August 24, 2016

Ethiopia's festival for women

Image by Rod Waddington

Celebrating the "tall green grass"


Ashenda, also known as Shadey festival is celebrated in Northern Ethiopia, namely the Tigray, Amhara and some parts of Eritrea regions. They commemorate this festival after Filseta—a two-week fasting observance by the orthodox church to honor the ascending of the Virgin Mary. In some regions it also honors Jehphttah's sacrifice of his only daughter. The celebration is mostly for the girls and women. Ashenda means "tall green grass." The girls traditionally collect grass along river banks, swamps, wetlands; each grass measuring at least 80-90cm in length. Merchants also sell some grass in the marketplace in preparation. The grass is made into an ensemble garment worn on top of their traditional cloth known as the Tilfi. They also adorn themselves in jewelry and their traditional hairstyle.

"Never pick your wife during Ashenda"

©Rod Waddington
The women are all gorgeous and charming during the celebration in their adornment and makeup. They swarm the men like bees who must give them money before they leave them alone. The women divide themselves in groups for the parade. They sing, dance and beat drums from the city square traveling in packs, visiting homes and collecting donations. It's like American halloween, only for women. The men know to have in their possession wads of cash. The celebration go on as long as 1 week in some parts of the region.

This time of year is especially exciting for women and young girls as they eagerly anticipate it. They get to show off and make some money. Some are of the opinion that it objectifies women. In true African fashion, there's a feast to follow a fasting observation, with dishes painstakingly prepared well in advance. There's also a coffee ceremony.

Ashenda's significance

The celebration is significant to the people of Northern Ethiopia and has gained popularity over the years attracting tourists that flock the region. Although the festival is for women and girls, the men also participate on its major days, playing admirers and bodyguards. It has religious, cultural, economic and political importance in that it fosters strong ties amongst the group and it's preserved and passed down the generations.
Image by Heejoo

August 22, 2016

Clinton versus Trump, who's better for Africa?



If you've been paying attention lately in the media, it's laced with political rhetoric coming from Democrats and Republicans of the U.S. Spotlight stealer though I have to give to Donald Trump. He's a true Gemini: a master at exaggerations, an attention seeker, big talker, a controversy magnet with very short attention span, a charming, egotistical narcissist, with no filter and plays by no one's rules. He's on a mission to "make America great again" by his own definition and by any means necessary, even if it alienates his own political party. He's spent most of his campaign lately doing damage control (or should I say his surrogates are) than discussing important issues about exactly how he plans to make America great.

Like previously mentioned, the business mogul and now presidential candidate plays by no one's rules. That could be a good or a bad thing. He states what's on his mind and doesn't sugar coat it, somewhat a refreshing change from the usual political rhetoric of scripted speeches, maybe that's really what gravitated many of his supporters to him. Now it seems that will unravel him. Now everything he says is taken with a grain of salt and leads any reasonable thinking human being to do the due diligence and fact check. He's made assertions that while in the past might have been endearing now leads one to give him the side eye. It's kind of hard to take him seriously when statements he makes with deadpan assurance he cannot uphold when they are questioned, but instead deflates them by changing the subject, injecting further controversy or reducing them to a mere joke or sarcasm or passing blame. By all indications he has the majority of Americans scared and running for cover and other nations by the edge of their seats. Many think he's dangerous and bad for America, especially his own political party. He makes factual statements that he can't back up most of the time. In Donald Trump's true nature, he is unapologetic, incapable of conceding, even when now we can see through his propaganda. To understand "The Donald" would be to understand the undertones of his speeches and decipher through them, they are meant for controversy which he craves like a camel to water, he loves the attention. He claimed to be unscathed by all the media criticisms but could recite quotes from most of them and then lashes out at them on his social media or in his next public speech. You have to wonder how this candidate will perform when he is Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world, when he lacks the common decorum essential for the job. I've never met another 70 year-old with the mastery of 140 characters. True to his nature, he lights the match but can't stand the heat.

Maybe that's just it, he's in there for the long haul just for the entertainment value, with his unpredictability, no one will ever know. So far until now, we have our ears to the ground waiting to hear how he'd make America great again. From an August 8th economic policy breakdown, he's managed to recite what his opponent have termed "trickle down economics"— same old rhetoric of the Republicans that puts more money in the pockets of wealthy Americans and leaves the poor even poorer. A three-tier breakdown of the tax code looks good on paper, it doesn't seem like a bad idea especially for the middle class, but is it practical? Can it be implemented realistically? How does he plan to implement it? He has instructed us to visit his website for updates. Basically for once, he followed a scripted speech and didn't really have the answers. His website listed some changes (now updated) that would be STAT upon taking office such as immigration reform, tax reform, taking care of veterans, getting rid of Obamacare, safeguarding the Second amendment for American citizens and most importantly, that pesky wall that must be built to keep the "Mexicans" away. A lot of what's listed really sounds good on paper but think as you read this article how much of it affects the African immigrant.

