Wednesday 8 March, 2017
By Mr. Lucien Kouakou, IPPF Africa Region Director
Today, IPPF Africa Region joins the world in marking the International Women’s Day (IWD); a day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women.
For many years, the role of women was confined to the periphery, where they were hardly recognized for their value and important contribution to society’s development. But times are changing, and women today are not only being acknowledged for their worth, but are also being encouraged to carve out their own identity as individuals; as women.
This process of recognition has been gradual and has spanned over decades. Despite the gradual spate in acknowledging the contribution of women, the time has come for us to celebrate the achievements that have been made, and look forward to even more accomplishments. IPPFAR has been instrumental in this process, and we pride ourselves in being an organization that has always put women at the heart of our programmes. Our programmes are designed in a way that ensures that our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and cousins have their reproductive health and rights concerns addressed in a timely, effective, affordable and sustained manner.
Further, IPPFAR’s commitment to gender equality and respect of sexual rights is affirmed in the 2016 - 2022 Strategic Framework as an absolute principle that guides its actions. The Federation is driven by progressive statutory documents and supportive policies that guarantee a fair working environment and decision-making powers both for women and men.
IPPF Africa Region continually endeavors to support Africa’s women in their quest to realize their full potential. We are deeply committed to addressing the various challenges and barriers they face in their journey to this achievement. Through various advocacy efforts, IPPFAR and its Member Associations are centrally involved in creating and championing supportive policy environments that are aimed at reducing the various health, social, economic, political and other inequalities that affect women and girls. We have been involved in several policy consultative processes in many African countries with respect to the improvement of women’s rights.
As we honor all women today, I urge you all to seize all available opportunities that empower women in all spheres of their lives. Take it upon yourself to seek strategic partnerships with institutions that will support this quest. It is also our responsibility to encourage women to adapt to technological changes that are necessary for them to survive and thrive in today’s environment.
I further encourage all of those in the IPPFAR network to increase their positive actions towards women. It essential and imperative to acknowledge and recognize the fact that women are fundamental to the achievement of Africa’s developmental goals as set out in the AU Agenda 2063.
Let us continue to engage in initiatives that are geared towards the advancement of Africa’s women, and let us be #BeBoldForChange by standing by women today, promoting their rights, speaking up for them and encouraging them to raise their own voices.
I wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day.