Press Release: “Hyena” Jail sentence is a failure to justice for women and girls in Africa

Press Release

For immediate release

“Hyena” Jail sentence is a failure to justice for women and girls in Africa

22nd Nov 2016 / Lilongwe – Malawi

Women’s human rights organization alongside cultural and religious leaders from African countries currently meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi have condemned in the strongest terms the “lenient” sentence passed on a man arrested for knowingly sexually violating women and allegedly infecting  them with HIV-Aids.

On Tuesday evening after the two-year sentence by the Nsanje Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi upon the 45 year old man Eric Aniva, nicknamed “Hyena”, the Malawi Human Rights Resource Center (MHRRC), the NGO Gender Co-ordination Network and the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) are now calling for a review of the ruling by the High Court of Malawi and the Director of Public prosecutions to appeal the sentence.

“We are shocked and appalled that a man, living with HIV has for over two decades sexually violated children as young as 12 years of age in an outdated retrogressive culture that is harmful for women and girls and the magistrate saw it fit to only give him 2 years in jail!” reacted Mrs. Emma Kaliya, a veteran Malawi Human Rights Activist and Executive Director for MHRCC.  “What message does this send to all perpetrators of sexual violence hiding behind discriminatory and destructive cultural practices? that you can get away with only two years? This is a disgrace and a big let-down to the women and girls of Malawi. The courts of justice must revoke and reconsider this sentence” She added.

As the first case to be tried under the Malawi Gender Equality Act 2013, observers affirm that the sentence should have been higher to deter potential offenders and to bar communities from persisting with the practice.

“This is a great disappointment to the test of a new law that should otherwise be stringent enough to fully protect women and children. We are enraged!” said Mrs. Kaliya.

In a recent revelation in a BBC documentary that sparked wide condemnations in the region and in sections of the International media, Eric Aniva admitted to being HIV positive and being paid by parents to perform the traditional ritual of having sex with around 104 young girls in a cleansing ritual to mark their rite of passage to adulthood.

Some districts from parts of Southern Malawi, families pay a man referred to as “Hyena” to perform a cleansing sexual ceremony with bereaved widows to “exorcise evil spirits”. The same is also done to “initiate” young girls into adulthood at the turn of puberty with total disregard to the HIV status.

“These are the destructive cultures we are fighting against that have continued to endanger and harm women and girls in Africa.  This particular case presented a great opportunity for the Malawi Judicial system to affirm its commitment to justice for women and girls in Malawi but it has failed them” said Hellen Apila, FEMNET’s Head of Advocacy.

“Persistent sexual violations under the pretext of culture continue to dodge women and girls in the world and this must be vehemently condemned. We urge the government of Malawi not to waste this important opportunity to make landmark strides in ending destructive cultural practices by invoking the full force of the law and any other cases of sexual violations that infringe on the rights of women and girls” said Hellen.

Malawi’s Gender Equality At 2013 states that the criminal offence of sexual violation attracts a fine of 1 Million Malawi kwacha (Approx. $1200) or face a jail term of a maximum 5 years.

Speaking from the same meeting hosted by FEMNET and MHRRC, a section of religious and cultural leaders and media from Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Tunisia and Rwanda equally expressed outrage over the sentence and called for stiffer penalties.

“It is a disgrace that in our communities we still perpetuate this kind of violation to our women and girls.  It is time that we Chiefs from all communities in Malawi come together to fully condemn and castigate these harmful practices that endanger our women and girls” said Chief Mabilabo from Mzimba, Nothern Malawi. He added that the law in the corridors of justice must also amplify efforts to assure justice for victims of harmful sexual practices.

“It is disturbing that this kind of cultural practice has continued for so long. Many women and girls continue to suffer from such atrocities. There is serious need to step in more firmly to protect our women and girls” said Fr. Henry Chinkanda, a Malawian Catholic priest.

In view of the challenges of cultural practices that violate the rights of women and girls in many African communities, a Kenyan Cultural elder from the Njuri Ncheke  Meru Community Benjamin Mugambi castigated accomplices to retrogressive practices that continue to entrap vulnerable indigenous communities to continued violations.

“It is wrong for families to encourage this kind of practice by paying the “hyenas” to persist the violation. When parents give away their children to be sexually violated then this is a criminal act that is punishable by law and must be fully condemned.

