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Our worst fears have finally befallen us, the US State Department gave and they have taken away. Ambassador Carmen M Martinez will be leaving Lusaka for her new assignment this Tuesday and will no longer be representing the interests Zambian Enterprise to the powers that be in Washington.

 

In just about two and half years, Ambassador Martinez has done what many have failed to accomplish in longer tenures.

 

I am proud that we at the Zambian Chronicle were the first to rings the right bells about her accomplishments before the rest of the world started to notice.

 

Over a year ago, we wrote the article below crowning Ambassador Martinez as the best ever and before long, the article was read around the world.

 

It actually became one of the top 10 read articles on Zambian Chronicle with as many feeds from the US State Department, Wall Street Journal, London Financial Times, political forums, internet blogs and others.

 

Best Ever US Ambassador To Zambia – Carmen M Martinez

 

Zambian Chronicle’s 10 Most Read Articles

 

What is nostalgic though is that our worst fears of her being promoted and assigned to other projects have come to pass at a time when the Zambian Enterprise needed her most. Some people have a way of changing their environment and Ambassador Martinez has that.

 

She is such a captivating individual with the ability to change moods around her. Those who worked for her at the American Embassy in Lusaka would be the first to agree. But what is more profound about her is the way she actually viewed the Enterprise and its people and here below are some of her farewell comments …

 

"I think Zambia is making great progress and is getting a lot of attention internationally for the role it’s taking, speaking out on many issues; human rights, gender issues and many other areas."

 

“As I said, we love cooperating with Zambia but it will be a proud day for us when we are no longer in the business of assistance but we are in business with Zambia. That is when you will be able to take your rightful role on the world stage,”

 

“I really believe that the key to this country is economic development. You have a nation blessed immensely with incredible natural resources with smart, capable, hardworking people and I just would like to see Zambia a little bit proud. Zambia number one! Zambia could do it! I think everybody in this country put together, you could do this,”

 

“I hope that people will not become discouraged during periods of setbacks. This is a stable nation with processes and institutions in place that can continue to keep you continuing along the road to progress.”

 

“Zambia is a leader and you should be proud of yourselves. It’s like, Zambia go for it! Zambia number one! Thank you!”

 

From her comments above, she sees potential that not many of our own people within the Zambian Enterprise see. One can tell she believes in Zambia more than we ourselves do. You can tell she is proud of the Enterprise and that is at the core of why she accomplished so much within the shortest possible time.

 

We were the first to acknowledge her and we will be the first to thank her for tremendous strides others just dreamed of. We wish Ambassador Carmen M Martinez all the best in all her endeavors; her shoes at the Embassy will forever be unique both in perceptive and temperament …

 

Carmen, you will forever be missed. Thank you for all you did for Zambia, some visible and a lot more actually invisible; for us at the Zambian Chronicle, gratitude confirms relationship …

 

So long, our dearest of all ambassadors, wishing you God’s Speed and a happy life ahead. If any body deserves it, its you and thats the more reason we dedicated this week’s memo to you.

 

Every friend of the Zambian Enterprise remains a friend forever, please come back to visit in your private capacity some day and have some fun; farewell …

 

Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion. 

 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle 

 

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

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CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s campaign says he’ll campaign with former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton next week.

Clinton and Obama are set to make their first post-primary season campaign trail appearance next week.

Obama’s campaign said in an e-mail that the two senators will campaign together for the first time on Friday, June 27.

Obama and Clinton are also scheduled to hold a joint fundraiser this month.

Clinton suspended her campaign for the Democratic nomination earlier this month after Obama secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination.

