The Case of Sara Baartman, an African Woman Used as a European “Circus Animal”


The Europeans even disrespected her humanity to the extent of displaying her brain, skeleton and sexual organs in a Paris museum until 1974.

On 29 October 1810, Saartjie “Sara” Baartman, a nineteen year old Khoisan woman signed a contract to be taken from Cape Town to London to be exhibited for entertainment purposes. Though she was illiterate, history allegedly claims she signed the contract with an English ship surgeon named William Dunlop who was a friend to Pieter Willem Cezar and Hendrik Cezar. Pieter Willem Cezar had bought Sara Baartman as a slave at sixteen and she worked for Pieter’s brother, Hendrik. It was here that she was named Saartjie, the Dutch form of Sara. The history of colonialism was so unfair to her that she was stripped of her identity and her bodily integrity. Her story is the full representation of the evils of a hybrid of colonialism, slavery, racism and sexism. The Europeans even disrespected her humanity to the extent of displaying her brain, skeleton and sexual organs in a Paris museum until 1974. She only got a dignified burial almost two centuries after her death, in 2002.

The woman who lost everything…even her name

Sara Baartman was born to a Gonaquasub group of the KhoiKhoi in 1789 at the Gamtoos River which is found in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Her first major loss was that of her mother who died when Sara was just two and her father, a cattle driver died when she reached adolescence. She got married to a Khoikhoi drummer and had a child together. The child died soon after death. With the coming of colonialism, came conflicts between the natives and the settlers. Her husband was murdered by the Dutch colonists, her first loss to a system that would take her life from her. After working for the Dutch in Cape Town, she allegedly signed the contract which would take her to London to perform. What made her special? BBC says she had what was called “steatopygia”, resulting in extremely protuberant buttocks due to a build-up of fat. What she had, most women can only dream of but at this point, the Europeans were eager to gobble up anything that asserted their superiority and somehow, Baartman was used in that narrative. They used her as a confirmation of the dark skinned people’s inferiority; their insatiable appetite for sex as shown by the size of their buttocks and their genitalia. Promoters even described her genitals as resembling the skin that hangs from a turkey’s throat.

Baartman was first displayed in Piccadilly where descriptions of her treatment reported how she was exhibited on a “stage two feet high, along which she was led by her keeper and exhibited like a wild beast, being obliged to walk, stand or sit as he ordered”. The Guardian rightly says, “The crowd viewed her as little different from an animal.” Like an animal, she was sold four years later to Paris where she was under the control of a wild animal exhibitor in a travelling circus. That she was now a part of his “show animals” leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It is in Paris that Napoleon’s surgeon, George Cuvier saw her and developed a “scientific interest”. His idea of science was proving the superiority of the white people. In fact, he described Sara’s movements as having “something brusque and capricious about them that recalled those of a monkey”. Men like Cuvier propounded the idea of a Homo Sapiens Monstrous; more ape than human, devoid of the intelligence and emotional capabilities the whites were endowed with. The Edinburgh Review in 1863 is famed for writing, “There is no vast difference between the intelligence of a Bosjesman and that of an oran-utan, and that the difference is far greater between Descartes or Homer and the Hottentot than between the stupid Hottentot and the ape.” Such depiction of Africans (particularly the Khoisan) as the most developed ape but least developed human was common.

When Baartman died of what is presumed to be pneumonia, syphilis and alcoholism, George Cuvier made a plaster cast of her body before dissecting it. Her preserved brain and genitals were placed in jars and displayed at the Museum of Man in Paris. They were only removed in 1974 and she got a proper burial 187 years after her death. Her story is so emotional that when the world heard of Beyonce’s plan to write and star in a movie based on Baartman’s life, there was a massive backlash. Jean Burgess, a chief from the Khoikhoi group Baartman hailed from is on record for saying Beyonce lacked “the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sara’s story, let alone playing the part”. Similarly, a Kim Kardashian photo-shoot which mimicked contemporary drawings of Baartman was widely criticised. The looks of black women are a thing of politics with body-shaming and commodification forming the lens through which they are viewed. Baartman probably suffered the worst forms of subjugation and dehumanisation at the hands of Europeans. This culture of using looks to perpetuate black women oppression should come to an end. Baartman’s story should not be re-enacted in modern society two centuries after her unfortunate death.

