By Ronald Joshua
ADDIS ABABA (IDN) – The Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) has launched a New Strategic Plan (2019-2023) which envisions “a developed Africa with healthy and empowered children, youth and women”. The plan will make a significant contribution to the health and well-being of children, youth and women in Africa.
OAFLAD, which traces its roots to the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), has officially announced its new name – OAFLAD – during the 22nd Ordinary General Assembly in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
The theme of the 22nd Ordinary General Assembly was “Collaborating to Transform Africa: Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Populations”.
Following the launch of strategic plan it is imperative to develop national operational plans, said Adjoavi Sika Kabore, First Lady of the Republic of Burkina Faso and OAFLA President during her opening remarks. “It is absolutely necessary, in spite of the various difficulties often aggravated by the weakness of the mobilization of the resources essential to the survival of the organization, to keep the course around the interest and the noble objectives which unite us,” the First Lady of Burkina Faso said.
During the past 17 years, OAFLA has provided continent-wide leadership advocating for policy and social change, and engaging in resource mobilization efforts at the global, continental and national levels. It also has driven action at the grassroots level communities working with Africa’s most vulnerable including women and children infected and affected by the AIDS epidemic, who also bear the brunt of poverty and social marginalization.
Cisse Mariama Mohamed, Secretary to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), who represented Amira ElFadil, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs underlined that addressing issues of women, youth and children is a prerequisite for achieving all the seventh aspiration of of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. “Ensuring that health remains a key priority for our countries is critical in harnessing the demographic dividend and achievement of the structural transformation aspirations espoused in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.”
Cissee Mohamed reaffirmed AU’s commitment to a stronger partnership with OAFLAD and said “We count on the First Ladies’ influence to address pediatric AIDS, improve adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights and foster child protection.”
In her welcoming remarks, Zinash Tayachew, First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, called upon the First Ladies to higher and deeper collaboration. She reassured: “Compared to the overwhelming problem around us, what we are doing might seem less than a pebble thrown in a lake. I have no doubt that each pebble that is thrown in love has the ability to shake the lake.”
Following the launch of strategic plan it is imperative to develop national operational plans – this was echoed by Her Excellency Madame Adjoavi Sika Kabore, First Lady of the Republic of Burkina Faso and OAFLA President during her opening remarks. She alluded: “It is absolutely necessary, in spite of the various difficulties often aggravated by the weakness of the mobilization of the resources essential to the survival of the organization, to keep the course around the interest and the noble objectives which unite us.”
Michel Sidibe, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNAIDS Executive Director testified in his remarks that First Ladies come to the forefront of the struggle to be a voice to the voiceless. He further said: “First Ladies have always been fighting for the restoration of human dignity”. It was emotional moment for the General Assembly as He bids farewell after working for 17 years in partnership.
The General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to advocate with sustained focus, vigor, and determination for the well-being of the most vulnerable persons of our societies in need of special care, support or protection including women, children, orphans, people with disability and the elderly. [IDN-InDepthNews – 13 February 2019]
Photo: African First Ladies. Credit: African Union Commission.
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