A Nigerian-based organisation, Hillspring Diagnostics, has won the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) global innovation award for one of the 10 projects that will advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria reports that UNFPA announced the 10 winners to its first ever Joint Innovation Challenge on Thursday.
Joint Innovation Challenge is a cutting-edge competition to provide funding for social enterprises with innovative solutions that advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.
Speaking on the award at a news conference in New York, UN spokesman, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, said 10 organisations that won the award are headed by women.
Dujarric said Hillspring Diagnostics from Nigeria came up with a revolutionary method for detecting ectopic pregnancy, a condition which can have dangerous consequences including death of the mother and baby if not diagnosed and treated in time.
According to him, organisations headed by women from other nine countries of Costa Rica, Armenia, Mongolia, Uganda, Turkey, Colombia, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Cameroon were honoured.
Dujarric said the winners pitched a range of innovations – from a portable diagnostic system for pre-eclampsia to a board game that shares information on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“The 10 winners each received 60,000 dollars which will allow these organisations to move from pilot stage to scale,’’ he said.
The challenge was financed by UNFPA’s Equaliser Accelerator Fund, and implemented in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Trade Centre.
Entrants were given the incentive of a cash prize which would allow them to expand their ideas from the test stage, to full production, for the potential benefit of millions around the world.
The challenge received further funding from the Governments of Luxembourg, Finland, and Denmark.
Launched in 2021, UNFPA’s Fund provides equity-free investments in social enterprises that are led or co-led by women, and can show evidence of the impact they will have.
Reacting to the award, Dr Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s Executive Director said, in relation to the competition, “creative thinking and innovative solutions are key to accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.
” According to her, the 2022 challenge is awarding 10 women-helmed organisations from five different regions globally.
Initially, a panel of experts received 300 submissions from 61 countries.
After 20 finalists pitched their innovative ideas to the panel, the eventual 10 winners then signed nine-month contracts with UNFPA and will be receiving an equity-free investment of 60,000 dollars.
The funding will allow winning organisations to transition away from the pilot stage, and begin manufacturing at scale.
UNFPA and its partners will also support the social enterprises with targeted mentorship, training opportunities, interactive workshops, and unique access to the global UN network.
The winning ideas varied in function, but were united in ingenuity, said the agency.
Other winners from Africa are the Global Pre-Eclampsia Initiative from, Uganda; Urukundo Initiative, Rwanda and Women in Entrepreneurship and Technology (WETECH), Cameroon.
Bangladesh is considering taking loans from international lenders as precautionary measures to tackle any crisis in advance, a senior official said on Thursday.
Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary of the prime minister’s office, said that the government did not seek bailout rather it is thinking of taking pragmatic steps in advance to address the uncertain situation of the country due to the adverse impacts of external factors.
He said the world was heading toward an economic recession and facing inflation of currency.
“Moreover, supply chain is being disrupted.
In this context, the government is mulling taking loans from international lenders as precautionary measures to tackle any crisis in advance,’’ Kaikaus said.
According to him, the Ministry of Finance and the Economic Relations Division are holding discussions with international lenders over the matter if the supply chain is disrupted.
He said that an initial proposal had been made and further discussions would be held in coming days but that nothing had been finalised yet to this end.
Lauding the government’s endeavours for the development of the country, he said thst Bangladesh was at present standing at a unique height as it was experiencing fast growth.
About the reduction of inflation in July alongside rise of export at the same time, he said all was possible due to timely steps taken by the government.
The new UN Women Country Representative, Paulina Chiwangu, formally assumed her duties on Wednesday after presenting her credentials to the Ugandan Foreign Minister, the Hon. General Jeje Odongo.
The launch took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and was witnessed by dignitaries from MOFA and the UN Women Country Office in Uganda.
During the ceremony, the minister recognized the tremendous work of UN Women in supporting women's empowerment and gender equality.
She commended the new country representative for her impressive experience and for having worked extensively in Uganda.
“Women in Uganda still face many challenges, including the effects of COVID-19, the challenges of outsourced work in the countries they work in, and the patriarchy that still leaves them behind.
We want to work with UN Women to address the prevailing challenges in refugee settings and outsourcing.
UN Women must work closely with the government to identify priority areas where they can work together," said the Hon. Jeje Odongo.
Ms. Chiwangu commented on her warm welcome to Uganda, highlighting UN Women's mandate to support all countries to promote gender equality and women's empowerment".
First of all, I congratulate Uganda and Brenda Akia for being voted into the CEDAW committee, the first time a Ugandan woman has been elected to the committee.