The crucial role women play in the African economy


Dr. Hanan Morsy, Director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research at the African Development Bank is named one of Egypts most influential women.


“I am honored to be named among the most influential women in Egypt. This award validates the crucial role of women in contributing to the Egyptian economy and the continent as a whole,” commented Dr. Hanan Morsy on receiving the award.

Her career at the African Development Bank (AfDB), has helped Dr. Morsy spearhead prominent research on debt and gender issues. As a result of her research, Dr. Morsy highlighted the complexities of the African economy and the challenges within the region including: youth unemployment and women’s lack of access to finance.

“Empowering women is critical for unleashing Africa’s full economic potential. We are very proud of Dr Morsy and delighted to see her recognized among the most influential women in Egypt. She has been a solid addition to the African Development Bank, bringing much creativity, rigor and dynamism to the work of the Bank,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice President of the African Development Bank.

Dr. Morsy’s experience in providing high quality policy analysis and research from multiple countries has helped her to publish a wide range of economic and development issues and lead a number of major publications. Her most recent publication for the bank has been the African Economic Outlook 2020, which looks to prepare the region for the future with evidence based recommendations.

“I look forward to contributing to the body of knowledge that unravels the issues confronting the everyday lives of Africans – women and young people in particular. My goal is to offer solutions that will help the continent realise its enormous potential, and I encourage others to do the same,” concluded Dr. Morsy.

Empowering women in Africa through microfinancing


N’Gunu Tiny, Chairman of Emerald Group discusses the use of technology in the African finance industry to empower women.

Technology is changing the world of finance by encouraging innovation in the sector and creating new ways of thinking. In Africa, it is helping to tackle gender inequality by creating opportunities for equal and fair access to banking services and the development of regional and local communities. 

The banking sector is changing globally, and new regulations are creating fairer competition. African businesses are able to reflect on technologies and legislation used in the West to see how the sector may potentially develop, but then adopt these technologies with a greater focus on empowering the population. 

We are entering the advent of open banking, APIs, digitisation and clever partnerships with FinTech service providers has meant that Africans are leading the way with early adoption of new technologies. 

For example a recent partnership between Emerald Group and Makeba Inc., a US based financial services provider allows users to make peer to peer transactions and provides services for individuals and businesses in the African economy. 

With a variety of companies investing in the African economy, and the development of new technology and increased access to financial systems, you should rapidly see a positive difference to local and regional communities.

Banko Financial Group are also making inroads into the integration of finance and technology. Banko is a technology aggregator that focuses on banking solutions, not just a bank that has a technology focus. It provides secure platform solutions for banks that in turn can offer these solutions onto their customer base in order to offer services such as microfinancing. This long-term project expands over several African countries in order to empower its users and contribute to the socio-economic development. 

What is microfinancing? 

Microfinancing is the provision of financial services, targeted at individuals and business who lack the provision to access conventional banking services.  It increases access to finance in developing countries where a traditional banking institution would not extend credit to people if they have little or no assets. By using credit ratings, relationship banking, and microinsurance it helps families to take advantage of income-generating activities and enables users to better cope with the risks. 

How microfinancing empowers women

A disturbing statistic many may not know, is that 70% of the poorest people on the planet are women. Women have been traditionally disadvantaged when it comes to accessing credit and other financial services. Large financial institutions have historically focused on men and ignored the women who make up a large percentage of the informal economy. 

Women contribute to the economic growth and livelihoods of their families and communities with the top five countries with the highest female representation in the workforce all being in sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe and Malawi have a 52% share in workforce, The Gambia has 50.8%, Liberia – 50.6% and Tanzania at 50.5%.  

Microfinancing plays a hugely critical role in empowering women. It offers independence and empowerment and is especially beneficial in poorer households. By helping to promote sustainable livelihoods it offers a significant contribution to gender equality and better working conditions for women. 

It’s just good business 

By targeting women, microfinancing can have the widest impact and makes the most business sense. Data shows that women register the highest repayment rates. All the evidence leads to a strong business and public policy case for businesses to target female borrowers. Women feel more empowered and make a positive influence through decision making processes which enhances their socio-economic status. 

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with female ownership represent up to 37 percent in emerging markets. These businesses have financial needs that are not being met by traditional ways of banking. Currently they have unmet financial needs of up to $320 billion per year. The lack of finance is a huge barrier to growth. 

