Saturday, 8 March 2014
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 02:00
Friday, 7 March 2014
The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety has perused the released list of 492 delegates to the National Conference and insisted that the four CSO slots for the Southeast geopolitical zone were hijacked by Abuja and Lagos based CSO activists. That out of the four names: Olisa Agbakoba (Lagos based), Ibuchukwu Ezike (Lagos based), Festus Okoye (Kaduna based) and Ezenwa Nwangwu (Abuja based), drawn from the zone, none is residing and operating in the zone, is a clear case in point. This is a gross injustice to groups and individuals working tirelessly and in risk environment on human rights and pro-democracy advancement in the zone. No activists understand the social, economic, cultural and political challenges in the Southeast zone than those resident and working in the zone. The zone is also the most dangerous environment to work on in matters of advancement of human rights and democracy, which is one of the major reasons why our brothers and sisters in diasporan activism ran away and abandoned it to decay and degrade.
That our brothers and sisters in Diaspora found their names in the delegates’ list cannot stop us from saying what is obviously indisputable. From the facts on the ground, most of the 24 names included in the delegates’ list by Federal Government, especially four picked on behalf of Southeast CSO, are a product of “Abuja connection”. This is because the names were randomly picked in an Abuja meeting without consulting groups and their leaders in zones where the names originate by birth or ancestry and forwarded to the Federal Government, using “Abuja connection” to secure its entry and acceptance. The import of our grievances is not disallowing us to participate in the Conference, but to let the whole world know how the sedentary CSOs in the Southeast geopolitical zone were short-changed. The mass boycott by mainstream sedentary CSOs of the Southeast zone of “medicine-after-death” meetings being called in Enugu by some architects of the “Abuja connection” list is a clear case in point. Our message is loud and clear! If our brothers and sisters, who tagged themselves “senior comrades” cannot incorporate “think home” philosophy in their line of rights and pro-democracy activism, then the idea of running like a failed trailer back to their zone of birth or ancestry after being rejected and humiliated by their host and beneficiary zone(s), to hijack the slots meant for those residing and operating in the zone, must no longer be muted, hatched and accepted.
Other than the foregoing, we wish to observe that the Conference Delegates’ list did not fairly capture all the grassroots entities, which affairs are the major reasons why the Conference is being organized. A National Conference is not an exclusive property of the vocal groups or intellectual clubs. The jobless people in Nigeria are in tens of millions. Unemployed graduates alone are over 30 million and they cannot be said to be represented by “the National Youth Council of Nigeria”, which is purely a pressure group or a group of “privileged youth club”. These millions of the unemployed people are not unknown. They are visibly everywhere and in some States, they have associations, especially the skilled ones.
Also, artisans and traders constitute over 70% percent of self-employed citizens in Nigeria. On daily basis, they fall victim in the course of their legitimate businesses to overzealous and tainted officers of Custom & Excise, Nigeria Police Force, government extortionist entities and criminal gangs. They also fall victim to hash government policies including epileptic power supplies and issuance of obnoxious utility bills. Crime victims have no place in Nigeria. The unemployed graduates and youths do not have access to monthly allowances as done in other climes. A National Conference predicated on elitism such as the one under reference, will continue to enrich 17,500 politically privileged Nigerians through continued allocation of over 70% of national wealth to service them annually, while the remaining 170 million Nigerians including tens of millions of unemployed citizens will continue to wallow in individual and collective poverty. These people deserve a representation at a National Conference. As a matter of fact, a National Conference involves discussing the affairs of “the good”, “the bad” and “the ugly” and if it is possible to involve armed robbers and commercial sex workers’ representatives, so be it! After all, such a Conference carries with it an immunity fathered by “the Doctrine of Necessity”, which itself fathered a National Conference.
Lastly, we urge all the delegates to the National Conference to fully discuss major problems afflicting Nigeria and Nigerians without fear or favour. The Federal Government’s pronouncement to the effect that “the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable at the Conference” is a monumental contradiction because if the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable, then why the National Conference? Such a pronouncement, tagged “no-go area”, should be seen as “a mere policy statement that has no binding and criminal sanction effects”. It is a truism that the unity of Nigeria is shaky and the ground import of the Conference “is to discuss whether to live together or live apart as a country”.