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Posted by : Bellah K Theise 
First let me start with  congratulating Hillary for her hard work , and a win in WV. 
Hillary said, “This race is not yet Over”.  For sure, how is she going to clear her 20 Million campaign debt if she drops out now. She can not continue lending herself. Where are Hillary supporters? I thought they would be there donating to her campaign, instead of writing letters to the super delegates criticising Obama’s candidacy. 
She may win big in West Virginia but Obama is still leading.”  Numbers suggests:  
Though you never know, she may overtake Obama by magic, a very slim chance or wishful thinking.
 As a woman ( I support Obama) I feel she deserves a credit for her fighting spirit, she is not a quitter. In my own opinion, and with  due respect her fight may put the demo party in a very difficult situation, the more she keeps fighting the more it is not going to be easy to unify the party as they think.  As for Obama picking Hillary Clinton for VP? 
I feel, that would not work well. If I was Obama I would be very uncomfortable, having a VP that not only declared me a weak and unelectable candidate but  fought negatively against me to get a nomination. I say, this proposal is just there to make Obama look bad if he says “No” to that idea. I am sure Hillary would’nt like to be Obama’s VP. Her fight is to be a first United States woman president. So lets forget about that notion.  Plus, do not forget that Bill will be a shadow president in the white house. I think this is a big NO. Not a good idea at all. May be Hillary can take a different influential sit. Not a VP.
Voters will still give her respect as a first woman to go this far in a presidential election. Especially, if she steps down, or run a positive campaign in the remaining contests. My concern, as I see things, this fight is not good for the party. People still give Mike Huckabee respect for his decision to step down. This is not about Hillary, Obama or McCain, candidates should put their country and important issues that need to be addressed.  All three candidates are very highly electable. Numbers can show that. There is no more black and white, there is just united states of America. So using a phrase of ” white voters candidate is not helping Hillary, because other colors matters too in this election.
Hillary D Clinton wins WV s primary 67% to 26%. The win does not help her to get the nomination for president . Obama is leading  in the popular vote and super-delegates. Maths is not just in Hillary’s favor. I think Hillay is still fighting to clear the debt, otherwise if she drops out now she will be stack with 20 million campaign debt. Good sign for an incoming president right?  I would edge all Hillary supporters, to turn around and donate more money so she can clear the debt. Stop playing tough on blogs, but cheap when it comes to giving.

 

 
 
 
 
 

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton made nearly $109 million since they left the White House, capitalizing on the world’s interest in the former first couple and lucrative business ventures.

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The Clintons reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 as they gave the public the most detailed look at their finances in eight years. Almost half the former first couple’s money came from Bill Clinton‘s speeches.

“I have absolutely nothing against rich people,” Hillary Clinton told North Dakota Democrats at their party convention Friday night in Grand Forks. “As a matter of fact, my husband — much to my surprise and his — has made a lot of money since he left the White House doing what he loves doing most, talking to people.”

The tax returns are a portrait in post-presidential success. The Clintons, who had lived in taxpayer-paid housing in the governor’s mansion in Arkansas or the White House for years, left the presidency struggling with a legal defense fund stemming from a spate of investigations. They now are wealthy enough that she could lend her presidential campaign $5 million earlier this year.

The campaign released tax returns from 2000 through 2006 and gave highlights from their 2007 return. The Clintons have asked for an extension for filing their 2007 tax returns, citing the dissolution of a blind trust last year.

The Democratic presidential candidate and her husband paid $33.8 million in taxes from 2000 through 2007. They listed $10.25 million in charitable contributions during that period.

Clinton has been under pressure to release her tax returns, especially from rival Sen. Barack Obama, who posted his 2000 to 2006 returns on his campaign Web site last week. Neither Obama nor Republican Sen. John McCain has made their 2007 tax returns public, though both say they will this month.

The Clintons last made their returns public in 2000 when they reported an adjusted gross income of $416,039 for 1999. Since then, the former president has embarked on a number of business ventures and has made millions from speaking engagements and books.

In the tax returns, the former president describes his occupation as “Speaking & Writing.”

Beside speeches and books, his biggest single business income is from his partnership with Yucaipa Global Opportunities Fund, a Los Angeles-based investment firm founded by longtime Clinton fundraiser Ron Burkle. Between 2003 and 2006, the returns show total Yucaipa partnership income of $12.5 million. The 2007 summary provided by the campaign lists $2.75 million in partnership income.

President Clinton also has been an adviser to InfoUSA, a data company whose chief executive, Vinod Gupta, has been a major donor to Democrats and gave at least $1 million to Bill Clinton‘s presidential library in Arkansas. Clinton received $400,000 in payments from the company in 2006 and 2007, according to the documents.

According to a summary of the seven years provided by the campaign, the former president’s speech income since he left the White House totals $51.85 million and his income from his two books — “My Life ” and “Giving” — totals $29.6 million, including a $15 million advance for “My Life.” Bill Clinton has traveled the world, giving paid speeches to multinational corporations, investment banks and motivational groups.

