NEWS

May. 26, 2020

support those at risk from domestic violence

Joint News Release -- FIFA, WHO, and the European Commission have joined forces, to launch the #SafeHome campaign to support women and children at risk of domestic violence. The campaign is a joint response from the three institutions to the recent spikes in reports of domestic violence as stay-at-home measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have put women and children experiencing abuse at greater risk. 

Almost one in three women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by someone else in their lifetime. In a majority of cases, that violence is committed by a partner in their home - indeed, up to 38% of all murders of women are committed by an intimate partner. It is also estimated that one billion children aged between two and seventeen years (or half the world’s children) have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.   

There are many reasons why people perpetrate domestic violence, including gender inequality and social norms that condone violence, childhood experiences of abuse or exposure to violence and coercive control growing up. Harmful use of alcohol can also trigger violence. Stressful situations, such as those being experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic instability, exacerbate the risk. Moreover, the current distancing measures in place in many countries make it harder for women and children to reach out to family, friends and health workers who could otherwise provide support and protection.

“Just as physical, sexual or psychological violence has no place in football, it has no place in the home.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “We are so pleased that our partners today are joining us to draw attention to this critical issue. As people are isolated at home because of COVID-19, the risks of domestic violence have tragically been exacerbated.”.

“Together with the World Health Organization and the European Commission, we are asking the football community to raise awareness to this intolerable situation that threatens particularly women and children in their own home, a place where they should feel happy, safe and secure,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “We cannot stay silent on this issue that negatively affects so many people. Violence has no place in homes, just as it has no place in sports. Football has the power to relay important social messages, and through the #SafeHome campaign, we want to ensure that those people experiencing violence have access to the necessary support services they need.”

“Violence has no place in our societies,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “Women’s rights are human rights and should be protected. Often abused women and children are afraid to talk because of fear or shame. This ‘window’ to speak-up and seek help is, during confinement, even more restricted. As a matter of fact , in some countries, we have seen an increase in reports of domestic violence since the outbreak of COVID-19. It is our responsibility as a society, as institutions to speak up for these women. To give them trust and support them. This is the purpose of this joint campaign which I am honoured to be part of.”

“We call upon our member associations to actively publish details of national or local helplines and support services that can help victims and anyone feeling threatened by violence in their locality,” added the FIFA President. “We also call upon our members to review their own safeguarding measures using the FIFA Guardians toolkit to ensure that football is fun and safe for everyone in our game, especially the youngest members of the football family.” 

The five-part video awareness campaign features 15 past and present footballers - Álvaro Arbeloa, Rosana Augusto, Vítor Baía, Khalilou Fadiga, Matthias Ginter, David James, Annike Krahn, Marco Materazzi, Milagros Menéndez, Noemi Pascotto, Graham Potter, Mikaël Silvestre, Kelly Smith, Óliver Torres and Clementine Touré - who have stressed their support to addressing this critical issue. The campaign is being published on various FIFA digital channels, with #SafeHome also being supported with multimedia toolkits for the 211 FIFA member associations and for various media agencies to help facilitate additional localisation and to further amplify the message worldwide.

Video 1: Survivor advice 1

Video 2: Survivor advice 2 

Video 3: Survivor support

Video 4: Perpetrator advice 

Video 5: Government advice 

WHO, the United Nations’ specialised health agency, and FIFA, football’s world governing body, collaborate closely to promote healthy lifestyles, which includes being free of violence, through football globally. The two organisations jointly launched the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign in March 2020 to share advice on effective measures to protect people from COVID-19. This was followed by the #BeActive campaign in April 2020 to encourage people to stay healthy at home during the pandemic. 

Factsheet

According to WHO, violence is a pervasive public health and human rights problem around the world. It affects women, men, boys and girls in all countries and cuts across boundaries of age, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, culture and wealth. Statistically, women and children (both boys and girls) are most affected by violence in the home and it is often perpetrated by men they know and trust.

Data (Source: WHO and others)

  • Almost one in three women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence, not including sexual harassment, by any perpetrator
  • Globally, 30% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime
  • Globally up to 38% of murders of women are committed by intimate partners
  • Adolescent girls, young women, women belonging to ethnic and other minorities, transwomen, and women with disabilities face a higher risk of different forms of violence
  • The majority (55% to 95%) of women survivors of intimate partner violence or sexual violence do not disclose or seek any type of help or services
  • Being abused as a child or exposed to violence in the family when growing up, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality including gender norms increase the risk of perpetrating violence against a partner; in some settings violence is associated with excessive use of alcohol 
  • Globally, over one billion children – over half of all boys and girls aged 2–17 years – experience some form of emotional, physical or sexual violence every year
  • The lifetime prevalence of childhood sexual abuse is 18% for girls and 8% for boys
  • Homicide is among the top five causes of death in adolescents, with boys comprising over 80% of victims and perpetrators
  • Regional statistics also exist. For example in Europe, it is estimated that one in five (20%) children have experienced sexual abuse, and in the WHO European region, a quarter of women (15-49 years) have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In Latin America and the Caribbean, it is estimated that 58% of children experience sexual, physical or emotional violence each year, and 30% of women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. 

