Africa http://www.actionaid.org/tags/429/15 en Our offices were raided in Uganda - here's what to do if yours are too http://www.actionaid.org/2017/10/our-offices-were-raided-uganda-heres-what-do-if-yours-are-too <div class="field field-image-nid"> <div class="buildmode-embedded_image"> <div class="node node-type-image clear-block"> <div class="nd-region-middle-wrapper nd-no-sidebars" ><div class="nd-region-middle"><div class="field field-image-file"> <a href="/2017/10/our-offices-were-raided-uganda-heres-what-do-if-yours-are-too" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large imagecache-linked imagecache-thumb_large_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/thumb_large/image/8zheps49b6kxmhgnurf2pcpts9julpxjk_7prlq_pu0cnmzvvri1m8javi3wx1smuyawdnwkvjs6q2korxfvm1rzvmpy6aj5a91vxwjhqyn5oioqot2vp4ijdcdskwhhymlbzzsh.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large" width="140" height="140" /></a> </div> </div></div> </div> <!-- /node --> </div> <!-- /buildmode --> </div> <div class="field field-body"> <p>Last month, police raided the offices of <a class="c6" href="https://www.devex.com/organizations/actionaid-44486">ActionAid Uganda</a>, the <a class="c6" href="https://www.devex.com/organizations/great-lakes-institute-for-strategic-studies-limited-gliss-77834">Great Lakes Institute</a>&nbsp;(GLISS), and <a class="c6" href="http://solidarityuganda.org/">Solidarity Uganda</a>. More raids on the offices of other NGOs have since followed. Every indication is that we should prepare for a long, drawn-out attack on Ugandan civil society.</p><p>Uganda is one of a growing number of countries experiencing a closing of civic space, putting at risk human rights defenders and the communities we serve and protect. The <a class="c6" href="https://monitor.civicus.org">Civicus Monitor</a>&nbsp;offers a disturbing depiction of the state of civic space globally, with the latest developments in Uganda earning the country a rating of “repressed” — one category above “closed,” in a five-category rating system.</p><p>In this instance, the offices of ActionAid Uganda, GLISS, and Solidarity Uganda were raided by police in a cordon and search operation. At ActionAid, staff were prevented from leaving for several hours as police thoroughly searched the premises; removing documents and confiscating phones and laptops. The search warrant claimed that all three organizations were involved in “illicit financial transactions” and “subversive activities to destabilize Uganda.” The severity of these accusations and subsequent raids on other NGOs indicate that an attack on civil society is underway.</p><p>As this encroachment continues, I reflect on possible motives behind these recent attacks; what they might mean for the future; and what lessons we can learn, as we prepare for further threats.</p><p>The office raid appears to be part of a wider crackdown on legitimate protests against the plan to remove the presidential age limit from the Ugandan Constitution, thus allowing the current president to remain in power indefinitely.</p><h3>We think these attacks have ulterior motives.</h3><ol><li><strong>To delegitimize civil society</strong>. Police raids on our offices immediately present us as subversive elements. This could affect our public image, and that of civil society in general. It could also scare away our funding partners and threaten the stability of our work.</li><li><strong>To compromise our systems and information</strong>. These attacks disrupt our work, and potentially sow seeds for future surveillance by targeting our communications systems and infrastructure.</li><li><strong>To disrupt and derail us from our mission</strong>. Part of our mission as civil society is to help articulate public positions. We are opposed to regressive constitutional amendments. We will invest in organizing citizens to resist attempts to remove the age-limit, even though we know this puts us in direct conflict with the ruling party.</li><li><strong>To threaten and demoralize civil society</strong>. In the hopes of driving us into self-censorship, weakening our resolve, and preventing us from tackling injustice.</li><li><strong>To provide a justification for further action</strong>. Such as halting activities of civil society under the pretext that investigations are still ongoing. We have already seen this happening in the case of ActionAid, where two field activities have been halted by the police.</li></ol><p>What can we learn from these attacks and what should civil society do to defend ourselves in ongoing efforts to protect civic space? How can we ensure that we are not derailed in our mission to tackle injustice and poverty?</p><h3>Here are some tips if your office is at risk of being raided.<strong> </strong></h3><ol><li><strong>Always keep your house in order. </strong>You must update and back up all institutional information and documentation. During the impromptu siege, the police demanded documents without delay. If we had failed to do so, it may have caused unnecessary suspicion.</li><li><strong>Staff and board members must understand all processes in the organization. </strong>If interrogated, we do not want colleagues to inadvertently arouse suspicion by saying inconsistent things about how we organize ourselves and what our business processes are.</li><li><strong>Rapid legal response is necessary. </strong>As civic and political space continues to shrink in Uganda and globally, we must strengthen our legal response capabilities. The presence of competent lawyers is extremely important.