Details of the former president’s speaking fees were included in Sen. Clinton‘s financial disclosure report last year. In 2006 and 2007, he earned fees from $100,000 to $450,000 speaking to such corporations as IBM, General Motors, and Cisco Systems, finance giants such as Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, and trade groups such as the National Association of Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association. He also has been paid to speak to nonprofit or charity groups, including the TJ Martell Foundation, which finances leukemia research, Nelson Mandela‘s Children’s Fund and, last March, to the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles.

The campaign has said Clinton typically donates millions of dollars worth of free speeches to charities

Hillary Clinton had $10.5 million in book income over the period from her book “Living History.” She donated earnings from her other book, “It Takes a Village,” to charity.

Clinton’s tax returns show that of the remaining presidential candidates, she is the one most able to access large amounts of personal money. She lent her campaign $5 million in late February and could contribute more if she finds herself falling far behind Obama’s proficient fundraising.

McCain’s wife, Cindy, is heiress to her father’s stake in Hensley & Co. of Phoenix, one of the largest beer distributorships in the country and her worth could exceed $100 million. But the couple has a prenuptial agreement that has kept most assets in her name. In his financial disclosures, McCain lists his major sources of income as his Senate salary of $169,300 and a Navy pension of about $56,000.

In 2006, Obama reported income of nearly $1 million, with nearly half of it coming from the publication of his second book, “The Audacity of Hope.” Last week, the campaign disclosed that Obama and his wife, Michelle, gave $240,000 to charity last year.

The tax return shows a rite of passage for the Clintons: 2002 was the last year they claimed daughter Chelsea, now 28, as a dependent.

The returns also reference interest free loans to unidentified “family members.” Based on the “imputed interest” listed in the 2006 return — that is interest that would have been paid — the loans likely total more than $300,000.

“The loans to family members are personal; the Clintons are going to respect their family members’ privacy,” Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said.

___

Associated Press writers Nancy Benac, Charles Babington, Nedra Pickler and Pete Yost in Washington and Beth Fouhy in Grand Forks, N.D., contributed to this article.

 

 

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Some sense of humor- a laugh

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b6_edited.jpegNegative Campaign ,Malicious Rumors, Gossip and Hatred on Aspiring presidential candidates are set backs and can bring a Destruction in Voting for a Great President. 

By Belliah K Theise

Having followed USA presidential debates and making comparisons of what is going on in the entire world with politics, we found similar paterns that has made third world countries be the way they are now, in terms of economy.

Here is what we have to say at Zambian chronicle:

As a presidential candidate aspiring for a public office, or you may be a voter. This is a time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Listed below are some of the things future Leaders should avoid in order to maintain peace and trust in people who they lead.

1.      Negative campaigns that may bring damage to the image of  the country and future leaders.

2.      Malicious Rumors, without meaning or basis

3.      Cheap Gossip

4.      Hatred

5.      Tribal 

6.  Racial discrimination 

  By all means, the above six elements  should not be used as a tool to bring down your rival or to pick a right candidate for president. Positive campaign builds and unites nations. Negative campaigns, brings anger, violent and divisions.

As a voter, learn to validate each rumor, do not be a follower.  Learn to use your own discretion, good sense of judgement and common sense, in critical matters like choosing or picking the right candidate as your commander in Chief.  Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Important factor to Remember :

Separate Hollywood gossip of celebrities to  a presidential candidate gossip. We do understand that, there is no smoke without fire , but on the other hand,  Learn to separate facts from gossip,  Every voter should know that, NOT every rumor or gossip comes out to be 100% true. You as voters only  come to realize when it is too late, after you have voted for a wrong person, because you based your judgement on rumors.  People use rumors and gossip  for many reasons. May be for financial gain, hatred or other things.

Always keep in mind that, we humans always enjoy negatives, We all focus on unproductive rumors and gossip, that diverts us from dealing with serious topics that is affecting the country.  If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, politicians uses that as a tool to bring down their rival candidates, depending  how strong one has links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

Good luck to all the presidential candidates, as they go on the road to lead their nations with a passion at heart for their people. Stay focused on important issues that affects your country. Do not get rapped up in personal issues, that can bring harm to your country and comes back to haunt you.

You all have one purpose:- To save your nation with integrity. The same people you are trying to persuade to vote for you, will be the same people who will vote you out. Voters always keep a record. Campaign with a passion for your people and country at heart.

For voters, validate your candidates with facts, and basing your votes on malicious rumors or unproductive  gossip , that will not do good to your country in the future, will not help.