The wider impact on communities 

Further benefits are shown to support local and regional hubs, there is a positive effect on communities through access to finance and increased education and training. 

Microfinance supports green jobs and has greater environmental impact. By reducing the barriers to financial services and promoting microfinance, it is extremely beneficial to women. 

According to the world bank, they also contribute a larger portion of their income to the household when compared to their male counterparts. The benefits subsequently flow down to everyone in the household, children of female microfinance borrowers are likely to see an increase in their fulltime school enrolment and lower drop-out rates.  

Studies show that by investing in their children education also benefits younger girls too. And households often have better health practices and nutrition.

Research has shown that in developing countries only twenty percent of women have an account at a formal finance institution and seventeen percent have borrowed formally. Women are less likely to have a bank account than men which can present a problem when trying to access financial credit. 

Giving women access to credit can open greater economic opportunities with access to bank accounts being one of the biggest gateways to accessing additional financial services. 

In summary, I would say that we still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to servicing one of the most vital segments of the population. Not only does it make economical and business sense, but the social impact at a regional level will feed through for generations to come. 

Women drive consumer spend. So why don’t we know what they want?


Women make up 50% of Africa’s population and drive 70% of consumer spend.

This demographic represents the continent’s largest growth opportunity, and yet there remains very little data available on female spending habits.

If African businesses are to succeed, and indeed if we are to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) into the continent at large, we need to build a better understanding of women in 2020.

“Study women as you would a foreign market,” Bridget Brennan wrote in 2015. Fast forward five years and this remains strong advice – female consumer spending habits remain a mystery to most brands, particularly in Africa.

Generally, when a business spots opportunity in a foreign market, the first thing it does is its homework: employing experts, sourcing local data, conducting feasibility studies, etc. But in the case of female consumers, where is the evidence that this information is even being compiled at all?

In Africa, a lack of data hinders the consumer marketplace at large. ‘With no precise figures’ is a phrase that many of us have become accustomed to when a global study begins to drill down into the African economy, not to mention the individual countries within it.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule – companies like Nielsen and FMCG giants like Coca Cola, Unilever and L’Oreal have been mining data for years – but it is seldom made publicly available.

A good example of this lies in the beauty sector, where women are its primary consumers. The global beauty market – including bath and shower, fragrances, hair care, makeup, and skin care – is estimated by Euromonitor to be worth $250bn.

But as soon as you begin to drill down the data becomes more sketchy.

A 2012 study conducted by L’Oreal estimated the overall value of the Sub-Saharan cosmetics sector to be Euros €6.9bn. Within this, South Africa was found to be the largest marketplace, accounting for €3bn of total revenues, followed by Nigeria with €2.5bn. The fact that we are having to reach back to 8 year old studies in the first place, reveals something about the extent of research being conducted in this area.

It’s also an analysis that should not be taken at face value. We know that there are approximately 30 million females in South Africa compared with 100 million in Nigeria. We also know that the overall GDP of the two countries is relatively similar.

But the argument that South African women have access to greater disposable income, and are therefore more likely to spend on consumer products, is unlikely to be enough to overshadow a literal 3:1 ratio of bodies on the ground.

There is also evidence to suggest that in times of economic hardship, female spending on cosmetics products not only bucks the overall market trend, but can actually increase.

The so-called ‘lipstick effect’ dictates that women view these types of self-enhancement products as a means of investing in themselves, and use makeup to ensure that they achieve their professional ambitions, as well as romantic ones.

Of course, exactly how well the latter argument stacks up begins to take us into the realm of the qualitative. But in many ways that is exactly the point – there needs to be more research being carried out on both a quantitative and qualitative basis that approaches these marketplaces from the point of view of the female psyche, and with the goal of delivering the products women need.

Researching female needs more robustly could yield serious benefits for brands across the globe.

In 2019, Kylie Jenner became the world’s youngest ever self-made billionaire when she sold a 51% stake in her cosmetics brand to Coty Inc. Rihanna’s beauty offering, Fenty, is now estimated to be worth $3bn+.

Between them, these two celebrities have a combined following of 235 million people on their personal Instagram accounts alone, and while they are not all female, it puts the earlier analogy of female consumers as a foreign marketplace into tangible perspective.

