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These innovative smart lockers are improving access to medication
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TECHNOLOGY

These innovative smart lockers are improving access to medication

14 November 2019 7:26PM UTC | By: JANE EAGLES

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The results are in, and the winner of this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is Pelebox! The prestigious award, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. We looked at the some of the other shortlisted companies earlier in the year, but Pelebox’s improvement to access to medication that stole the show.

Demonstrating a commitment to design and complex technology, Pelebox is a digital platform that manages various internet-enabled smart lockers. These lockers allow patients to collect repeat prescriptions for chronic conditions in under five minutes, rather than having to wait for long periods of time at public clinics.

The founder of Pelebox, Neo Hutiri, is the first person from South Africa to win this award. When he was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in 2014, he saw firsthand how wait times affect access to medication.

“My biggest challenge was the long waiting times at the clinic. I was losing over three hours on long queues with every visit … It’s really challenging having to plan your day around a visit to the clinic.”

He wasn’t the only one experiencing this problem. He saw just how many people in Bophelong township were waiting for medication, with some skipping work just to collect their prescriptions. Many had to choose between accessing medicine and earning a steady income — a choice no one should have to make. 

Neo used his own experience and understanding of the system in South Africa to transform the way people access their medication. By creating a locker system that patients can unlock with a unique pin, he has helped cut queues down to minutes. This has also helped people who have stigmatized illnesses, such as HIV, by allowing them to collect medicine discreetly.

Pelebox smart lockers are present in a range of places — even local shopping malls — making them a convenient way to ensure people can look after themselves without missing work or school.

Check out some of the other awesome inventions on the shortlist here.

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JULY 10, 2018

 

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Gender Equality Is Good for Sleep, Scientists Say

Stereotypical gender roles place unequal burdens on men and women, disrupting their sleep.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Gender discriminatory cultural attitudes hold half the world’s population back. Men are traditionally expected to be their family’s breadwinners, while women care for children and the household. But while such inequitable roles and norms persist, the world will not succeed in establishing equality for all and achieving the Global Goals. You can join us here by taking action to empower women and girls everywhere.

Having trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Greater gender equality could help with that.

Scientists have found that couples who live in countries with more gender equality sleep better. In a study of approximately 7,000 couples from 23 different European countries, researchers found that the demands of stereotypical gender roles decrease the sleep quality of both men and women.

Women — traditionally expected to care for their families and households — were frequently interrupted in their sleep by children under the age of five. And while both men and women experienced lowered sleep quality due to job-related stresses, men were more likely to sleep restlessly because of financial concerns and worries about providing for their family.

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Though both men and women experienced different stresses, the study found their sleep quality was not valued equally within many couples.

“Men’s breadwinner status and their greater contribution to family finances were used as justification by both partners to protect men’s sleep over women’s,” Leah Ruppanner and David Maume, the study’s co-authors, wrote in The Conversation. “Men were seen to have a greater right to restful sleep than women, given their need to ‘be at their best’ for work the next day.”

As a result, improving gender equality within a society would have a positive impact on women’s quality of sleep in particular, though the study showed improved sleep, health, and happiness among men, too.

In countries with higher levels of gender equality and societies with a more equal division of labor, the gender gap in sleep quality is narrower, according to the study. When men and women share the burden of work both in and out of the home, concerns over childcare and financial stability are more evenly distributed as well, resulting in a better night’s sleep.

Read more: Iceland Starts 2018 in Style by Making Gender Pay Gap Illegal

Though Iceland leads the way in establishing gender equality, to date, no country has achieved full gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report

Increasing gender equality around the world is about much more than sleep quality — improving gender equality can help generate economic growth, push societies forward, and enable countries to thrive. It’s about ensuring that half the world’s population has equal access to opportunities so that the whole world can succeed.

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APRIL 5, 2018

 

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GIRLS & WOMEN

This Nepali Activist Is Trying to Make the World Gender Friendly

“To many I am seen as an unmarried woman who works in a man’s world and can’t cook.”

Growing up in Nepal, Poonam Ghimire realized from an early age that her opportunities were limited.

