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First woman Physics Nobel winner in 55 years

Dr. Donna Strickland

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) was pleased to learn that the Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman for the first time in 55 years.

Donna Strickland, from Canada, is only the third woman winner of the award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963.

Dr Strickland shares this year’s prize with Arthur Ashkin, from the US, and Gerard Mourou, from France.

It recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics.

Dr Ashkin developed a laser technique described as optical tweezers, which is used to study biological systems.

Drs Mourou and Strickland paved the way for the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created. They developed a technique called Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA). It has found uses in laser therapy targeting cancer and in the millions of corrective laser eye surgeries which are performed each year.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Strickland said it was “surprising” it had been such a long time since a woman had won the award.

However, she stressed that she had “always been treated as an equal”, and that “two men also won it with me, and they deserve this prize as much if not more than me”.

The award comes a few days after a physicist gave a “highly offensive” lecture at the Cern particle physics laboratory in Geneva in which he said that physics had been “built by men” and that male scientists were being discriminated against.

He has since been suspended by the research centre.

Dr Strickland called the physicist’s remarks “silly” and said she never took such comments “personally”.

The last woman to win the physics prize, German-born American physicist Maria Goeppert-Mayer, took the award for her discoveries about the nuclei of atoms.

Polish-born physicist Marie Curie shared the 1903 award with her husband Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel for their research into radioactivity.

The award is worth a total of nine million Swedish kronor (£770,686; $998,618).

Reacting to her win, Dr Strickland, who is based at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said: “First of all you have to think it’s crazy, so that was my first thought. And you do always wonder if it’s real.

“As far as sharing it with Gerard, of course he was my supervisor and mentor and he has taken CPA to great heights so he definitely deserves this award. And I’m so happy Art Ashkin also won.”

She added: “I think that he made so many discoveries early on that other people have done great things with that it’s fantastic that he is finally recognised.”

In a statement, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) offered its congratulations to all the winners, adding: “The countless applications made possible by their work, like laser eye surgery, high-power pettawat lasers, and the ability to trap and study individual viruses and bacteria, only promise to increase going forward.

“It is also a personal delight to see Dr Strickland break the 55-year hiatus since a woman has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, making this year’s award all the more historic.”

BBC

WRAPA delighted with Egypt’s Progress in the struggle for Women’s Rights

Egypt progress on women's rights

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) was delighted to learn through the Association of the Egyptian Female Lawyers (AEFL) of the recent progress Egypt is making in the struggle for women’s rights.

During the participation of Egypt in the recent 39th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, which took place from 10th -28th of September, 2018, the Egyptian human rights delegation assured that the currently taken procedures in Egypt have decreased violence and violations against women, in a meeting held with the committee of combating violence against women. The delegation pointed out that Egypt is applying a comprehensive strategy to combat violence against women in participation with Al Azhaar, the Egyptian Church, 22 ministries followed by the National Council for Women and NGOs. In addition, the delegation clarified that this strategy has decreased violent practices against women. Also it revealed that the comprehensive development strategy 2030 includes women protection axis along with 8 measuring indicators including early marriage, harassment combating, tenderness and affections.

The delegation, which included the Association of Egyptian Female lawyers and Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, ascertained that a comprehensive law to combat violence against women is being prepared now. Mrs. Rabha Fathy, the chairperson of the Association of the Egyptian Female Lawyers, illustrated that the recent four years witnessed the issuance of law in favor for women among which are law criminalizing sexual harassment, law criminalizing early marriage and law criminalizing depriving women from inheritance. The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) was very pleased to learn about these positive developments, more so because it underscores and ties to the intervention of WRAPA particularly through its Islamic Family Law (IFL) Project. The Islamic Family Law (IFL) Project is aimed at improving the enjoyment of the rights of Muslim women in family law matters, increase their capacity to demand for these rights as well as generate sustained shifts in policy and practices at individual and institutional levels. Under the auspices of the IFL project and just like Egypt, WRAPA has been able to; work (and is still working) with the government and other organizations to criminalize and raise awareness on early/child and forced marriage, sensitize, advocate and create policies that enable women the rights to inheritance and also develop a zero-culture to violence against women.

Moreover, Fathy added that the women’s rights conditions in Egypt are being improved continuously and the parliament will approve a law to combat violence against women, this particularly interests WRAPA as it is in direct tandem with the Nigerian VAPP Law, which WRAPA was at the forefront of its advocacy for fourteen years (14) and remains at the forefront of its implementation.

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), which is well concerned with happenings related directly or indirectly to all women and girls, is pleased to learn about Egypt’s successes in the struggle for women’s rights and enjoins everyone to work together towards the achievement of better conditions for women. Most importantly, WRAPA hopes that these successes are sustained and built on for higher wins.

 

A Day with the Chair, WRAPA Board of Trustees

A day with the Chair, WRAPA BoT

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), on the 11th of September, 2018 was pleased to welcome to the Head-Quarters (its Abuja office) the Founder and Chair, Board of Trustees of the organization, Hon. Justice Fati. Lami Abubakar CON. The Secretary General of the organization, Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi (MFR) on behalf of the organization, warmly received the Founder and Chair BOT of the organization.

