See also:
» 23.02.2010 - UN ropes in private sector for gender equality
» 23.11.2009 - Women researchers still scarce, UNESCO
» 24.09.2009 - CGI partners announce new commitments to empower girls and women
» 02.09.2009 - Global women’s forum make claim on economic stimulus funds
» 06.08.2009 - US assures women of support in food production
» 17.11.2008 - African symposium focus on women's role in agriculture
» 25.06.2007 - US First Lady tours Africa
» 08.03.2004 - African AIDS widows left without inheritance

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Gender - Women | Politics | Health

"Global Fund not for 1st ladies"

afrol News, 19 October - A leading Senegalese economist and president of the African Women's Millennium Initiative on Poverty and Human Rights, AWOMI, Yassin Fall has launched a crusade against "misuse" of the Global Fund in Africa, in particular by first ladies and governments.

Ms Fall wonders why global funds which are meant to eradicate poverty and diseases in Africa are still supporting first ladies. "We want this to stop because the money is not for them," she told afrol News.

The Global Fund is the world's leading funder of programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Created in 2002, the Global Fund has committed over US$ 5.5 billion to life-saving programs in 132 countries and accounts for a quarter of the world's funding for AIDS programs in the developing world.

The Fund-financed programmes already support nearly half a million people on AIDS treatment, provide over half a million children orphaned by AIDS with medical services, education and community care and reach tens of millions with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves against HIV infection.

Ms Fall also picks bones with international financial institutions for conspiring with African governments to create endless economic problems for the people of a continent plagued with famine, war, hunger, poverty and diseases.

"We feel that the way policies are being crafted in air-conditioned closed-door meetings with our leaders is a form of corruption because when you go to international financial institutions and ask them about the agreements they signed with our people, they said go back to your government. They refuse to reveal them. As African women, we are asking for participation and transparency because these decisions are affecting millions of Africans, in particular, the youth."

She says despite being showered with huge "tailor-made loans" by international financial institutions, most African governments deliberately refuse to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is claiming the lives of the young people, especially women.

With all these problems on the table, the Senegalese activist says it is funny to hear that "our countries are recording accelerated growth. We have to question this growth - for whom, by whom and whose benefit? So we are here to question this so as to understand how policies are being framed. What is the process, who participates, who decides and who benefits?" she asks, adding that young people, who form 70 percent of Africa's population, are excluded in these processes.

Ms Fall organised skills training for young women of Africa and the Diaspora. And in her address, a Kenyan parliamentarian, Ms Phoebe Asiyo, said many people in Africa have given up but there is hope to get over the stinking poverty. "We need to circulate to the Bretton Woods institutions and tell them the things that are killing our people so that they too can feel," she said.

Marie Sounie Rivette, a Haitian describes the year 2006 as the worst ever yet for youths, despite signing "conventions and policies to brighten our future. Our countries are grappling with problems of all sorts - AIDS, poverty, marginalisation. African youth is sick and tired of having laws and conventions that would not be implemented. We need to be consulted and we need a future that is based on peace, integrity and development," she declared.

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