On behalf of UN Women, I pledge our close collaboration with her in the work of CEDAW.
Also Congratulations to the country for the launch of the Parish Development Model and I promise to support to ensure its successful implementation”, said Paulina Chiwangu is a Doctor of Philosophy and has more than 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian work.
She previously served as UN Women Deputy Country Representative in South Sudan and as UN Women Country Office Deputy Country Representative in Iraq, as well as Head of KR Sub-Headquarters G.
Prior to her work with UN Women Iraq, she worked with UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina as Head of Gender Coordination for the UNDAF.
She worked with UN Women in Serbia as acting Head of Office.
Before that, she headed the UN Joint Inter-Agency Program on Gender Equality and was Acting Country Representative for the UN Women office in Uganda for a year.
Before joining UN Women, she was Head of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as the Public Relations Unit of the UNDP Police Reform Program in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
She has held positions in various countries in southern Africa, as well as in the United States and Ireland.
The UN Women Country Representative is an accredited representative of the UN Women Executive Director and Regional Director and is responsible for negotiations with the host country.
The Country Representative also oversees relations and activities with the government and other partners, provides security for UN Women staff, and facilitates common service functional arrangements with other UN agencies.
The Merck Foundation (https://Merck-Foundation.com/) offers 400 grants for specialized training in fertility, embryology, and sexual and reproductive medicine to develop local embryologists and fertility experts for 38 countries in Africa and Asia; The Merck Foundation makes history by training the first African embryologists and fertility experts in many countries such as; Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Liberia.
In addition, it supported the training of staff of the first public IVF centers in Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Niger, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, celebrates 'World ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Day 2022' together with African First Ladies through its "More Than a Mother" campaign by building and promoting the capacity of fertility care in Africa and Asia. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, Executive Director of the Merck Foundation, Most Influential African (2019, 2020 & 2021) emphasized: "Happy World ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Day 2022.
I strongly believe in the critical role of embryologists and fertility specialists to empower infertile women through improving their access to information, changing mindsets and equitable quality fertility care in Africa and Asia I am so proud that as part of the campaign ' More than a mother from the Merck Foundation' in association with the African First Ladies, who are also the Ambassadors of the “More than a Mother” Campaign of the Merck Foundation, Ministries of Health, Academia and Fertility Societies, we awarded more than 400 scholarships to young doctors from 38 countries to be the local fertility experts in their respective countries to be the first local fertility experts in their countries where they have never had a single one before local embryologist or fertility specialist, such as Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Malawi and more.
Together with Merck Foundation alumni and our partners, we are making history and reshaping the landscape of fertility care in Africa and beyond."
Merck Foundation 'More Than a Mother' is a strong movement that aims to empower women living with infertility through access to information, education, mindset change and economic empowerment.
This powerful campaign supports the definition of policies and interventions to build equitable quality fertility and reproductive care capacity, break the stigma of infertility, and raise awareness of infertility prevention and male infertility.
“Of the total of 400, more than 180 scholarships have been awarded for clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists, and more than 215 scholarships have been awarded for a one-year diploma and two-year master's degree in sexual and reproductive medicine.
and biotechnology of Assisted Human Reproduction and Embryology”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej.
In addition, the Merck Foundation has trained more than 2,200 media representatives from more than 30 countries to raise community awareness and break the stigma around infertility and infertile and childless women.
The Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through its "Empowering Bern" initiative under its "More Than a Mother" movement.
This initiative helps women who can no longer be treated for infertility by helping them train to set up small businesses so they can become independent and rebuild their lives.
Through 'Empowering Bern', the lives of many infertile women have been transformed in many African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Niger, Malawi and many more.
The Merck Foundation, in collaboration with African First Ladies, has also launched David's Story, a children's storybook that emphasizes strong family values of love and respect from an early age and will reflect on removing the stigma of infertility and violence.
resulting domestic in the future.
Storybooks have been localized for each country to better connect with young readers.
Read David's story here: (https://bit.ly/3POAmM2) The Merck Foundation has also released over 25 songs, many of these songs have been created with the aim of breaking the stigma of infertility, as part of its campaign "More than a Mother" campaign.
Listen to some of the songs here: watch, share and subscribe to the 'Plus qu'une MERE' composed and sung by Mrs. Lucky-Lou, the daughter of the president and the first lady of Burundi: (https://bit .ly/3oB2kPU) Watch, share and subscribe to the song “More Than a Mother” by Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana: (https://bit.ly/3cL6r9l) Watch, share and subscribe to the song “More Than a Mother song by HE George Weah, the President of the Republic of Liberia created to support the Merck Foundation's "More Than a Mother" movement: (https://bit.ly/3vi573W) Listen all songs from "Más que una madre" here: (https://bit.ly/3PUxM7a) “To address this important issue of breaking down the stigma of infertility and also a wide range of other social issues, we launch the Merck Foundation's 'More Than a Mother' Awards annually in partnership with African First Ladies.
