Announcing the 2015 U.S. based TechWomen Program

Great opportunity from the US Department of State

TechWomen is a five week exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department; the program is designed to support development in the field of technology in select countries including Zimbabwe. The program is intended to assist women reach their full potential in the technology industry through five-week mentorships with American women at leading innovation companies and organizations in the United States.  TechWomen is intended to support development in the field of technology, increase the trade capacity of the participating countries, promote economic advancement, and enable women to reach their full potential in the science and tech industry.

For five weeks beginning in October 2015, successful TechWomen candidates will work on specific projects with their American Mentors at technology and innovation companies in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, an experience that will be enhanced by several workshops organized to provide networking opportunities and to increase the participants’ understanding of how Americans drive development.

Companies that hosted the 2014 TechWomen participants include: Adobe, Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc., Autodesk, BrightRoll, Cahill Contractors, Inc., Calix, Cisco Systems, Cleantech Open, Code for America, Coursera, eBay, Inc., Ericsson, Esurance, Everwise, Genentech, Inc., Juniper Networks, Kenzen, Inc., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, LinkedIn Corporation, Los Altos History Museum, Lumos Labs, McAfee, Meltwater, Mozilla Corporation, NASA Ames Research Center, NestGSV, Northgate Environmental Management, Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric, Proteus Digital Health, Salesforce.com, San Francisco Department of the Environment, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara Valley Water District, ServiceMaz, SolarCity Corporation, SunEdison, Symantec Corporation, ThoughtWorks, Inc., Twitter, Vista Solar, VMware, and Walmart.

To apply for the 2015 TechWomen program please visit www.techwomen.org

Nice shoes

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A woman shows her political allegiance at the national congress of Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party in the capital, Harare, on Saturday. More than 10,000 delegates re-elected President Robert Mugabe, 90, as party leader while his wife Grace was chosen to head the women’s wing.
Souce: BBC Africa

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The report of the Auditor-General for the financial year ending 31 December 2012 on the performance of state enterprise and parastatals was presented to the Minister of Finance in January 2014. This report was made available through the Auditor-General’s website and includes many worrying observations.

Among them:

  • The Grain Marketing Board was owed $31 400 000 by the Government for storage and handling charges relating to the current and prior intake periods as at March 31, 2013.
  • The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority was owed more than $240 000 0000 by its clients. Some of the debts were backdating to the year 2009.
  • By September 2013, 14 entities had not submitted their accounts for auditing – Including ZUPCO, ZINARA, Air Zimbabwe and ARDA

Read the Report of the Auditor-General for the Financial Year ended December 31, 2012 – State Enterprises and Parastatals

PRESS RELEASE: Zimbabwean charity wins international award for outstanding work

Local Zimbabwean charity Kidzcan, that provides support to children with cancer and their families, will be named Runner Up for Health in Africa-Middle East in the 2014 Stars Impact Awards.

Kidzcan will receive the award at Kensington Palace in London on Saturday 13 December, where President Bill Clinton will also be attending.

The high rate of poverty in Zimbabwe means that the future for children with cancer is bleak.

The disease is frequently left undiagnosed, as it is often difficult to recognise early signs and symptoms of childhood cancer. This makes it more difficult and more expensive to treat down the line.

Kidzcan works with the only children’s cancer unit in all of Zimbabwe and provides support to any child who has been diagnosed with, or is suspected of having, cancer.

The families that Kidzcan works with cannot afford the treatment that their child needs and the charity provides a lifeline for children who otherwise have very little hope of survival.

Kidzcan acts to increase the early detection of childhood cancer and to improve effective treatment for children with cancer by sourcing, purchasing and donating chemotherapy and associated medications.

The local organisation funds laboratory testing and scans, much-needed blood transfusion and provides transport for families.

Kidzcan volunteers play and spend time with children on the wards. The organisation also runs regular parent support group meetings.

In 2013, Kidzcan provided direct patient support to over 400 children, 359 of whom were newly diagnosed.

The Stars Impact Awards recognise and reward effective, well-managed local organisations working to improve child health, education, protection and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in the countries with the highest rates of under-five mortality.

