Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 19 April on the nomination of the UNFPA-produced TV miniseries entitled "Les Boulistes" to the Pan African Film Festival, held from 17-21 April, in Cannes. Produced by UNFPA with the intent of denouncing gender inequality and promoting women's rights, the popular TV miniseries is aired on Congo National Television and satellite TV to millions of viewers in Congo and worldwide. The series has previously been presented by UNFPA's David Lawson at other international film festivals. Mr. Lawson is confident that UNFPA's communication strategy "Media for Development," aimed at reaching millions of people through mass media and behaviour change messages, is paying off saying, "Maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS prevalence rates are down in Congo and gender equality has never been so high on the national political agenda, with a gender parity law in the making." Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Le Journal de Brazza published on 4 April, in the context of world women's month, an op-ed by UNFPA Representative David Lawson entitled "Altogether, Let Us Fight Violence Against Women."
The article recalls that one out of three women has been affected by violence in her life. 20% of women worlwide will be raped or subject to a rape attempt in their lifetime. 50% of these aggressions are on girls below 16 years of age. One women out of four is a victim of violence during pregnancy.
Mr. Lawson outlines the magnitude of violence against women worldwide and demonstrates how it can be fought and contained with some success through political commitment and action, legislative measures strongly enforced, and media and community mobilization. UNFPA has been instrumental in the Republic of Congo in promoting women's rights and assisting the government in fighting violence against women. He concludes, "UNFPA has been at the forefront of action to defeat violence against women in Congo and will continue to support a multipronged approach to ensure women are freed-up from this terrible scourge." Read in French: Le Journal de Brazza
The Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 19 March on a UNFPA-sponsored painting exhibition by 6 Congolese artists. Organized in the context of International Women Month, this exhibition is aimed at
depicting violence against women in their daily lives to draw attention to the issue. It is also aimed at supporting the empowerment of women, including through building their artistic capacity as a communication means to denounce this violence. Read in French: Depeches de Brazzaville
La Semaine Africaine reported on 15 March on the fight by UNFPA and civil society against female genital mutilation (FGM). UNFPA reported that 140 million girls and women are victims of FGM each year, and 92 million young girls are threathened by it. In 1997, UNFPA and UNICEF launched a global joint programme to eradicate FGM. UNFPA is leading the fight against FGM in the Republic of Congo. Read in French: La Semaine Africaine
On the occasion of the first-ever meeting of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in Africa, Tele-Congo re-broadcasted on 14 March a special programme on indigenous peoples featuring UNFPA Representative David Lawson, Communication Minister Bienvenu Okiemy and UN Permanent Forum African Representative William Mviboudoulou. The discussants outlined progress made in the Republic of Congo with regard to indigenous peoples rights, and the importance for the country, and Africa, of the UNPFII meeting in Brazzaville. Mr. Lawson said, "The UNPFII meeting in Africa is a historical moment, as it is the first time ever it meets in Africa. This is a recognition of the internationally acclaimed 2011 Congolese model law on the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples' rights, which should be replicated in other countries of Africa."