 

After the reception process, which was indeed a very cordial and affectionate welcome, the entire staff of the organization immediately convened an interactive session with the Founder and Chair BOT, this interactive session was facilitated by the Secretary General.

 

During the course of the interactive session, all unit leads briefly updated the Founder and Chair BOT on all related and recent happenings within the context of their work. The Chair BOT, being the founder of the organization was not new to these updates, however she was emotional and rather sad at the state of women’s rights and related affairs in the country, particularly around access to justice and north-east insurgency. The Founder and Chair BOT, due to her vast experience in Law, also as the Former Chief Justice of Niger State, gave concrete suggestions and directives on how to enhance the work of the organization.

It was quite an engaging and fruitful day with the Chair, WRAPA Board of Trustees. The organization was more than glad to spend the day with Her excellency.

 

Radicalization & Empowerment among Young People Associated with Armed Opposition – WRAPA participates in Equal Access Nigeria ‘Farar Tattabara’ public report presentation.

Farar Tattabara

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), was delighted to be in attendance at a public report presentation session on the wings of Equal Access Nigeria, through its Farar Tattabara project on the 10th of September, 2018. The report was a resultant of a study that the organization had conducted in the North-East, Nigeria with support from Equal Access International and USAID on ‘Radicalization and Empowerment among Young People Associated with Armed Opposition’.

 

Farar Tattabara by Equal Access Nigeria has been running since 2017 with wide range of interventions within the context of advancing the rights of women and girls in North-East Nigeria, via scaling up the real issues faced by women and girls living in these areas. Most notably, the Farar Tattabara project has three (3) programs namely; Illin Abin Nema, Ina Mafita and Labarin Aisha (Labarin Aisha also has its English and Pidgin versions namely; Aisha’s Tale and Aisha Tori respectively) which run across twenty-two (22) radio stations in Nigeria. These programs highlight the issues faced by women and girls in these areas and informs the public on best ways to tackle the issues, thereby creating awareness on the happenings and informing programming content and strategy of duty bearers and other actors.

 

The report by Equal Access Nigeria titled ‘Radicalization and Empowerment among Young People Associated with Armed Opposition’ was spotlighting the ideologies of young people in armed opposition groups as regards their lives before and after joining the groups and their reasons for joining the groups, the report also trickles down to how the armed opposition groups otherwise known as Boko Haram (with the inclusive association of young people) affect the lives of women and girls in these areas.

Key findings to note from the report include;

 

  • The location of this study was Maiduguri, Borno State
  • Out of a total of twenty-two (22) people; fifteen (15) (Eight (8) women and Seven (7) men) joined the group due to ideological reasons while Seven (7) (Four (4) women and Three (3) men) joined due to financial reasons
  • Some of the respondents joined as a result of force, while others joined as a result of choice, some has a mix of being forced and choice, many joined before the age eighteen (18)
  • All respondents had a journey to association which cut across; persuasive preaching/religion biasing, comfort and belonging, perceived legitimacy, tapping into their emotions, desire for significance in the light of crisis and suffering, attraction and love, family dynamics
  • Some of the rhetoric and arguments deployed to ensure their association include; society gone bad, immorality, injustice, increasing restrictions on women
  • The experiences of the respondents after joining the armed opposition groups include; a sense of ideal society and sense of community, cult like, provision of good and services (economic benefits), pride in skills gained and actions taken, feeling of a sense of power, believed to be changing the world.
  • Gendered nature of power relations includes; lesser restrictions for the women and sense of power and belonging for the men
  • Their experiences while in these groups include; carrying out sanctions and killings, performing other forms of violence and oppression
  • Post dissociation experience include; facing military actions and living as an IDP.

The report presentation was indeed a very insightful one, all participants present were able to figure out the ideologies and belief-system of the young people in armed opposition groups, reasons or approaches used in ensuring their association as well as their life experiences before, during and after association with the armed opposition groups, otherwise known as Boko Haram. The study and its report is imperative for the international communities, civil societies, duty bearers and actors who will be responding to the issues in these climes, as it would shape and strengthen programming content and strategy for intervention.

 

Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from the Lake Chad Basin – WRAPA participates in PLAN INTERNATIONAL report presentation.

Voices from the lake chad basin

The crisis affecting the Lake Chad Basin is one of the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world, having displaced more than 2.2 million people, half of whom are children. Most are refugees, but this number also includes internally-displaced people and returnees. More than 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance across North East Nigeria, Cameroon’s Far North, Western Chad and South East Niger. While civilians face multiple forms of insecurity, adolescent girls are impacted by this protracted crisis in ways that are different from adolescent boys and from women, and in ways that are often overlooked.

