GEMSA Newsletter June 2005

GEMSA Newsletter June 2005

Date: January 1, 1970
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E-Newsletter of the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network

Issue 5, June 2005

·    Letter from Exco
·    Breakthroughs
·    Gender Justice Barometer
·    Network news
·    Notice board
·    Resources

Remember to send information you think that the network will find useful to: and we will include this in the newsletter. The newsletter reaches over 800 individuals and organisations, so share with us your challenges and successes so that collectively we can build a stronger gender and media network in the region.
Contact your GEMSA country representatives:
Angola: Anacleta Pereira
Botswana: Pamela Dube
Lesotho: Mathabang Fanyane
Malawi: Stella Mhura
Mauritius: Loga Virahsawmy
Mozambique: Jose Marciano Mubai  
Namibia: Sarry Xoagus- Eises
Seychelles: Jean Claude Mantombe
South Africa: Kubi Rama
Swaziland: Phumelele Dlamini
Tanzania: Rose Haji
Zambia: Emmanuel Kasongo
Zimbabwe: Loveness Jambaya
Contact the GEMSA Executive Committee:
Chair: Colleen Lowe Morna (South Africa)
Deputy Chair: Emmanuel Kasongo (Zambia)
Secretary: Tom Mapesela (Lesotho)
Treasurer: Patricia Made (Zimbabwe)
Jennifer Mufune
We would like to know your thoughts on the newsletter. Write to us at
We encourage you to send us alerts, news and any other information you think may be of interest to others.
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Gender Links

Letter from Exco …

Dear friends and members …
Several developments are a source of encouragement for the network. The old adage that there is strength in unity rings true; and unity is what GEMSA is all about. To quote Emily Brown of the Polytechnic of Namibia spell out, “these are exciting times to be in indeed”.
The announcement this month of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was appointed as South Africa’s deputy president is welcome news for the network. Mlambo-Ngcuka was one of over 170 decision-makers in Southern Africa interviewed for the Gender Links study: "Ringing up the Changes: Gender and Politics in Southern Africa." Read more about SA’s Deputy President. Note, media are free to use / cite the article with attribution to Gender Links.
Further to the good news from SA on the appointment of a woman deputy president, (strong statement by Mbeki affirming his 50/50 position more good news that the Integrated Committee of Ministers (ICM) meeting in Lesotho, a preparatory meet for the August SADC Heads of State meeting has accepted recommendations to up grade the SADC Gender Declaration to a Protocol and increase the 30 percent target of women’s participation in decision making positions to 50 percent. And despite some massive opposition from some quarters the defense was quite strong from other member states. We are now geared for council and summit.  MISA’ Gender and Chapter Support Executive at MISA Regional Jenny Mfune has also informed us that MISA and SADC NGO forum have successfully lobbied for a civil society forum to precede the heads of state summit.
GEMSA is centrally involved in the initiative to take stock of progress in SADC towards achieving the objectives of the Declaration on Gender and Development ahead of the Heads of State Summit in 2005. GEMSA, GL, MISA, WILDAF, SAFAIDS and others have in recent months been working closely with the SADC GU and SADC PF in this exercise. We are proposing that the July strategy meeting consist of a relatively small group, essentially ourselves, who have been working on the audit of the SADC Declaration of Gender (1997) and the African Union Protocol. The main purpose is to review and put together ideas for the Protocol; and agree on lobbying strategies within the region. There is an expectation of a good GEMSA representation in Botswana with country reps in attendance.
The Heads of State (HOS) proper is from 17-18 August. Our advice is to seek to get the principles of 50/50 and a protocol accepted, and to circulate the audit and recommendations that then lay the basis for the protocol. However, the protocol itself will still need to go through SADC country consultation and legal processes. But we will be well mobilized to ensure that this happens in our respective countries.
We applaud your support; with your continued diligence in network activities, GEMSA is growing in number and strength.
Till next time
Colleen, Emmanuel, Pat, Tom and Jennifer.


New SA Deputy President strengthens 50/50 campaign
The Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network has praised South African President Thabo Mbeki for appointing a “talented woman and gender activist” to the post of Deputy President last week.
In letters to the President and the new Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, GEMSA said the move would strengthen “the unstoppable momentum to get our leaders to raise the target for women’s representation from 30 to 50 percent at their upcoming summit in Gaborone.” Read full statement …
Namibia Information Minister joins GEMSA calls for more women to learn IT

Governments across the region are rending their support for the Gender and Media Southern Africa network. In Namibia, such support went with the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mrs. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa becoming the first person to join the association during the Namibian launch of the IT workshop.