Using the introduction of “Criminal Code” (semblance of cannon law) for Southern Nigeria and “Penal Code” (semblance of Islamic law) for Northern Nigeria as an example, Nigerian Federalism or Con-federalism concept must be structured in the like manner at the Conference by taking into account the country’s divergent domesticated socio-cultural contents. If it is a federalism concept predicated on six geopolitical zones and statism that will be adopted, for instance then the present number of States must be altered to ensure equal number for all the zones. The number of LGAs should also be restructured in a like manner or the 776 LGAs removed from the Constitution and returned to States’ control. The best way to define and adopt federalism, suitable for a social clime, is to congregate all its social entities through genuine representation and reconstruct one with local contents. To such a clime, that is the best federalism.
If it is confederation, then all the six geopolitical zones must be restructured along ethno-religious lines and a provision made for secession at freewill. In such boundary restructuring, for instance, Igbo-Delta and Igbo-Rivers should be carved out to join Southeast. Igala part of Anambra should be carved out to join their parents in Kogi. Kwara State should join Oyo State and others in Southwest. Taraba, Adamawa and Southern Kaduna should be merged with old Middle Belt or North-central zone (Nigeria). Such a confederation concept defined and adopted under the circumstances foregoing, remains the best for the adopting social clime. Even if the Conference adopts federalism, there will still be need for thorough boundary adjustments along ethno-religious lines. The Presidency of the country should be rotated among the six geopolitical Nigeria on agreed single term.
We also wish to congratulate our dear friends, Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin and Femi Falana, SAN, for making the Conference Delegates’ list. Their inclusion gladdens our heart because it is meritorious and a merit award resemblance.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Just Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 01:46
Thursday, 6 March 2014
|Jim Yong Kim|
Culled From: www.worldbank.org
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today (5th March, 2014) called domestic violence “an outrage” that should no longer be considered a private matter, but a public issue and a major challenge for all who work in development.
“One of the devastating realities about our world is the violence against women during wars and conflict. It’s an unacceptable and relatively well documented problem of epidemic proportions. But the kind of violence we are not talking about enough is domestic violence,” said Kim. “If domestic violence continues to receive inadequate attention, it tells women they have less worth and less power than men. It undermines their ability to make choices and act on them independently, impacting not only them, but their families, communities, and economies.”
Globally, the most common form of violence women suffer is at the hands of their husbands, boyfriends, or partners, said Kim, calling the fact that almost one-third of all women worldwide who have been in a relationship have experienced such violence “an outrage.”
Speaking at the CARE national conference ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, Kim also noted the shocking economic consequences of domestic violence: “Conservative estimates of lost productivity resulting from domestic violence are roughly equal to what most governments spend on primary education.”
Kim called for a renewed sense of urgency and a clearer understanding of the remaining obstacles to gender equality around the planet. He listed common “blind spots” when it comes to improving the lives of women and girls. “That’s not to say we don’t see the problem clearly, but sometimes we overlook something that’s right in front of us, especially if we are too close to it. Our brains are wired to automatically fill in blind spots so that the picture is whole,” said Kim.
The first such blind spot is ensuring access to education reaches the poorest and most vulnerable girls. The gender gap in education has shrunk, and two-thirds of all countries have reached gender parity in primary enrollment. In more than one-third, girls significantly outnumber boys in secondary education.
“But the situation is much worse for poor girls,” Kim said. “While wealthier girls in countries like India and Pakistan may be enrolled in school right alongside boys their age, among the poorest 20 percent of children, girls have on average five years less education than do boys. In Niger, where only one in two girls attends primary school, just one in 10 goes to middle school, and stunningly only one in 50 goes to high school. That’s an outrage.”
The second blind spot Kim noted was that even when girls in some countries are receiving more education it does not translate into expanded opportunities in the workforce.