</li><li><strong>A positive relationship with the media is essential. </strong>The media were very helpful in reporting the siege — and established relations meant they did so in a manner that was both supportive and objective. Social media platforms were of increased importance during this crisis, and future investment here is key.</li><li><strong>Being relevant to civil society and wider citizens’ struggles. </strong>The immense show of solidarity from other civil society organizations, politicians, and the public at our time of need demonstrated our value and relevance to civil society. The more outward looking an NGO, the more likely it is to receive much-needed solidarity from others. We were able to call upon our supporters both in Uganda and across the world to amplify our voice and provide solidarity.<strong></strong></li><li><strong>Beware of potential informers. </strong>Finally, we have learned that the forces that seek to undermine our work are in our midst. It is therefore important to better understand our internal environment and partners with whom we work. We must remain vigilant and transparent and have the confidence to defend what we stand for.</li></ol><p>The threat to civil society is far-reaching. We must learn from these attacks and work together to protect and defend the legitimacy and effectiveness of the work that we do.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-our-offices-were-raided-in-uganda-here-s-what-to-do-if-yours-are-too-91288">Devex.com</a>.</em></p> </div> http://www.actionaid.org/2017/10/our-offices-were-raided-uganda-heres-what-do-if-yours-are-too#comments Africa Uganda Governance International Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:41:40 +0000 arthur.larok 710278 at http://www.actionaid.org Agroecology and Resilience Project Stories of Change (ActionAid Senegal) http://www.actionaid.org/publications/agroecology-and-resilience-project-stories-change-actionaid-senegal <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/agroecology-and-resilience-project-stories-change-actionaid-senegal" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_heading_right/aerstoriesofchange.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right" width="240" height="114" /></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid Senegal </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/aerstoriesofchange.pdf"><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/application-pdf.png" /><span>aerstoriesofchange.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-09-21T00:00:00+01:00">Thursday, September 21, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p><div class="ibimage-with-caption null" style="width:555px;"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_content_fullwidth/image/dsc00091.jpg" alt="File 38293" title="" class="ibimage" width="555" height="369" /><span class="ibimage-caption">Weather Information System Helps Avoid Farming Losses in Bakho. Photo: Jenna Farineau, ActionAid USA</span></div></p> </div> Africa Senegal Food & land rights International Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:42:30 +0000 Rob Safar 708723 at http://www.actionaid.org Agroecology and Resilience Project Brochure (ActionAid Senegal) http://www.actionaid.org/publications/agroecology-and-resilience-project-brochure-actionaid-senegal <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/agroecology-and-resilience-project-brochure-actionaid-senegal" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_heading_right/aerbrochure.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right" width="240" height="185" /></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid Senegal </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/aerbrochure.pdf"><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/application-pdf.png" /><span>aerbrochure.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-09-21T00:00:00+01:00">Thursday, September 21, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p><div class="ibimage-with-caption null" style="width:555px;"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_content_fullwidth/image/dsc00432.jpg" alt="File 38292" title="" class="ibimage" width="555" height="416" /><span class="ibimage-caption">Improving the food security of vulnerable communities. Photo: Djiby Sow, ActionAid Senegal</span></div></p> </div> Africa Senegal Food & land rights International Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:41:26 +0000 Rob Safar 708722 at http://www.actionaid.org Tax, privatisation and the right to education: Influencing education financing and tax policy to transform children’s lives. http://www.actionaid.org/publications/tax-privatisation-and-right-education-influencing-education-financing-and-tax-policy-tr <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/tax-privatisation-and-right-education-influencing-education-financing-and-tax-policy-tr" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_heading_right/tax_privatisation_and_the_right_to_education_with_blank_pages_after_edits_with_adobe_pro.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right" width="240" height="340" /></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/tax_privatisation_report_online.pdf"><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/application-pdf.png" /><span>tax_privatisation_report_online.