For more information and to request an interview, contact: Mildred Ngesa, Head of Communications, FEMNET; ngesamildred@gmail.com / Tel: +254 726137853


Tracing HER Footprint Towards 2nd High Level meeting on Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) is an inclusive, multi-stakeholder, global forum. It brings together a broad range of development actors to strengthen the quality, impact and effectiveness of development co-operation ensuring it has maximum impact on development. The Global Partnership aims to ensure that development cooperation – including Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other forms of development finance are based on the principles of:

  • country ownership,
  • achieving results,
  • inclusive partnerships, and
  • transparency and accountability.

These principles are firmly anchored in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed upon by United Nations member states at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development in July 2015. The Global Partnership tracks progress in the implementation of Busan commitments for more effective development co-operation through its monitoring framework comprised of a set of 10 indicators. These indicators focus on strengthening developing country institutions, increasing transparency and predictability of development co-operation, enhancing gender equality(indicator 8), as well as supporting greater involvement of civil society, parliaments and private sector in development efforts. The monitoring framework is currently being refined to fully reflect the 2030 Agenda and will contribute to the review of targets for Sustainable Development Goals SDG 5 and 17 and implementation of the Financing for Development agreements. The partnership was created at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011 and came into effect in 2012.

Currently, the Global Partnership is co-chaired by France, Malawi and the Netherlands.  A 24-member multi-stakeholder Steering Committee provides strategic guidance, representing governments; civil society organizations; parliamentarians; the private sector; foundations; local and regional governments; and international organizations. The first high level meeting of the Global partnership was held in 2014 in Mexico. In 2016, Kenya, is hosting the 2nd high level meeting (30th November – 2nd December 2016) in Nairobi. This meeting is of particular significance since Kenya co- chaired the open working group and the intergovernmental negotiations during the formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agenda hence playing a key role in delivering the transformative and ambitious 2030 Agenda. The 2nd High Level Meeting provides an opportunity for Kenya to continue this global leadership and emphasize on the need for synergy and strong linkages between the global partnership and 2030 Agenda. This also includes the need for synergized monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the global partnership.


Nairobi will PROVIDE the world with an opportunity to move from theory to action in the context of realizing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development

The Nairobi Second High-Level Meeting (HLM2) is being held slightly over a year after the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and almost one and half year after the 3rd Financing for Development conference held in Addis Ababa, and will prioritize actions to make development co-operation more effective across a diverse group of actors[i].

HLM2 is a landmark event, setting priorities for improving development co-operation in the era of implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.  It will be a unique platform for Heads of State, Ministers, civil society including feminist and women’s rights organizations, the private sector and foundations to showcase successes, as well as identify opportunities to scale up innovative approaches to sustainable development. The meeting will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to partner in implementing the ambitious 2030 agenda ensuring that no-one is left behind.

Space for Women and Youth at HLM2

The High Level meeting through plenary 5[ii], will provide space to drive specially focused discussions on economic empowerment of women and youth[iii]. This will be a critical opportunity to explore what has been done to foster inclusivity. Focus will be given on how gender equality and women’s empowerment and youth inclusion has been infused towards effective and accelerated development. HLM2 will be preceded by two preparatory days (28–29 November, 2016), providing the opportunity for a range of stakeholders to meet in advance of the High-level Ministerial segment. Forums are planned for civil society, youth, women, parliamentarians, local government, foundations and the private sector. The Women’s Forum will be held on the 28th of November 2016.

What did Busan Deliver for Women and Girls?

  • 4thHigh Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) held in Busan in 2011& the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation is a landmark and highlight moment for global effort to advance people’s development needs and rights.This includes women’s rights with gender equality as one of the global partnership initiatives.
  • Success of Busan HLF-4 was watered down by lack of full inclusivity; many developing countries were missing and it ignored, once more, many of the demands and proposals put forward by civil society organizations (CSOs) including feminist and women’s rights organizations.
  • The Busan Joint Action Plan for Gender Equality and Development was revised to include reference to women’s rights and calls on giving due consideration to CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) and other human rights instruments; thus committing to accelerating a results-focused development agenda that will promote greater gender equality and women’s empowerment and address the factors underlying women’s lower economic, political and social status. This will be achieved through better prioritizing and integrating gender equality and women’s rights in development plans, improving accountability to women’s rights and gender equality commitments and goals and a better collection and/or use of gender and age disaggregated data.
  • The HLM-1 presented a unique opportunity to consolidate gains made since Accra and accelerate actions in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Unfortunately, this opportunity was missed. Even though, the Mexico outcome document titled “Building Towards an Inclusive Post-2015 Development Agenda” included “tracking and making public resource allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment” as a critical step “towards enhanced mutual accountability”[iv]; it failed to commit to the realization of the key essential elements to development: a human rights based approach (HRBA), policy coherence and the creation of an enabling environment for CSOs. The HLM outcome document presumed to be an outcome of collaborative efforts among partnership stakeholders[1] did not bring feminist and WROs closer to their goals and understanding of development effectiveness.


