Last Friday, Women for Women International opened its landmark Women's Opportunity Centre in Kayonza district, Rwanda. The WOC will serve as a centre of excellence and innovation supporting women's economic and social development in the region through training, employment, and business opportunities.
Madagascar has many different faces. There's the wealth of biodiversity and endemic species such as the famous lemurs, but then there is also the extreme poverty and political instability. Before I arrived on my volunteering placement, I didn't really know what to expect; I'd never been out of Europe before so everything was a new experience.
Only 4% of women in Tanzania work in formal employment and only 5% have access to financing from banks, leaving them with fewer resources to invest in their businesses. These challenges stem from a number of gaps where women tend to be left behind in East Africa, such as insufficient business management skills, marketing know-how, networks and access to capital. Often women are pushed into running a business as a last resort rather than making the choice themselves. There are huge demands placed on women in East Africa in particular and yet they are offered little support.
"I wanted to save lives not put them at risk." That's what a former female genital cutter told me during a visit to Kenya this week, as she explained why she downed her tools and instead became a birth attendant. I believe this woman should be celebrated for taking such a brave stance against the centuries-old tradition of female genital mutilation. And she's not alone.
Africa's wildlife is what sets the continent apart from the rest of the world. It is their best resource. With many areas tormented by political dispute, poverty and an on-going battle with the demon that is HIV, it seems that the people of Africa need to realise the significance of what remains. So why is it then that they can so easily be seen as passive in its destruction?
Africa's time is now but its full potential can only be unleashed by those brave enough to forge true partnerships. As economies stumble and fail around the world, the continent is the chief source of hope for global growth but the world's most powerful leaders are ignoring the truth. China's rise is slowing.
Hence, the ambitious TAHMO project we are pioneering which requires the installation of 20,000 measuring stations, each one costing only 500 dollars, at intervals of 30 kilometres. The new weather stations, based upon latest cost-effective technology, will measure all standard meteorological variables (rainfall, radiation, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction).
What do Ethiopia, Mozambique and Angola have in common? Well just under two decades ago, the stories that emerged from these three countries pretty much summed up the state of most of the African continent at the time. Two decades later, the same countries are not only in the news, but on every economic analyst's list.
Though the illicit wildlife trade is nowhere near as large and lucrative as drugs or arms, it is there: The fact that people don't feel the need to resort as much to the Dark Web to sell ivory suggests that too many loopholes in the law around wildlife trade are allowing people to disguise illegal products as though they are perfectly legal.