“SUPPORT AFRICAN WOMEN IS TO SUPPORT THE CONTINENT”


Last Wednesday 18th, I had the pleasure to get to know and interview Ana Salado Suarez, director of communications of “Fundación Mujeres por Africa”, which explained how “Mujeres por África” emerged, who are part of it and what are the different projects being carried out.

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Ana Salado and Victoria Lopez from ” Fundación Mujeres por África”

She started telling me the history of “Mujeres por África”, she told that it was created by María Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, deputy prime minister during the last mandate, when in February 2012 she found organizations that fund her idea, basically influenced by the strength and enthusiasm of African women to build a better world and then she realized that she wanted to help these women.

She also talked about the principles of the foundation, Ana summarized them saying: “The foundation is based on the trust in women, that part of the world that for so long has been under the domain of the other sex.” She added, “ Support African women is to support the continent, is to support the development and progress.” She summarized their objectives saying that what they want is to contribute to the development of Africa helping its women, this mean that they are “empowerment” them, qualifying them, walking with them in their labor that is fundamental for the continent.

After talking about the history of “Mujeres por África”, its principles and objectives, I asked her about the different projects that are being carried out and which have more important. She started explained their four difference working areas that are health, education, economic and empowerment, which most of the time, they overlap each other.

In health, she talked about the maternal-child health projects like “Stop Fistula”.
“Stop fistula” is a project that fight for the cure of fistula austerity that according to the UN “between two and three and a half million women living with fistula austerity, most in Africa, and it is estimated that each year there are between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases.” Ana added that the seriousness of this disease and figures that illustrate contrasts with the great ignorance that exists for the majority of society.
“Stop Fistula” aims to prevent and cure more cases of fistula. Which has two stages, on the one hand, the action of a preventive character that promotes access to health services for the most vulnerable women, and the remedial action that is to operate already with the disease. She said, “It is our flagship project”.
But, we also talked about others health projects as “Pintando África: Mujeres contra la Malaria” that is being carried out in Ghana.

In the education area, stand out “Ghana Wings!” project which involves the formation of Ghanaian women in three strategic areas for social transformation and development: education, health and social leadership assistance. About 100 women are the beneficiaries of the project. It has three specific programs: Nursing Leadership Program, the training of trainers and Social Leadership.
“With the “Ghana Wings” project, we hope to advance in the perception towards women as they are, truths protagonists of progress in Ghana, and finally, take a step forward on the path of development and welfare undertaken by the country.” she exclaimed.
Also, there are more projects as “Niñas de Rimkieta” in Burkina Faso or “Niñas de Malawi” in Malawi.

In the economic area, she discussed “Mujeres al volante”, this project takes place in Sierra Leone, it is one of the most emblematic actions of the Foundation in the area of economic development because it places women in Sierra Leone in a strategic and service point to the public sector. The project has enabled the launch of the first professional taxi service quality in the capital of Sierra Leone, supporting a cooperative of women drivers, automotive and mechanical of managers, to promote their economic independence as well as the viability of the service.
Ana added that the beneficiaries start a professional career and enter the working world, rising as stars of the economic development of their country.

And in the “empowerment area”, the most important project is “Mujeres por Mali” because during the conflict in Mali, women have been victims of violence, including rape and other crimes, and their voice needs to be strengthened now that the country’s future is at stake.
“The challenge is big and the participation of Malian women will help the country to overcome it successfully”, she said. “Mujeres de Mali por la Paz” helps to improve their bargaining power and their role in the process of national dialogue reconciliatory, from a personalized training tailored to their particular needs.

These projects are examples of the many projects that they are taking place in this moment. An important characteristic of the Foundation is that it do not give any preference to any project, basically because they believe that all are equally important and necessary.

Finally, she briefly commented the multiples organizations with which they have agreements to carry out these projects, among them are the UN, CYCA, New York University (NYU), Banco Santander.

To conclude, Ana repeated me the importance of African women and why “Mujeres por África” thinks that it is pretty important to help them. “The contribution of African women to development is very special, they have helped sustain life in these societies full of conflicts, revolutions …” she said.

 

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Key members of “Fundación Mujeres por África”

                                                                                        By María Asiain Belloso

 

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