لذا نحتفل بيوم المرأة العالمي كل يوم مع سفرائنا من السيدات الأوائل الأفارقة ، فنعمل عن كثب لتمكين النساء والفتيات من خلال برامجنا بما في ذلك حملتنا “أكثر من أم” ، وبرنامج “تعليم ليندا” ، وغيرها من المبادرات التنموية والداعمة للمرأة في القارة الأفريقية

وأضافت : :”حملة “أكثر من أم” هي مبادرة قوية تهدف إلى تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم من خلال الوصول إلى المعلومات والتعليم وتغيير طريقة التفكير ضدهن والتمكين الاقتصادي، “علاوة على ذلك ، قدمت مؤسسة ميرك بالتعاون مع وزارات الصحة والإعلام والتعليم والإعلام والفنون، أكثر من 550 منحة دراسية (من إجمالي 1200 منحة دراسية) للطبيبات الحاصلات على دبلوم لمدة عام واحد ودرجة ماجستير لمدة عامين للتخصصات الحرجة والمحرومة بشكل خاص التي تتعلق بصحة المرأة والصحة الإنجابية مثل تخصص الخصوبة وعلم الأجنة والرعاية الجنسية والإنجابية والتي تعتبر مهمة للغاية لتحويل صحة المرأة في أفريقيا والبلدان النامية، بالإضافة إلى الأورام والسكري والغدد الصماء والعناية التنفسية والعناية المركزة وغيرها الكثير

النائبة رشا قلج للمرأة في يومها العالمي: ثقي في نفسك وحققي أهدافك

واستطردت الدكتورة رشا قلج :” أنا فخور ةبأننا قدمنا أكثر من 370 منحة دراسية للأطباء (170 طبيبة و 202 طبيبًا) من 37 دولة ، بهدف النهوض بصحة المرأة من خلال بناء الصحة الإنجابية والجنسية، بالإضافة إلى تقديم الدعم للنساء اللائي ليس لديهن أطفال من خلال مساعدتهن على بدء أعمالهن التجارية الصغيرة، بهدف منح كل امرأة الاحترام والدعم الذي تستحقه لتعيش حياة كريمة، مع أو بدون طفل

وتابعت :”قمنا أيضًا بتدريب أكثر من 2000 من ممثلي وسائل الإعلام من أكثر من 35 دولة ، ليكونوا صوت من لا صوت لهم ولزيادة الوعي المجتمعي حول كسر وصمة العقم حول النساء وغيرها من القضايا الهامة مثل إنهاء زواج الأطفال ، ووقف العنف القائم على النوع الاجتماعي ، ودعم الفتيات التعليم وتمكين المرأة

ووجهت الدكتورة رشا قلج رسالة للمرأة في يومها العالمي قائلة : “أود أن أخبر كل امرأة أن تؤمن بنفسها وأن تكون واثقة من نفسها في كل خطوة في الحياة. الشغف والعمل الجاد ووضع القلب والروح والعقل في كل شيء هو عامل النجاح. وكما أؤكد دائمًا ، عندما تقومي بتحقيق أهدافك وذاتك في الحياة ، لا تنسي دعم النساء الأخريات من حولك

بتدشين مبادرات تنموية داعمة لها.. النائبة رشا قلج تحتفل باليوم العالمي للمرأة

سارة حجار

أشادت الدكتورة رشا قلج عضو مجلس الشيوخ المصري والرئيس التنفيذي لمؤسسة ميرك الدولية الخيرية، بالدور الكبير الذى تقوم به المرأة في مصر والعديد من دول العالم والقارة الأفريقية، ويقام هذا اليوم العالمى للدلالة على الاحترام العام وتقدير وحب المرأة لإنجازاتها الاقتصادية، والسياسية والاجتماعية، وهو مناسبة للاحتفال بأعمال النساء وشجاعتهن وثباتهن في أداء أدوار استثنائية فى تاريخ بلدانهم

ويحتفل العالم باليوم الدولي للمرأة في يوم 8 من شهر مارس كل عام ويعد من أكبر الاحتفالات بالمرأة ودعم دورها الفعال في المجتمع على مستوى العالم