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-09-01T00:00:00+01:00">Friday, September 1, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>The current report is the synthesis of the participatory research carried out as part of the Tax, Privatisation and Right to Education multi country project, and is based on the national reports produced by ActionAid in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan respectively. It aims to shed light on how much families pay for education in these four countries and how these direct and indirect fees could be eliminated to enable access to education.</p><p>Findings signal that families have to pay a high percentage (ranging from 6.9% in Pakistan to 33.7% in Uganda for public schools, and 25% to 173% respectively for private schools) of their income in terms of schools related costs, even when public schools are supposed to be free at primary level in these four countries. Despite these costs, when all fees and levies are taken into account, private schools tend to be between 3 and 5 times even more expensive than public schools.</p><p>Yet, because of the lack of adequate financing, partly due to governments giving away excessive tax incentives and not curbing tax evasion, the perceived declining quality of public education in these four countries is pushing families to make hard choices to find other alternatives. Private schools are growing as a result of this demand and the lack of effective regulation, creating and entrenching social inequalities and leading to the stigmatisation of public education.</p> </div> Africa Ghana Kenya Pakistan Uganda Asia Tax Justice Education Governance International Fri, 01 Sep 2017 13:40:18 +0000 Rob Safar 707484 at http://www.actionaid.org The wrong model for resilience: How G7-backed drought insurance failed Malawi, and what we must learn from it http://www.actionaid.org/publications/wrong-model-resilience-how-g7-backed-drought-insurance-failed-malawi-and-what-we-must-l <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/wrong-model-resilience-how-g7-backed-drought-insurance-failed-malawi-and-what-we-must-l" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_heading_right/the_wrong_model_for_resilience_final_180517.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right" width="240" height="340" /></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> Jonathan Reeves, ActionAid UK </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/the_wrong_model_for_resilience_final_230517.pdf"><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/application-pdf.png" /><span>the_wrong_model_for_resilience_final_230517.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-05-24T00:00:00+01:00">Wednesday, May 24, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>The G7-backed African Risk Capacity (ARC) drought insurance policy was an <strong>experiment that failed Malawi</strong>, and <strong>in particular its women</strong>, in the face of a drought that need not have become a disaster. The insurance, for which Malawi paid US$5 million(m), failed to deliver on its promise of timely assistance, which 6.7m food-insecure Malawians so sorely needed, due to <strong>major defects in the model, data and process</strong> used to determine a pay-out. After the declaration of a national emergency in April 2016, uproar at ARC’s decision that no pay-out was warranted was eventually followed by agreement in November to pay Malawi $8m. But this payment, made only in January 2017, was <strong>too little, too late</strong> and effectively represented an economic loss to Malawi. In the meantime, the Government was left pursuing conventional means of raising money to buy food for its hungry citizens, with the total drought response costs estimated at $395m.</p><p>This technical failure has brought home to Malawian policymakers and stakeholders the more fundamental <strong>poor value for money</strong> of the drought insurance model so strongly promoted by the G7, the World Bank and other powerful development actors, and how their scarce resources could better be spent. <strong>Not one of the government officials with key roles in climate risk management or other expert national stakeholders we spoke to would choose to renew the insurance policy</strong>. Instead, they would use the money for no-regrets adaptation and resilience-building options that are proven to work but severely under- resourced. They would invest in making their <strong>social protection</strong> system more integrated, scalable, adaptive and universal; or supporting more <strong>climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture</strong> and more <strong>irrigation</strong>; or adequately resourcing <strong>decentralised disaster risk reduction</strong> (DRR) and enhancing the network of <strong>weather stations</strong>; or saving at least some of the money each year in a <strong>contingency fund</strong> for disasters.</p><p>The women farmers we spoke to additionally called for more <strong>inclusive extension services</strong> and more <strong>training in how to run their popular village savings and loans schemes</strong> (VSLs) and potentially grow them into cooperatives. They were unfamiliar with insurance and wary of financial institutions. They were already using a form of risk management through the emergency fund in their VSLs, but needed support to expand this.