Throughout the country, just 66% of girls are able to attend secondary school oftentimes because of illiteracy, poverty ,and sometimes due to cultural taboos in rural areas. Girls also face inequality, child marriage, forced labor, and mental and physical violence, Ghimire said.

And through the tradition known as Chhaupadi in some parts of the country, many girls are banished to sheds during menstruation. Stranded in poorly insulated spaces, they sometimes get raped, freeze to death, and die from lack of nutrition.

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Fortunately, Ghimire’s parents encouraged her to break gender boundaries and she took their advice.

“I grew up seeing social, cultural, economic, and political inequalities of the society but both my parents always encouraged me towards gender equality so I always opposed inequality in society,” she told Global Citizen.

At age 11, she wrote, staged, and directed a play that explored gender inequalities in schools and called for greater inclusion.

Read More: Another Teen Girl in Nepal Dies During Stay in Menstruation Hut

It was performed in the streets by local people and was so popular that it launched her career as an advocate.

Ghimire began organizing her friends and advocating for gender equality. UNICEF Voices of Youth soon enlisted her to write blogs on the issues she cared about, gaining her an international profile.

Eventually, Ghimire studied forestry in university where she learned that gender inequality and climate change are intertwined.

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 1.04.35 PM.pngPoonam Ghimire

Climate change primarily affects girls and woman because it leads to higher incidents of child marriage when communities get displaced, harms small-scale farmers, and the disasters it creates prevent girls from going to school.

Conversely, two of the most effective ways to fight climate change empower women—providing birth control to women so they can control their sexual health and educating girls because they become better able to find climate solutions.

Read More: Banned From School, Nearly Forced into Marriage: How a Nepali Girl Is Fighting for Gay Pride

Since launching her career as an advocate, Ghimire has continued to face inequality, even though the country has been making strides.

"I’m a woman who has dreams, aspirations and, most importantly, a voice," she said. 

This focus on her career has sometimes had to take a backseat to on-the-ground humanitarian work. 

In 2015, Nepal was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which devastated infrastructure throughout the country and endangered the educations of thousands of girls.

Ghimire was on the frontlines of the recovery effort, volunteering with Association of Youth Organizations of Nepal (AYON). The recovery effort still continues and she is still taking actions for earthquake recovery.

CARE Nepal Carousel 4.jpgCARE

Read More: Nepal's Recovery Is Still Fragile 2 Years After Devastating Earthquake

Beyond this humanitarian work, she teaches youth leaders about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and organizes youth training seminars to help start environmental clubs around the country.

While campaigning, she inevitably encounters other pressing issues and her focus expands.

For example, just 37% of people in Nepal have access to quality sanitation systems, which exposes them to a host of water-borne illnesses such as cholera.

Like climate change, water and sanitation problems primarily affect girls and women, who are often tasked with collecting water and suffer from a lack of ways for handling menstruation.

Ghimire has been working to address these disparities in recent years by preparing research papers on solid waste management and  studying sustainable solid waste management techniques in the world. She’s also collecting data on air pollution in the regions she travels to and also promotes sustainable agriculture, hosts climate change poetry contests, and organizes book drives.

She’s also collecting data on air pollution in the regions she travels to, where she promotes sustainable agriculture, hosts climate change poetry contests, and organizes book drives.

Read More: This Library Is Helping Nepal’s 'Left-Behind' Women Gain Cash and Confidence

If it seems like Ghimire is restless in her work — well, she’s part of a group called Restless Development, which leverages the power of youth to fight issues surrounding poverty.

That’s how she became connected to Global Citizen.

Two years ago, Ghimire traveled to New York to take part in the Global Citizen Youth Advocates Symposium, where she collaborated with young leaders from around the world and learned useful skills for how to lobby governments and enact change.

Since then, she’s doubled down on her work back home.

“There is a huge population fighting to break all the above segregated barriers and make the world gender neutral,” she wrote on her blog. “They are doing all this to help future generations like yours lead a comfortable life in a world where gender inequality is no longer a stigma.”

Global Citizen works to empower youth activists around the world and you can take action on this issue here

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ENVIRONMENT

This New Satellite Will Combat Climate Change From Space

Methane gas, produced by fossil fuel extraction, livestock, and decaying waste, also traps heat.