The minister then offered some advice for Namibian media and gender activists, calling upon them, especially women, to learn IT so that they become more effective as professionals. The minister lamented that many Namibians do not have access to IT because of the lack of equipment.
She then used this opportunity to call out to the private sector to come forward and help Namibia by using the social sector provision, a requirement in Namibian society. She said the Namibian Government has committed itself to the promotion of IT knowledge and she therefore called on the private sector to become partners in the training of IT to the nation. Nandi-Ndaitwah said the private sector should play a role in providing IT skills to rural communities.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said IT is the future and there is no return, calling on Namibians to see how they fit in and make the best out of training sessions as the one conducted by GEMSA. She wanted Namibian to think of developing their own software, adding that the country should master IT and come up with local tools that would in the end help Namibians using the local language.

She said if IT is mastered it can be of great advantage to women because they can run their own businesses, finish their studies while at
Mauritius turns a new page
By Loga Virahsawmy
The excitement of general elections with all its flimflams is over. Mauritius is waking up with a new team with Dr Navin Ramgoolam as Prime Minister. The structure of the Legislative Assembly will be different with eleven women instead of four. On the 16 women fielded by the two major alliances 11 were elected and one nominated as best looser. This is indeed a major increase although not enough to meet the SADC target of 30%. With a gain of 11.4%, from 5.7% to 17%, Mauritius moves from the last position of women in politics in the SADC to the 6th position coming close to Botswana. Read more …
Botswana appoints Justice Molokomme as Attorney-General
Justice Athaliah Molokomme, Botswana High Court has been appointed as the first women Attorney General in Botswana. Her appointment is a victory for gender women’s rights activists who have long argued against the absence of women in senior positions both in the judiciary and in decision-making positions more broadly in the region.
Accolades for the new Attorney General and her appointment have been pouring in. Elsie Alexander, WILDAF Board member says: “This is a milestone achievement for her and the women’s movement in Botswana and the region… given the recent appointments of women to key decision making positions.”
Justice Molokomme is the Deputy Chair of Gender Links. GEMSA congratulates her on her appointment. Read full statement …
30 percent reservation is not unconstitutional – Appeal Court
By Tom Mapesela

The Court of Appeal of Lesotho on Thursday June 30, 2005 handed down a landmark decision relating to women’s rights and the validity of the first democratic local government elections held in Lesotho.  It is the first known ruling of its kind in the sub-region. Read more …

Gender justice barometer

SADC and Gender 2005
From the 17th to the 19th of August the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State will be meeting in Gaberone, Botswana.  Gender Links and Gender and Media in Southern Africa Network (GEMSA) in collaboration with like minded organisations will be seizing this opportunity to put gender equality on top of the agenda. SADC-CNGO and MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) have also planned a civil society meeting to take place for three days leading up to the Heads of State Summit with gender as the main topic under discussion.
In preparation for these meetings Gender Links, GEMSA, MISA, SADC Gender Unit; the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU); Southern Africa AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS), Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEAS), Southern Africa Documentation and Research Centre (SARDC), Women in Development Southern Africa Awareness (WIDSAA) and Centre for Research, Education & Development Of (CREDO) Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights have been conducting an extensive audit of the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development to ascertain how far the member states have come in reaching the goals set in 1997 and to identify where the shortfalls in the Declaration are.
As Mauritius prepared for its general elections on 3 July, it was feared that the country would miss the 30 percent target. However as stated above, Mauritius has turned a new leaf and shocked gender critics and supporters alike. Read more, Mauritius betrayed as nation faces an impossible target.
However Mavis Makuni believes that Southern African journalists are in for some soul-searching times in days ahead as three women have a foothold in the top echelons of state power finally make the giant leap to the apex. Dictionaries will be sought to help with terminologies that have been mainly male-centric. Read more …
These audits will be discussed at a strategy meeting set to take place in Johannesburg from the 15th to 16 July where a draft action plan will be drawn up to be presented to government officials and MPs at the SADC PF Roundtable on the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development in Luanda in early September.
The main output of these meetings will be to put forward two key recommendations to the SADC Heads of State, that the current target of at least thirty percent women in decision making by 2005 be raised to fifty percent, in line with the AU position and that the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development is elevated to a protocol.
The participating organisations will attend the Heads of State summit to lobby for agreed actions, and to ensure maximum participation, MISA, GL and GEMSA will run cyber dialogues during the summit on different aspects of the Declaration. Citizens will also have the opportunity to cast their vote on the shape of a new Declaration. MISA, GL and GEMSA, which have strong networks in Botswana will coordinate a media campaign on a “fresh agenda for gender equality” in the run up to and during the summit.     
Portrayal of women in politics in the media
The portrayal of women who are in political office continue to get less than favourable attention in media in South Africa and through the region. Read “The dinner guest who became deputy president” by Colleen Lowe Morna and “No winners in the war of wives” by Agnes Muriungi.
Benoni Declaration eyes local government elections
Representatives and Women Leadership of South African Municipalities gathered in Benoni, Johannesburg from 19-21 June 2005, on the occasion of our National Summit and reaffirmed earlier commitments to the SALGA National Conference 2004 Cape Town Declaration and Resolutions. However the group noting that earlier instruments among others lacked monitoring mechanisms to realize this commitment has issued the Benoni Declaration. The declaration is aimed at moving toward the advancement of the equal representation of men and women in South Africa. The Declaration has a 10-point agenda to realize the overarching goal of an improved, accelerated ad engendered service delivery in the South African Local Government in the next decade. Read Declaration