Resources

COVID-19 and violence against women: What can the health sector/system do?

WHO, LSHTM, SAMRC. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence

WHO: Respect women: Preventing violence against women

Seven strategies to prevent violence against women - infographics

WHO: Inspire: Seven strategies for ending violence against children

End Violence Against Children: Global partnership

Note:

The World Health Organization and FIFA signed in 2019 a four-year collaboration to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. More information on the WHO-FIFA memorandum of understanding can be found here:  https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/04-10-2019-who-and-fifa-team-up-for-health

 

May. 26, 2020

Women bishops offer a candid look at what drives their leadership
Women bishops offer a candid look at what drives their leadership
Photo: California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB)

25 May 2020

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, a retired United Methodist bishop from the USA, has spent her career voicing the need for a church that includes all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. And, throughout her career, she’s never been afraid to say that out loud.

“I of course received a lot of hate mail,” said Swenson, who currently serves as the vice moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Committee.

But—and it’s a very important ‘but’—there was also a view of gratitude, she added. And that’s what kept her vision of leadership alive. “My stand has always been one of including all people,” she said. “That means all, because God’s love is truly for all of us, everywhere.”

Swenson joined four of her peers—all-female United Methodist bishops in the USA—for a panel discussion, “Female Leadership in the Religious Realm,” on 22 May, as part of a women’s leadership conference hosted at California State University.

Women bishops are often on the frontlines of having their leadership questioned, sometimes in harsh ways. Bishop Minerva Carcaño (California-Nevada Conference) recalled preaching one Sunday at a large church close to the U.S.-Mexico border. “In my sermon I happened to mention how important it is to serve in the context in which we find ourselves,” she said. “I mentioned ever so briefly the importance of serving everyone—including undocumented immigrants.”

When she then offered communion, one man refused to take it. “He pushed it back from me, even,” she said. It was a heartbreaking amount, and I’d never experienced anything like that.”

After the service, the man told the pastor of the church that Carcaño should be removed from the pulpit. The pastor replied: “I can’t take her out of the pulpit—it’s her pulpit.”

That moment gave Carcaño a different perspective on herself as a leader—and she continues to be a leader who’s known for fiercely defending human rights. “If it’s the bishop’s pulpit, I also hope to hold it gently and humbly,” she added.

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi (Western Pennsylvania Conference) recalled when, on her very first day on the job, there was a flood disaster in the area. “Instead of putting my books on a shelf, I needed to see the folks who got beaten up ad left alongside the road by this flood,” she said. “They were astonished that I had come on my first day of work.”

Koikoi thought: “Where else would I be?” She offered a word of prayer, and realized that it was a defining moment for her: “That’s what leadership is all about.”

Another aspect of being an effective leader involves “deep listening,” said Bishop Tracy S. Malone (East Ohio United Methodist Conference). Malone said, as a new bishop, she journeyed through her conference, which has nearly 700 churches. “Having done the deep listening that was necessary, we developed a vision for the entire conference: to increase the capacity for every layperson and clergy person to be disciples, and to make new disciples.”

The women also talked about who has inspired them along the way. Retired Bishop Linda Lee remembered her mother, who worked as a seamstress in a factory all her life. “She ended up being the one who would go talk with the boss,” said Lee. “She was a leader in the factory.”

Lee’s mother also sewed garments for women who couldn’t afford to buy clothes. “She would counsel them and pray with them when they came. She was the mother of everybody.”