Methane emissions are a huge environmental problem. But they’re difficult to measure in real time, making it hard to say exactly how big the issue is.

The Environmental Defense Fund hopes to change that. On Tuesday, the organization unveiled plans to launch a methane-measuring satellite into space, during a TED Talk.

Methane is a greenhouse gas — meaning it traps heat and contributes to the warming of the atmosphere — that is released when fossil fuels are extracted from the ground. The harmful gas is also emitted by livestock and produced naturally as organic waste, like that found in landfills, decays.

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So the more fossil fuels we use, the more meat we consume, and the more waste we produce, the worse climate change is. 

“Cutting methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry is the single fastest thing we can do to help put the brakes on climate change right now, even as we continue to attack the carbon dioxide emissions most people are more familiar with,” Fred Krupp, President of the EDF, said.

By gathering more accurate data on how much methane people are producing and where, Krupp hopes to improve efforts to stop climate change in its tracks.

“Twenty-five percent of the warming that the planet is experiencing right now is from man-made methane emissions,” the EDF’s Senior Vice President Mark Brownstein told the Washington Post. “The oil and gas industry is a significant source of those emissions. Reducing those emissions can have a material impact on slowing the rate of warming now.”

Read more: Americans Are Eating 20% Less Beef in Huge Win For Earth

The satellite, called MethaneSAT, is scheduled to launch in three years, NPR reported, and would help compare companies’ and countries’ actual methane emissions with the emissions caps they committed to as part of the Paris agreement.

MethaneSAT will also be able to identify where methane is being emitted. The EDF hopes this data will help countries form more effective policies to address climate change.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of climate action to stop global warming and to address the harmful effects of climate change. You can take action here.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

This Nigerian Woman Transforms Tires Into Cool Recycled Furniture

The popular entrepreneur is inspiring a new career path for women in her country.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Incinerating tires can negatively impact the environment through polluted air, water, and soil. Finding creative uses for giving old rubber tires a second life is an important conservation effort. You can join us in taking action on this issue and the rest of the Global Goals here.

A female entrepreneur is turning discarded rubber tires into thoughtful home decor.

Olabanke Banjo, founder and CEO of Cyrus45 Factory, recycles and transforms used tires into interior design — setting a new example for many women in her community in Nigeria, reports the BBC.

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"When women see what I do they are inspired to do something similar,” Banjo told the BBC in an interview — “go into carpentry … or something that’s seen as a male-dominated field.”

To those who might have the desire but lack the courage, Banjo implores them to search for inner strength.

“Do not let fear of striking out keep you from exploring your talents and creativity,” she said, according to an earlier report in the Guardian. “I once read a woman should be two things: who and what she wants to be.”

A former writer and digital strategist, Banjo graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife Osun State.

Read More: Indian Fishermen Are Using Ocean Trash to Build New Roads

But having expressed an interest in literature and fine arts from an early age, it wasn’t entirely surprising when Banjo quit her job in May to pursue a new entrepreneurial venture that combined her sense of creativity with an affinity for the environment.

“I have always been art inclined,” Banjo told The African Woman (TAW). I recall starting a jewelry and greeting cards-making business in my 200 level at the university. I also learnt how to make handbags during my NYSC. Art has always been an innate part of me, and it’s one of my first true loves.”

The idea for Cyrus45 emerged organically while spending time with family, according to the report.

“It all started last year while I was living with my elder sister in Lagos,” Banjo told TAW. “She had about a pile of 20 used tires in her compound, which her neighbours wanted to dispose. But being a lover of revamping old items, I asked them to give the tires to me instead and the rest is what you see today.”

Read More: This UK Store Will Buy Back Old Clothes to Cut Down on Waste

Banjo now upcycles tires sourced from refuse centers, incinerators, and individuals looking to replace the ones on their vehicle, as well as those found on the side of the road.

 

 

From there, the entrepreneur creates “artsy and ultra-modern” pieces of furniture, including chairs, rockers, and ottomans that happen to be sustainable and earth-friendly.

“If I don’t do something for my environment, who will?” said Banjo in the interview with the BBC. “With recycling and upcycling, the possibilities are endless.”

