Empowering women in Zimbabwe

By Mary Ferreira

Rosemary Marimo is a woman with purpose.  She began prospecting for gold in Musowe, Zimbabwe with her husband 20 years ago.  Now, 60 years old, she has been running the business alone.

She told UNTV multimedia producer Mary Ferreira that her husband died 14 years ago, ”He got very sick and passed away, and I carried on.”   For any woman in this southern African country, it’s difficult to operate a business because of the lack of collateral.  Most of the family’s assets are usually registered in the man’s name.  Rosemary started her business through a bank loan her husband obtained years ago.

When he died, she almost lost everything she said, “I had to call my son back from America after he graduated as an engineer.  I told him we must work hard because the bank wanted to take everything away from us.”  Rosemary’s son returned and they managed to pay off the loan.  Now he develops new equipment for the mill, which processes ore retrieved from the mine pits.

Today, it’s much easier for women to get into the mining sector since the Government introduced the “indigenization” programme in 2010.  This programme is geared to increase local ownership of the country’s mineral resources.  It’s also helping to empower and improve the participation of women in this critical economic sector, which earns revenue exceeding two billion US dollars annually.

Now women are more likely to obtain loans from banks because of special measures adopted and offered to female business owners under the indigenisation act says Dr. Olivia Muchena, Minister of Gender Affairs in Zimbabwe, ”Through various programmes a good number of our banks are opening windows or special facilities for women.”

To further empower women and achieve gender equality, the government is also partnering with the United Nations Development programme, UNDP, to include a gender perspective in all of its economic plans.

Through UNDP’s Gender & Economic Policy Management Initiative, GEPMI, some 34 policy makers – men and women – attended a weeklong workshop in late 2012 to learn how to create gender-neutral policies.

Now more than 10% of all mining operations are headed by women, an industry previously dominated by men.  Rosemary is now a government consultant helping new women miners avoid the pitfalls she once experienced when she first started her operation.



Ushering in Fall Weather 2012

Fall Leaves in Somers, NY

The leaves travel slowly, driven by the soft power of the autumn wind.  It’s my favorite time of the year because I can take advantage of some of the wonderful places to visit with my two grand children and their parents. Living in Northern Westchester allows me to unwind after a hectic week of commute to my workplace in New York City. One week from today,  I’ll be visiting Muscoot Farm in Somers, New York – a spectacular opportunity to see farm animals lazing around.  See link http://muscootfarm.org/

Living with Diabetes in Qatar

While in Qatar, Abdullrazaq – – a diabetic – allowed me to cover his story.  During the days we spent with him, I realized that his family supports him in his struggle to live a normal life despite his illness.  He is confident that his condition will improve once he has surgery.  He hopes that his condition stabilizes soon so he’ll be able to get his new kidney, provided a perfect match is found.

Undergoing Dialysis

Please visit this link http://bit.ly/JEDoQS for a photo essay and sideshow on diabetes.

Pakistan’s Youth

I travelled to Pakistan in March 2012 to produce a story about Pakistan’s Youth.  I met the Chairman of the Youth Parliament of Pakistan, Abrar Ul-Haq, who is working with young people to harness their energy for the good of Pakistan. Now young people are raising concerns with parliamentary officials, getting involved in policy making, and helping others contribute to society.

A minaret lit atop Badshahi Mosque in Lahore reflects the beauty, grandeur and passion of the Mughal period.

Here is a photo essay and a slide show http://bit.ly/JkKLa8  that I produced to share some of the images captured during this trip.

Camel Racing in Qatar

In March 2012, I travelled to Qatar to cover a story about camel racing in that country.  It’s an interesting piece because there are no human jockeys.  The use of child jockeys was banned in 2005.  Qatar had to come up with a solution if it wanted to continue the sport – a popular Bedouin tradition.  It turned to the nation’s scientists to come up with an innovative idea.  Rashed Ali, Founder of the Qatar Scientific Club, did just that – he invented the first ever “robotic jockey” that’s now used in camel racing throughout the Gulf region.

Scientist with Children at Science Club in Qatar

Watch this photo essay and slideshow  http://bit.ly/LtKVvV  of some beautiful images we captured there.


Qatar: Sweet Epidemic

Counting calories is not on anyone’s mind when visiting fast food chains in Doha, the capital city of the State of Qatar. But it’s now a necessity as young people are becoming “addicted” to quick meals, according to one of the leading newspapers in the country, the Peninsula. Now the Government is implementing rules and regulations to force restaurants to disclose to consumers the calorie count in every meal.

This initiative is part of a plan to reduce the onset of diabetes across the nation. Many Qataris, regardless of age, are developing diabetes at an alarming rate. But the disease is not new to Qatar. Abdullrazaq was diagnosed with diabetes when he was only 25 years old.

Abdullrazaq at Home

Experts say the reasons vary – unhealthy diets of fast food and sugar-filled desserts, sedentary lifestyles and hereditary genes.

Abdullrazaq is not sure how he acquired diabetes but he told UN TV multimedia producer, Mary Ferreira, that he lost both of his parents to diabetes. His mother passed away only a few weeks ago.

Now at age, 51, the disease is claiming several parts of Abdullrazaq’s body, including vital organs. His days are filled with doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, and insulin injections.

He is currently receiving dialysis treatment three times each week at Hamad General Hospital in downtown, Doha. The hospital boasts more than 200 dialysis stations and in 2009, the hospital performed some 60,000 dialysis sessions.

Abdullrazaq’s family is supporting him fully as he struggles to move around his home to complete routine daily activities. According to medical experts, the only solution for Abdullrazaq is a kidney transplant when an exact match is found.

In the meantime, the campaign against fast food addiction will test the nation’s commitment to healthy eating. Before any success is reached workers at eateries need to be aware of the impact of fried food on consumers’ health, says the Peninsula.

In May 2009, the United Nations adopted a resolution to fight non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer around the world.  UNTV will produce a video on this issue within the next few months.  Keep checking this site for the release date.