  • Globally, the feminist and women’s rights movements have been advocating for women’s rights and social justice for decades and within various spaces including the effective development cooperation discourse. Since Paris in 2005, Accra in 2008, Busan in 2011 and Mexico in 2014 through Addis Ababa in 2015, feminist and women’s rights organizations (WROs) have actively engaged the aid/development agenda processes to influence the discourses from a feminist perspective[v]. WROs and feminist groups have also been at the fore front of ensuring that the development cooperation agenda through the global partnership links strongly with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. In 2014, in Monterrey, the first High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), stock taking by stakeholders and the global monitoring report on progress since the HLF-4 in Busan showed that progress has been unacceptably slow and unsatisfactory. The upcoming HLM-2 offers WROs, feminists and the wider CSO community the opportunity to push for feminist principles, gender equality and human rights based approach (HRBA) as a key component to ensure accountability for transformative change for an inclusive development effectiveness agenda.  It also provides an equal opportunity to governments and other development actors to show real commitment to gender equality, women’s rights and the empowerment of women. Inclusive development partnerships which is a key principle of the Global Partnership must take into account the critical role of women’s rights and feminist organizations;  this is especially important as we seek to amplify the ownership and results which  will only be achieved if we  engage WROs and feminist organizations and prioritize gender equality which is a key component of the global partnership initiatives
  • In order to strengthen feminist and women’s voices in the development paradigm, there is the need to mobilize women to actively participate in the development effectiveness discourse and processes; strengthen collaboration; networking and sharing of ideas and strategies that will advance women’s empowerment and gender equality at the country, regional and global levels. This very much aligns with the global partnership principles[vi] and should be espoused and articulated throughout the partnerships operationalization.
  • Women’s rights organizations (WROs), feminist and gender equality advocates have been calling for a shift of the dominant development discourse towards an inclusive, sustainable, rights-based and just paradigm that recognizes and values reproductive and unpaid care work; promotes decent work and promotes the empowerment, autonomy and emancipation of women and girls. The discourse should also recognize the linkage between women and growing inequalities including those advanced structurally through macroeconomic policies that continue to marginalize women and girls shifting the burden of care at the expense of women. Women and feminist groups have stressed that the full realization of women and girls’ rights as human rights is essential in any development cooperation process; and that women and girls’ empowerment and full and equal participation in all spheres are fundamental for the achievement of social and economic justice, substantive democracy and peace for all.
  • Despite progress in the enshrinement of gender equality within the SDG framework under SDG.5 and recognition of women and girls’ role in development, albeit instrumentally for the most part, Women’s human rights are at risk with heightening of shrinking democratic space and dwindling funding for gender equality and women’s empowerment. HLM 2 provides an opportunity to focus on efforts by the global, regional, national and grassroots feminist and women rights’ movement that ensure that women have full access and equal participation in charting development paths of countries; and embedding gender equality in developing programmes and priorities at all levels, while holding governments and other development actors accountable to their commitments and goals; especially in the context of development cooperation.
  • For the African context, African women rights organizations have begun to make linkages between the development cooperation discourse and illicit financial flows. This is critical especially given the amount of money that the African continent loses through illicit financial flows (approximately USD 50Billion) according to the Mbeki report in addition to resources lost through corruption. Women’s rights organizations have continuously demonstrated how this affects access to essential services and further amplifies the burden of unpaid care work.


Join us online for Feminist #HLM2 Countdown, Catch us online @Femnetprog

Follow conversation; #GPEDC #HLM2 #DevCoop #AfricaCSOVoices




[iv]Global Partnership For Effective Development Cooperation: A Feminist Perspective Following The First High Level Ministerial Meeting, by Nerea Craviotto: http://www.awid.org/eng/News-Analysis/Friday-Files/Global-Partnership-for-Effective-Development-Cooperation-A-feminist-perspective-following-the-First-High-Level-Ministerial-Meeting




By Catherine Nyambura, Advocacy Program Associate, FEMNET


Press Release: Women Deliver Launches the Deliver for Good Campaign to Promote Critical Investments in Girls & Women

21    September    2016,    New    York,    NY     Women    Deliver    and    10    partners   (including FEMNET) launched    today    the    Deliver for Good  campaign,    a    global    initiative    that    applies    a    gender    lens    to    the    Sustainable    Development    Goals    and    promotes    12    critical    investments    in    girls    and    women    to    power    progress for all.