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This Photographer Spent Years Documenting the Public and Private Life of Nelson Mandela

Authors:
Olivia Kestin and Imogen Calderwood

Keith Bernstein Photography

Aug. 17, 2018

38
 

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Photographer Keith Bernstein's images give us a small glipmse into the life of Nelson Mandela. It was a life of hardship, struggle, and victory, and throughout, Mandela reminded the world that all people deserve to be treated with dignity, and as equals. On the year that marks 100 years since his birth, take action here to help carry his message of activism, freedom from want, and justice for all. 

Thanks to an out-of-the-blue phone call in 1995, photographer Keith Bernstein launched a 14-year project documenting the public and private life of one of the greatest statesmen the world has ever known. 

Incredibly, many of the images he took of Nelson Mandela, before, during, and after his time as president of South Africa, have spent the best part of the past two decades stuck in a box at the bottom of a cupboard in Bernstein’s bedroom. 

KB010_13 web.jpgMandela, 1995, pictured leaving Genadendal, the president's official residence in Cape Town, on his official helicopter.
Image: Keith Bernstein Photography

But now, on the year that marks 100 years since Mandela’s birth, they have reemerged. And the passage of time has cast a whole new light on them for Bernstein. 

“I’ve photographed lots and lots of famous people,” he tells Global Citizen, at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, where one of Bernstein’s photographs is currently being exhibited. 

“I’ve photographed them and met them, and there really isn’t anybody that I look back on with that sense of unique privilege,” he says. “This period really sticks out for me and it grows as I get older.” 

Now 61, Bernstein has been lucky enough to know Mandela at several points in his life. Bernstein was born in South Africa and spent his early childhood in the country. He is the son of Lionel and Hilda Bernstein, who both played a significant role in the struggle against apartheid. 

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“My father and my mother were close confidants of Mandela during the late '50s and early '60s in South Africa,” he says. “My dad was one of the accused at the Rivonia trial [in 1964], which was the trial that saw Mandela and others sent down to Robben Island. My dad was one of the ones who was acquitted, and he and my mother left very shortly afterwards.” 

While Bernstein was just 6 years old when he family fled, he has returned to the country where he was born on numerous occasions — including to document Mandela’s journey to the presidency. 

KB005_24 web.jpgMandela casting his vote in 1994.
Image: Keith Bernstein Photography

“It was a really joyous and optimistic period, because they’d just come out of a whole stretch of decades and decades of apartheid,” he continues. “And this incredibly charismatic and magnetic leader had been elected and was somebody who was known around the world. Everybody, whether they were pop stars or actors or other leaders, they all wanted to meet him and be associated with him.

“So there was a feeling that it wasn’t just another election and another different person,” he says. “He was somebody kind of special, and he carried that aura with him very definitely wherever he went … It had that feeling of optimism, and rebirth, really.” 

While he had slight “in” with Mandela, thanks to his parents’ relationship with the leader decades before, Bernstein points out that it was a very different time in terms of access to state leaders.

Take action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

 

KB009_28 web.jpgFrom the balcony of the High Commission of South Africa in Trafalgar Square, London, Mandela symbolically addresses the crowd gathered in 1996. Trafalgar Square was the site of continual demonstrations and pickets during the final years of apartheid.
Image: Keith Bernstein Photography

“You just had incredible access just by hanging around for a while and being there for a period of time, you got to know his security guards, you got to know his press officers, you just had incredible access to him,” he says. “You would turn up at events and he’d just be, you know, as close as the next table is now.”

Less than a year after Mandela had been elected, Bernstein, who was by then back in London, got a unexpected phone call from Mandela’s long-time private secretary, Zelda La Grange, who invited him out to South Africa within the week. 

“Without any kind of preparation or knowing what I was going out for, I just flew out to Cape Town,” he said. “I used to go to his official residence in Cape Town in the morning, without knowing what his programme was and just follow him for the day … I had no idea what the programme was each day, but I would just turn up at eight in the morning and was given unlimited access.” 

“It’s just a perfect reflection of the time that it was,” he added. 

It was the beginning of what was to become a years-long project with extraordinary access to Mandela. At times, Bernstein was one of hundreds of international photographers clamouring to get a shot of Mandela at public events. On other occasions, he was alone with Mandela in the living room of Genadendal, the president's official residence in Cape Town. 