Network News

IT training
GEMSA country representatives are busy preparing budgets and putting together participants’ lists and booking venues for the “Making IT work for Gender Justice” in training workshops framed around preparations for this Sixteen Days of Activism against Violence against Women. The workshops have been drawing keen participation from media, NGOs involved in gender and government. The aim of the IT workshops is to build the capacity of partner institutions and individuals to use IT effectively for advocacy, networking and training.
The workshops have also had an added advantage of establishing country-based chapters. GEMSA Namibia, Gemsa Botswana, GEMSA Mauritius are a few of the local chapters that have been formed. Through the training, the networks have been taught how to connect with each other using group messaging techniques, one of the modules in the training sessions.
The training is being conducted by a team made up of Colleen Lowe Morna, Kubi Rama, Pauliina Shilongo and Janet Karim.
Dates for country IT training and country representatives:
Swaziland: 11-14 July                   Phumelele Dlamini
Zambia: 19-21 July                       Emmanuel Kasongo
Lesotho: 1-3 August                      Tom Mapesela
Malawi: 5-7 September                 Stella Mhura
Mozambique: 12-14 September    Marciano Jose Mubai
Angola: 19-21 September              Anacleta Pereira
Zimbabwe: 26-28 September        Loveness Jambaya
AR launches and IT workshops boost network growth

With the new network manager having taken her position on 1 June, the Audience Research launches and IT workshops have taken place in four countries Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Botswana. The two activities mostly taking place back to back have been organized in collaboration with GEMSA country reps, GL and the PON. This has led to growth and strengthening of the network with high turnout for the Making IT work for Gender Justice Workshops. The workshops have also led to a greater understanding of GEMSA as an umbrella body for other gender networks.


Country chapters are forging ahead with membership drives to encourage organizations and individuals to join the network. As of 27 June 2005 GEMSA has 115 individual members and nine institutional members.
GEMSA Audit on SADC gender laws
The gender audit of media legislation is still in full swing, and will lead to a tool kit on how to lobby for more gender sensitive laws.  
We hope that you will support the GEMSA Network Manager in her efforts towards growing the network. She has already been in touch with many of you in the IT and Audience Research launches that have so far taken place in Namibia and Botswana.

Other Network News
Seychelles Women’s Commission hopes to join African network
By Marie-Anne Lepathy
The Seychelles Women Commission (SWC) has expressed interest in joining the African woman network, Femnet, after some 20 of its members attended a meeting recently to learn more about its role.

The meeting, in Victoria was chaired by the secretary-general of SWC, Marie-Nella Azemia, and saw a presentation by the executive committee member of Femnet Mauritius, Homa Mungapen, who was on a visit in Seychelles.

Mrs Mungapen said whilst Femnet was one of the leading women networks advocating women empowerment and women’s rights in several countries on the African continent, it was poorly represented in the Indian Ocean, with only Mauritius being a member. She said from experience it was clear that women organizations in Seychelles were very active in advocating various social issues, pushing forward ideas and were well represented in important decision-making bodies.

"Unity is strength and if we can get women representatives from Seychelles to join Femnet, it will be a plus for Africa," she said. For her part Ms Azemia said that the SWC will not let such an opportunity pass and they are in discussion to finalize the details and plan to hopefully join the network before the end of the year.

GEMSA Zambia is progressing towards the Audience Research Launch and IT training. The local network put in place a national organizing committee at a meeting called on 20 May.  Mwiika was elected Chairperson.  A committee of seven was ushered in. Emmanuel Kasongo will sit on the committee and serve as an ex-official who will then link to the broader Regional GEMSA family. 

We then traveled to the Northern town of Mansa where we met 50 young and old, various professionals, and colleagues etc to launch GEMSA Mansa.  About 10 people have paid up and more are promising to do so soon.  It was a great experience that made Emmanuel’s entourage proud and hopeful that the rural area was responding to need for gender equality and activism. 