</p> </div> Africa Malawi Emergencies & Conflict International Wed, 24 May 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Rob Safar 700260 at http://www.actionaid.org Charter of Demands: Actualizing women's land rights in Africa http://www.actionaid.org/publications/charter-demands-actualizing-womens-land-rights-africa <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/charter-demands-actualizing-womens-land-rights-africa" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_heading_right/english_charter_to_print_final.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right" width="240" height="331" /></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> Women to Kilimanjaro, ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/english_charter_to_print_final.pdf"><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/application-pdf.png" /><span>english_charter_to_print_final.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-03-29T00:00:00+01:00">Wednesday, March 29, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>The Kilimanjaro Initiative is a rural women’s mobilisation from across Africa towards an iconic moment at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro in October 2016. The Kilimanjaro Initiative was conceived when, we the Rural Women of Africa with support from civil society, met in Dar es Salaam in 2012. This initiative aims to create space for us to be able to participate in decision making processes about land and natural resources.</p><p>With 2016 declared by the 26th African Union Summit as “Africa Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women”, coupled with the transition from MDGs into SDGs, our quest for actualization of our right to land and natural resources towards a food and nutritional secure continent could have never been timelier.</p><p>Also noting that in October 2015, the AU Special Technical Committee on agriculture, water and environ- ment recommended that Member States allocate at least 30% of land to women; improve land rights of women through legislative/other mechanisms, in order to give prac- tical effect to the AU declaration on Land in which all African states committed to ensure equitable access to land for all land users and strengthen women’s land rights. The women have therefore pro- claimed this Charter of principles and demands specifically on women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose their land and natural resources.</p><p>Download the Charter in:</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/english_charter_to_print_final.pdf">English</a></li><li><a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/french_charter_to_print_final.pdf">French</a></li><li><a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/portuguese_charter_to_print_final.pdf">Portuguese</a></li><li><a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/swahili_charter_to_print.pdf">Swahili</a></li></ul> </div> Africa Food & land rights International Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:30:00 +0000 Rob Safar 696618 at http://www.actionaid.org Young Urban Women: Exploring Interlinkages: Bodily Integrity, Economic Security and Equitable Distribution of Unpaid Care Work http://www.actionaid.org/publications/young-urban-women-exploring-interlinkages-bodily-integrity-economic-security-and-equita <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/young-urban-women-exploring-interlinkages-bodily-integrity-economic-security-and-equita" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_heading_right/youngurbanwomen2017-page-001.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right" width="240" height="339" /></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/youngurbanwomen2017.pdf"><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/application-pdf.png" /><span>youngurbanwomen2017.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2015-11-30T00:00:00+00:00">Monday, November 30, 2015</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>ActionAid and its partners have, since 2013, been working to address the issues of bodily integrity and economic security among approximately 5800 young women in the age group of 15- 25 years in seven cities in Ghana, South Africa and India through the ‘Young Urban Women: Life Choices and Livelihoods’ programme. The programme is deliberate in its urban framing and targetingdue to the reality of rapid urbanisation in Africa and Asia, which is believed to have great potential for youth employment and better access to public services, but which often sets the stage for discrimination and exploitation, particularly among poor urban populations. Between May and August 2015, the programmecommissioned a research aimed at creating a better understanding about the linkages between young urban women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and their economic rights – including their burden of unpaid care work and access to decent work. Through this research, the programme set out to break the trend of looking at economic livelihoods on one hand and sexual and reproductive health and rights on the other hand in isolation, failing to recognize how these intersect in women’s everyday lives. In addition, unpaid care work intersects with and greatly impacts both these areas and therefore needs to be included in creating a more holistic impact on the lives of young urban women. In the course of implementing the programme, it became clear that lack of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on young women greatly impacted their wellbeing, agency and access to decent work. Further, young women who were in paid employment did not see a notable change in their burden of unpaid care work.