KB064_08 web.jpgMandela in his private sitting room on the first floor of Genadendal, Cape Town in 1995.
Image: Keith Bernstein Photography

And the time that Bernstein spent with Mandela, documenting how he spent his days as president both in public and at home, has left him with a sense of awe that will last a lifetime. 

“He was everything that he appeared to be,” he continues. “He had an incredible presence when he came into a room. And I was with him when there have been other really, really famous people there as well and everybody was kind of … diminished by his presence.”

“I mean, he was physically big, as an ex-boxer … so he was physically imposing, but he also had, I guess it’s tied up with the myth of him, but he just had an incredible presence,” Bernstein adds. “When he walked in, rooms went quiet and people were always respectful of him, always. So there was always kind of a hush about him.” 

KB011_31 web.jpgMandela in 1994, pre-election, campaigning in Elim, Overberg.
Image: Keith Bernstein Photography

“And he could be very funny and very spontaneous, and he would do things that detached him from any other politician,” he says. “He had the ability to do things spontaneously and make it look absolutely real.” 

One particular memory that stands out for Bernstein is when he went with Mandela to the township of Soweto, in Gauteng province, where Mandela was giving a speech in a “very run-down hall.” 

“It was packed,” remembers Bernstein. “And he was on the stage with a few other dignitaries and other local representatives, and it was a really hot day and he was in a suit. White shirt, suit, and tie."

Just before Mandela started his speech, however, somebody said they had presentation for him. A child came up to him clutching a football shirt, the kit of the local football team, with Mandela’s name on the back. 

“Without even missing a beat or thinking about it he just took off his jacket and he pulled the football shirt on, so he had the white shirt sticking out underneath, and he just stood up and did he speech,” says Bernstein. “And I just kind of thought, he just did it so easily and naturally and he looked completely like the president when he was giving the speech, even though he was wearing this football shirt he’d just been given.” 

“He just had that way,” he says. 

Looking at Bernstein’s images from that time, the sense of chaos, crush, and movement that always surrounded Mandela throughout his years as president is so clear. 

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.

Crowds as Mandela campaigns near Soweto before the ANC’s first election to power in 1994.
Keith Bernstein Photography

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Everywhere Mandela went, according to Bernstein, there were crowds, and people wanting to stop him and talk to him. And it was easy for . them to reach him, because Mandela didn’t want a “cordon of steel” around him. But Mandela “would just speak to them as if he was a normal person.” 

“Everywhere he went there was kind of a pop star mania and he was just thronged by people,” says Bernstein. “You just didn’t see him, unless he was at home in his own private room, you didn’t see him alone.” 

But it was while on the back porch of Mandela’s home that Bernstein witnessed one of his favourite examples of the leader, relaxed, showing his sense of humour — and it, somewhat unexpectedly, involves the Spice Girls. 

“As I said, every famous figure in the world wanted to be photographed with him, or aligned with him, and often this stuff was arranged and he’d be brought out for a photo call,” he remembers. “The Spice Girls were on tour and they came to South Africa and they were photographed for about two minutes with him in the middle."

“About a week later,” he continues, “a journalist said to him, what was it like meeting the Spice Girls? And he never answered anything immediately — he always had a slow, pedantic way of speaking, and he’d always wait and he’d think about the answer. And he just looked down and the press were all waiting and the room was silent, and he said, 'It was the greatest moment of my life.'” 

KB079_06 web.jpgNelson Mandela.
Image: Keith Bernstein Photography

The last time that Bernstein met Mandela, and took his photograph one final time in 2009 in Cape Town, the former leader was in his 90s, he was getting older, and his hearing and his memory were failing. But, for Bernstein, he was still the same physically imposing character he had always been.

“I don’t know whether that is part of people’s perception of him,” he adds. “You’re aware he’s an iconic figure and therefore he brings some aura and history with him. But even when I photographed him when his memory was poor, and his hearing was poor, he was still a kind of giant.” 