Thanks a trillion

Belliah K Theise

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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By Belliah K Theise

 b6_edited.jpegThis week ‘s memo is about  the next Zambian president. Who should take the Zambian presidential sit in 2011?

I hate to admit this, the truth is, our leaders are always voted by villagers, marketeers and street boys who have no clue about education and foreign policies. 

 According to our observation, most politicians have a way to get into a mind of a person with little knowledge or no knowledge at all.  This includes developed countries. If you take a close look on politics, you will find that people end up voting for a candidates who keeps preaching what voters want to hear. People will go out to vote just because of a hear say,  without assessing a candidate  in practical terms.

In most cases, political Candidates have a tendency to study what the audience want to hear. Any one can stand and say I will give you jobs, bring rich breakfast, lunch and dinner in your home. Zambian Voters will listen because there are no jobs and are in poverty. As a candidate, you are happy when people vote for you. Are you going to keep your promise once you are voted in office?

 Practically, things always turns out to be different from all the promises that politicians make.

it’s time for candidates who are aspiring, to start preaching on practical issues and not to give fake hopes to people. Talk about real things that affects the economy of every country, and explain, to voters that it is not an easy path to bring stability to the country, it takes hard work and devotion to make things happen.

Disappointments, comes out when a candidate makes fake promises, do something else after being voted into office. We ask all the aspiring candidates to be more practical in the way they make promises to people, to avoid early disappointments.

It is not fair for voters  who have no clue on “Inflation” or economics, who listens innocently and line up to vote for a candidate who later does something contrary to his/her promise.

Zambia has highly experienced ,knowledgeable, and educated people.  Why is it that Zambians ends up voting for wrong leaders?

Could it be that all the educated Zambians, are too frustrated with the system, and has opted to sit back and watch, while the poor Zambian villagers , marketeers and street boys take their stand to vote for what they hear from those who can read their minds and give them fake promises? or could it be that qualified leaders and educated Zambians are  too busy with other duties and other personal stuff, or they are not brave enough to fight for their people or  is it lack of bringing themselves out with a positive approach to their fellow Zambians?

 If you are candidate or a voter. It is time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Our advice is:

Avoid:  Hate, tribal, gossip, and malicious rumors. By all means, should not be used as a tool to pick a right candidate for president. Validate each rumor, use your own discretion and common sense. Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Remember:

Not every rumor or gossip is true. Yes there is no smoke without fire, but you have to remember that humans always enjoy negatives that appear on a candidate without using their good sense of judgement or common sense, they vote basing on those facts. If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, uses that as a tool to bring down a candidate, if the opponent has strong links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

On that note, we decided to re-visit Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s profile, as she seem to be carrying all the package of what makes a great president.

We at Zambian Chronicle, would like to see Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, contest for president in 2011. We have well rounded Zambian candidates like, HH and Many more, Inonge adds to the package.

For years, Zambians have had a problem when it comes to picking a president. It’s time to check where Zambians go wrong when it comes to voting?

Weakness:

We Vote with emotions, tribal, rumors and hate, Worse more when it comes to gender. 

In the end we get disappointed with our own voting when things go in a different direction. 

May be it is time to turn around, and look seriously inside lives and works of the aspiring candidates, without looking at a tribe, relations, cheap gossips or malicious rumors.

It is even more difficult to convince a Zambian mind, when it comes to women leadership.

When we look at Zambians, we see a lot of potential candidates men and women, that can lead us in 2011, and bring light to Zambia. 

I am not here advocating for Inonge because I am a woman.

Here at Zambian Chronicle, we are looking at the credentials, Education and experience.

Zambia needs a candidate for president, that has both local and foreign policy experience. As an African country we can not rule out education. It should be very cardinal  in this aspect.

 Therefore when it comes to choosing a president, let us open our eyes and pick quality and not quantity.

Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika and Hakainde Hichilema are both quality.

Having said that, Zambian Chronicles will continue to bring out candidates, that we think can make great president for Zambia in the future.

As we pointed out, in our earlier debates, Hakainde Hichilema and Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, have the real package.

Therefore, without looking at the tribes and gender, we feel Inonge can make a great president for Zambia for 2011. This includes, the appointees of ministers and local government officials.

This forum may help the next Zambian President to pick right candidates for certain roles.