It is of the opinion that he would get along well with African political leaders as they share common appetite for lavish things, he would fit right in at their parties.

"US business magnate Donald Trump has expressed his deep disgust for Africans by referring to them as lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking and thuggery."

Think about his planned immigration reform. First on his agenda in the White House will be cleaning house—of all illegal immigrants and that will not just be Mexicans. It also means Madam Koi koi in an estate on Banana Island, Lagos, Nigeria can kiss her potential children's American dream goodbye. "The Donald" will do away with automatic citizenship by birth. As if the strict immigration laws were not strict enough. It also means if you borrowed all that money, sold your father's property, shut down your business and jumped at the idea of escaping to the land of opportunity without proper documentation just to be stuck in a rut for the last ten years assuming another person's alias working that security job, you're in for a rude awakening. If you're illegal alien in America, better keep your bags packed and one foot out the door because "The Donald" and Uncle Sam will be sending you back home! He believes African immigrants at best are case studies for bad examples of how illegal immigrants are ruining America and to make America great again, he must get rid of them. But perhaps in his true flighty nature, we may not be discussing this topic by November.


What about Hillary?


On the other hand you have Hillary Clinton, a WOMAN. She has made history already for that reason alone. I for one would like to see a woman Commander-in-chief in my lifetime in America. While I do recognize the bias in that statement, it would be worth a try for a nation that have perpetuated a forward movement in many aspects of governance but are still backwards in the fundamental issues of human rights.

Trump has asserted that Hillary Clinton does not have the temperament to handle important issues because she's a woman, accused her of playing the "woman card," in turn, she clapped back stating "deal me in!" Of course understanding "The Donald" now would be to count that notion as laughable, recognizing the former First Lady and Secretary of State's long resume in American politics. You have to wonder in the year 2016, why a supposedly forward moving and a world leading nation such as America still continues on a discussion on whether a job would be done better based on a person's gender while other less powerful nations have embraced female leadership. Women have long worked twice as hard to refute that theory. Voting her in will be a finite move to shutting that notion down as many African woman are looking forward to it as their beacon of hope.

This is not at all to say that Hillary Clinton is the perfect person for the job, as that has never been the opinion of many by any stretch of the means (you can ask Bernie Sanders' supporters), but faced to choose between the two candidates, who would be the lesser evil? That is the question.

For one, the Clintons have the reputation of upholding the ideals of political juggernauts that have been detrimental to the minorities and especially the poor, making it especially hard for any African immigrant to attain the American dream within a reasonable amount of time. Many worry that a vote for Hillary would be recycling the wheel of Bill Clinton's presidency which saw disproportionate numbers of poor minorities and racial inequality rise and continue to plague America till this day. It is also worthy to note that of the many trips made by Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State to Africa seemed to benefit the rich American interest than it actually did for poor Africans.


In conclusion


Trump takes no prisoners when it comes to speaking his mind, which means he is more likely to stick to what he says by choice and not by influence, that could be a good thing in the long run especially now that he's campaigning more for the minority vote, promising an overhaul of the the burdens they have faced for many years under an unchanging regime. Clinton has a long record of advocating for women and children, accomplishments dear to her heart. Chances are she would continue to advocate for women and children, working to fix the gender disparities in wages and income and opportunities afforded to women. This by and large, would inspire many women, especially African women leaders to do the same.

August 20, 2016

AN EVENT FOR AFRICAN WOMEN LEADERS


2ND AFRICA WOMEN INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORUM (AWIEF)


Under the theme “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment in Africa’s best interest", the 2nd edition of the premier Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) will once again gather, from across Africa and the globe, top women entrepreneurs and women in business, thought leaders, investors, SMEs, MSMEs, international development organizations, NGOs, foundations, government policy-makers, and the media. AWIEF is a platform to discuss the role of women in Africa’s economic growth, address the challenges faced by female business-owners, analyze those challenges and proffer innovative and sustainable solutions that effectively foster the empowerment of African women and unleash their full potential for successful business entrepreneurship.

The conference will feature participation from global leading institutions and decision- makers seeking to transform the African economy with women empowerment as a driver of development.

AWIEF Founder and MD Irene Ochem

Addressing current challenges


According to Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Managing Director of ICO Conferences & Events, “despite leading the world on women entrepreneurship, African female business-owners enjoy less recognition and support than their male counterparts for their contribution to poverty reduction, employment and wealth creation. AWIEF will unveil comprehensive strategies for enhanced economic participation and opportunities for women throughout the continent. We are addressing such current challenges as inequalities in access to economic opportunities, less access to finance, technology, market information, business networks, as well as gender bias in education and skills development”

She continues: “This year the AWIEF pre-conference training workshops will focus on three areas: 1) Technology in Business 2) Entrepreneurship Strategies and Creativity in Business 3) Result-Oriented Sustainable Business Development.”

