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Gender, Community Development & Civil Society

Zanzibar advocates for the inclusion of Kiswahili in languages to be used by the 50 Million Women Speak Platform

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 7th September, 2018: Millions of East African women will be left behind if Kiswahili is not included in the languages to be used by the 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform.

This was one of the concerns raised by the different stakeholders, during consultative meetings that the EAC Secretariat conducted with various stakeholders in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. The consultative meetings were concluded on Thursday, 6th September, 2018 where a 2 day visit allowed the EAC Secretariat to meet with the different stakeholders to the 50 Million Women Speak (50 MWS) Project.

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50 Million African Women Platform to be up and running in the next six months

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 8th August, 2018: A four-day workshop bringing together implementing agencies of the 50 Million African Women Speak (50MWS) project, a software developing firm and representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the project financiers, is currently underway in Lusaka, Zambia.

The 50MWS Project is being implemented by three different Regional Economic Communities (RECs), namely the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern (COMESA), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

COMESA, which is coordinating the 50MWS Project, recently hired Izertis, a Spanish consulting firm to develop the 50MWS platform and the main objective of this workshop is for the implementers to clarify the scope of the platform and provide design inputs to the consulting firm.

The 50MWS Project aims at contributing to the economic empowerment of women through the provision of networking platforms to access information on financial and non-financial services so that they can start, grow or scale up their businesses.

At the opening of the workshop, Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget, COMESA Assistant Secretary General, assured the AfDB that the 50MWS project will be implemented for the benefits of all women.

Amb. Cheluget said that the different implementing RECs had held consultative meetings with their stakeholders to gather their views on how they want the project to be implemented.

‘’This is an opportunity for us to utilise the feedback from our partners,’’ Ambassador Kipyego said.

“This project comes when RECs are moving towards Digital Economic Integration, towards the full adoption of digital technologies with the objective of establishing seamless processes across the RECs Partner States to enable ease of doing business/trade and to enhance regional integration using ICT as a tool,” Amb. Kipyego added.

Amb. Kipyego urged the participants to volunteer ideas that would assist the consulting firm to create user-friendly platforms that could easily be accessed by women entrepreneurs.

The COMESA official suggested that the ideal platform should have unique features differentiating it from other multiple social media platforms that were already in existence.

Ms. Mary Makoffu, EAC Director of Social Sectors and head of the EAC delegation to the workshop, said in her opening remarks that the project was being implemented at a time when the EAC Partners States were rolling out instruments of Digital Trade to minimize physical barriers to trade in the reion.

Ms. Makoffu said that the 50MWS project would complement ongoing efforts to enhance the EAC economic integration agenda.

David Sabiti, COMESA 50 MWS Coordinator, expressed hope that women entrepreneurs would start using the platform six months after the Lusaka workshop.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact:
Achel Bayisenge,
Content Manager for the 50MWS Project
Tel: +255 786726230;
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

50 Million African Women Project to help reduce to zero gender inequalities

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 17th July, 2018: Supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the East African Community Secretariat has conducted stakeholders’ consultative meetings in Partner States from June 19 to July 10, 2018. The main objective of the meetings was to introduce the 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform Project (50MWS) to stakeholders.

EAC Secretariat delegation targeted key Ministries partners to the project, including the Ministries of Gender, ICT, Trade and Ministries in charge of EAC Affairs in each Member State. EAC delegation also met stakeholders from Civil Society, NGOs and UN Agencies.

“50MWS is an online platform that will provide financial and non-financial information to women entrepreneurs for them to interact and grow their businesses’,” Mary Makoffu, the EAC Director of Social Sectors and head of the EAC delegation explained.

“We have already existing platforms of women in business across EAC and we want to partner with them and build on the existing structures to better deliver on this project,” Ms. Makoffu said.

50MWS is being implemented in three different economic regions (RECs) including EAC, COMESA and ECOWAS. This is a good opportunity for women in business in respective RECs to penetrate markets of other RECs, EAC head of delegation considers.

After the consultation meetings the EAC Secretariat wants to continue and work with Member States to form country teams that will help in collection of information to upload into the platform. The Ministry of Gender in each country will be in charge of coordination.

Partners from all member states met, said to be excited and promised to give a full support to this innovative project.

A lot is being done by Member States to promote women’s economic empowerment despite some challenges; Gender Ministries’ representatives in each Partner States explained.

Governments have started disbursing funds to support women’s economic activities; initiatives which are currently contributing to increased employment, women’s capacity and resources power.

Youth enterprises are also being supported by Government’s funds to build youth’s capacity and reduce unemployment; Gender Ministries’ representatives continued.

All stakeholders met are confident that the contribution of the 50MWS Project on the top of already existing efforts; will contribute to reduce to zero gender inequalities that were observed across the countries.

Meeting attendants expressed some concerns that can prevent the project from achieving its goal; those include the weak smart phone penetration in most of EAC countries and the sustainability of the Project.

The EAC Secretariat finds these concerns relevant but assured them that EAC has developed a communications Strategy to make sure that even the women using the feature phones in the rural areas are reached by information circulated by the platform.

On the concern of sustainability, Wilson Muyenzi, the 50MWS Project Coordinator says that COMESA, the Project coordinating REC, is commissioning soon studies, to come up with mechanisms of sustainability.

Partner States sincerely thanked EAC Secretariat for this initiative and reiterated again countries’ commitment to support the project.

“Once our women will be economically empowered, the capacity of our countries will be doubled, and economic development will be a reality,’’ Mary Makoffu, EAC Director of Social Sectors constantly explained to Stakeholders met.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Achel Bayisenge
Content Manager
50 Million African Women Speak, Networking Platform Project
EAC Secretariat
Mobile: +255786726230
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

 

For additional information, contact:

 

EAC and ILO sign MoU to improve the work environment in East Africa

East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 10th May, 2018: 

The East African Community and the International Labour Organization Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at improving the work environment in East Africa.

