Celebrating women’s day in Mozambique


MAPUTO - African women joined our Spanish sisters this year in Maputo to celebrate International Women’s D

ay, to reflect on our successes and challenges and to come up with a way forward towards achieving our Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

This was an initiative of the Vice-President of Spain, Teresa Fernandes de la Vega Sanz, in solidarity with African women to come up with concrete resolutions and proposals for cooperation. Among participants were veteran politician and African Commissioner for Human Rights Vera Chirwa, the Deputy Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament Shytaye Menale, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Cooperation of Niger, the DRC Minister of Human Rights, and most importantly, Graca Machel – plus many other women activists and writers from all over sub-Saharan Africa. Mozambique President Guebuza officially opened the Conference.

Among resolutions passed were to act in solidarity to defend the rights of women everywhere (including Zimbabwe!), to eradicate illiteracy and ensure universal access by girls to education, to de-feminize HIV-AIDS and other pandemics, to protect and manage the environment, to reduce conflicts, to promote active participation by women in decision-making, to promote women’s economic independence, to lobby for a more active role by the media in gender issues, and to disseminate this Maputo Declaration to all countries so that both men and women are informed about this effort and can become part of it.

I decided afterwards to make the most of my trip to Maputo by visiting the work of our own outstanding woman artist, Helen Lieros. Helen painted the murals inside the Greek Orthodox Church there, which was destroyed during the liberation war and has been rebuilt. It took me some time to find the place, especially without acceptable taxi or even bus fare in my pocket (Zimbabwe dollars? You must be crazy!), but it was more than worth the effort, when at last I spied the brilliant blue domes!

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