وأضافت النائبة رشا قلج في بيان لها، أن احتفالها باليوم العالمى للمرأة هذا العالم سيكون مع أكثر من 20 سيدة أولى في أفريقيا باليوم العالمي للمرأة الذي يوافق 8 مارس من كل عام، من خلال تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم ماديا ومعنويا وكسر وصمة العقم عبر تغيير الأفكار والمعتقدات الخاطئة في المجتمع، يأتي هذا عن طريق برامج لدعم تعليم الفتيات وتمكين المرأة في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات بالشراكة مع السيدات الأوائل في إفريقيا

وأعلنت الدكتورة رشا قلج عن حفل توزيع جوائز MARS السنوية لتقدير ودعم “أفضل باحثات أفريقيات في جهودهن لتمكين النساء في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات

وقالت الدكتورة رشا قلج: “يعد تمكين الفتيات والنساء جزءًا من مهمتنا ورسالتنا الأسمى ، لذا نحتفل بيوم المرأة العالمي كل يوم مع سفرائنا من السيدات الأوائل الأفارقة ، فنعمل عن كثب لتمكين النساء والفتيات من خلال برامجنا بما في ذلك حملتنا “أكثر من أم” ، وبرنامج “تعليم ليندا” ، وغيرها من المبادرات التنموية والداعمة للمرأة في القارة الأفريقية

وأضافت : “حملة “أكثر من أم” هي مبادرة قوية تهدف إلى تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم من خلال الوصول إلى المعلومات والتعليم وتغيير طريقة التفكير ضدهن والتمكين الاقتصادي، “علاوة على ذلك ، قدمت مؤسسة ميرك بالتعاون مع وزارات الصحة والإعلام والتعليم والإعلام والفنون، أكثر من 550 منحة دراسية (من إجمالي 1200 منحة دراسية) للطبيبات الحاصلات على دبلوم لمدة عام واحد ودرجة ماجستير لمدة عامين للتخصصات الحرجة والمحرومة بشكل خاص التي تتعلق بصحة المرأة والصحة الإنجابية مثل تخصص الخصوبة وعلم الأجنة والرعاية الجنسية والإنجابية والتي تعتبر مهمة للغاية لتحويل صحة المرأة في أفريقيا والبلدان النامية، بالإضافة إلى الأورام والسكري والغدد الصماء والعناية التنفسية والعناية المركزة وغيرها الكثير

واستطردت الدكتورة رشا قلج :” أنا فخور ةبأننا قدمنا أكثر من 370 منحة دراسية للأطباء (170 طبيبة و 202 طبيبًا) من 37 دولة ، بهدف النهوض بصحة المرأة من خلال بناء الصحة الإنجابية والجنسية، بالإضافة إلى تقديم الدعم للنساء اللائي ليس لديهن أطفال من خلال مساعدتهن على بدء أعمالهن التجارية الصغيرة، بهدف منح كل امرأة الاحترام والدعم الذي تستحقه لتعيش حياة كريمة، مع أو بدون طفل

وتابعت :”قمنا أيضًا بتدريب أكثر من 2000 من ممثلي وسائل الإعلام من أكثر من 35 دولة ، ليكونوا صوت من لا صوت لهم ولزيادة الوعي المجتمعي حول كسر وصمة العقم حول النساء وغيرها من القضايا الهامة مثل إنهاء زواج الأطفال ، ووقف العنف القائم على النوع الاجتماعي ، ودعم الفتيات التعليم وتمكين المرأة

ووجهت الدكتورة رشا قلج رسالة للمرأة في يومها العالمي قائلة : “أود أن أخبر كل امرأة أن تؤمن بنفسها وأن تكون واثقة من نفسها في كل خطوة في الحياة. الشغف والعمل الجاد ووضع القلب والروح والعقل في كل شيء هو عامل النجاح. وكما أؤكد دائمًا ، عندما تقومي بتحقيق أهدافك وذاتك في الحياة ، لا تنسي دعم النساء الأخريات من حولك

https://www.elzmannews.com/399326

بتدشين مبادرات تنموية.. النائبة رشا قلج تحتفل باليوم العالمي للمرأة

النائبة رشا قلج

 أحمد أيمن

يحتفل العالم باليوم الدولي للمرأة في يوم 8 من شهر مارس كل عام ويعد من أكبر الاحتفالات بالمرأة ودعم دورها الفعال في المجتمع على مستوى العالم

وأشادت الدكتورة رشا قلج عضو مجلس الشيوخ  والرئيس التنفيذي لمؤسسة ميرك الدولية الخيرية، بالدور الكبير التى تقوم به المرأة في مصر والعديد من دول العالم والقارة الأفريقية