Below is Inonge ‘s profile and credentials:

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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Princess Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika (born 10 July 1943, Senanga) is a senior Zambian politician currently. For more about her check

http://www.inongelewanika.com/family.htm

   1.   Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika is currently Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the United States of America . Before her appointment to Washington D.C.

 2. She was Ambassador and Special Envoy to the Zambian President during his term as Chairman of the African Union.

3. Dr. Lewanika served as a Member of Parliament in the Zambian Parliament from 1991 to 2001. She was the first Chairperson of the Zambia All Party Women Parliamentarians Caucus and also founding Vice-chairperson of the outhern, Eastern and Horn of Africa African Women Parliamentarian Caucus.

  

4. At a very critical time just before national elections in 2001, Dr. Lewanika chaired the National Crisis Committee of the Alliance of Opposition Political Parties.

5.  She is a former candidate for President of the Republic of Zambia in the December 2001 Elections.

6.  She is an Educator by profession and has worked in various levels of Education.

Prior to her involvement in politics, Dr. Lewanika worked with UNICEF in key leadership roles in Africa overseeing more than twenty countries at a time. Jim Grant, the former head of UNICEF once called her “the most knowledgeable person about the children of Africa .” Dr. Lewanika was among five women from various continents to brief members of the United Nations Security Council on the first and unprecedented debate that resulted in UN Resolution 13 on WOMEN, PEACE and SECURITY in the year 2000. She was among sixteen (16) eminent African Women Members of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) Committee on Peace and Development, an Advisory Group to the African Union.

She was President of Federation of African Women’s Peace Networks (FERFAP) from 1997 to 2002. As President of the Federation of African Women Peace Networks (FEFAP) she contributed to mobilization of peace activities. In that capacity, she was selected to be among ten prominent African Women Peace Workers that visited Rwanda soon after the genocide. She later led a United Nations delegation to Burundi and Rwanda to assess the effects of the genocide on women and children and recommend intervention strategies. She led the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) Observer Mission of 96 Southern African

Academicians, Researchers and Members of Civil Society to the Zimbabwean Presidential, Mayoral and Council Elections in 2002. She was one of the International Youth Foundation’s founding board members.

Dr. Lewanika holds a Ph.D. in Early Childhood and Primary Education from New York University . She is a mother of two grown daughters, a grandmother to four boys and a grand daughter. She has lived in five countries and speaks eight languages.

——————————–

A look at more of  Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s work Below: 

After 30 years of promoting girls’ education in the less-developed world, aid workers are now realizing that it is not enough to simply open the school door to girls. Unemployment, clean water and HIV/AIDS are now also on their agenda.
Inonge Mbikusita-LewanikaWASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)–Like many aid workers and activists trying to improve the lives of women in developing countries, Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika has long viewed education as the key to solving many of her countrywomen’s problems.Mbikusita-Lewanika, a former member of Zambia’s parliament and now the country’s ambassador to the United States, says the benefits of educating girls are so numerous– from raising marrying ages and lowering birth rates to stemming health and economic problems–that she would like to install a plaque reading “Send the Girls to School” in every village.But 30 years after the U.S. government and other aid-givers began to promote gender equality in their programs, they, like Mbikusita-Lewanika, have learned that relieving the burdens of poor women is more complex than once thought. Foreign aid officials from the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and various nongovernmental organizations say that it is not enough to open the school door to girls if their families are besieged by unemployment, unclean water, labor-intensive household chores and, increasingly, debilitating health problems such as HIV/AIDS. Nor is it enough to get a few women elected to the parliament or congress while women in the countryside still suffer age-old discriminations.To succeed, say aid experts, gender-equality programs must be integrally incorporated into the aid process from top to bottom, beginning with constant attention to gender issues at the policy level and ending with a wide distribution of burden-relieving aid in the rural areas where discrimination is often most ingrained.In Africa, for instance, women perform about 75 percent of agricultural work, according to Mark Blackden, the lead economist in the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Management of Gender Equity Division. He estimates the continent’s per-capita income would have doubled over the last 30 years if women had been given more aid and education to help with crop production. But aid givers have only recently realized that “one does indeed need to talk about the African farmer and her husband,” Blackden said.Instead, because of cultural misunderstandings, they have often directed agricultural education and technology to men. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said, it is not uncommon to see men sitting on tractors as women and girls continue to cultivate with a hand hoe nearby.Clearing a small plot of land in this manner can involve 18-hour days, leaving women little time to raise their children, gather fire wood, walk long distances to find potable water and, increasingly, care for the sick. With such intensive household labor needs, Mbikusita-Lewanika said girls often have little time for school.”The average woman takes care of everyone else but herself,” Mbikusita-Lewanika said at a recent Capitol Hill briefing for legislative staff.In countries where economies have been destroyed by conflict or AIDS, another factor diminishes the rationale for education: The lack of jobs when a girl graduates. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said that, while education “may be the most important investment, it may not necessarily be the first investment” that donors should undertake. For instance, providing drinking water would save women in many Zambian villages 1 1/2 hours a day, she said.In 1973, the U.S. Congress passed the Percy Amendment requiring that the nation’s foreign aid help integrate women into the mainstream of developing countries’ societies. Since then, the U.S. Agency for International Development–the main administrator of U.S. development aid–and other organizations have progressed from conducting a few gender equality projects a year to considering gender issues as a part of nearly every decision. While women’s issues once were often segregated in a separate office or set of discussions, all programs are now expected to address their impact on women.”The progress can be summed up in one sentence: It is no longer a separate thing,” USAID administrator Andrew S. Natsios told a Washington foreign aid conference earlier this month.

