BY NEW BUSINESS ETHIOPIA REPORTER
Africa's first female President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, wins the 2011 African Gender Award (AGA) of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) - PanAfrican Center for Gender, Peace and Development.
Announcing the winner yesterday evening (January 24, 2011) here in Addis Ababa, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), former President of Pan African Parliament Gertude Mongella, noted that Liberia’s president has performed well in protecting rights women in Liberia by implementing international conventions.
“The main objective of the award is to appreciate African presidents and honour their country for what they have done to women,” Mamma Mongella said.
Liberia won after experts have evaluated performances of nominated African countries for the award in detail, according to Executive Director of FAS, Bineta Diop.
FAS representatives indicated that Liberia has shown progress in providing ‘genuinely’ free education to the children of poor Liberian women and also established women market fund, among other things.
“Some African countries say that we are providing free primary education. But when we look at it, it is not genuinely free, because they charge the poor mothers money for uniforms to their students and the like,” said Elzabeth Rehn, Former Defence Minister of Finland who is supporter of AGA being gender activist at Merry Robinson Foundation established by former President of Ireland-Merry Robinson.
This year’s AGA is the fourth edition. It started in 2005 by honouring President Wade of Senegal and President Mbeki of South Africa, in celebration of their work towards gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the African Union.
The previous edition (2009 African Gender Award) was awarded to President Armando Guebuza of the Republic of Mozambique for his notable commitment to the cause of women in his country.
The 2007 edition celebrated achievements of President Kagame who integrated women into Rwanda’s policy making institutions, demonstrated by a series of political and legislative reforms, which has made Rwanda an exemplary country for the entire world.
The award does not have any money except honouring the leaders and the country, according to Mamma Mongella. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to receive the award in Dakar under the sponsorship of President Wade of Senegal.