By Vision reporter
The bulk of the work undertaken by the African First Ladies is voluntary and greatly challenged by inadequate funding, Mrs. Janet Museveni has said.
She said if the First Ladies’ work is funded, they will do much more to mobilise communities thus enabling Governments to enhance efforts to offer services to the people.
“Everything that we need as First Ladies to carry out our work successfully hinges on funding,” she said. This was during an evaluation dialogue with the George W. Bush Institute at the African First Ladies Summit in Dar es Salaam Tanzania yesterday.
The summit is part of a project run by Laura Bush through the George W. Bush Institute. It was established by her husband after he left office.
The Summit brings together government officials, private organisations, non-government organisations and academics. They discuss best practices that can reap sustainable, replicable results that benefit women and strengthen society particularly within public-private partnerships.
According to a press release from her office, Mrs. Museveni, who is also the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, said the summit has helped the First Ladies expand their networking and also enabled them share knowledge and experiences.
“There is so much to learn from each other. A child that has not visited other homes believes their mother is the best cook, but we are getting very rich experience that we will take back home,” she said.
Mrs. Museveni cited the irrigation water pump showcased as technology for improving agriculture.
She said as the minister of a region which does not receive enough rain, she was interested in introducing this technology to enable women grow food throughout the year.
Mrs. Museveni said Uganda could learn from the success story of Zambia’s integration of cancer screening and treatment into HIV/AIDS programmes with support from the US Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. She also cited Tanzania’s programme for training children and school dropouts as a learning point.
Addressing the meeting on Wednesday, George Bush, the former American President, announced the rolling out of the Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon Alliance to save women from cervical and breast cancer to Tanzania.
Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon is a life-saving health programme led by the George W. Bush Institute, the US Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Susan G. Komen and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Bush urged the First Ladies to inspire their husbands to focus on women’s education, health and empowerment.
Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania’s President, who reported that his country has one of the highest cervical cancer prevalences in East Africa, appreciated the Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon Alliance for the commitment to support their five-year strategic plan on the prevention of cervical cancer.
During a panel discussion on collaboration to combat cervical and breast cancer, Micele Sidibe, the UNAIDS executive director, called for the creation of a new movement and a global campaign for a people-centred cervical cancer prevention approach.
A series of moderated panels highlighting effective models and partnerships in entrepreneurship and innovation focusing on technology, agriculture, health and education were the order of the two-day summit.
The summit that ended yesterday underscored the roles of the African First Ladies as advocates and the voice for the voiceless who can influence policies and programmes.
They were called upon to be champions of the education of girls and women, their health as well as women’s economic opportunities and empowerment.
The other First Ladies in attendace were US First Lady Michelle Obama, Ethiopia’s Roman Tesfaye, Mozambique’s Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, South Africa’s Nomumelelo Zuma, Dr Christine Kaseba of Zambia, Matilda Amissah-Arthur of Ghana and the host, Salma Kikwete of Tanzania.
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First Ladies want funds for devt