Journalists from eight African countries recently participated in a workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, which dwelt on the protection of women and girls from gender and related violence, including harmful cultural practices.
Organised by the Nairobi-based African Women’s Development and Communication Network (Femnet) – and titled ‘Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights’ (SRHR) – the Workshop’s theme was ‘Enhancing Media Coverage on Reporting SRHR.’
As noted in The Citizen yesterday, the workshop focused upon getting journalists in African nation-states to “push for greater policy accountability of their governments in protecting women and girls from any and all harmful practices...” some of which are known to have resulted in permanent injury or worse – including death.
In that regard, journalists and other stakeholders in the welfare/well-being of women and girls are duty-and-honour-boundto ensure that African governments and their related institutions do provide women and girls with ready access to quality sexual and reproductive health services as a matter of course.
These include – but are not limited to – access to safe and legal abortions, as well as support for child pregnancies and family-planning services.”
Admittedly, many African countries have put in place the requisite policies and regulatory frameworks. But implementation thereof is more often than not haphazard, desultory – or virtually lacking in extreme cases.
Governments must now walk the talk by routinely implementing the policies and laws. Established in 1988 as a pan-African feminist membership-based institution,Femnet envisions an African Society where gender equality is achieved and sustained– with women and girls enjoying all the natural, constitutional and other rights to which they are entitled as humans and citizens.
To that noble end, we applaud Femnet and journalists in all sincerity – and earnestly urge all and sundry to fly higher the banner of genuine gender equality that recognizes women and girls as fellow humans.