 “Achieving  growth    and    prosperity    for    all    starts    with    ensuring    equal    gender    opportunities,”    said    Kristian    Jensen,    Minister    for    Foreign    Affairs    of    Denmark. “And    that’s    why    Denmark    pledges    to    support    the    Deliver for Good  campaign—because    we    know    that    investing    in   girls    and    women    is    one    of    the    best    ways    to    accelerate    global    development.”  

The Deliver for Good  movement    will    fuel    concrete    action    to    address    major    global    issues    that    disproportionately    affect    girls    and    women’s    lives.    The    campaign    aims    to    secure    much-­‐needed    investment    –    political,    programmatic,    and    financial    –    across    12    issues,    from    sexual    and    reproductive    health    to    climate    change    to    women’s    political    and    decision    making    power.    One    of    the    outputs    of    Deliver for Good    will    be    a    stronger,    more    comprehensive    evidence    base    that    fills    both    gaps    in    knowledge    and    data    on    the    impact    of    investment    in   girls    and    women.

“We  know    that    inspiring    gender    equality    and    women’s    empowerment    is    a    necessary    condition    for    ending    poverty,    inequality,    and    achieving    a    better    world    for    generations    to    come,”    said    Dr.    David    Nabarro,    Under-­‐Secretary-­‐General    of    the    United    Nations,    and    Special    Adviser    to    the    Secretary-­‐General    on    the    2030    Agenda    for    Sustainable    Development    and    Climate    Change.    “Innovative campaigns such as  Deliver for Good,    will    help    implement    the    Every    Woman    Every    Child    Global    Strategy    and    achieve    greater    political,    programmatic,    and    financial    improvements    at    the    community,    country,    and    global    levels.” 

Investments   in   girls    and    women    are    quite    literally    investments    in   families    –    compared    to    men,    women    spend    more    of    their    earned    income    on    their    families.    The    impact    of    these    investments    extends    to    entire    communities    –    when    10%    more    girls    go    to    school,    a    country’s    GDP    increases    by    an    average    of    3%.    Fully    closing    gender    gaps    to    create    a    scenario    in    which    women    participate    in    the    economy    identically    to    men    would    add    up    to    $28    trillion    in    global    annual    GDP    by    2025.

 “Girls  and    women    carry    more    than    babies.    Or    water.    They    carry    families.    They    carry    businesses.    They    carry    potential,”    said    Katja    Iversen,    President/CEO    of    Women    Deliver.    “The    Deliver for Good  campaign    will    drive    action    toward    what    we    know    is    true:    investing    in    girls    and    women    unlocks    untapped    potential,    and    creates    a    ripple    effect    that    benefits    families,    communities    and    entire    nations.”    

“For me,    one    of    the    things    that    makes    the    Deliver for Good campaign  unique    and    inspiring    is    that    rather    than    focusing    on    the    problems    girls    and    women    face    –    we    know    them    well    –    it    focuses    on    solutions    and    benefits,”   said    Her    Royal    Highness    Crown    Princess    Mary    of    Denmark,    who    spoke    at    the    New    York    launch  event.    “It    breaks    the    silo    mentality    that    has    dominated    global    development    for    decades,    and champions    collaborative    approaches    and    innovative    solutions.”


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To  date,    nearly    200    organizations    have    signed    onto    the    campaign.    The    founding    partners    joining    Women    Deliver    in    the    launch    include:    Business    for    Social    Responsibility    (BSR),    FEMNET    (The    African    Women’s    Development    and    Communications    Network),    FHI    360,    and    Global    Partnership    for    Education,    International    Planned    Parenthood    Federation,    Landesa,    Plan    International,    Population    Services    International,    Scaling    Up    Nutrition,    Every    Woman    Every    Child    (EWEC).

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Learn  more    about    the    Deliver for Good campaign,    see    the    partners    and    allies,    and    sign    the    Commitment    to  Girls    and    Women    here.

To  view    the    12    topic    area    policy    briefs,    click    here.    To    view    infographics,    click    here.


About  Women    Deliver:    Women    Deliver    believes    that    when    the    world    invests    in    girls    and    women,    everybody    wins.    As    a    leading    global    advocate    for    girls’    and    women’s    health,    rights,    and    wellbeing,    Women    Deliver    brings    together    diverse    voices    and    interests    to    drive    progress,    particularly    in    maternal,    sexual    and    reproductive    health    and    rights.    It    builds    capacity,    shares    solutions    and    forges    partnerships,    together    creating    coalitions,    communication,    and    action    that    spark    political    commitment    and    investment    in   girls    and    women.