</p><p>A total of 96 young women in Accra, Johannesburg and Hyderabad took part in the research, which was designed as peer-to-peer in order to encourage them to tell their own stories while building their knowledge and skills around analysing their lives, voicing concern and proposing solutions. Across the research sites, the interlinkages between bodily integrity, economic security and unpaid care responsibilities were not linear, but rather multifaceted andcomplex.</p> </div> Africa Ghana India South Africa Asia unpaid care work Womens Rights International Tue, 28 Feb 2017 12:00:54 +0000 paul.griffiths 692882 at http://www.actionaid.org Real solutions needed for mining in South Africa http://www.actionaid.org/2017/02/real-solutions-needed-mining-south-africa <div class="field field-image-nid"> <div class="buildmode-embedded_image"> <div class="node node-type-image clear-block"> <div class="nd-region-middle-wrapper nd-no-sidebars" ><div class="nd-region-middle"><div class="field field-image-file"> <a href="/2017/02/real-solutions-needed-mining-south-africa" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large imagecache-linked imagecache-thumb_large_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/thumb_large/image/img_2127.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large" width="140" height="140" /></a> </div> </div></div> </div> <!-- /node --> </div> <!-- /buildmode --> </div> <div class="field field-body"> <blockquote><p dir="ltr">Leadership is about falling in love with the people you serve and the people falling in love with you.</p></blockquote><p>- <a href="https://www.devex.com/news/joyce-banda-leadership-is-a-love-affair-87138">Joyce Banda</a></p><p dir="ltr">This Valentine’s day, we would do well to consider these words of the former President of Malawi. Last week saw both the Mining Indaba - a gathering of governments and corporations discussing how to expand the mining sector in Africa - and tumultuous scenes at the South African State of the Nation Address take place in Cape Town. Judging by these events, the state of leadership in South Africa and beyond is poor.</p><p dir="ltr">Leaders weren’t the only ones to convene in Cape Town last week. Mining-affected communities and their allies convened in the eighth annual Alternative Mining Indaba. Community members and citizens had stories to tell - stories of <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37097941">rape</a>, <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-08-11-marikana-the-missing-consequences-of-a-massacre/">murder</a>, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/conflict-minerals-bringing-death-to-the-democratic-republic-of-congo-as-eu-plans-laws-to-clean-up-10255483.html">war</a>, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652614010269">forced displacement </a>and other human rights violations. These crimes are awful enough, but are made even more awful by the fact that they are a continuation of a <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/12064939/We-dont-want-to-erase-Cecil-Rhodes-from-history.-We-want-everyone-to-know-his-crimes.html">long history of crimes in the mining sector</a> - going back to colonial times - and that they are preventable.</p><p dir="ltr">These crimes have been documented again and again. Yet Africa’s leaders insist on continuing the process of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Conference">carving up the continent </a>to be given to <a href="https://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/brazilian-mining-giant-vale-voted-worst-corporation-in-the-world-3690">the worst elements of global capitalism</a> at <a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/07/commodities">deflated prices</a> to support manufacturing and job creation in other places.</p><p dir="ltr">Einstein’s famous <a href="http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/26032.html">definition</a> of madness bears repeating here - doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.</p><p dir="ltr">Sometimes our demands for accountability for crimes committed can feed into the cycle of madness. Restitution for wrongs committed, improved living conditions, and better access to services, while all laudable goals, are band-aid solutions. Sometimes we get so caught up in these necessary but incomplete remedies we forget to think beyond them, to real solutions that would ensure development and human rights for all. Such solutions might include:</p><p dir="ltr">1) <strong>Keep it in the ground</strong>. Many developed countries developed without natural resource extraction and many developed countries that do have natural resources choose not to develop them as fully as they could. We know from studying the history of developed countries that there are very few countries that developed through natural resource exploitation. At the least, countries must diversify away from the mining sector which has failed to provide decent livelihoods and provide human rights for all.</p><p dir="ltr">2) Focus on strategies that <strong>create more and better jobs</strong>. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jul/15/africa-industrial-policy-washington-orthodoxy">History shows us </a>that export-driven development in general means moving up the value chain away from raw materials and towards products with more and more value added. This is also a strategy for creating more and better jobs for all.