We know that women in general are believed to drive 70-80% of consumer spend. This is because they make purchasing decisions on behalf of others. They are often, for example, primary care givers, and responsible for both old and young family members.

African women in particular are not only consumers but also the influencers of global fashion, even when western brands don’t necessarily know it.

From dance and music to fashion and cosmetics, African women – and women of African heritage around the world – have traditionally influenced global culture from time immemorial and continue to do so today, be that in the form of Beyonce and Janet Jackson music videos to top fashion designers like Christian Dior, LV, etc.

Ultimately, more businesses need to start listening. Women represent Africa’s largest growth opportunity, and collecting better information on their spending habits is the key to unlocking this growth.

Such work is not only the preserve of the private sector. In seeking to increase GDP and attract further FDI, Government departments need to understand how critical this demographic is to the future success of nations across the continent, and seek themselves to gather better data on women over a sustained period of time.

This can also be beneficial in the advancement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where female spending is particularly important because it is more likely to lift families out of abject poverty versus that of men.

Overall, there are lessons to be learned from behaviour in the fashion and cosmetics industries that can in-turn be applied to help fuel wider growth across B2B and consumer sectors. Finding the answer, or answers, to the question of ‘What African women consumers want’ is key to unlocking future growth on the continent.

By Nkiru Balonwu

Founder and chair of African Women on Board, an independent, African women-led non-profit organisation, and founder and managing partner of RDF Strategies, a consultancy firm

Mind the gap: 22 men are richer than all of Africa’s women


A new report by Oxfam shows that the world’s wealthiest 1 percent continue to control more wealth than most others.

Economic inequality is widening across the world and women in particular are feeling its effects as care work remains undervalued, according to a new report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.

The world’s 22 richest men, for instance, own more wealth than all 325 million women in Africa combined, Oxfam’s Time to Care report showed.

“When 22 men have more wealth than all the women in Africa combined, it’s clear that our economy is just plain sexist,” Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive at Oxfam Great Britain said in conjunction with the report’s publication on Monday

Read the whole article here

Kenya Fighting to End Female Genital Mutilation by 2023


Voice of America (Washington, DC)
By Rael Ombuor
Narok, Kenya — Despite Kenya banning female genital mutilation in 2011, the tradition of circumcising girls has continued in some ethnic communities. President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to end FGM by 2023, but activists say more needs to be done as millions of girls are still at risk of undergoing the cut.

At just seven years old, Sylvia Keis’ family told her she would be circumcised.

One day before the ceremony, Keis ran away from her home village of Ewaso Ngiro to the town of Narok — a three-hour walk.

“I just decided I better ran away even if I was going to die, because I had that emotion,” Keis said. “My father never took me to school and now he wants to circumcise me. After circumcision and you are not in school, what next? You will get married. I said I better ran away, whether I will get help or not.”

The Tasaru Girls Rescue Center gave Keis the shelter and support to avoid circumcision and stay in school.



The center’s 63-year-old founder, Agnes Pareiyo, has helped more than 1,000 girls escape genital mutilation since 1999.

Her mission to protect girls is a personal one, as her family put her through FGM when she was 14 years old.

“Because of what I went through, nobody could tell me that FGM was good,” Pareiyo said. “I did not know other effects, but I knew the pain I went through, the bleeding the whole day and nobody cared, they kept talking.”

Activists: Community, family support needed

Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but some ethnic groups like the Masai still see it as a traditional rite of womanhood before marriage.

The United Nations says one in five Kenyan women between 15 and 49 years old have been circumcised.

Activists say more needs to be done to reach the U.N. goal to end FGM worldwide by 2030.

“It is estimated that around 200 million girls in the world alive today have undergone one form of FGM or another globally,” said Anne Njuguna, Plan International’s Regional Disaster and Risk Management Specialist. “It is further estimated that 15 million more girls will undergo FGM by 2030, and these girls are between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. This is a huge number that we cannot allow to happen.”

Activists say more community and family support is needed to end FGM in Kenya.

After final high school exams this year, Keis plans to return home for the first time in 11 years to reconcile with the family that tried to circumcise her.

She wants to share with them her dream of becoming a doctor, and show everyone in the village that girls should not be cut and are instead better off in school.

Read the original article on VOA.