The 2016 AWIEF Conference targets the broadest spectrum of participants and regional inclusion from across Africa and has received endorsement and support from many relevant African and global institutions and organizations. AWIEF will create a networking opportunity with potential business partnerships, knowledge-sharing and peer-learning. It therefore allows African women entrepreneurs compare their challenges, learn and connect across borders to enhance and expand their impact.

With a wider coverage of exhibitions, AWIEF provides the perfect continental platform to present and showcase your brands, technologies, products and services to female African decision makers, influencers and qualified buyers from diverse industry and business sectors.

AWIEF is your opportunity to be a part of a continental drive to invest in and support the empowerment of women for unleashing Africa's full economic growth and transformation. You will meet face-to-face for two days with top local and international professionals and business women from diverse industries.

Meet the leading women and esteemed speakers for the event


Speakers


AWIEF 2016 has an exciting concentration of esteemed, high-level, reputable and international speaker profiles which include:
  • H.E. Susan Shabangu, Honourable Minister of Women in the Presidency, South Africa 
  • H.E. Dr Diane Gashumba, Honourable Minister of Gender & Family Promotion, Rwanda 
  • H.E. Senator Aisha Alhassan, Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria 
  • Almas Jiwani, President Emeritus, UN Women Canada & Founder/CEO, Almas Jiwani Foundation, Canada 
  • Melody Kweba, President/Chairperson, South African Women in Mining Association (SAWIMA), South Africa 
  • Tara Femi-Durotoye, CEO/Creative Director, House of Tara International, Nigeria 
  • Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder/Chief Responsibility Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Nigeria 
  • Khanyi Dhlomo, Founder/CEO, Ndalo Media, South Africa 
  • Fiorina Mugione, Chief, Entrepreneurship Section, United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Switzerland 
  • Mary Olushoga, Founder AWP Network, USA 
  • Regina Honu, Founder/CEO, Soronko Solutions, Ghana 
  • Melanie Hawken, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Lionesses of Africa, South Africa 
  • Shimite Bello, Group President/CEO, Quintessential Group, Nigeria 
  • Thelma Ekiyor, Co-Founder/CEO, Afrigrants Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Sandra L Ross, Associate Executive Director, LITE-Africa 
  • Nkemdilim Begho, Founder/Managing Director, Future Software Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Christine Ngiriye, Managing Director, Africa 2.0, Rwanda 
  • Achenyo Idachaba, Founder/Creative Director, MitiMeth, Nigeria 
  • Hilda Ndude, Chairperson, Black Business Women Association (BBWA), South Africa 

AWIEF dates and venue:


Two-day Conference and Exhibition: 29 – 30 September 2016
Pre-Conference Workshops: 28 September 2016
Venue: The Civic Centre, Lagos, Nigeria


To register and attend (by email or online):

Telephone: +27 21 826 8878
Mobile: +234 814 376 9875 (Nigeria); +27 76 052 1199 (South Africa)
Email: info@icoconferences.com
Web: http://awieforum.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AWIEFInitiative
Twitter: @awieforum

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER



August 19, 2016

HEALTHY EATING

They say the best helping hand is the one at the end of your own arm! Healthy eating is essential for good health.

Healthy eating involves planning meals for the week and making sure that you work towards achieving what you have planned. The first thing you need to do is to base your meals on starchy foods. Starchy foods such as rice, pasta, cereals and potatoes form an important part of a healthy diet. It is advisable to choose wholegrain varieties of the starches. Starch should make about a third of what we eat.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The dilemma we have is most of us are aware that we should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but most of us are still not eating enough of them. Try to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

Healthy eating also involves eating more fish. Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. You should aim for at least two portions of fish in a week or even twice a week.

There is also need to cut down saturated fat and sugar. To stay healthy we need some fat in our diets. But the question is, what kind of fat are we eating? Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood and increase the chances of developing heart diseases.

It’s not a good idea to be either underweight or overweight. Being overweight can lead to health conditions high blood pressure or diabetes. It is important to always do exercise at least to keep the body active and fit.

Drink plenty of water. The body needs at least 6-8 glasses of water in a day to stop us from dehydrating.

Lastly, don’t skip your breakfast.

About the author


Reginald Alango is a Social Media Strategist and Writer living in Nairobi, Kenya.
You can catch up with him at anytime on twitter: @ReginaldAlango @SinclareMedia
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...