NKOLE NKOLE, Dar es Salaam
THE intricate role that women play in pushing the development agenda can no longer be ignored and women’s success
stories must be documented, shared Tanzanian Vice-President Samia Hassan at the opening of the Women Advancing Africa (WAA) Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Thursday.
“This forum provides us with yet another opportunity to renew our collective efforts and commitment in identifying solutions and pitching new ideas that will ensure everyone lives a life of dignity and is not left behind in development worldwide,” Ms Hassan said.
She said it is gratifying to note that the common agenda of the WAA Forum will be based on addressing policy bottlenecks, interventions and creating a database of technical experts who will take action on agreed innovations and policies.
Profiling and documentation of women’s success stories is one of the many ways used to bring about social change, and Ms Hassan acknowledged the forum’s initiative in prioritising this to bring about gender parity.
Ms Hassan said the aim should be to reach the majority of women in urban and mostly in rural areas because there are still many women trapped in abject poverty.
“We have all met here with different feelings, emotions and euphoria of the current wave of the rise of women in the political realm. I am a vivid example.
“While we rejoice on this deciding moment, let us not be blinded by the successes. Let us remember there are still more women who are still entrenched in abject poverty despite playing a crucial role in the economy,” she said.
Speaking on the new vision for Africa and its women, politician and humanitarian, Graca Machel, said it took African people 50 years to overcome a system imposed on Africans for five centuries, but that now “we are in the second liberation of Africans, which means it is economic, social and cultural,” she explained.
Ms Machel reminded participants that advocates with clarity and strong leadership can remove obstacles, barriers and systems in a relatively short time, and that it can be done again.
She said Africans need to go deep into transforming their societies, economies and especially themselves as human beings in relationships with themselves and with others.
“The second liberation of Africa must include women, and look like who we are as African men and women, side by side at all levels and at all times,” Ms Machel said.
She added that African women of the second liberation cannot leave their lives, aspirations and rights in other people’s hands.
And Mo Ibrahim Foundation executive director Hadeel Ibrahim said the first African liberation was about power, but the second liberation must be about empowerment and governance.