Empowering women in Africa through microfinancing


N’Gunu Tiny discusses women in technology and how it can empower women.

Technology is changing the world of finance by encouraging innovation in the sector and creating new ways of thinking. In Africa, it is helping to tackle gender inequality by creating opportunities for equal and fair access to banking services and the development of regional and local communities.

The banking sector is changing globally, and new regulations are creating fairer competition. African businesses are able to reflect on technologies and legislation used in the West to see how the sector may potentially develop, but then adopt these technologies with a greater focus on empowering the population.

We are entering the advent of open banking, APIs, digitisation and clever partnerships with FinTech service providers has meant that Africans are leading the way with early adoption of new technologies.

For example a recent partnership between Emerald Group and Makeba Inc., a US based financial services provider allows users to make peer to peer transactions and provides services for individuals and businesses in the African economy.

With a variety of companies investing in the African economy, and the development of new technology and increased access to financial systems, you should rapidly see a positive difference to local and regional communities.

Banko Financial Group are also making inroads into the integration of finance and technology. Banko is a technology aggregator that focuses on banking solutions, not just a bank that has a technology focus. It provides secure platform solutions for banks that in turn can offer these solutions onto their customer base in order to offer services such as microfinancing. This long-term project expands over several African countries in order to empower its users and contribute to the socio-economic development.

What is microfinancing?

Microfinancing is the provision of financial services, targeted at individuals and business who lack the provision to access conventional banking services. It increases access to finance in developing countries where a traditional banking institution would not extend credit to people if they have little or no assets. By using credit ratings, relationship banking, and microinsurance it helps families to take advantage of income-generating activities and enables users to better cope with the risks.

How microfinancing empowers women

A disturbing statistic many may not know, is that 70% of the poorest people on the planet are women. Women have been traditionally disadvantaged when it comes to accessing credit and other financial services. Large financial institutions have historically focused on men and ignored the women who make up a large percentage of the informal economy.



Women contribute to the economic growth and livelihoods of their families and communities with the top five countries with the highest female representation in the workforce all being in sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe and Malawi have a 52% share in workforce, The Gambia has 50.8%, Liberia – 50.6% and Tanzania at 50.5%

Microfinancing plays a hugely critical role in empowering women. It offers independence and empowerment and is especially beneficial in poorer households. By helping to promote sustainable livelihoods it offers a significant contribution to gender equality and better working conditions for women.

It’s just good business

By targeting women, microfinancing can have the widest impact and makes the most business sense. Data shows that women register the highest repayment rates. All the evidence leads to a strong business and public policy case for businesses to target female borrowers. Women feel more empowered and make a positive influence through decision making processes which enhances their socio-economic status.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with female ownership represent up to 37 percent in emerging markets. These businesses have financial needs that are not being met by traditional ways of banking. Currently they have unmet financial needs of up to $320 billion per year. The lack of finance is a huge barrier to growth.

The wider impact on communities

Further benefits are shown to support local and regional hubs, there is a positive effect on communities through access to finance and increased education and training.

Microfinance supports green jobs and has greater environmental impact. By reducing the barriers to financial services and promoting microfinance, it is extremely beneficial to women.

According to the world bank, they also contribute a larger portion of their income to the household when compared to their male counterparts. The benefits subsequently flow down to everyone in the household, children of female microfinance borrowers are likely to see an increase in their fulltime school enrolment and lower drop-out rates.

Studies show that by investing in their children education also benefits younger girls too. And households often have better health practices and nutrition.

Research has shown that in developing countries only twenty percent of women have an account at a formal finance institution and seventeen percent have borrowed formally. Women are less likely to have a bank account than men which can present a problem when trying to access financial credit.

Giving women access to credit can open greater economic opportunities with access to bank accounts being one of the biggest gateways to accessing additional financial services.

Microfinance supports green jobs and has greater environmental impact. By reducing the barriers to financial services and promoting microfinance, it is extremely beneficial to women. According to the world bank, they also contribute a larger portion of their income to the household when compared to their male counterparts. The benefits subsequently flow down to everyone in the household, children of female microfinance borrowers are likely to see an increase in their fulltime school enrolment and lower drop-out rates. Studies show that by investing in their children education also benefits younger girls too. And households often have better health practices and nutrition. Research has shown that in developing countries only twenty percent of women have an account at a formal finance institution and seventeen percent have borrowed formally. Women are less likely to have a bank account than men which can present a problem when trying to access financial credit. Giving women access to credit can open greater economic opportunities with access to bank accounts being one of the biggest gateways to accessing additional financial services. In summary, I would say that we still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to servicing one of the most vital segments of the population. Not only does it make economical and business sense, but the social impact at a regional level will feed through for generations to come.