May. 25, 2020

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee honored the nation,s veterans, service members and their families a the congressional memorial day ceremony that took place at the World war two [WW2] PLAZA located at Heights Boulevard and 11th street in Houston Texas.
The ceremony in it,s 13th anniversary this memorial day 5/25/2020 was low key, with many of the participants and guests wearing masks and other face coverings and maintaining safe physical distances as protective measures against the Coronavirus that causes COVID19.
Some of Houston's notables who attended the Hon Jackson Lee event were, Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston Texas, Statehouse representative, and city of Houston at large position 2 council member, Hon David W. Robinson.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee said " It is our duty to mark this moment despite the uncertainty of our time. As our nation continues to respond to COVID19. pandemic, Memorial day 2020 will look a little different but remains my solemn duty to honor our fallen heroes and mark this moment despite the uncertainty of our time. We pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and remember those who have served our country around the world in the name of freedom and democracy and honor the families and communities they left behind. Every day, our country is safe from foreign aggression, and our children can play and breathe freely is a day our servicemembers and veterans made possible. We thank them for their service, and honor their memories ".
Honorable Shiela Jackson Lee also spoke about the work she and her colleagues do in the USA congress in these words " I am proud of our national commitment to providing high-quality care and benefits to the nearly 20 million veterans in the USA, more than 2 million troops and reservists and their families. This commitment is even more important today as we urgently deal with the Corona Virus crisis... The number of Veterans Affairs patients who have died from Coronavirus complications rose to more than 1,000 last week, even as the number of active cases of the illness within the department,s medical system continued to decline. VA medical centers in the New York City area continue to be among the hardest hit by the Corona Virus, which has killed nearly 100, 000 Americans nationwide ."
Honorable Jackson Lee lee says that, since the beginning of the pandemic, they have passed legislative packages that focused on ensuring the USA response puts workers and families first: their health, their wages, and their wellbeing.
The Heroes Act, passed by the House Democrats on May 15th, made key investments in our veterans and service members including, but not limited to: Ensuring veterans will not have pays or cost-sharing for preventive treatment or services related to COVID 19 and streaming lining VA, the s payment process for emergency care claims to community providers. Temporarily suspending VA,s debt collection activities and extending the deadlines to file claims and appeals for VA benefits, including disability compensation, during the public health emergency; Expanding emergency assistance for homeless veterans, providing VA doctors, nurses and health professionals access to hazard pay and paid sick leave if exposed or diagnosed with Corona Virus and workers compensation if they fall ill; and alleviating unfair financial penalties for service members. Just as the military pledges to leave no soldier behind on the battlefield, we must leave no veteran behind here at home.
The Honorable Jackson Lee, was proud to honor the last living Buffalo Soldier .in person of Sgt Major James Williams, who was the guest speaker.
The Buffalo Soldiers, comprised of former slaves, freedmen and black Civil War soldiers, were the first to serve during peacetime. Sgt Major James Williams served in the Korean war and did four tours in Vietnam.
When he joined the army in 1950, he along with all his fellow black soldiers were still not allowed to eat, sleep, or participate in the same activities with their fellow white soldiers. His challenges were not just the normal challenges of Boot camp and military training, but also the emotional challenges of confronting the realities of racism and segregation.
Mayor Sylvester Turner in His remarks thanked lady Jackson Lee for the memorial event, it,s its 13th year, underscoring the importance not only to the memory of those who have died during and or after military service to the nation and to the global work for freedom. It should be noted that the office of Veterans Affairs at cit hall address issues related to veterans and the families of those who have lost love wars while in active duty.
The representative of the Texas guard Houston, thanked the congresswoman Jackson Lee for the event and honors to the guard, as he innumerate the different activities they perform for the community since activation of the Texas national guard like testing and food delivery.
It should be noted that host of the event Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, is a senior member of the USA House committee of on the judiciary, Homeland security, and budget, representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas.
BY DR AKWO THOMPSON NTUBA

Dr, Akwo Thompson Ntuba. senior editor of Health and development magazine, who has worked in Health and development information, education and communication for close to 10 years in multiple USA states, with work at the USA congress, HSS, World Bank, UN New York WHO, major international conferences like CeraWeek, Association of USA Army, NIH, HHS, CDC, and White house events.Major national USA party political conventions [DEMS in Phili 2016] and GOP Cleveland 2016. Dr. Ntuba Akwo cherishes the times he has been in the same room for work with the vice president and president of the united states.
Dr. Akwo Ntuba Thompson has been for extensive work in Europe, in France, England, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Enjoys talking to people in Zurich Switzerland. His work in many African countries is continuos. The multiple continents' experience and work make HND a health and development resource like no other around the world.

May. 24, 2020

Brazzaville/Cairo, 22 May 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic today reached a milestone in Africa, with more than 100 000 confirmed cases. The virus has now spread to every country in the continent since the first case was confirmed in the region 14 weeks ago.

Despite crossing this threshold, the pandemic, which has struck with such devastating force in much of the world, appears to be taking a different pathway in Africa. Case numbers have not grown at the same exponential rate as in other regions and so far Africa has not experienced the high mortality seen in some parts of the world. Today, there are 3100 confirmed deaths on the continent.