The MoU which was signed at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania by EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko and Mr. Wellington Chibebe, the Director of the ILO Country Office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania will, among other things, address issues such as youth employment, extension of social security, and Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women at the work place.

The MoU is a follow up to another one that was signed between the two organisations in 2001. The 2002 MoU enabled the EAC and ILO to develop and launch a five-year East African Decent Work Programme (2010-2015).

Amb. Mfumukeko said that the revised MoU provides for the development of a framework for the harmonisation of the EAC Partner States’ policies on social security in line with the ILO Convention on Social Security (Minimum Standards) No. 102 of 1952.

“The MoU further provides for the expansion of micro, small and medium enterprises for employment creation. Also included is the development of an EAC labour migration policy as one of the facilitators of labour mobility in the Community,” said the SG.

Amb. Mfumukeko said the Community was striving to address youth unemployment as a matter of priority, adding that having well educated but unemployed youth out of work was a time bomb.

He disclosed that EAC Partner States were addressing the issue by seeking to make agriculture as an attractive income generating venture for the youth. 

Noting that matters of Entry/Work Permit/Residence Permit have an impact on the immigration function in the Partner States, the EAC Secretariat would convene a joint meeting of the Chiefs of Immigration and Directors of Labour before June 2018to finalize the harmonization of Entry/Work/Residence permits.

A meeting of technical officers from EAC and ILO held from 30th April to 2nd May, 2018 agreed to enhance collaboration in the implementation of a two-year project towards the extension of social security benefits to migrant workers in the EAC.

In his remarks, ILO Country Director Wellington Chibebe said that his organisation would work with the EAC to accelerate regional integration and at the same time ensure that the drivers of integration, that is the free movement of labour, goods and services enhance livelihoods of the millions of working women and men and their families.

“We welcome the signing of this new Memorandum of Understanding, which will be based firmly on a new DWP for East Africa, addressing strategically prioritized areas agreed upon by the ILO on one side and the EAC and the East African social partner organisations on the other side,” said Mr. Chibebe.

Mr. Chibebe said that giving financial assistance to the needy instead of equipping them with vocational skills was akin to creating culture of perpetual dependency.  

Also represented at the two day forum were the East African Trade Unions Confederation (EATUC) and the East African Employers Organisation (EAEO).

Notes to Editors:

EAC and ILO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 18th January, 2001 in which both parties agreed to consult each other with respect to planning and execution of programmes. The programmes include: pursuit of policies and of employment aimed at creating an environment for the development of the private sector and employment; facilitate labour mobility; harmonisation of labour legislation; promotion of fair labour practices through social dialogue and observance of fundamental principles and rights at work; social security and productivity improvement.

In 2010, the EAC and ILO developed and launched a five year East African Decent Work Programme (EA-DWP 2010-2015) which focused on three areas:

(i)     Youth employment by creating a conducive policy environment for the youth and the self-employed, skills improvement and supporting entrepreneurship activities;

(ii)    The extension of social security through the development of an EAC model social protection and protection of social security rights of migrant workers, and;

(iii)    The enhancement of capacity for social dialogue and building technical capacity for EAC Trade Union Confederation and affiliated national apex bodies on collective bargaining and negotiation skills.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

EAC Secretariat to Celebreate International Women's Day 2018

…..theme: “Press for Progress’; Planet 50-50 by 2030

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 6th March, 2018: The East African Community will join the rest of the world in marking the 2018 International Women's Day on 8th March , 2018. The event will take place at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The International Women’s Day is held annually on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. The UN drew global attention to women's concerns in 1975 by calling for an International Women's Year.

The International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the progress made in women’s rights, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women’s rights. The theme for the International Women’s Day 2018 is  Press for Progress; Planet 50-50 by 2030.

As provided for in Articles 121 and 122 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, Partner States have undertaken various efforts to enhance the Role of Women in Business and Socio-Economic Development.

The EAC Partner States recognise that women make a significant contribution towards the process of economic transformation and sustainable growth and that it is impossible to implement effective programmes for the economic and social development of the Partner States without the full participation of women.

To this end, the EAC has put the inclusion of women and girls at the centre of development programmes with Partner States ensuring affirmative action, constitutional and legal reforms, development of national gender policies; institutional mechanisms for implementation and accountability; economic empowerment measures, and sector-specific policies.

The EAC Secretariat is therefore committed to have a Community where women can participate as equal partners, decision makers, and beneficiaries in the development of their societies.

To mark International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018, the EAC Secretariat has organized special events to celebrate the International Women’s Day as follows;

Events:

  • Together with the Arusha City Council, Women's Organizations, partners at the regional level, Staff of the EAC Secretariat and  other guests, the EAC Secretary General, Amb Liberat Mfumukeko will lead all women and men in a ‘walk for gender equality’
  • Visit to Mount Meru Hospital to donate a package of materials in maternity ward and discuss with the administration the progress made so far since EAC visit to the hospital in 2014.

Celebrations at the EAC Headquarters:

 This will feature talks and presentations:

  • A panel session on: Agriculture Sector: Jacqueline Mkindi from Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA); Finance- Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB); Tourism- Lady Tour Guides; Mining- Women in Mining
  • By Women Leaders in the EAC – Topic: ‘Press for Progress’
  • On progress made to achieve Gender parity in the EAC by 2030
  • Presentations from the IIDEA projects that focus on women and with success stories
  • Moderated interactive session
  • Some other initiatives that show tremendous progress  

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org