How technology is helping to empower women and improve education



CAMFED’s Executive Director, Angie Murmirwa and members of CAMFED discuss how digital culture is driving women empowerment in Africa.

Beginning its operations in 1993, CAMFED is an international non-profit organisation that strives to tackle poverty and inequality by providing support to girls to keep them in school and empowering young women to step up as leaders. CAMFED has supported more than 3.3 million students in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania to attend primary and secondary school, with 5.7 million benefiting from improved learning environments. “CAMFED envisions a world in which every child is educated, protected, respected and valued, and grows up to turn the tide of poverty.”

Multi-dimensional barriers

When it comes to poor education for girls in Africa, Angie Murmirwa, Executive Director of CAMFED sees poverty and gender inequality as the root course. Poverty could be drastically reduced by two thirds in Africa and the economy could increase by more than US$1bn if girls received a proper education and completed their secondary education. However, currently in Africa children in the poorest regions are reported to be nine times more likely to be out of school than those not in poverty. Further reports show that in 2018, sub-Saharan Africa had 52.2 million girls of primary and secondary school age were out of school, with only 8% of those who do attend primary school, going on to attend secondary school.

Esnath Divasoni, Zimbabwe member of CAMFED, currently sees a lot of psychological barriers within Africa when it comes to female empowerment. “We are still facing a business environment that is unequal and unfavourable to women, who are not respected in the same way as men,” says Divasoni. “Women are still expected to look after the household and other family members, while fighting the battle to be much better in business than men in order to be recognised in the same way. What we need are networks, like the CAMFED Association (CAMA), where women can support each other to succeed.”

Other members of CAMFED include Salome Chitubila (Zambia) and Nancy Musa (Zimbabwe),who both agree that there is a lack of educational empowerment. “Our educational systems lack schemes to cultivate and promote an entrepreneurial mindset at a very tender age,” notes Musa. Chitubila adds that “if there were more of an emphasis put on these important factors, development of personal businesses would be inevitable and a better understanding of progressive projects in communities would be heard. Women need to know that they are independent, able to own their own enterprise, make the right decisions without dependency and stand on their own feet to protect their rights.”

Divasoni stresses that a young woman looking to receive an education and get into business must be vigilant, active and know how to sacrifice. “Follow your passion, and ensure that you have the energy to persevere,” says Divasoni. “Formal education alone doesn’t currently give you the skills and the support necessary for you to get into business. You need true motivation, passion and determination to learn and to stick with it. I would advise not to just to do business for the sake of doing business; if you do that, you will never survive in the business world, because women still aren’t given as much support as men.”


Technological empowerment

Murmirwa highlights that currently, “many of the schools and communities within which we work have no access, or very limited access to electricity. When we discuss technology, we mean mobile phones and tablets, often charged by solar power.”

However, Murmirwa believes “the power of digital culture for young women will drive connectivity within the region,” with rural areas benefiting the most. “Digital culture will particularly benefit those in marginalised rural areas to overcome isolation, work together, learn from each other, gain access to learning materials and drive business growth,” says Murmirwa, adding that mobile money will be extremely important, especially for those in business and those receiving grants and loans as “it means that they will be in control of their finances in an empowering way.”

The role of CAMFED

When it comes to technology, Murmirwa comments that CAMFED utilises technology “to ensure transparency and accountability for girls, young women, communities, and donor partners. All of our programme and donor data is held in our customised Salesforce database, a cloud-based system used across all our offices.”

Staff in CAMFED partner schools and district officials utilise mobile monitoring technology to gather school attendance, progression, completion, pass rates and exam data to share with communities the impact of their support for girls, including improved retention and exam results. Murmirwa also highlights that “because of this longitudinal data we can collect about young women, we can also measure longer-term impacts such as average age of marriage, child bearing age and so on.”