ويقام هذا اليوم العالمى للدلالة على الاحترام العام وتقدير وحب المرأة لإنجازاتها الاقتصادية، والسياسية والاجتماعية، وهو مناسبة للاحتفال بأعمال النساء وشجاعتهن وثباتهن في أداء أدوار استثنائية فى تاريخ بلدانه

وأضافت النائبة رشا قلج في بيان لها، أن احتفالها باليوم العالمى للمرأة هذا العالم سيكون مع أكثر من 20 سيدة أولى في أفريقيا باليوم العالمي للمرأة الذي يوافق 8 مارس من كل عام، من خلال تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم ماديا ومعنويا وكسر وصمة العقم عبر تغيير الأفكار والمعتقدات الخاطئة في المجتمع، يأتي هذا عن طريق برامج لدعم تعليم الفتيات وتمكين المرأة في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات بالشراكة مع السيدات الأوائل في إفريقيا

وأعلنت الدكتورة رشا قلج عن حفل توزيع جوائز MARS السنوية لتقدير ودعم “أفضل باحثات أفريقيات في جهودهن لتمكين النساء في مجالات العلوم والتكنولوجيا والهندسة والرياضيات”

وقالت الدكتورة رشا قلج: “يعد تمكين الفتيات والنساء جزءًا من مهمتنا ورسالتنا الأسمى ، لذا نحتفل بيوم المرأة العالمي كل يوم مع سفرائنا من السيدات الأوائل الأفارقة ، فنعمل عن كثب لتمكين النساء والفتيات من خلال برامجنا بما في ذلك حملتنا “أكثر من أم” ، وبرنامج “تعليم ليندا” ، وغيرها من المبادرات التنموية والداعمة للمرأة في القارة الأفريقية

وأضافت:”حملة “أكثر من أم” هي مبادرة قوية تهدف إلى تمكين النساء المصابات بالعقم من خلال الوصول إلى المعلومات والتعليم وتغيير طريقة التفكير ضدهن والتمكين الاقتصادي، “علاوة على ذلك ، قدمت مؤسسة ميرك  بالتعاون مع وزارات الصحة والإعلام والتعليم والإعلام والفنون، أكثر من 550 منحة دراسية (من إجمالي 1200 منحة دراسية) للطبيبات الحاصلات على دبلوم لمدة عام واحد ودرجة ماجستير لمدة عامين للتخصصات الحرجة والمحرومة بشكل خاص التي تتعلق بصحة المرأة والصحة الإنجابية مثل تخصص الخصوبة وعلم الأجنة والرعاية الجنسية والإنجابية والتي تعتبر مهمة للغاية لتحويل صحة المرأة في أفريقيا والبلدان النامية، بالإضافة إلى الأورام والسكري والغدد الصماء والعناية التنفسية والعناية المركزة وغيرها الكثير

واستطردت الدكتورة رشا قلج :” أنا فخور ةبأننا قدمنا أكثر من 370 منحة دراسية للأطباء (170 طبيبة و 202 طبيبًا) من 37 دولة ، بهدف النهوض بصحة المرأة من خلال بناء الصحة الإنجابية والجنسية، بالإضافة إلى تقديم الدعم للنساء اللائي ليس لديهن أطفال من خلال مساعدتهن على بدء أعمالهن التجارية الصغيرة، بهدف منح كل امرأة الاحترام والدعم الذي تستحقه لتعيش حياة كريمة، مع أو بدون طفل”

وتابعت :”قمنا أيضًا بتدريب أكثر من 2000 من ممثلي وسائل الإعلام من أكثر من 35 دولة ، ليكونوا صوت من لا صوت لهم ولزيادة الوعي المجتمعي حول كسر وصمة العقم حول النساء وغيرها من القضايا الهامة مثل إنهاء زواج الأطفال ، ووقف العنف القائم على النوع الاجتماعي ، ودعم الفتيات  التعليم وتمكين المرأة

ووجهت الدكتورة رشا قلج رسالة للمرأة في يومها العالمي قائلة : “أود أن أخبر كل امرأة أن تؤمن بنفسها وأن تكون واثقة من نفسها في كل خطوة في الحياة.  الشغف والعمل الجاد ووضع القلب والروح والعقل في كل شيء هو عامل النجاح، وكما أؤكد دائمًا، عندما تقومي بتحقيق أهدافك وذاتك في الحياة ، لا تنسي دعم النساء الأخريات من حولك

https://www.elbalad.news/5192562