</p><p dir="ltr">3) <strong>Tax it and give it away</strong>. Given the amount of wealth being hoarded by the super rich in South Africa and globally, governments need to find ways to capture more of that wealth through taxation and through policies like maximum wages that would limit the amount of wealth that can be hoarded in the future. That money should be given to people - perhaps starting with women - through some kind of national cash transfer programme - whether the universal basic income that countries like <a href="http://nordic.businessinsider.com/finlands-upcoming-basic-income-experiment---heres-what-you-need-to-know-2016-8">Finland</a> are experimenting with or the Employment Guarantee schemes that countries like <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/feb/05/india-rural-employment-funding-cuts-mgnrega">India</a> and <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/brazil/2015-12-14/brazils-antipoverty-breakthrough">Brazil</a> use.</p><p dir="ltr">If these solutions sound radical, consider that we live at a time when <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38613488">8 billionaires</a> control 50% of the world’s wealth. That’s a level of inequality that would have seemed obscene even in ancient times. Deep rooted problems require radical solutions. If leaders in South Africa and around the continent would have the love of the people, they would do well to remember the words of another African leader, <a href="https://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/brazilian-mining-giant-vale-voted-worst-corporation-in-the-world-3690">Patrice Lumumba</a>, who said of colonial leaders, “all means are good if they help them possess the riches.”</p> </div> http://www.actionaid.org/2017/02/real-solutions-needed-mining-south-africa#comments Africa South Africa Mining/Fair mining Food & land rights Governance International Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:32:28 +0000 Sameer.dossani 692163 at http://www.actionaid.org The Challenges of Education Reform and Privatisation in Liberia http://www.actionaid.org/2016/12/challenges-education-reform-and-privatisation-liberia <div class="field field-image-nid"> <div class="buildmode-embedded_image"> <div class="node node-type-image clear-block"> <div class="nd-region-middle-wrapper nd-no-sidebars" ><div class="nd-region-middle"><div class="field field-image-file"> <a href="/2016/12/challenges-education-reform-and-privatisation-liberia" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large imagecache-linked imagecache-thumb_large_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/thumb_large/image/144723.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large" width="140" height="140" /></a> </div> </div></div> </div> <!-- /node --> </div> <!-- /buildmode --> </div> <div class="field field-body"> <p>There are some major challenges in access, quality and equity in the Liberian education system – but is privatisation the right solution? Of the total population, 47% of Liberia have received no education and over 18% of primary aged children today are not enrolled in school. A huge number of those enrolled are over-age and just 54% of those who do enrol, complete primary school. There is a huge gulf between the performance of girls from low income families in rural communities and boys from wealthier urban families. To confront these multiple challenges the government has developed a new Education Sector Plan “Getting to Best” which outlines some credible ideas for systemic reform. However, the process of developing the plan has not been as transparent and inclusive as it should have been, there are serious gaps in the projected domestic financing of education and the plan includes a disproportionate focus on the “Partnership Schools for Liberia” pilot programme. This controversial public private partnership involves 8 different private providers in 94 schools and is designed in such a distorted way as to make it impossible to scale up across the system.</p><p>According to guidelines from the Global Partnership for Education, education sector plans should be developed through a <strong>transparent, inclusive process </strong>with governments in the driving seat, working with in-country donors, national civil society and teacher unions. In the case of Liberia many concerns have been expressed. Some of the key documents were not available to everyone in a timely fashion and yet a rushed decision for approval of the plan was sought. It was not clear how the government intends to incorporate constructive feedback on the plan or what the status is of the controversial pilot programme – and so at this stage the plan cannot be said to have broad or full ownership across society, seriously limiting the feasibility of implementing it.</p><p>One clear problem with the Education Sector Plan is that it does not include adequate <strong>commitments of domestic financing. </strong>At present 13.5% of the national budget is spent on education and this is predicted to rise only to 15% and then fall again to 14.5%&nbsp; in the following years – all of which falls far short of the widely recognised benchmark of 20%. Spending on primary education is also predicted to remain at just 40% (short of the recommended 45%) whilst higher education spending is projected to rise. With these figures it will be difficult to persuade the Global Partnership for Education to provide the provisionally allocated support of $11 million to Liberia next year.