Tag: Gambia

African Nations Tanzania and Gambia Outlaw Child Marriage

(photo via venturesafrica.com)
(photo via venturesafrica.com)

article via bbc.com

Gambia‘s President Yayha Jammeh announced that anyone marrying a girl below 18 would be jailed for up to 20 years.

In Tanzania, the high court imposed a landmark ruling outlawing marriage under the age of 18 for boys and girls.

Some 30% of underage girls are married in Gambia, while in Tanzania the rate is 37%.

Before the Tanzania ruling, girls as young as 14 could marry with parental consent, while it was 18 for boys.

The BBC’s Tulanana Bohela in Dar es Salaam says this is a big win for child rights groups and activists, who will now have an easier time rescuing girls from child marriage.  The case was brought by lobby group Msichana Initiative.

Gambia’s President speaking at the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations at the end of Ramadan, said parents and imams who perform the ceremonies would also face prison.  “If you want to know whether what I am saying is true or not, try it tomorrow and see,” he warned.

Women’s rights campaigners have welcomed the ban, however some say that it would be better to engage with local communities to try to change attitudes towards child marriage instead of threatening families with prison sentences.

“I don’t think locking parents up is the answer… it could lead to a major backlash and sabotage the ban,” Isatou Jeng of the women’s rights organization Girls Agenda told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the Gambian capital, Banjul.

In December last year, Mr. Jammeh also outlawed female genital mutilation (FGM), with a prison sentence of up to three years for those that ignored the ban.  He said the practice had no place in Islam or in modern society.  Three-quarters of women in the mostly Muslim country have had the procedure, according to Unicef.

Laurence Fishburne to Star as Alex Haley in “Roots” Remake for A&E Networks

Laurence Fishburne The Signial
Laurence Fishburne at NAACP Awards (photo via Variety.com)

Laurence Fishburne has been cast as Alex Haley in A+E Networks’ “Roots” remake, the History Channel announced Wednesday.

Haley is the author of the novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” an American family origin story based around the life of Kunta Kinte. The “Roots” remake will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating material from Haley’s novel, as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time.

“Roots” will be simulcast on A&E, History and Lifetime in 2016.

The Emmy-winning actor currently appears on NBC’s drama “Hannibal” and ABC’s half-hour comedy “Black-ish,” on which he also serves as executive producer. On the big screen, Fishburne will next be seen in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“Roots” is described as a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. Spanning multiple generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte who is captured in his homeland in Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history — including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation.

Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Marc Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Konner, Rosenthal, Alison McDonald, and Charles Murray are writing.

article by Laura Prudom via Variety.com

Gambian Mother Siabatou Sanneh Walks Paris Marathon with 40-lb. Water Container on Head to Bring Awareness to Need for Clean Drinking Water in Africa

Siabatou Sanneh Paris Marathon
Siabatou Sanneh walked the Paris Marathon wearing her traditional dress, flip flops and a 20kg plastic container. (Photo Courtesy of Water for Africa)

In the middle of 54,000 runners at last week’s Paris Marathon, Siabatou Sanneh stood out. Carrying a 40-pound (20kg) water container on her head and wearing her race number 64173 on top of a multi-colored traditional dress, Siabatou wanted to make a statement.

It was the first time the mother of four had ever left her country, Gambia, but this didn’t deter her from wanting to raise awareness about the difficulties African women face in accessing clean drinking water. Siabatou was there on the behalf of Water for Africa, a non-profit which builds boreholes in her village.

“I came to Paris to do the marathon to raise awareness and help the African women get clean water for their domestic use – for drinking, cooking, washing and gardening to grow agriculture,” the 43-year-old told IBTimes UK, speaking through a translator.

“In my country, you grow what you eat and you eat what you grow, but you can only do that with sufficient water.”

By walking the marathon with a plastic barrel of water on her head, Siabatou is hoping to send a message to the leaders at the 7th World Water Forum – which runs until April 17th in Daegu-Gyeongbuk, South Korea. Her statement is simple: she does not want to be drinking water from wells any more.

“I want them to help us dig bore holes, a sustainable water source, but not only more holes, I want more sustainable ones too. That’s all we need. I don’t want my children to be collecting water from dirty wells when they are older,” she said.

In Gambia, Water For Africa estimates between 200 and 300 water pumps would be necessary to supply the population and overcome the 40% to 60% of wells or pumping systems that are crumbling.

Siabatou, who lives in the small village of Bullenghat, which has a population of 300, first started collecting water when she was just five-years-old.  “I wake up in the morning, and go and collect water from a well. I have to walk 8km there, and back. I do this three times a day at least.”

Continue reading “Gambian Mother Siabatou Sanneh Walks Paris Marathon with 40-lb. Water Container on Head to Bring Awareness to Need for Clean Drinking Water in Africa”

Singer Akon Aims to Bring Electricity to 1 Million Homes in Africa Through “Akon Lighting Africa” Initiative

Singer Akon. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Singer Akon has launched an ambitious endeavor that aims to improve the lives of over one million people in Africa.  His new initiative, “Akon Lighting Africa”, hopes to bring electricity to one million households by the end of 2014 to help promote energy sustainability and sufficiency throughout the continent.  “The lack of electricity is currently a major problem in Africa,” reads the website for the campaign. “A significant number of households in rural areas and even urban cities do not have access to electricity. This is a real obstacle to Africa’s Sustainable Development.”

Akon, who is Senegalese-American, has partnered with local charities and corporations to aid in the efforts of the campaign by addressing Africa’s energy issue and installing solar equipment in households.  The “Right Now” singer will travel and meet with leaders in nine countries in nine days to discuss the project including Senegal, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and the Ivory Coast.

Learn more about Akon Lighting Africa here.

article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com