As part of the prize package, Kidzcan will receive US$50,000 of unrestricted funding, US$10,000 in tailored consultancy and a package of media support.

This year, Stars is awarding 18 organisations from countries ranging from Brazil to Zimbabwe for their work with disadvantaged children.

Representatives from each local charity will be in London for the Annual Gala Dinner on 13 December.

Source: 2014 Stars Impact Awards

Africa is a continent endowed with vast amounts of natural resources but instead of being a blessing these riches have become a curse. These resources have fallen into the hands of the few now dubbed the “African elites”. Distribution of wealth accrued from the sale of natural resources has not reached marginalized societies.

Poverty and inequality is on the rise whilst the elites use the state as a primary means through which to accumulate private wealth. Resources are no longer used to generate economic growth; instead governments use them to stay in power.

However, in some African states, especially in East Africa, some positive economic development has been recorded. For example Rwanda is now reported to have surpassed Zimbabwe’s agriculture production by 33%. This has been achieved through the adoption of best practices from emerging economic powerhouses, like the Singapore model. Rwandan elites have also led by example through investing in their country complementing government support to boost agriculture productivity.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s past decade of economic and political instability has stalled all progress, making it difficult to attract investors. The country is currently struggling to restore its breadbasket status among its Southern African neighbours.

A presentation by Roel van der Veen and Jan Bade themed “African and Asian Development Compared: Lessons for Zimbabwe” at the CSO Economic Governance Roundtable hosted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands gave comparisons of economic development in Zimbabwe, Rwanda and some Asian countries like Indonesia which share the same history as African states. Findings in their research show that if Africa is to develop the same way Asian countries have, the continent needs economic transformation, and not just growth.

With an ever-increasing informal sector Zimbabwe is faced with continual pressure on labor markets owing to new entrants from several higher tertiary institutes in the country. Political instability continues to pose a significant threat to economic activity in Zimbabwe as industries are closing at an alarming rate.

As recommendations to the current economic crisis in Zimbabwe, Roel van der Veen and Jan Bade said Zimbabwe must invest in agriculture, increase economic freedom, and build the middle class supported by improved vocational training and skills development.

Thinker’s Cafe

If you are between 18-35 years old, and are inspired by intellectual political intrigue, spend an afternoon next Tuesday, 16 December from 2.30 pm at the Book Cafe, Samora Machel Ave / Sixth Street, Harare with eccentric political analysts Vincent Musewe and Rejoice Ngwenya. Help us unpack the future, YOUR future perspective of Zimbabwe’s game changers in 2015. This is the ideal ‘end-of-year-network’ for local and Diaspora youth revving up for the long holiday! It’s all free, but please do be a good sport and buy your friend a COLD drink for once!

Rejoice Ngwenya / Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions promotes innovative ideas that strengthen the free market economy, respect for private property rights, responsible capitalism and constitutionalism.

Observations from the Bhejane Trust

While driving along the Namakana River in Matetsi Unit 7, I came across an unusual incident – a Winterthorn tree had split at the base of the trunk, and came crashing down. There were three dead monkeys lying around, one still in the branches – obviously they had been in the tree when it came down and were killed on impact with the ground. There may well have been more bodies inside the entanglement of branches. – An excerpt from the very informative November newsletter from the Bhejane Trust, which investigates and comments on conservation and wild life issues in Zimbabwe

Better care needed for victims of violence

New study highlights need to scale up violence prevention efforts globally

“Providing care and support to victims of violence is important for reducing psychological trauma, helping victims heal, and preventing further involvement in violence. Despite strong evidence linking experiences of violence to mental health problems, under half of countries have mental health services to address victim needs, with only 15% of countries in Africa offering such services.” – The Global status report on violence prevention 2014

What kind of year has Africa had?

Simon Allison writing for Daily Maverick reckons that 2014 hasn’t been a great year for Africa citing Ebola, Anarchy in Libya, The metamorphosis of Boko Haram, South Sudan’s civil war and Band Aid, #BringBackOurGirls and Africa’s inability to define itself.

Apparently the good news about Africa is coming tomorrow. Check it out on www.dailymaverick.co.za