Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fwd: [Africa in Focus Blog!] WACSI Calls for Appointment of Special ECOWAS Envoy on Ebola



#Civil #Society Statement on the Current #Ebola Crisis in #West #Africa:

A Call for Appointment of #ECOWAS Special Envoy on #Ebola

In light of the current epidemic of the deadly #Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in #West #Africa, we the undersigned civil society organizations call on #ECOWAS member states to appoint a leading, influential, strong and knowledgeable West African physician or health professional as #ECOWAS Special Envoy on #Ebola.

The current epidemic, which has been characterized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the deadliest Ebola outbreak since this virus was discovered in 1976, has claimed the lives of at least 1,552 people in West Africa including many health officials. We applaud and support the brave work of the health officials who continue to put their lives at risk in the care of victims of #Ebola despite very difficult working environment. We stand in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, families, and communities who are battling for their lives and struggling to care for loved ones.

West African economies are feeling the impact of the world's worst outbreak of Ebola. Travel and trade restrictions are limiting the deployment of medical personnel, equipment and commodities adding to the deadly risk that the EVD already poses to the communities and the economies of the affected countries and the region. This epidemic has exposed the challenges of our public health system and our governance institutions.

The recently-released WHO roadmap predicts that 20,000 people may ultimately be infected in this outbreak. Therefore, the challenge ahead is steep and a lot of work has to be done to stem this dangerous situation.

Cross-border coordination and collaboration necessary to stem the spread of Ebola has been haphazard and chaotic. While closure of borders may provide short term relief, it is also an impediment to cross-border technical support and humanitarian assistance and has given rise to new food security challenges.

The challenge of the current epidemic calls for urgent, unified and concerted efforts by ECOWAS and the international community. The emergency meeting of ECOWAS currently being held in Accra provides an opportunity to work out actionable and effective modalities to address the Ebola crisis. The regional body is uniquely positioned to champion a coordinated response.

For these reasons, we urge the appointment of the ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola. Such an envoy will help draw attention to the public health and humanitarian challenges posed by Ebola and become a regional voice and leader for a regional response plan led by African and international contributors. The Envoy could also be the voice calling for effective management and coordination of cross-border transportation and logistics. The challenge we face is extraordinary and ECOWAS needs to create a specialized platform to address this.

We urge all ECOWAS member States to push for this resolution and to develop a concrete plan for operationalizing effective coordination. We call on the international community to provide needed assistance in ensuring that the response to Ebola in the region is effective, humane and sustainable.

We acknowledge that the efforts of ECOWAS and the international community can only yield results if residents of the region do their part. Hence, we also urge the populations and all civil society organizations to show more solidarity and be cautious by observing the preventive measures identified by the WHO.

Kindly sign this statement and share with for onward action

source: West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)

Posted By Blogger to Africa in Focus Blog! at 8/31/2014 03:08:00 PM

E.K.Bensah Jr, Head of Research & Host -- "Africa in Focus"(Radio XYZ 93.1FM) | |
*TEL:+233.268.687.653 / +233.233.311.789 / +
EKBENSAH DotNet: Regional integration Intelligence| West Africa-ECOWAS | Communications | Civil society 

Monday, August 4, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 5 August, 2014: "Africa & Social Media: Blogging; Activism; and the Future"

Africa & Social Media: Blogging; Activism; and the Future

If someone were to be documenting Ghana’s young history of its foray into Social Media, one might refer to the 1 July demonstration, which triggered the hashtag #Occupyflagstaff, as one of the examples of Ghana’s foray into activism. Activism, because many months after the so-called “Arab Spring”, many have questioned when sub-Saharan Africa would have its own Spring.

But long before there was even any talk of a “Spring” africaine, Ghana had begun making moves around Social Media. First it was Penplusbytes, or the ICT Institute of Journalism in 2001. Seven years later came BloggingGhana – considered the largest association of bloggers writing about Ghana. With the advent of New Media has come opportunities for training and education on New Media, which the latter two organizations have been involved in.

That said, one could be forgiven for thinking that without being associated with these two organizations, survival in New Media is impossible. Far from it, as there remain many individuals blogging, and fully-engaged in New Media through many different initiatives they undertake.

Then there is the case of our media houses, which are taking the New Media bull by the horns and running with it. Back in 2009, the host of “Africa in Focus” was called to national duty for the 14th GJA Media Awards. Word had it that his blogging activism was what led him to that calling.  Sitting on that committee as a judge for online journalism was indeed a priviledge, but he was disheartened by the fact that subsequent GJA Media awards did not deem Blogging and New Media an important component of Ghana’s media.

Fortunately, New Media has managed to move beyond relying on the Ghana Journalist Association. The establishment of organizations like BloggingGhana and Penplusbytes can verily attest to this fact. But even with their respective successes, what have other countries been able to do around New Media and Blogging?

In this edition of AIF, we talk to Kenya’s erstwhile “King of Facebook”, and Brand Ambassador of Safaricomm to find out how that East African country has been able to revolutionise New Media. We also talk to the former Knowledge Management Officer of the UNECA who played an active role in ensuring that the rather-prosaic policy of Africa’s integration and development is translated into the more exciting and vivacious New Media channel in Facebook.

Even more importantly, we will be using the show to explore the extent to which New Media, especially blogging, is still a good idea, and does it have validity in a space where twitter seems to be king? What does Kenya’s King of Facebook think about other forms of New Media, and does his commercial success lend weight to the fact that his template is one that can be replicated elsewhere in Africa?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Edward Tagoe, BloggingGhana
Ø  Ato Ulzen-Appiah, Rancard Solutions/ex-Google Ghana
Ø  Kwami Ahiabenu, Penplusbytes New Media Hub/African Elections Project

On the line:
Ø  Golda Addo, Renewable Energy advocate; Activist   @ 13h40
Ø  Stephen Musyoka, TrInc Media/ former Kenyan “King of Facebook”/City Council of Nairobi @ 13h55
Ø  Mawuli Tsikata, CITI fm, @14h10
Ø  Mkhu Ncube, Young Zimbabwe Business Platform/ex-UNECA @ 14h25

Tune in at 13h10 GMT (1:00pm Ghana Time). We’re also streaming live

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Posted By Blogger to Africa in Focus Blog! at 8/04/2014 11:31:00 AM

E.K.Bensah Jr, Head of Research & Host -- "Africa in Focus"(Radio XYZ 93.1FM) | |
*TEL:+233.268.687.653 / +233.233.311.789 / +
EKBENSAH DotNet: Regional integration Intelligence| West Africa-ECOWAS | Communications | Civil society 
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