Wednesday, 4 September 2013

African queens to discuss rural women’s future

Ms Victoria Nakafero (R), a Buganda Kingdom official, and UN’s Elijah Wachiru (L) welcome queen mothers;
 Ms Victoria Nakafero (R), a Buganda Kingdom official, and UN’s Elijah Wachiru (L) welcome queen mothers; Dramedo 1 Aflao of Ghana (2nd L), Jannet Kem (C) from Cameroon and Nanahemaa Awindor (2nd R) of Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana at Speke Resort, Kampala yesterday. The royals in Uganda to attend the African Queens and Women Cultural Leaders’ Network conference expected to be opened by President Museveni today.

President Museveni is this morning expected to officially launch the first African Queens and Women Cultural Leaders’ Network (AQWCLN) at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala. According to organisers of the event, which will be held from today to Saturday, more than 70 queens, princesses and women cultural leaders will attend the function.
The AQWCLN conference will be held under the theme: “African queens and women cultural leaders: A vehicle for social and economic empowerment of rural women and youth in Africa – looking beyond 2015, ‘the future we want.’
In an interview with the Daily Monitor about the objective of the conference, Ms Solome Nakaweesi Kimbugwe, the chief executive officer of the Nnabagereka Foundation, said: “This is another key innovation that AQWCLN comes with to the development table. Tapping into a social group that has hitherto been left out yet they yield leverage, power and legitimacy bestowed upon them by their people either by birth, marriage, or traditional authority is strategic.”
“In the new world we live in where legitimacy of many leaders is being challenged, safeguarding gains made in women rights is harder than before and there is scarce resources for development work amidst mass burn-out amongst activists, networks like AQWCLN are timely.”
“AQWCLN will leverage the cultural influence at policy level and grassroots level of its membership to achieve results in a number of areas that include: eradication of harmful traditional practices and enhancing efforts to secure peace across the continent,” Ms Kimbugwe added. She said the network is also expected to ensure that women cultural leaders expand access to quality healthcare and improve health outcomes for women and girls, promote women’s economic empowerment and leadership.
All these will be geared towards poverty eradication and providing solutions to promote food security. The Buganda Queen (Nnabagereka) Sylvia Nagginda and Tooro Queen Mother Best Kemigisa are co-hosting the AQWCLN conference.
AQWCLN was established as a response to the “Harare Call to Action” adopted in May 2012 at the Global Power Women Network Africa high- level meeting, which called for the creation of a women’s cultural leaders union network, a forum to improve the lives of women and children in Africa, in partnership with the African Union and regional economic communities with support from the United Nations and other partners.
This meeting recognised that harmful traditional practices continued to suppress women and prevent their full enjoyment of human, economic and social rights.
Evidently, women continued to be the poorest, least engaged in leadership and decision making and more vulnerable to HIV/Aids and its complex impacts. Because of this, the meeting called for traditional African culture to be deployed in an effort to improve development outcomes.
The female leaders pledged to undertake an audit of the traditional practices that discriminate against women, to identify best practices for change and to work with religious, cultural and traditional leaders on the continent to implement programmes to protect and promote the rights of