I would also like to invite the African Media, Fashion, Film and Musician Community, students and potential talents in these fields to apply for the awards this year, to create cultural change and break the silence on one or more of the following topics: End the stigma of infertility, Support girls' education, Empower women, End child marriage, End female genital mutilation and/or End gender-based violence at all levels.
I look forward to receiving your creative work at email@example.com,” concluded Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Pakistan celebrated Friday as Samina Baig became the country's first woman to summit K2, the world's second-highest mountain.
The 31-year-old woman reached the top of the 8,611-meter (28,251-foot) peak early Friday as part of a seven-member local team, and was followed hours later by a second Pakistani woman, Naila Kiani, who lives in Pakistan. Dubai.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif praised Baig and Kiani, with his office tweeting that the two "have become symbols of courage and bravery."
Bangladeshi climber Wasfia Nazreen also became the first person from her country to scale the mountain on Friday, her expedition told AFP.
Meanwhile, Iranian Afsaneh Hesamifard and Lebanese-Saudi Nelly Attar became the first women from their respective countries to reach the summit of K2, the Pakistan Alpine Club said.
Pakistan is home to five of the world's 14 mountains higher than 8,000 meters, and climbing all of them is considered the greatest achievement of any mountaineer.
As well as being technically much more difficult to climb than Everest, K2 has notoriously fickle weather and has only been climbed by 425 people since 1954, including about 20 women.
More than 6,000 people have climbed Everest since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the summit in 1953, some of them multiple times.
In 2013, Baig became the first Pakistani woman to climb Everest.
This summer in the northern hemisphere, a record number of climbers are vying to scale Pakistan's treacherous peaks, including K2, known as "wild mountain," and the notorious Nanga Parbat, nicknamed "killer mountain."
On Thursday, Nepal's Sanu Sherpa became the first person to complete the double summit of all 14 super peaks after summiting Gasherbrum II in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Kristin Harila stayed on track for the record for climbing all 14 peaks in the fastest time.
The 36-year-old Norwegian scaled K2, the eighth peak of the challenge, on Thursday night in pursuit of Nepalese adventurer Nirmal Purja's six-month, six-day record.
It's taken him 70 days so far, and his next target is the nearby 8,051-meter Broad Peak.
However, tragedy struck Afghan mountain climber Ali Akbar Sakhi, who died on Thursday after suffering a heart attack on K2, his brother told AFP.
The UN's highest court will decide on Friday whether to dismiss a case brought by Gambia against Myanmar's military government over the alleged genocide of Rohingya Muslims.
The West African nation accused Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2019 of violating the UN genocide convention for a bloody 2017 crackdown.
Hundreds of thousands of minority Rohingya people fled the Buddhist-majority Southeast Asian country during the operation, bringing with them harrowing reports of murder, rape and arson.
The Hague-based ICJ said in a statement that at 1300 GMT it "will rule on the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar."
Myanmar says the court should dismiss the case on legal grounds while it is still in its preliminary stages and before it begins to deal with the genocide allegations in full.
He says the ICJ does not have jurisdiction because the mainly Muslim Gambia is presenting the case as a representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Countries can only bring cases to the ICJ, which has ruled on disputes between UN members since shortly after World War II, as individual states.
The Gambia says it has the support of the 57-member OIC, which groups Muslim nations from around the world.
Myanmar also argues that the case is inadmissible as the Gambia is not a direct party to the alleged genocide, while Myanmar itself has also opted out of a relevant part of the genocide convention.
Finally, it also says that the case should be dismissed as there was no formal dispute at the time Gambia filed it, which is one of the court's rules.
If the ICJ rules against Myanmar, the case may move to full arguments on the merits of the allegations of mistreatment of Rohingya Muslims.
A final judgment in such a case could take years.
Some 850,000 Rohingya are languishing in camps in neighboring Bangladesh, while another 600,000 Rohingya remain in Myanmar's southwestern Rakhine state.
Myanmar was originally represented at the ICJ by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, but was ousted as a civilian leader in a coup last year and is now in detention.
The UN Women country office in Zimbabwe received Dr. Maxime Houinato, Regional Director of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, for a visit between July 4 and 7, 2022. The mission was aimed at advising and strategically position UN Women in Zimbabwe in line with office goals to support women's movement strategies to reinvigorate resource mobilization approaches based on current partnerships and country-specific context.
Meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, on July 4, Dr. Houinato acknowledged and appreciated the Resident Coordinator's leadership and support for gender equality and women's empowerment, and the achievement of a UN Strategic Cooperation Framework that fully integrates gender at all levels. He reiterated UN Women's commitment to work with all UN agencies to fulfill its mandate, including UN Women's coordination mandate that provides a strong platform to advance UN efforts towards achieving SDG 5.
Dr. Houinato met with the Zimbabwe Chapter of the African Women Leaders network and representatives of civil society organizations on July 5. The dialogue provided partners with the opportunity to interact with the Regional Director. Speaking at the dialogue, Dr. Houinato highlighted the critical role of AWLN as a diverse and intergenerational platform that can bridge age, political, and social and economic gaps and galvanize women's leadership to promote gender equality and empowerment. Women's. She had the opportunity to hear some of the work being done by the Innovators Against Gender Based Violence (IAG) working under the Spotlight Initiative. She also engaged with key CSOs that UN Women Zimbabwe has been working with and heard their successes and concerns.
On July 6, Dr. Houinato, accompanied by the UN Women Country Representative in Zimbabwe, Ms. Fatou Lo, paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MOWACSMED), where he met with the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Moses Mhike. , the Chief Director, Ms. Lilian Matsika and the Acting Director of Gender, Mr. Stephen Nyaruwata.
Highlights of the meeting included the partnership that UN Women has had with the Ministry to provide capacities and models such as the SAFE Marketplace and the high-level political compact, which is one of the most important achievements of the Spotlight Programme. Looking ahead, the Ministry expressed the need for continued commitment to ending child marriages and support for gender law reforms and capacity building in gender financing mechanisms.
UN Women, in collaboration with UNDP, held a Gender Café themed "Women Entrepreneurship, Sharing Experiences, Opportunities and Learning" on 6 July 2022 at "The Venue" in Avondale Harare. The keynote speaker at the opening café was Dr. Rubana Huq, a businesswoman from Bangladesh who was visiting Zimbabwe. The coffee was an opportunity for the Regional Director to hear the experience of women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe. She encouraged female entrepreneurs to harness the power of storytelling by documenting women's success stories and sharing them widely.
Dr. Houinato visited the Epworth Safe Market, a model gender-sensitive safe market that opened in September 2021 at the Overspill Shopping Center in Epworth, Harare. He toured the market's 96 secure stalls, the children's play area, the children's lounge and the various amenities the market offers and had the opportunity to interact with council officials and market vendors at their stalls.
Speaking to merchants in the market, Dr. Houinato suggested that as the model expands, the next phase could open access to its facilities for a fee, use of the recycling center, children's play center and sanitary facilities to bring in some income and boost the self-sustainability of the market. Dr. Houinato also encouraged market men to be safer cities champions and role models in their community and challenged the implementing partner to chart a clearer and stronger role for market men.
On the last day of the mission, Giles Enticknap, Deputy Ambassador of Great Britain, current President of the #HeForShe Champions and Allies in Zimbabwe, invited Dr. Houinato to a lunch attended by eleven #HeForShe Champions and Allies, including diplomats and business leaders in the UK. Residence of the Embassy in Zimbabwe. Some of the outcomes discussed at the meeting included the need for business missions and entities to promote gender sensitivity in procurement, supply chains, distribution channels and contracting, while improving capacity and capacities of women in these processes. It was also stressed that men should promote positive masculinities and reinforce the self-esteem, dignity and worth of women in their communities, including daughters, wives and co-workers.
The Director-General (D-G) of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Mr Olawale Fasanya, has vowed to create a positive shift in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development narratives in Nigeria.
Fasanya made the commitment on Tuesday during an interactive session between SMEDAN, the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers and selected newsmen in Lagos.
According to Fasanya, his appointment as D-G is the first time a staff of the agency will be at the helm of affairs to drive the sustainable and inclusive development of the subsector.
He said that the agency, having existed for close to two decades, has produced four D-Gs to pilot the structured, sustainable and efficient development of MSMEs in Nigeria.
“The import of this is that expectations from stakeholders are expectedly and justifiably high to help address the problems of MSMEs in Nigeria.
“Having worked very closely with all the past D-Gs, I owe it a duty to build on the foundations laid by my predecessors so as to cause a positive shift in the MSMEs development narratives in Nigeria.
“It is in view of this that I have the rare priviledge of engaging with you to enable me share my vision for this very important but highly endangered sector of Nigeria’s economy and also get feedbacks from you.