Plan International Nigeria conducted a study in the Lake Chad Basin to bring to full light the challenges and experiences of adolescent girls in these areas under the lake chad basin. The organization held a public report presentation and the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) was in attendance. The event was also attended by international organizations, local organizations, concerned government agencies and media practitioners and it held on the 13th of September, 2018.

This report by Plan International seeks to highlight both the sites of insecurity for adolescent girls, as well as the ways in which they respond and continue to strive towards building safer communities for themselves and those around them. Key points from the report presentation include;

 

  • The research areas (Lake Chad Basin) included; Niger (Kabelwa, Diffa), Nigeria (Maiduguri, Gulak, Mubi, Ajari), Cameroon (Gazawa, Mokolo, Mora, Blabline, Kousseri)
  • The respondents (girls) said they don’t ever feel safe; “we don’t feel safe at night as boys take advantage of the darkness to bother us” “They married her out to a rapist”
  • Almost a quarter of all quarter of all girls surveyed (21.21%) said they’d been hit during the month
  • 62% of girls surveyed reported going to bed hungry at some point over the last month
  • The girls need information about the sexual and reproductive health
  • They want to learn, but are prevented from doing so
  • Just over 15% of adolescent girls aged 10-19 across all research sites were currently or had previously been married
  • They hope for a better future

 

The Recommendations from the study cut across the need for inclusion, girl child education, safety, infrastructure and sensitization. The results of this report would inform and shape programming content and strategy for interventions in these areas.

The event featured a video screening session which was tagged ‘Reclaiming Stolen Lives’. This video was able to showcase in visual form the exact plight of the girls within the target age brackets in these areas and the intervention of PLAN International in their lives to address these problems.

The event also featured a panel discussion involving 4 panelists namely; Fabian Bockler, Regional Lake Chad Programme Coordinator, Plan International, Rashid Bangurah, Chid Protection in Emergencies Specialist, Plan International Nigeria Maiduguri field office, Saudatu Mahdi (MFR), Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Joy Ukwo Michael, NPO – Humanitarian/RH Analyst, UNFPA – Nigeria. The topic of the discussion was ‘making visible the diverse context-specific profile of adolescent girls in Nigeria humanitarian crisis’

The panel discussion brought to light, the issues faced by girls within the two (2) age brackets (10-14 and 15-19) in these areas (mapped under the Lake Chad Basin), it also spoke to the need for more partnerships and collaborations in tackling the crisis, particularly between the government agencies, civil societies and international communities. The discussion also tilted towards commending duty bearers and other actors who have been responding to these issues in the North East Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin as a whole.

 

 

WRAPA partakes in Communications Training for NGOs by MacArthur Foundation

MacArthur Foundation communications training for NGOs

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), was part of a 4-day Communications training for NGOs, courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation. The training was facilitated by a consortium of International Society for Media in Public Health (ISMPH) and AfricaPractice (AP) and was attended by twenty (20) organizations who are all grantees of the MacArthur Foundation.

The communications training for NGOs was informed by the need to improve/increase the quality of communications of MacArthur Foundation grantee organizations and to propagate the culture of impact-based communications in developmental work.

The 4-day long programme kicked off on the 3rd of September, 2018 with an evening event that featured a panel discussion and dinner. Notably in attendance were; Dr. Kole Shettima, Africa Director of the MacArthur Foundation who delivered the welcome address, Dr. Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary, NEITI who delivered the keynote address titled ‘Understanding Communications Management for Sustainable Development’. His presentation cut across; the role and the importance of the media. Asymmetrical relations between the CEOs of organizations and communications, impact-based reporting, relations mgmt. in communications, rules of engagement of stakeholders and stakeholder segmentation and its importance in effective communications.

The event also held a panel discussion, panelists were Samson Itodo, ED, YIAGA, Saudatu Mahdi (MFR), Secretary General, WRAPA, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, ED Rise Network and Amara Nwankpa, Yar’dua Foundation. Key points from the panel discussion include; the art of listening for effective communications, tying reporting to impact with data and statistics, the question of ‘who needs to do what and when’ for effective communications, the importance of branding in communications and the need for crisis management tactics in communications.

 

The communications training for NGOs fully commenced the next day, 4th September, 2018 and lasted till 6th September, 2018. Participants were taken on various aspects of effective communication including; communications strategy & objective setting, stakeholder mapping and stakeholder relationship management, audience segmentation, key messaging and narrative building, communications planning, channel identification and use, monitoring and evaluation in communications.

 

Mrs. Moji Makunjuola, Executive Director of the International Society for Media in Public Health (ISMPH) facilitated the formation of communication cells. The communication cell comprises all the participants of the training and was established for the purpose of creating an enabling ground for partnership, collaboration and scale-up reach between the communication officers present.

Amina Salihu of MacArthur Foundation took the participants on the MacArthur Foundation On Nigeria Theory of Change, which was to further enlighten all participants on the reason for the training within the context of the Foundation’s work in Nigeria. Deputy Director of MacArthur foundation, Oladayo Olaide gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the foundation, while Africa Director of the MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima gave the closing remarks before presenting all participants with certificates of participation.

 

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