  • A selection of Keith Bernstein’s photographs of Nelson Mandela were gathered together by curators the Photographic Archival Preservation Association (PAPA), for a special centenary exhibition, to honour and celebrate the life of the leader in the year that marks 100 years since his birth. 
  • Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition

    Nelson Mandela, The Centenary Exhibition
    Keith Bernstein Photography

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The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.

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Meet ‘the Hijab DJ’ breaking gender stereotypes in Tanzania
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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Meet ‘the Hijab DJ’ breaking gender stereotypes in Tanzania

7 November 2019 9:25PM UTC | By: SAM VOX

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Zanzibar’s teenage girls are often expected to assist with cooking and housekeeping. But 15-year-old Aisha Bakary had a different idea of how to spend her time. As the oldest of nine siblings, she would find spare moments to turn up the volume on the TV or the radio, listening to lounge, house, afro and traditional taarab music.

Nearly 10 years later, 24-year-old Aisha has made music her career. “There are no women DJs here in Zanzibar, so I thought I could do something different and surprise the world,” she says. Her unusual career path caught the eye of Women Future, who named Aisha Woman of the Year for 2019.

As Zanzibar’s only female DJ, she hopes to inspire other young women to pursue their dreams.

Aisha-Picture5.jpg

“As a woman in Zanzibar, you are born, you study, you marry, you give birth and you die. I want to break that cycle. We are known for our amazing cultural roots and female artists like Bi Kidude and Siti Binti Saad. Zanzibar is for ladies,” she says.

After she finished a course in computer science at Zanzibar University in 2017, Aisha worked as a presenter at the local radio station and as master of ceremonies at weddings. She intended to pursue journalism — until one of her friends introduced her to DJing. Zanzibar’s local label, Stone Town Records, offered training in mixing songs, and Aisha soon learned to control the Dj mixer.

 

 

Aisha doesn’t resemble the common image of a club DJ. She wears a hijab and an abaya, a traditional loose dress, as she carries around a DJ mixer to assignments at weddings, events and small festivals in her native Zanzibar and the Tanzanian mainland. Through music, she hopes to change conditions for women in Zanzibar.

In the Muslim majority archipelago of Zanzibar, women have traditionally remained at home, while men have been the income earners of the family. These roles are slowly changing, as women gain financial independence as seaweed farmers or learn how to sew and start their own businesses.

 

2-picture.jpg

But a career in music is still off the charts. Often considered forbidden in Islam, instrumental music can be a divisive issue in Zanzibar, especially for a woman. Aisha knows this all too well.

“On my Instagram and Facebook profiles, there are people who comment that I shouldn’t do this immoral work. It is because they haven’t heard of a female DJ before. But they will come to know,” she says with a determined smile.

Aisha insists on being both truly Zanzibari, a good Muslim and a successful DJ with international aspirations. When she recently played at a concert venue in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, she was named “The Hijab DJ” on flyers. On stage she wore a matching red abaya and hijab while mixing a flow of dancehall, reggae and afrobeat to a swaying crowd.

“Muslim women can work with music or be fashion icons, because Islam is a matter of believing, not about clothes or jobs,” she says.

Picture1.jpg

 

Although DJing is known to be a male-dominated field, a few African women have broken through the glass ceiling. Among these are the Ugandan DJ Rachael, who has founded the collective Femme Electronic to increase women’s presence on the electronic music scene in East Africa. Aisha hopes to do something similar in Zanzibar. She has already initiated an informal training in Zanzibar’s Stone Town for girls and young women to learn DJ skills.

“We need a new generation of female DJs. My mission is to motivate women to be what they want to be,” she says.

Aisha-Picture3.jpgWhile Aisha’s image as the Hijab DJ spreads among Zanzibar’s youth on social media, her career choice isn’t well supported in her family. “My mum is quite religious, and she would say that it is bad to go to places with music and alcohol, which are both not allowed in Islam,” she explains.

While Aisha’s mother makes a living off selling rice, beans and soft drinks from a small eatery on the outskirts of town, Aisha hopes to provide for her through DJing.

“One day I will buy her a house and it will be from DJing,” she says.

 

 

 

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MEMBERS IN ACTION

Here’s how ONE activists helped the Global Fund break records

11 October 2019 4:27PM UTC | By: ONE

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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has secured US$14 billion in pledges for its life-saving work over the next three years — the largest replenishment of a multilateral health organisation in history.

