Governance and participation in health

Women rise
Tay K: Accra dot Alt, Live from the Ghana Space Station, August 2016

A new project ‘woman, rise’ is a special collaboration project with Ghanaian muralist, Ayambire Faustina Nsoh, who descends from a tradition of women-led painting that carries lessons and messages around ethics and social relations, as well as a practice in space and design making daily life more beautiful. Visually, ‘woman, rise’, draws on how Nsoh learned how to paint from her grandmother in Sirigu, northern Ghana, and the global activist tradition of political murals, graffiti and stenciling. Horn’s project asks some critical probing by asking these questions: When we dream of African freedom, do we dream in the colours of our grandmothers’ cloths? Do we dream in the voice of young women rallying in a public square for an end to tyranny? And as we dream, do we hear the sound of women spirit mediums fortifying our souls by humming the ancestors into our midst? These women crafters of our liberation- do we know their names? These women who have offered heartbeat and intellect and magic to clear space in the world so all of us can breathe, do we know their faces? ‘Woman, rise’ explores the spirit of African women’s dynamic contributions to shaping selves, communities and a world that is equal. It invokes the history of African women who have worked against the grain of social expectations and offered their spiritual, intellectual and emotional power to the work of social change.

Women-led NGOs make the difference
Maro I: Daily News, 4 November 2008

This article discusses the exemplary leadership women have displayed in organisations they lead in Tanzania, such as women-led organisations like the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), Women in Legal Aid Committee (WILAC), Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA), Equal Opportunities Trust Fund (EOTF), Wanawake na Maendeleo (WAMA) and the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA). All these organisations have well-established constitutions-legally-binding documents that guide their operations, permanent premises, dynamic organisational structures and transparency in their operations as well as clean certificates of books of accounts. The organisations’ activities are generally recognised by the government, general public and the international community.

Working with civil society in fragile states: How can civil society in fragile states be effectively supported?
Dowst M: International NGO Training and Research Centre, 2009

This briefing paper aims to distil the core questions which the fragile states literature and experiences in fragile states present, with the aim of structuring space for discussion of these issues in non-governmental organisation (NGO) practice and exploring directions for further research. It found that networks are not guaranteed to work better solely by having increased resources and in many cases are not a genuine solution. NGOs must work in and strive to ameliorate the environment of mistrust through building trust and social cohesion at a community level. Underlying all fragile states discussion must be a thorough and continuous contextual analysis, as cases of fragility vary greatly and are individually extremely dynamic. There is clearly a need for civil society to innovate and pursue alternative solutions in fragile states where traditional methods do not seem to be working. The challenge for civil society is to engage more effectively in policy dialogue on fragile stages, building on their programmatic experience of working directly with poor communities.

Working with marginalised communities on using data and technology in advocacy
Ganesh M; Slater D; Martini B: Beatrice Martini Blog on Tech and Tools for Justice and Rights, May 2015

Mutual trust and respect, real commitment to collaboration and flexibility are all essential elements to be responsibly equipped to work with a marginalised community. And they are not even enough. The authors write in this paper about the experience of working with marginalised communities on using data and technology in advocacy as they think it could greatly help other practitioners planning to collaborate with groups struggling to get their rights honoured and their voices heard. The authors summarise advice emerging from the case study as to: listen to and learn from the community, keeping assumptions at bay; give ownership of the work to the community itself; build capacity tailored to its needs and abilities, accessibly and sustainably; provide people with the tools and methodologies that equip them to work independently on more successful initiatives in the future.

Workshop report: Politicizing African urban ecologies: Enabling radical geographical research practices for African scholars
Duminy J: University of Pretoria, South Africa, November 2014

The term “urban political describes a critical approach to studying cities across a number of areas, from environmental issues (such as climate change, air pollution, and nature conservation) to urban flows (such as sanitation and electricity provision). Many scholars believe that there is a need for a more explicitly political approach to these topics that draws attention to who wins and who loses as cities change, as well as to how urbanization as a process is shaped by power relations. These ideas informed the Urban Political Ecology in African Cities Workshop, Pretoria South Africa held in September 2014, organized by the Situated Ecologies collective (SUPE). The report presents discussions on options for scholars and residents in cities of Africa and the global South to integrate power relations in their work on urban change.

World Bank declares itself above the law
Dolack P: Counterpunch, March 2017

The author argues that destruction of the environment, human rights abuses and mass displacement have been ignored in the name of “development” that works to intensify neoliberal inequality. In response to legal attempts to hold it to account, the author argues that the World Bank has declared itself above the law. The latest attempt at accountability is a lawsuit filed in the U.S. federal court in Washington by EarthRights International, a human rights and environmental non-governmental organisation, charging that the World Bank has turned a blind eye to systematic abuses associated with palm-oil plantations in Honduras that it has financed. EarthRights International alleges that the World Bank has “repeatedly and consistently provided critical funding to Dinant, Honduran palm oil companies, knowing that Dinant was waging a campaign of violence, terror, and dispossession against farmers, and that their money would be used to aid the commission of gross human rights abuses.” The lawsuit reports that the International Finance Corporation’s ombudsman said the World Bank division “failed to spot or deliberately ignored the serious social, political and human rights context.” These failures arose “from staff incentives ‘to overlook, fail to articulate, or even conceal potential environmental, social and conflict risk’ and ‘to get money out the door.’ ” Despite this internal report, the suit says, the World Bank continued to provide financing and that the ombudsman has “no authority to remedy abuses.”

World Health Organisation Executive Board meeting 138
World Health Organisation: Geneva, January 2016

The WHO Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for three-year terms. The main Board meeting, at which the agenda for the forthcoming Health Assembly is agreed upon and resolutions for forwarding to the Health Assembly are adopted, is held in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly, for more administrative matters. The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work. The full set of documents under consideration at the 138th WHO Executive Board meeting are available online at the organisation's website.

Xenophobia under spotlight during SADC Parliamentary Forum
Buthelezi Z: SABC News, 7 July 2015

South Africa has continued to face questions about the recent xenophobic violence directed at African immigrants. The issue was raised during a discussion on migration on the side-lines of the 37th Session of the South African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum meeting at Zimbali north of Durban. Lawmakers, experts and government officials were among those who participated in the discussion on migration. At least seven people were killed and thousands others displaced from their homes during attacks on foreign nationals that started in KwaZulu-Natal in April. Speakers called for the movement of people around the continent - including of South Africans - to be encouraged. The Director of the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, argued that African countries need to take a developmental approach to migration policies - in the same way that countries like the US have done. A South African provincial special reference group led by former UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay is looking into the causes of xenophobic violence and what should be done to prevent it from re-emerging. The group is expected to conclude its work in October.

Young Heed AIDS Warning

More young South Africans are heeding safe sex campaigns and cutting their chances of getting AIDS or the HIV virus which causes it, a new survey said last month, heartening the nation worst hit by the pandemic. But despite the promising trend the survey highlighted high infection levels among young children. It also urged the government to act quickly to give people with HIV the anti-retroviral drugs which can slow the onset of AIDS.


Third World Network, Oxfam International and Health Gap Coalition are launching a global online petition which we hope will demonstrate the strength of global public support for WTO patent rules that put people before the profits of powerful drug companies. The petition is addressed to George Bush as a leading international figure whose government is blocking changes and clarifications to the TRIPS Agreement that would mean cheaper medicines for people in developing countries. The petition will run from September 1st through to the WTO Ministerial in Quatar in November where it will be handed over to the US Government. Sign and support the petition which is online at the Oxfam website.

Further details: /newsletter/id/28784