“It may interest you to learn that I have already started engaging with the Staff of the agency and other MSME-enabling Stakeholders.
It is going to be continuous both locally and internationally.
“I will be paying courtesy visits to key agencies of government and non-government stakeholders,” Fasanya said.
He said that the last report of the National Survey of MSMEs put the total number of enterprises in the sub-sector at well over 39 million.
He said that this number has been providing a total of over 61 million employments and about 49 per cent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria.
“As important as the sub-sector is to the national economy, it is still encumbered with several challenges which the COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going war have further worsened,” Fasanya said.
According to him, the challenges of MSMEs usually border on access to finance, market, equipment, information, technical and entrepreneurial skills and workspace.
He said that the challenges listed above informed the establishment of SMEDAN through the SMIDA Act in 2003.
Fasanya recalled that there were programmes and projects in the agency that were carefully designed to address some of the challenges of MSMEs. He, however, said that t has become necessary to start reviewing such based on the feedbacks that on-going engagements from the MSMEs will give us.
The D-G said that capable, competent, skilled and healthy workforce is germane in driving sustainable development in the agency under his watch.
“In this regard, I have instructed the appropriate department to put in place specific trainings to bridge identified gaps among staff.
“I have also directed that every staff of the Agency must be afforded an opportunity to check their health status at least twice a year.
“This will help in early detection of ailments that could become life threatening and with negative impacts on staff productivity,” Fasanya said.
He said that as part of revolutionising MSME operation in the country, SMEDAN has submitted a proposal to the Developing-8.
The D-8 is an international organisation specifically established development cooperation among the following countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
“This is intended to help promote, encourage, advance and support the activities of MSMEs at the national level as well as within the D-8 region to further strengthen economic, trade and commercial integration and linkages.
He said that the present location of the Agency’s headquarters has become very inadequate and not easily accessible because of the massive vehicular traffic.
He explained that the relocation, which is to begin towards the end of the year will create space for the agency’s proposed Micro Finance Bank, MSME Innovation Hub, Training Resource Centre, SMEDAN FCT office, etc.
Fasanya said that the establishment of the SMEDAN Micro Finance Bank is aimed at addressing the peculiar challenges of MSMEs with regards to access to funds.
He said that the Agency had in the time past advocated for special funding window for MSMEs but this has not been achieved even with the creation of some development banks.
A Myanmar ethnic rebel group said on Tuesday it had captured 14 junta soldiers and killed an unspecified number, in the latest blow to a fragile peace in the only region that has not seen post-coup repression.
Days after its coup last year, the junta reaffirmed a ceasefire with the Arakan Army (AA), which has for years waged a war for autonomy for the Rakhine ethnic population of Rakhine state.
Thanks to the truce, the western state was a rare place of respite, in a country that has seen most of its population reject military rule as the junta cracks down on dissent.
But the ceasefire has frayed, with sporadic small clashes reported since last November and both sides accusing the other of encroaching on territory and harassing supporters.
Following two clashes in Maungdaw, near the border with Bangladesh, "13 soldiers and one officer were captured" on Monday and several weapons were seized, AA spokesman Khaing Thukha told AFP.
The spokesman said several soldiers were killed in the clashes, without giving a specific figure.
AFP was unable to reach a spokesman for the board for comment.
Clashes between AA and the army in 2019 displaced more than 200,000 people across the state, one of the poorest in Myanmar.
After the coup, the junta ended a 19-month internet shutdown in the state of about a million.
Rakhine state, home to both Rohingya Muslims and a largely Buddhist Rakhine ethnic majority, has been a tinderbox of conflict for decades.
The military expelled more than 740,000 Rohingya from the state in a 2017 campaign that United Nations investigators called genocide.
Rights groups have also accused the soldiers of committing war crimes, including extrajudicial executions in their subsequent campaign against the AA.
Bangladesh’s first homegrown Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine has obtained clearance for human trial in phase I.
The Bangavax vaccine, developed by local pharmaceutical company Globe Biotech, received clearance from the Directorate General of Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare after the relevant authorities reviewed all the documents on all the previous trials.
“We’ve got the approval for phase I clinical trial of Bangavax,” Mohammad Mohiuddin, a senior official at Globe Biotech said.
He said the trial will be conducted among 60 healthy volunteers at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hospital in Dhaka.
In November 2021, Bangavax, a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, got ethical clearance from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council for a human trial on up to 64 healthy adult participants.
Globe Biotech applied for approval for a human trial on Nov.
1 last year, saying its vaccine has yielded “good results” in trials on monkeys.