Notice board

Women’s Rights and the Millennium Summit Review
The Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), Development Alternatives with Women in a New Era (DAWN), the NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security and Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) – are writing to ask for help to ensure that women’s rights and gender equality are not left out of the Millennium Summit review (MS+5) in September. Governments have already begun to develop text of the draft outcome document for the Summit negotiations based on the Secretary General’s report, "In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all."
For a copy of the document containing proposed gender-related language amendments for governments to support and include in the Summit outcome document, please contact: 
CWGL – Charlotte Bunch,
DAWN – Francoise Girard,
NGOWG WPS Gina Torry,
WEDO – June Zeitlin,
Awards and fellowships
1. IPDC/UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication: Call for Nominations – highlight items

Nominations are now open for the IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication, which is to be awarded for the tenth time. The IPDC-UNESCO Prize, consisting of a sum of US $20,000 is awarded every two years. This year deadline for submission is 1 October 2005. The Prize is intended to recognize a meritorious and innovative activity in improving communication in rural communities, mainly in developing countries. Nominations should reach the IPDC Secretariat by 1 October 2005 at the latest accompanied by a detailed description of work for which the candidature is proposed, as well as by  supporting documentations including photographs and/or short video reflecting the work carried out by the candidate.
Contact Valéri Nikolski, UNESCO, Communication Development Division

2. Joan Shorenstein Fellowship at Harvard
The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy offers a one-semester Fellowship at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Fellows are domestic or international journalists, scholars or policymakers who are active in the fields in which press, politics and public policy are highly relevant, including polling, public opinion, elections and the like. 
Four to six fellowships are awarded each semester. International applicants must be able to read, write, and speak English fluently. The purpose of the Fellowship is to enrich and complement participants’ knowledge of the field of press, politics and public policy. The primary focus of the Fellowship is a paper, article or book on a topic examining and analyzing the influence of the press on politics and public policy in the domestic or international arena
Contact: Edith Mead Holway, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; Email:; Telephone: 617-495-8269;  Fax: 617-495-8696. 
3. Yale World Fellows Program
The Yale World Fellows Program is a 13-week intensive program designed to provide emerging leaders around the world with an intellectually stimulating environment in which to analyze issues, debate goals and values, and network with international contacts. Past participants have included journalists, human rights activists and environmental advocates.
A Fellowship candidate must be a citizen of, and reside in, a country other than the United States. The deadline for 2006 Fellowships is 13 January 2006. Successful applicants will be notified in April 2006.
Applications must be completed online:
4. New Workspace on ICT-based Enterprises for Women in Development
A new project is starting to investigate how ICT-based enterprises can improve women’s livelihoods in developing countries.
We invite you to join our workspace on this topic and to share your experience, ideas and resources.  This will help us build knowledge: about the impacts of such enterprises on women, their lives and livelihoods; and about business models and strategies for developing such enterprises.  In turn, we will share this back with you.
To join us, please click the word "Join" via Web page:
Alternatively, send a short message requesting to join to:  


Gender and HIV/AIDS electronic library
To promote understanding, knowledge sharing, and action on HIV/AIDS as a gender equality and human rights issue, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), with support from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has developed a Gender and HIV/AIDS Electronic Library to provide up-to-date information on the gender dimensions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  
The Electronic Library, contained in a CD-ROM format, is based on UNIFEM’s Gender and HIV/AIDS Web Portal ( and compiles resources produced by a variety of organizations working on HIV/AIDS, including cutting- edge research and studies, training resources and tools, and multimedia advocacy materials. All information can be easily searched and retrieved using a variety of criteria. The Library is intended to be a useful resource for academics, policymakers, practitioners, journalists, students and others interested in the gender dimensions of the epidemic.  
Narratives and counter-narratives of Zimbabwean asylum – women’s voices
There are more Zimbabweans in Britain than anywhere else in the world
outside their country estimates published in Zimbabwe itself range between as few as 176,400 and as many as 1.1 million – and even for Zimbabweans who are not seeking asylum this poses problems with a Zimbabwe government which now sees itself as ‘at war’ with Britain. Read more from Terence Ranger:
Improving the Quality of Reproductive Health Services for
High-Risk, War-Affected Adolescent Girls – Angola
This project disseminates socially and culturally appropriate information messages to Angolan youth, including those in former conflict areas, to bring
about behaviour change. It facilitates peer education, behaviour change communication, empowerment of young girls, counselling, youth-friendly reproductive health services and life-skills education for in- and out-of-school youth. Contact
New Workspace on ICT-based Enterprises for Women in  
A new project is starting to investigate how ICT-based enterprises can improve women’s livelihoods in developing countries. We invite you to join our workspace on this topic and to share your experience, ideas and resources. This will help us build knowledge: about the impacts of such enterprises on women, their lives and livelihoods; and about business models and strategies for developing such enterprises.  In turn, we will share this back with you. To join us, please click the word "Join" via Web page:

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