“Let’s look at the Middle East and North Africa. There, on average, only one in four women is in the workforce. The rate of increase has been glacial—less than 0.2 percent annually—over the last 30 years. At this rate, the region will take 150 years to catch up to the current world average. A study last year finds that women’s low economic participation creates income losses of 27 percent in the Middle East and North Africa. The same study estimates that raising female employment and entrepreneurship to male levels could improve average income by 19 percent in South Asia and 14 percent in Latin America.”
Kim said perhaps the biggest blind spot concerns violence against women, and “the failure to see that it doesn’t matter if we educate girls or try to create jobs for them if they aren’t safe in their own homes.”
”Part of the reason that domestic violence has been such a big blind spot is that many people view it as a private matter. I would argue that domestic violence is a public matter, and that we have to consider it as a major challenge for all of us who work in development.”
In 128 countries, legal differences in how men and women are treated constrain their economic opportunities, Kim noted. This includes laws that make it impossible for a woman to independently obtain an ID card, to own or use property, to access credit, and to get a job. In 15 countries, husbands can even prevent their wives from working. “Cultural norms can become deeply entrenched but we know —based on enormous evidence from all around the world—that customs and attitudes can change, sometimes very quickly,” said Kim.
Social movements can help bring such change about, said Kim, noting the example of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot because of her public advocacy for girls’ education.
Concluding his speech, Kim asked, “What would it mean to confront gender-related oppression and cruelty with the same fearlessness that Malala showed in the face of the Taliban gunman? If we can even begin to move together with that kind of resolve—given the evidence we already have about the role of women—the world will be more peaceful, more prosperous, more just and worthy of the mothers who gave birth to us all.”
Background on how the World Bank is helping address gender-based violence
To address the global epidemic of gender-based violence, the World Bank Group has been analyzing the costs of violence and systematically reviewing what interventions work and don’t work and why—and bringing financing to operations on the ground: In the last year, 10 new projects focused on sexual or gender-based violence totaling almost US$19 million have been approved.
- One new US$600 million loan to Colombia will include protection and support for survivors—with temporary housing, transport, and other assistance. We are also partnering with the private sector and civil society, and we are innovating with technology.
- In Haiti, we joined forces with Kofaviv, a community of female survivors of extreme forms of gender based violence, and more than 7,000 vulnerable women and children received health and safety kits including vital supplies such as solar flashlights, tarps, mobile phones, whistles, shoes, and hygiene supplies. Anecdotal evidence points to a decrease in the instances of transactional sex, especially for young and more vulnerable women.
- In Brazil’s Pernambuco state, a US$500 million Development Policy Loan is supporting the Government make gender-based violence part of its broader strategy. With this loan, we are helping promote women’s economic empowerment through a new Women’s Secretariat with 12 regional coordinators, and trained 2,000 health workers and law enforcement officers in gender-related issues.
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 01:14
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is pleased to announce the 2014 edition of its Annual Writing Workshop for Scholarly Publishing. Two sessions of the workshop have been scheduled, one to be held in English and another in French. The English language edition is planned to take place in Kampala, Uganda, on the campus of Makerere University from 14 – 18 July, 2014. It will bring together 30 participants from across Africa who do research in the English language.
Scholarly writing and publishing amongst younger African researchers have been under considerable strain for some time now. The reasons for this state of affairs are multifaceted but are uniformly connected to the prolonged crises which the continent’s higher education system has been experiencing for the last two decades. Remedying the problem has become urgent in order to ensure that the presence of the African voice in the production of knowledge about the continent and other regions of the world is assured at the highest level of quality. As an institution with a long track record in scholarly publishing, and which has a mandate to project African voices through a variety of programmes, CODESRIA has increasingly been concerned with the deterioration of the quality of academic writing amongst the younger generation of scholars who have borne the brunt of the crises of the last two decades in African higher education. The Council has been particularly well-placed to track the magnitude of the problem through the regular assessment it carries out on contributions received from across Africa for consideration for publication in any one of the nine journals in its stable, the applications that are submitted for consideration for admission into its various training programmes, the regular feedback it solicits from sister institutions on the strengths and weaknesses of scholarly essays which they regularly review, and the gaps in foundational training in the university system that currently affect capacities to muster a written argument, project an informed point of view, develop a presentational/analytic style, correctly cite references, and adequately prepare manuscripts for consideration for publication in scholarly outlets. It was with a view to remedying this situation that CODESRIA decided to launch its scholarly writing programme targeted at younger generation African scholars.