By comparison, when cases reached 100 000 in the World Health Organization (WHO) European region, deaths stood at more than 4900. Early analysis by WHO suggests that Africa’s lower mortality rate may be the result of demography and other possible factors. Africa is the youngest continent demographically with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. Older adults have a significantly increased risk of developing a severe illness. In Europe nearly 95% of deaths occurred in those older than 60 years.

African governments have made difficult decisions and were quick to impose confinement measures, including physical and social distancing, which will have significant socio-economic costs. These measures, which along with contact tracing and isolation, expanded or increased hand washing have helped to slow down the spread of the virus.

“For now COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “It is possible our youth dividend is paying off and leading to fewer deaths. But we must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases.”

The continent has made significant progress in testing with around 1.5 million COVID-19 tests conducted so far. However, testing rates remain low and many countries continue to require support to scale-up testing. There is a need to expand the testing capacity in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, and provide additional test kits.

Cases continue to rise in Africa and while overall it took 52 days to reach the first 10,000 cases, it took only 11 days to move from 30 000 to 50 000 cases. About half of the countries in Africa are experiencing community transmission. More than 3400 health care workers have been infected by COVID-19. It is important that health authorities prioritize the protection of healthcare workers from COVID-19 infection at medical facilities and communities. There is also a need to provide enough personal protective equipment to health care workers and raise their awareness as well as increase infection prevention and control in health facilities.

“Testing as many people as possible and protecting health workers who come into contact with suspected and confirmed cases are crucial aspects of this response. Despite global shortages, we are working hard to prioritize the delivery of testing kits and personal protective equipment to low- and middle-income countries that have the most vulnerable populations, based on the number of cases reported,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Despite the relatively lower number of COVID-19 cases in Africa, the pandemic remains a major threat to the continent’s health systems. A new modelling study by WHO predicts that if containment measures fail, even with a lower number of cases requiring hospitalization than elsewhere, the medical capacity in much of Africa would be overwhelmed.

Now that countries are starting to ease their confinement measures, there is a possibility that cases could increase significantly, and it is critical that governments remain vigilant and ready to adjust measures in line with epidemiological data and proper risk assessment.

WHO has offices in every country on the continent and is working closely with the Africa Centres for Disease Control, Ministries of Health, United Nations agencies and other partners to support the scale-up of the response through coordination, technical expertise, the provision of much needed medical supplies and assisting with data collection and analysis. WHO has trained more than 7000 health workers, including 1000 district health teams to support the decentralization of the response. So far, more than 225 experts have been deployed to over 39 countries in Africa and over 900 staff have been repurposed at the regional and country-level to support the response.



It must be noted that :

Within the WHO system, Africa is divided between two regional offices. The WHO Regional Office for Africa comprises 47 countries which include Algeria and most of sub-Saharan Africa. While the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean includes an additional seven African countries (Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia).

May. 23, 2020


Conference originally scheduled September 16-20, 2020 will now feature online programming August 31-October 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) announced today it will deliver its Annual Legislative Conference completely online later this year. The new format, Virtual ALC, will allow “attendees” to experience the programming they have become accustomed to from the comfort and safely of their homes.

Attracting more than 30,000 people to Washington, DC each year, the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) is CBCF’s leading public policy convening on issues impacting African Americans and the global black community. Historically, the five-day conference is held in September at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“We are excited to offer ALC completely online this year to ensure the Foundation’s mission is fulfilled, and the discussions and solutions around issues important to African Americans and our supporters remain at the forefront,” said Tonya Veasey, CBCF’s interim president and CEO. “When reshaping this year’s conference, we couldn’t ignore the economic impact COVID-19 has had on the African American community which affects affordability to travel as well as our stakeholders’ and supporters’ overall health concerns, and level of comfort with air travel and ground travel to other states and regions.”

“Attendees” at this year’s ALC will tune in to thought leaders, subject matter experts, legislators, and concerned citizens on issues related to economic development; civil, social and environmental justice; public health; and education and foreign affairs, among other topics. Virtual ALC will include more than 30 issue forums and braintrusts led by Congressional Black Caucus members; a National Town Hall; the Emerging Leaders Series; and live entertainment. A special Prayer Breakfast and Phoenix Awards Dinner will also be featured in September.

To receive Virtual ALC schedules, special guest announcements, registration information and programming updates in the coming weeks and months, subscribe to receive the e-newsletter and follow @CBCFinc on Twitter and Instagram.


About the CBCF
Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public. For more information, visit cbcfinc.org.