WOMEN ACHIEVE

Dr Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary General of the UN and Executive Director of UN Habitat, has been given the ‘Goteborg Award for Sustainable Development’ which is widely considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize for the environment. It is awarded by the City of Goteborg in Sweden. In accepting the award, which comes with a cash prize of $147,000, she spoke in Swedish and said that the money would be channnelled to the UN Habitat’s support for young people living in slums. This provoked mirth among the Tanzanian government delegation, who vehemently shook their heads in mock disappointment. “How dare she? We cannot come all the way to this cold country and not be rewarded even with a cup of tea” one of them joked loudly.

In Stockholm she launched her book ‘Building Prosperity: and Economic Development’.

And, in Tanzania, US Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt has presented the 2010 ‘Tanzanian Woman of Courage Award’ to Ananilea Nkya, Executive Director of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) for her efforts to promote equality, opportunity and justice for Tanzanian women and girls. The Ambassador stressed that education will enhance women’s participation in the country’s economic activities and free them from early marriages, pregnancy and HIV/Aids. “For a bird to fly straight and high, both wings must be equally strong and developed. Both men and women must fully possess social and political rights and have equal opportunity to go for higher education”, he said. He said Nkya was given the award due to her efforts in using the mass media to raise awareness, speak out on gender-based violence, train women journalists and help repeal laws that limit women’s rights. He said that Nkya had designed a media campaign against a Zanzibar law which made pregnancy out of wedlock a crime and managed to spearhead amendments to the Marriage Act which currently allows girls younger than 18 to be married. He said that Nkya trained women politicians in 2005 aiming to increase their numbers in politics. As a result there were 1, 500 women candidates compared to 200 in previous elections. He said that through TAMWA, the government passed the ‘Sexual Offences Special Provision Act of 1998’ which criminalized FGM and increased the punishment of rapists to 30 years in jail.

Nkya is the third recipient of the Tanzania Woman of Courage Award since the US Embassy initiated it. The other recipients are Helen Kijo-Bisimba, Executive Director of the ‘Legal and Human Rights Centre’ in 2008 and Anne Malecela, MP for Same East in 2009 – Guardian.

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