We’ve been campaigning in support of the Global Fund over the past year to make sure world leaders were committed to stepping up the fight ahead of the 2019 replenishment in Lyon. And thanks to these efforts, every market where we campaigned reached — or exceeded — their target pledges. Like every ONE campaign, we rely on our staff, volunteers and members, and every win we achieve is the result of a team effort among our activists.

Here’s a look at our global efforts over the past year to secure US$14 billion to tackle three of the world’s deadliest diseases.

France

In replenishment host country France, our activists worked hard right up to the moment the US$14 billion was announced. Starting over the summer, our Youth Ambassadors raised awareness at five summer festivals, urging festival-goers to take our quiz to raise awareness for the three diseases, sign the petition, and write postcards to French President Emmanuel Macron. In the lead up to the replenishment in Lyon, French Youth Ambassadors attended three events in different French cities, where other NGOs also made their voices heard with a clear objective: gather as many petition signatures as possible.

French Youth Ambassadors and ONE Champions from Nigeria and Mali took their voices to the streets of Lyon ahead of the replenishment conference. They visited (RED) street murals, and met (RED) ambassador and activist Connie Mudenda, who shared her inspiring fight against AIDS and her story of how she raised her healthy daughter, with needed treatments, thanks to the Global Fund. Our activists gathered dozens people to form a giant human red ribbon, and they ran a booth with our superhero quiz in the Palais des Congrès, the location of the replenishment.

The day before the replenishment, they attended a dinner where big companies were encouraged to increase their pledges for the Global Fund. And they led discussions with our co-founder Bono, philanthropist Bill Gates and President Macron to ask them to be ambitious in the fight against these three deadly diseases. Youth Ambassadors made their voices heard until the last minute in Lyon, handing in our global petition to the French Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn. And they were there to celebrate when our goal of raising US$14 billion was realised.

— Anaïs Martinon, France Campaigns Coordinator

Canada

We kicked off campaigning earlier this year with postcards to Minister Maryam Monsef. Our members stepped up and sent THOUSANDS of postcards — followed with hundreds of emails to the minister, over 1,000 Canada Day emails to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hundreds of tweets and dozens of letters to their local newspaper. We worked closely with Loyce Maturu from the Global Fund Advocates Network, whose op-ed in The Globe and Mail turned up the heat. ONE members in London, Abuja and Dakar all visited Canadian embassies to encourage Canada to step up the fight. The campaign reached a high point at Pride Montréal, where we worked with HIV/AIDS organizations from Québec to share the message that any investment less than CA$925 million was not enough. ONE volunteers from Montréal took advantage of Prime Minister Trudeau attending the parade to share thousands of rainbow-coloured stickers with a clear message that Canada can help end AIDS by 2030.

Finally, after eight months of constant pressure, and less than a week after our activities in Montréal, Minister Monsef announced CA$930 million during an event in Toronto. In response, our members thanked Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Monsef, and we continued the celebration at the pride parade in Ottawa.

— Paul Galipeau, Canada Campaigns Manager

Ireland

Ireland delivered an early pledge, before our global campaign officially kicked off, and ONE Youth Ambassadors were quick to congratulate the government on Twitter. After hearing the good news, we reached out to our members and Youth Ambassadors to gather messages for a thank you card that was hand delivered to the government representative and Minister for Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at the Youth Ambassador launch in Dublin.

— Jasmine Wakeel, U.K. Campaigns Coordinator

Africa

Our campaign to support the Global Fund replenishment kick-started with the World Health Assembly in Geneva. We sent letters to the African health ministers chairing the Africa group to encourage them to discuss the global fund and make a statement of support to the replenishment. Following Nelson Mandela Day, we reached out to ONE members in Africa who had signed our petition and asked them to share the petition across Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Our supporters across Africa tweeted at their respective health ministers, calling on them to make bold commitments to the Global Fund. Ahead of the African Union health ministers meeting, we lobbied the AU intensively to include the Global Fund replenishment on the agenda and mobilised our Africa members to take action by again tweeting at their health ministers, highlighting just how serious they were about their governments making formal commitments to the Global Fund replenishment.