In addition to utilising Salesforce’s software, CAMFED has partnered with Impact(Ed) International, to turn its ‘My Better World’ life skills and wellbeing curriculum into a part animated video series, which has recently launched on Kenyan TV. The aim is to reach young people beyond the development and classroom setting, to further drive education. CAMFED has also partnered with Worldreader, to give young women in its network access to thousands of empowering books via an app.

Other ways Murmirwa has seen technology benefit female empowerment include CAMFED’s implementation of its e-reader literacy programmes, which has seen given young women greater confidence and authority as digital experts. Other technologies that Murmirwa sees applications such as WhatsApp “transforming the way young women are able to connect and communicate with each other.”

‘So many women were killed’: fighting sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea



Parts of Papua New Guinea continue to grapple with violence related to sanguma, black magic or sorcery. Deaths in villages are often blamed on people accused of sorcery, who are tortured or murdered. Now an Oxfam-backed organisation is tackling the problem by providing support to survivors of violence and to the local police to prevent incidents

Senegalese Farming Group Embraces Solution To Hunger, Poverty, Deforestation


86 smallholder farmers are celebrating their completion of a four-year Forest Garden program designed to end food and financial insecurity while eliminating farmer-caused deforestation. Nonprofit Trees for the Future (TREES) educates and trains farmers to protect their land, diversify the crops they produce, and optimize their available space.

“The energy today was electric. The entire community was here celebrating with these Forest Garden farmers,” said Deputy Director of Programs Ashleigh Burgess. “When farmers succeed, so do their families and neighbors. The nutritional and economic health of this village has been transformed by embracing a regenerative approach to agriculture.”


The farmers joined TREES in April, 2016 after years of growing much of the same traditional cash crop: peanuts. But harvests and returns from the degraded land were low and unpredictable. Farmers learned how to improve their soil quality by protecting their land and were taught the importance of polyculture, growing more than one crop.

“Today, I’m using my land to its full potential,” said Lead Farmer Gora Ndiaye. “My Forest Garden is full of chilies, eggplant, beans, tomatoes, mangoes, and jujubes. I never thought that farming could be so profitable.”

On average, farmers who complete the TREES Forest Garden program achieve food security within three years and see an income increase of 400% by the end of the four-year program. The 86 Kaffrine farmers planted a combined 1.5 million trees across their farms, about 195 acres of land.

Senegalese Farming Group
“Beyond helping the population, [these] trees contribute enormously to carbon sequestration,” said a Water and Forest Department representative in attendance.

Family, friends, local officials, and media attended the ceremony, which included traditional dances, gifts for the farmers, and diplomas. Trees for the Future is working with 17,000+ farmers in varying stages of the program across Senegal, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. To learn more about the program and approach visit trees.org.

Nigerian Artisan Lays Foundation for Other Women


Life got tough for Jane Ifeoma when she lost her seven children so she decided to pick up bricklaying. In Nigeria it’s an occupation predominantly done by men. Jane, who hails from Enugu state in Nigeria, says the proceeds from the mason job has helped her start building her own house, buy a motorcycle and provide for her extended family.

Source :BBC

The Art of Manliness


Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:16

Maybe it was the title of the blog that fascinated me. What woman wouldn’t want to sneak a look at a blog entitled “The Art of Manliness”? In a recent post, Brett and Kate McKay talk about the importance of morning and evening routines for building a successful life. Citing examples from the lives of men like Theodore Roosevelt, William Blake, and John Quincy Adams, they offer models of how men can lead lives of greater significance by paying attention to their daily routines.

“Imagine,” they say, “a string with a series of beads on it. The beads represent your goals, relationships, and priorities. Tip the string this way or that way, and the beads easily slide off and onto the floor. But tie a knot on each end of the string, and the beads stay put. Those knots are your morning and evening routines. They keep the priorities of your life from falling apart and thus help you progress and become a better man.”

I agree with their philosophy, and I would contend that their advice applies to women as well. I can’t tell you how many times my well-intentioned plans for the day have fallen short, leaving me with a sense of frustration and guilt. At times the shortfall can be attributed to a poor start or a late finish. What do I mean by a poor start? For me it means that I am consuming too much media in the morning—watching or reading the news. Doing so gobbles up my time for prayer and Scripture reading. Late finishes can be blamed on a similar culprit—too much media, either movies, books, or news.