The workshop will feature presentations and practical demonstrations by seasoned scholars under whose mentorship, groups of advanced postgraduate students and younger scholars who are admitted to participate in the programme will be supported to upgrade the quality of their writing and publishing. Exercises will be offered to demonstrate different approaches to scholarly writing and publishing as follows:
a) Scholarly Writing:
i. Presenting participants with the skills and requirements needed to write effectively taking full cognisance of the expectations of the scholarly community;
ii. Familiarising participants with how to critically appraise the theoretical assumptions that underpin the related research on which they draw to inform their own research and writing;
iii. Demonstrating familiarity with related scholarly literature and debates;
iv. Determining and critically relating to methodologies employed in scholarly research and writing;
v. Determining and critically relating to the arguments of authors on whose work participants draw to make their own arguments; and
vi Determining the contribution to knowledge of a piece of scholarly writing.
b) Scholarly Publishing:
i. Building a proper understanding of the publishing process with a view to ensuring that manuscripts are prepared and presented in a manner that facilitates the publishing process and which, in so doing, improves their chances for selection in scholarly publishing outlets. Attention will be drawn to a variety of issues ranging from adherence to style guidelines to choosing which work is best fitted to a particular scholarly publishing format, as well as suggestions on how to revise theses and dissertations into publishable manuscripts;
ii Presentations on how to document a manuscript for publication, particularly different referencing methods, the use of quotations, and the presentation of used source materials; and
iii Presentations on the interface between the style adopted for a written scholarly work and its target audience. Here, attention will also be given to the best approaches to disseminating and promoting a scientific publication using both the author’s and publisher’s networks (review outlets, conferences, symposium and book dissemination forums, teaching curriculum, electronic and print forums etc.) in order to generate debate and promote sales.
The workshop will be organised over a period of five working days and will involve a series of lectures and practical work interspersed with open discussions on the key issues in scholarly publishing. The programme will be coordinated by a designated director assisted by invited resource persons with a track record in scholarly publishing. A post-workshop monitoring exercise will provide participants with an opportunity to have their work reviewed and assessed by identified resource persons during a predetermined length of time after the workshop.
The following category of younger researchers are encouraged to apply for participation in the workshop:
1. Advanced postgraduates working on their dissertations or theses in an African university;
2. Researchers who completed their postgraduate studies at any time during the last five years and are presently pursuing a teaching and/or research career in an African university or research centre; and
3. Former laureates of CODESRIA institutes and methodological workshops interested in updating their skills.
The CODESRIA Secretariat will also actively identify potential participants from among the pool of promising young scholars who have recently submitted papers for consideration in CODESRIA journals but whose articles were not accepted for publication after being peer-reviewed.
Prospective participants are required to submit one duly completed application form, an application letter which should be accompanied by the bio-data of the applicant, their discipline, the research areas in which they are interested, and information on any experience they have had in scholarly writing and publishing, and an attestation by their departmental head, dean or director of their institutional affiliation. Once selected, participants will be invited to submit written samples of current unpublished work before the workshop begin in order to enable the workshop resource persons to better identify key areas of strength that should be reinforced and areas of weakness that need to be addressed.
The deadline for the receipt of applications for the workshop is 30 May, 2014. Admission to participate in the workshop will be limited to 30 persons to allow for an intensive session.
All applications should be addressed to:
2014 Annual Writing Workshop,
BP 3304, CP 18524
Tel.:+221-33 825 98 22/23
Fax: +221-33 824 12 89
Web Site: http:// www.codesria.org
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 09:13