As a result, the ministers adopted a decision which urged Member States and partners to honour the commitments for the replenishment of the Global Fund in accordance with the AU Assembly Declaration of February 2019.

— Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director (interim)

United Kingdom

Following dedicated months of campaigning, we were delighted to receive a bold pledge from the U.K. government that will help save up to 2 million lives. We had so many exciting campaign activities from kick off until the pledge announcement, including handing our petition to No.10 Downing Street, a health heroes event in the House of Commons, lobby days in Parliament and community action. We even had support from a famous face: actor and advocate Michael Sheen helped us get even more crucial MP supporters on board with our Global Fund campaigning.

— Jasmine Wakeel, U.K. Campaigns Coordinator

Germany

In the run-up to the G7 Summit in France, where Germany’s Global Fund pledge was officially announced, we started a petition to convince German politicians to engage in the fight against AIDS. To back up this action, our supporters wrote letters to German Minister for Development Gerd Müller. Our amazing Youth Ambassadors even went to his constituency to deliver the letter personally and to talk to locals about the action. Our Youth Ambassador Janice met Mr. Müller to hand over the petition and discuss the importance of the Global Fund. After hearing the good news about Germany’s commitment to the Global Fund, we are sending thank you messages to Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who made the announcement in Biarritz.

— ONE’s team in Germany

United States

U.S. volunteers spent the past year campaigning to secure a strong pledge to meet the United States’ historic one-third commitment to the Global Fund. Volunteers started by gathering 4,800 postcards to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last fall to try to influence the Trump administration’s budget request. Then in February, volunteers traveled to Capitol Hill for more than 200 meetings with Congress, urging them to step up the fight. U.S. volunteers spent the rest of 2019 rallying their communities — everywhere from small gatherings in coffee shops and churches, to huge music festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. They got creative with (RED), taking action with a Truff hot sauce challenge twist, got mindful and limber with some Yoga activism at Wanderlust festivals, and helped paint the world (RED) through street art to draw attention to the fight against AIDS. U.S. volunteers even became human billboards in support of the Global Fund at the Congressional Softball and Baseball games in Washington, DC.

After tens of thousands of advocacy actions — including handwritten letters, tweets, emails, media published in local papers, and local engagements with congressional members — we saw over half of the U.S. Congress (285 representatives and senators) go on the record publicly in support of the Global Fund, sending a strong signal to the rest of the world ahead of the replenishment conference in Lyon.

— Charlie Harris, Associate Director, Membership Mobilization

Italy

Despite a government crisis in Italy, our Italian Youth Ambassadors and members continued the fight to secure a pledge for the Global Fund. We mass-tweeted at Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte while he was on his way to the G7 Summit with a simple message: Italy’s leadership in the fight against three of the deadliest diseases is key. And those efforts were crucial to securing a pledge from Italy. Prime Minister Conte received hundreds of emails and tweets, Youth Ambassadors delivered 400+ handwritten postcards to the international development minister, and there were over 100 media mentions of the Youth Ambassadors’ awareness-raising activities in their communities.

— Caterina Scuderi, Italy Campaigns Coordinator

EU

We also worked hard to make sure the European Union was committed to the Global Fund. Félicitas, a medical student and German Youth Ambassador in Belgium, wrote a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with other YAs in Europe also co-signing the letter. Félicitas attended the Friends of Global Fund Meeting and pushed European Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica to make an early commitment to the fund. Youth Ambassadors then took to Twitter to ask Juncker to take Felicita’s letter into account, and our members urged Juncker to act against AIDS. To put some final pressure during the summer, our YAs sent handwritten postcards to Mr. Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk about the importance of investing €580 million to the Global Fund. During the G7 Summit, they also dressed up as superheroes and sent several tweets and messages urging them to make concrete commitments.

— Guadalupe de la Casas, Media Manager

A Global Success

The new funding will help to save 16 million lives and move forward the fight to end the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics by 2030. This record-breaking replenishment saw the biggest ever investment from private sector donors and renewed pledges from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, the EU and Italy — which all increased their commitment by over 15% — and from France, which increased its contribution by more than 20%.

Want to take part in our campaigns fighting to change the world? Join us and become a ONE Member now.

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