What are your time wasters? How might your life look if you could carve out sensible, disciplined goals for your morning and evening routines? If you and I were to put first things first in our routines, we could experience more of the peace that comes from a job well done or a life well lived. Join me this week in thinking about the goals you have for your life and how you might achieve them. Do so prayerfully, asking God to help you shape your day by paying more attention to how you begin and end it.

Lord, you order the day and the night. Help me to order my day in a way that is pleasing to you.

Friends of the Light


BIBLE READING: John 3:18-21

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
John 3:18‭-‬21 NIV

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contacts with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.

Sometimes we don’t want to know God’s will because there are areas in our life that we aren’t ready to deal with yet. Recovery is a process for us. We may be ready to pray for God’s will in some areas but feel uncomfortable having God’s light shine into the areas that are still hidden in shame.

When talking about those who refuse to trust him with their life, Jesus said, “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. . . . [They] refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20). Later, in one of his talks, Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12).

Darkness is great when we are trying to hide something, but light is needed when we are trying to walk without falling. When we were hiding our shameful behavior and holding on to our addiction, the darkness seemed like our friend. Now that we are trying to walk toward recovery, we need the light to keep us from stumbling. We don’t have to be afraid of God’s light anymore since we have his forgiveness through Christ. He wants to safely guide us on the right path.

Gender parity reach new low in Europe


At only 34 years of age, Sanna Marin, who was appointed Finland’s prime minister on December 10th, is the youngest head of government in the world. As well as her youth, her gender also makes her something of a rarity, at least by international standards. She is one of only five women among the European Union’s 28 current leaders. What is more, Ms Marin leads a left-wing coalition whose five parties are all led by women, three of whom are under 35. Her cabinet will contain 12 women and seven men: at 63%, the female share is the highest in the European Union.

To Finns, seeing plenty of women in senior political positions is not unusual. As with other Nordic states, Finland has been at the forefront of gender equality in politics for several years. Forty-seven per cent of its parliamentarians are female, one of the highest shares in the world. Ms Marin is the third woman to become prime minister. In the rest of Europe, women find it harder to reach the top jobs. But more of them are getting there. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, a pressure group, the proportion of women in senior positions in EU governments has crept up from 25% in 2009 to 30% this September. And the number of female heads of government has risen from two to five this year. Although Britain’s Theresa May stood down in July, three other women had taken office before Ms Marin: Austria’s interim chancellor, Brigitte Bierlein; Belgium’s prime minister, Sophie Wilmès; and Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen. They join Angela Merkel, who has been Germany’s chancellor since 2005.

My proposal on women’s Right


I’m a firm believer that women empowerment has become a force that cannot be reckoned with. I’m a believer that my sisters deserve equal treatment just as I do. Women deserve to be heard because they too have a voice on things that affect this city.

I have sisters and female friends who complain everyday about them being victims of sexual harrasment in our streets, Buses, places of work etc. We must all work together to make Nairobi a women conducive county.

I also understand the struggles of new mothers, the need to keep your job and to care for your new baby.

I understand the payment disparity that happens in companies to operate right here in Nairobi.

I also understand that some women are also victim of domestic violence.

My Goal…


To create an accommodating County for both men and women, a county where all are able of treating one another with mutual respect and admiration.

As Governor, I will…

1. Protect women from harassment, discrimination and violence by placing a high penalty on the following acts :Wolf whistling(whistles to express admiration on the streets), catcalling, asking intrusive questions, unwanted following or even unceasing asking of telephone numbers and finally invasion of personal space.

2.Pass a violence against women policy that will abolish complete laying of hands on women.

3. Appeal to companies within the county to adopt equal pay for equal work policy to ensure women and men get paid equally.

4. Appeal to organizations to have stick laws against sexual harrasment and a complete ban from operation on companies that do not comply.

5. Reduce day care cost to make it more affordable for our hard working new mothers.

Problems solved…

End to domestic violence.

End to gender pay gap.

End to street and sexual harrasment.

End to long time of silence 狼 among women.

The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowermentMartha Beck

Empowerment of women is the empowerment of the nation. No household, no society no state, no country has ever moved forward without empowering its womenNaveen Patnaik

In days ahead, I will include the following proposition : Paid family leave, access to affordable childcare, sick days, vacation time and healthy work environment for casual laborers.