</p><p>There are many <strong>good ideas in the Education Sector Plan</strong>, including proposed programmes to reach out of school children, address the crisis in over-age enrolment, improve the teacher workforce, develop policies on girls’ education,&nbsp; strengthen quality standards, establish school improvement grants,&nbsp; deepen school accountability and improve early childhood education. However, most of these programmes are seriously under-resourced. The only programme that seems to have full resourcing is the controversial public private partnership of the “Partnership Schools for Liberia” (PSL) pilot programme. This pilot concentrates very significant resources and political energy on a pilot involving just 94 public schools (about <strong>3% of public schools </strong>– that are not evenly spread across the country).&nbsp; The same funds could make a significant difference to some of the urgently needed systemic reform programmes flagged above that would benefit all Liberian schools.</p><p>There <strong>are eight different providers</strong> involved in PSL: Bridge International Academies (24 schools), BRAC Liberia (20 schools), Omega (19 schools), Street Child (12), Rising Academies (5), More than Me (6), Stella Maris (4) and Liberian Youth Network (4). It is not clear what agreements have been reached with each provider but it seems that the contract with Bridge is for $8 million – a substantial sum given the total education budget of Liberia is only $41 million.</p><p>There are plans for a major <strong>Randomised Control Trial evaluation of PSL </strong>that will track progress of this pilot over the coming three years. However there are serious concerns over whether the evaluation of PSL can be truly objective or generate any useful learning when PSL schools are receiving significantly more funding than the government control schools against which they will be compared. Indeed, the PSL schools not only have more money ($50 per child – that government schools do not get), but also smaller classes (capped at 45 per class – with many children thus excluded from their local school) and significantly more political and managerial attention from the Ministry. There &nbsp;seem to be various dubious ways in which some providers have been selective of the schools they took on (Bridge demanded schools on accessible roads, with electricity and internet connectivity – which is highly atypical) and even selective of the children, teachers and principals in their schools.&nbsp; How will the government of Liberia or anyone else learn anything, other than the already evident truth that if you select the best schools, spend more money per student and have smaller class sizes you will get better results?</p><p>In the coming weeks and months there is an urgent need for civil society organisations in Liberia to gather <strong>independent data</strong> about the PSL pilot and <strong>collate evidence from the field in a systematic way.</strong> There are already many anecdotes, photos, interviews with parents and teachers and this material needs to be catalogued, synthesised and analysed. But it also needs to be complemented by some <strong>detailed qualitative research on a selection of the PSL schools </strong>–in order to get a full picture of the impact of the pilot (including tracking the children excluded from these formerly public schools). It is likely that public education will become a major issue in the 2017 Presidential elections and there may even be legal challenges to the privatisation programme.&nbsp; For those interested in defending quality public education, Liberia is a country to watch closely!</p><p><em></em></p><p><a href="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/liberia_-_reflections_on_education_reform_-_6th_dec.docx"><em><strong>&gt; Download David's full report.</strong> </em></a></p><p><em>This article was originally published on the <a href="https://www.unite4education.org/uncategorized/the-challenges-of-education-reform-and-privatisation-in-liberia/">Unite for Quality Education website</a>.</em></p> </div> http://www.actionaid.org/2016/12/challenges-education-reform-and-privatisation-liberia#comments Africa Liberia Education Governance International Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:23:16 +0000 david.archer 688419 at http://www.actionaid.org Land Rights for Women: Talk is cheap http://www.actionaid.org/2016/10/land-rights-women-talk-cheap <div class="field field-image-nid"> <div class="buildmode-embedded_image"> <div class="node node-type-image clear-block"> <div class="nd-region-middle-wrapper nd-no-sidebars" ><div class="nd-region-middle"><div class="field field-image-file"> <a href="/2016/10/land-rights-women-talk-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large imagecache-linked imagecache-thumb_large_linked"><img src="http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/thumb_large/image/img_20161012_144231.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large" width="140" height="140" /></a> </div> </div></div> </div> <!-- /node --> </div> <!-- /buildmode --> </div> <div class="field field-body"> <p>The women of Africa have categorically stated that talk is cheap. The time for real action is now. They have scaled the highest mountain on the continent just to tell their leaders that their patience has been used up. They are not willing to continue with the rhetoric that has continued for decades with regards to their land rights.