Inspiration: "in" to create inclusion...."spir" Latin word "spiritus" means "breath" breath life into something, fill it with spirit. We cannot see inspiration, but like air it is there surrounding us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Investing in Girls....

There is an incredible power girls and women have to change the future for everyone. Girls and women are making real changes around the world while breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world.

When a girl is educated, nourished and protected, she shares her knowledge and skills with her family and community, and can forever change the future of a nation. It’s that powerful.

It only takes ONE girl to change the world.

See the Times article below published in the Times... If you know of a girl or woman making changes, moving boulders and inspiring lives comment and tell Chamaca Arts all about her.

Monday, Feb. 14, 2011
To Fight Poverty, Invest in Girls

We know what the birth of a revolution looks like: A student stands before a tank. A fruit seller sets himself on fire. A line of monks link arms in a human chain. Crowds surge, soldiers fire, gusts of rage pull down the monuments of tyrants, and maybe, sometimes, justice rises from the flames.

But sometimes freedom and opportunity slip in through the back door, when a quieter subversion of the status quo unleashes change that is just as revolutionary. This is the tantalizing idea for activists concerned with poverty, with disease, with the rise of violent extremism: if you want to change the world, invest in girls. (See pictures of women in war.)

In recent years, more development aid than ever before has been directed at women — but that doesn't mean it is reaching the girls who need it. Across much of the developing world, by the time she is 12, a girl is tending house, cooking, cleaning. She eats what's left after the men and boys have eaten; she is less likely to be vaccinated, to see a doctor, to attend school. "If only I can get educated, I will surely be the President," a teenager in rural Malawi tells a researcher, but the odds are against her: Why educate a daughter who will end up working for her in-laws rather than a son who will support you? In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than 1 in 5 girls make it to secondary school. Nearly half are married by the time they are 18; 1 in 7 across the developing world marries before she is 15. Then she gets pregnant. The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease; it is complications from pregnancy. Girls under 15 are up to five times as likely to die while having children than are women in their 20s, and their babies are more likely to die as well.

There are countless reasons rescuing girls is the right thing to do. It's also the smart thing to do. Consider the virtuous circle: An extra year of primary school boosts girls' eventual wages by 10% to 20%. An extra year of secondary school adds 15% to 25%. Girls who stay in school for seven or more years typically marry four years later and have two fewer children than girls who drop out. Fewer dependents per worker allows for greater economic growth. And the World Food Programme has found that when girls and women earn income, they reinvest 90% of it in their families. They buy books, medicine, bed nets. For men, that figure is more like 30% to 40%. "Investment in girls' education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world," Larry Summers wrote when he was chief economist at the World Bank. Of such cycles are real revolutions born. (See TIME's video "Education in Haiti: A Teacher's Passion and Vision for Change.")

The benefits are so obvious, you have to wonder why we haven't paid attention. Less than 2¢ of every development dollar goes to girls — and that is a victory compared with a few years ago, when it was more like half a cent. Roughly 9 of 10 youth programs are aimed at boys. One reason for this is that when it comes to lifting up girls, we don't know as much about how to do it. We have to start by listening to girls, which much of the world is not culturally disposed to do. Development experts say the solutions need to be holistic, providing access to safe spaces, schools and health clinics with programs designed specifically for girls' needs. Success depends on infrastructure, on making fuel and water more available so girls don't have to spend as many as 15 hours a day fetching them. It requires enlisting whole communities — mothers, fathers, teachers, religious leaders — in helping girls realize their potential instead of seeing them as dispensable or, worse, as prey. (See a brief history of women in power.)

A more surprising army is being enlisted as well. A new initiative called Girl Up aims to mobilize 100,000 American girls to raise money and awareness to fight poverty, sexual violence and child marriage. "This generation of 12-to-18-year-olds are all givers," says executive director Elizabeth Gore, the force of nature behind the ingeniously simple Nothing but Nets campaign to fight malaria, about her new United Nations Foundation enterprise. "They gave after Katrina. They gave after the tsunami and Haiti. More than any earlier generation, they feel they know girls around the world."

And so the word goes out, by text, by tweet, on Facebook, that coming soon to a high school gym near you may be a Girl Up pep rally, where kids can learn what it feels like to carry a jerrican of water for a long distance, or how sending $5 to Malawi can stock a health clinic with girl-friendly materials or buy school supplies. Or how $5 to Ethiopia can make the difference in a girl's not being married when she's 10. And one at a time, a rising generation of American girls helps create the next generation of leaders, for the coming quiet revolutions.

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Thank you,

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Brave Ugandan Woman Speaks Out....

Achieng Beatrice Nas

Programme Officer; Communications , Build Africa Uganda (BAU)

"I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the opportunity, education and motivation everyone can become someone admirable.”

Nine months of labour, painful hours of birth that consists of pushing out a human being (that weighs a minimum of two Kilos) out of their body at a cost of near-to-death and then looking after these beings for the rest of her life. Many still give birth at their homes, in their houses, kitchen and latrines, enduring the pain as it comes and by the help of old women, who chop off the cord of the babies using razorblades and without gloves. She gives birth to up to fifteen children because her husband won't allow family planning methods.

She was sold off by her parents for bride wealth from as early as 10years of age, she is considered as a property by her husband, she has no voice in her own house, she is bartered by her husband so often but her parents won't allow her return to their house because once married, always married. She hunts for food, firewood, water, vegetables to feed her family. She is in the farm on a daily basis, her office for life. It is from the very garden that the many more poor toil in the "better- offs" farms to earn hard cash that they can use to buy soap, salt, matchbox, and kerosene (the basic needs), their husbands are not ashamed to steal the little cash their wives toil for. Once he spots, he picks the whole of it and take to the alcohol joint and drink it ALL with other women.

Some women struggle to grow rice, cotton, nuts, corns for commercial purposes in order to pay school fees for the children and meet the demands in the house, in the process their husbands are busy sipping alcohol and engaging in idle games. As soon as the hard cash arrives, the wife, as respectful as usual declares her every financial gains to the man, he takes the initiative of "keeping the money" as the "the man in the house". Soon after the wife hands over the whole cash to him, the next step is marring another wife, torturing and bartering the home wife, sleeping for weeks in the drinking joints...

Where are the women in our villages heading to if they have no time to relax and have fun? all the time busy with garden and house work. In fact some do not even find time to take bathes. There are so many village women who have unpleasant smell simply because they do not find time to clean themselves. Those who try to be neat are accused of cheating on their husbands. A man sits idle, the baby is crying, utensils need cleaning, there is no firewood, no water in the house, no food, he will continue to sit and relax comfortably because tradition has it that it is the woman's role to do all the house work.

Did you ever take time to analyze the lifestyle of a typical African village woman? Do you see that the majority complain of back ache? Have you asked those walking on sticks about their past?
Surely if by a disturbing freak of nature the men underwent childbirth, going through the whole process from carrying someone in their bellies to having their legs stretched apart with people they do not know, sticking their hands inside them and pulling out these creatures, I believe that no man would ever come home late to their wives or girlfriend courtesy of late night drinks with the "boys". They would be as docile as they came- I mean no going out, no boozing, no quarrels, no nothing but just being at their women's beck and call.

It is time for our African men to consider women's lives. Gone are the days of proving manhood this way. A real man supports his family, a real man loves and respects his wife, a real man is faithful, a real man cares about humanity. Be a real man.

Written by a brave young voice in Uganda…. Achieng Beatrice Nas