Social  Media:   @WomenDeliver #DeliverForGood

Media  Contact:    Jessica    Malter,    Women    Deliver,    jmalter@womendeliver.org


No longer business as usual as women demand space for transformative leadership in Africa

African governments  have  been warned to take note that it is  no longer business as usual and it is time they  heed the call for the process of transformative  leadership that will not create barriers for women but instead make spaces available and create a conducive environment for equal representation of women and men in all sectors at all levels.

At the opening of the inaugural African Women’s Leadership Symposium in Nairobi, Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of Oxfam International alongside a rich collection of African women leaders  sent the message to African governments that Africa needs transformation leadership carried along by both men and women in equal numbers for the continent  to prosper.

“No goal, no strategy, no vision for Africa can come true until we have sustainable leadership that delivers for women in every sphere of our lives,” says Byanyima, Executive Director of OXFAM and one of the convenors at the symposium.   Noting that so many wrongs are happening in the continent because women are missing from leadership, Byanyima notes: “Of all the maternal mortality deaths worldwide, half happen in sub-Saharan Africa.  This fact alone should be enough to make us burn with indignation for the women of Africa.”

Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs says the journey to transformative leadership is long and women and indeed all leaders must be able to make sacrifices for them to get to the final destination.  Noting that only 17 out of 54 African countries have managed to close the gender gaps.

Hon. Mohammed lauded countries like Rwanda which have made it possible for women to be in leadership positions in high numbers, but challenged women to empower themselves and empower each other by walking the talk and being confident in what they do.

“For us to realise transformative leadership and women’s empowerment, it can no longer be business as usual,” notes Hon Amb. Amina.

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Special Envoy on Gender and Vice President at the African Development Bank and also a co-covener at the Syposium says there are barriers to women at all levels of leadership. “We are now ready to make change and be part of the collective. We have to break barriers, boundaries and the glass ceilings.”

Fraser-Moleketi notes: “If you don’t include women you are actually undermining the change that should be there.”

The African Women’s Leadership Symposium is being held under an umbrella of various organisations that included OXFAM, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) and brought together about 200 women from across Africa to deliberate on goals and commitments from women leaders to impact lives of women and girls and bring about lasting change in Africa.  The meeting was intergenerational having brought in young women and also having older women share their stories in a dialogue that was to not only inspire but also demand for attention from governments.

The Symposium, a first of its kind, is giving opportunity to women leaders to deliberate how to leverage their leadership, power, influence and access for the development and progress of the African continent in general and the advancement of women and girls’ rights in particular. It is a vibrant space for animated interactions and discussions on factors that support and those that hinder women’s access to power, influence and resources in society and will also be an opportunity to reflect on how to best collaborate inter-sectorally so as to further the agenda of women and girls rights in Africa.

For every woman participating in Africa and for every woman participating in the African Women’s Leaders Symposium, there is a story of resilience that has set her on the path of advocating and enhancing the capacity of other women and girls.

In visualising and convening the African Women’s Leaders Symposium Byanyima says this is a journey she knows only too well having previously faced discrimination and stereotyping simply because she is a woman.
“I have seen transformative leadership in women from less advantaged and poor households in Africa . Women breaking  glass ceilings and fighting for girl’s education and against early marriages.  I have the belief in and passion to work with other women to change the rules of society so that women and men can experience equality and live in dignity. There is no glory in breaking the glass ceiling if the shards fall on the girls behind you,” says Byanyima.

The participants to the African Women’s Leadership Symposium made focussed commitments to impact and transform the lives of women and girls  in the spaces they work .  The One-million Initiative and the Supporter Journeys where African women took substantive commitments were the two main  outputs of the Symposium.

Dinah Musindarwezo, the Executive Director of FEMNET also co-hosting the symposium says this path to commitment by African women leaders is basically what sets the symposium on a practical implementation path to move us from rhetoric to real actions.

“This inaugural initiative in Transformative Women’s Leadership is calling on the transformation of one-million+ women in the continent to make significant strides in improving the lives and status of women in trade.  This is where we want women of influence in different aspects of trade to do their bit to push for bridging of Economic gender gaps that deter women from attaining meaningful gains and making considerable impact,” says Musindarwezo.

Follow/ Engage on Twitter: #AWLS and @AfricanWLS and @FEMNETProg

For more information or to request an interview, please contact: Mildred Ngesa (ngesamildred@gmail.com / +254727137853 ) and Victor Nyambok (VNyambok@oxfam.org.uk / + 0722211819)