</p><p><a title="1Activista Ghana Solidarity" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/womentokilimanjaro/29540980584/" data-flickr-embed="true"><img src="https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8277/29540980584_fd1ebeca7f.jpg" alt="1Activista Ghana Solidarity" width="500" height="375" /></a></p><script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script><p>Our continent is not short of policies and frameworks that proffer security of tenure to land and natural resources for women. The <a href="http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-documents/LPI/au_declaration_on_land_issues_eng.pdf">African Union (AU) Declaration on Land</a> is one example that gives force to the AU Framework and Guideline for land Policies in Africa (F&amp;G), and was adopted by African heads of states in 2009. It theoretically commits governments to ensure equitable access to land for all land users and strengthen women’s land rights. When implemented, the guidelines require governments to review their land sector and develop comprehensive land policies; ensure policy provisions have a path to increase access to land and strengthen rights of women; ensure women are in leadership positions in land institutions; decentralise to increase access to institutions that govern land; and make use of the F&amp;G to guide their national land policy process. The F&amp;G provides direction on how to address challenges facing women to access land.</p><p><a title="DSC_0208" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/womentokilimanjaro/29089421964/" data-flickr-embed="true"><img src="https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8492/29089421964_78efb3eac3.jpg" alt="DSC_0208" width="500" height="333" /></a></p><script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script><p>Many countries have adhered to this commitment and developed land policies in conformity with the AU F&amp;G. From Mozambique to Ethiopia, Sierra Leone to Kenya and many countries in between have new land policies. It is therefore not for lack of policies that women in Africa are still not enjoying their land rights.</p><p><img src="http://actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_content_fullwidth/image/vid_20161011_091118.3gp.jpg" alt="File 35848" title="" class="ibimage null" width="555" height="312" /></p><p>And it is with all these in mind that 29 rural women from 13 countries in Africa, representing thousands of rural women, scaled the highest mountain to demonstrate their resolve for change and to show that they are willing to do the impossible for their voices and demands to be heard. With the same resolve, over 400 of their fellow women converged in Arusha to agree upon a charter of demands for their leaders to act upon with urgency. The women need leaders to take decisive actions to tackle issues impeding their exercising of land rights: the implementation of laws, policies, frameworks, social cultural barriers, land investments, and threats to women human rights defenders.</p><p>The political leaders and government officials present in Arusha pronounced good will speeches to support the rural women’s demands. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission commited the AU to enforcing these demands. Yet, so many commitments have been made in the past. Continued advocacy is paramount if these demands are to be eventually met. And indeed, the women in their country and regional formations have plans for such continued advocacy.</p><p><a title="W2K" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/womentokilimanjaro/29944775320/" data-flickr-embed="true"><img src="https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5765/29944775320_24cf9988dd.jpg" alt="W2K" width="500" height="375" /></a></p><script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script><p>The heroic efforts of the 29 women climbers were recognised and celebrated with song and dance by their fellow women who went to receive their heroes as they descended Mt. Kilimanjaro. Similarly, there was jubilation in various countries as the rural women’s caravans made their return journeys back home. From Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria and many other countries, celebratory receptions for the women made headlines in the news.</p><p>The presence of officials from the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) of the African Union, Africa Development Bank and UNECA in Arusha was a good indicator of the interest and the weight AUC puts to the women’s land rights agenda in Africa. The LPI provides a good vehicle to take this agenda to the rest of the continent, being mandated to implement the AU’s commitments on land and particularly the 2015 AU resolution that 30% registered land rights must be in the names of women by 2030.</p><p>And truly the women know what they want - all they need is support and real action from their leaders...</p><p><img src="http://actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/imagecache/image_content_fullwidth/image/vid_20161012_112848.3gp.jpg" alt="File 35849" title="" class="ibimage null" width="555" height="312" /></p><script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script> </div> http://www.actionaid.org/2016/10/land-rights-women-talk-cheap#comments Africa women2kilimanjaro Food & land rights Womens Rights International Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:54:23 +0000 catherine.gatundu 681779 at http://www.actionaid.org