More Work to Be Done

Still, aid officials and activists say there is much more to do. According to the World Bank, more than 20 percent of the world’s population still lives on about $1 per day. The majority are women. And women’s burdens, especially in AIDS-stricken Africa, are growing as they bear bigger social and financial burdens.

One way donors can begin to lift that burden, Mbikusita-Lewanika told legislative staff, is to bypass governments and distribute aid money to local faith-based organizations and other groups that work at the local level and already know the intricate problems the women in their community face. Many central governments have not established effective ways to distribute help in the countryside, she said.

Other officials suggest increasing funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The $2 billion the Bush administration is prepared to spend in 2004 “is not enough,” said Kathryn Wolford, president of Lutheran World Relief, based in Baltimore.

Wolford also suggests an increased focus on debt relief for poor countries, which would free funds for social programs and infrastructure that could relieve women’s burdens.

Other activists say aid organizations need to collect and process more data showing the positive link between women’s participation and economic development. While many activists suggest that there is already too much talk about women’s problems and not enough action to solve them, economists say that more convincing evidence of the link between women’s progress and economic progress could be found.

At the foreign aid conference, Phil Evans, the senior social development adviser for the United Kingdom’s U.N. mission, said that statistical gender analyses are often riddled with “methodological problems,” in large part because researchers have focused on studying women instead of placing them in a societal context.

Some say the United States should signal its commitment to gender equality by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty that aims to outlaw discrimination against women and requires signatory countries to periodically report on their progress. President Carter signed the treaty in 1980 but the U.S. Senate has not ratified it as 174 nations have done.

Ratifying the treaty would send a powerful signal that the United States will join the world to “use the instruments available to us to hold countries accountable” for improving women’s lives, Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the Washington-based International Center for Research on Women, told legislative staff.

New Solutions in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, USAID is attempting to deal with these challenges and its methods are not always very subtle. To encourage families to educate their daughters, USAID gives extra rations of vegetable oil to girls who attend school every day for a month, Natsios said. The number of girls attending school has increased overall from 6 percent to 35 percent, Natsios said, and is reaching 50 percent in some towns.

Not all of USAID’s work in Afghanistan is so targeted at women and girls but Natsios said he has found that nearly every project is having an impact on women’s status. For instance, the U.S. program that is building a 300-mile road from Kandahar to Kabul is unexpectedly improving women’s health in southern Afghanistan. Now mothers in childbirth and women in other forms of medical distress can be driven to medical facilities in Kabul in a matter of five to six hours. Before the road was built, the trip could take two days, Natsios said.

In addition, USAID has installed day-care centers in all Afghan government ministry buildings. Natsios said women who work for the ministries–many now widows with young children–said they would not return to their jobs unless their children had a safe place to go.

While many activists and government officials say gender issues are no longer seen as women’s alone, they hope the next 30 years will bring a greater resolution to age-old problems.

“It has taken a very long time to get as far as we are and (we) have a very long road to go,” said Julia Taft, assistant administrator and director of the United Nation’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Lori Nitschke is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. She was recently a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University in New York, where she received master’s degrees in journalism and business administration. Previously, she covered economic issues for Congressional Quarterly.

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