Le Journal de Brazza reported on 8 March on the statement by UNFPA Representative David Lawson, delivered on his behalf by Assistant Representative Benoit Libali, on the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). "FGM are done too often silently and in total impunity. Ignorance of legislative measures against it by the populations and limited prosecution render it one of the most tragic forms of violence against women and girls. They are unacceptable and they must stop" Mr. Lawson said. The UN diplomat committed UNFPA to financial and technical support for the government to conduct a national survey to gather precise data on the exact extent of the phenomenon, which is not culturally accepted and remains limited in Congo. Read in French: Le Journal de Brazza
Les Depeches de Brazzaville and Congo-site reported on 7 March on the celebration of the 10th International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation held on 5 March in Brazzaville, jointly organized by UNFPA and the NGO National Committee for Women's Rights. In Congo, FGMs are confined to limited geographic areas across the country, the provinces of Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire and Likouala. UNICEF and UNFPA launched a global programme against FGM in 1997 now strengthened by a 2012 UN General Assembly resolution on the matter. According to UNFPA, 140 million girls and women, including 92 million 10 year-old girls are victims of FGM. In Congo, UNFPA is the only UN agency to support political and social mobilization against FGM. Read in French: Congo-site and Les Depeches de Brazzaville
IRIN reported on 1 March on indigenous women's difficult access to reproductive health services. A joint Health Ministry/UNFPA study on indigenous people's reproductive health reports that only 4% of indigenous women give birth in health centres, against 94% for other women. 37% indigenous women attend antenatal care, while 94% of other women do. UNFPA Representative David Lawson explains that poverty, lack of education, lack of access to health services are major problems, and that comprehensive culturally-sensitive reproductive health care services, including family planning adapted to the needs of indigenous peoples, can make a difference. An emergency action plan (2013-2014) is being developed by government, the UN and indigenous peoples to address these and other such critical issues. Read in English: IRIN
Tele-Congo broadcast on 1 March a special programme on the upcoming session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples to be held in Congo from 11-15 March 2013. Communication Minister Bienvenu Okiemy, UN Permanent Forum Africa Representative William Mviboudoulou and UNFPA Representative David Lawson debated the challenges and opportunities for indigenous peoples in Congo and in Africa in the context of this first-ever visit of the UN Permanent Forum. Mr. Lawson said, "The Republic of Congo is now recognized as a model for African leaders thanks to its progressist law on the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples. This field session should also boost further the implementation of the law in Congo."
Top-TV, Radio-Congo and Congo-site reported on 15 February on a meeting between Women's Affairs Minister Ms. Catherine Embonza and UNFPA Representative David Lawson to review cooperation between the Ministry and UNFPA in 2013. Mr. Lawson drew the attention of the Minister to the outcome of a UNFPA/USA programme on women's mobilisation to 2012-2013 electoral processes. David Lawson said, "I am convinced that women and indigenous women can enter local council through large mobilization and participation." Read in French: Congo-site
PANAPRESS reported on 15 February on a statement by UNFPA Representative David Lawson on UNFPA's support to women's empowerment for the 2013 local elections. Mr. Lawson outlined the importance of passing the draft gender parity law for electoral, administrative and political decision-making decisions. The UN diplomat stated, "this bill will not only allow women to access the policy decision making they deserve, it will bring about societal change as women will then be recognized as important as men in national development and it will bring women the self-confidence to promote themselves as well." Read in French: PANAPRESS
Radio MUCODEC broadcast on 14 February an exclusive interview with UNFPA Representative David Lawson focused on the maternal mortality reduction of 61% over the last decade, including 40% over the last four years. He explained how high political commitment, massive investment in human and technical resources in health centres, emergency obstetric and antenatal care, family planning and free c-section reduced maternal mortality. Mr. Lawson talked about the recent African Union special session on CARMMA. Listen in French: Radio MUCODEC
DRTV and Tele-Congo reported on 13 February on the celebration of the second International Radio Day whose theme was "The role of radio in providing substantive information to the populations." In his address, the Minister saluted UNFPA's support for journalists' capacity-building on population and development issues, as well as UNFPA's role in informing radio programmes on central issues for population information and education.
Les Depeches de Brazzaville, le Journal de Brazza, DRTV, Radio-Congo and Congo-site reported on 8 February on a joint Health Ministry/UNFPA study on indigenous peoples reproductive health in Congo, which confirmed the vulnerability of indigenous women. According to the study, 99 percent of indigenous women deliver babies at home; 59 percent know about AIDS; 35 percent use condoms, 26 percent use contraception methods. Presenting the study, UNFPA Representative David Lawson proposed an Emergency Health Action Plan for Indigenous Peoples (2013-2014) with key actions like mobile reproductive health services and HIV testing. Mr. Lawson concluded, "strengthening indigenous leadership is key to the respect of their rights. Indigenous peoples are not victims, they should be active actors of their own development."Read in French: Congo-site, le Journal de Brazza, Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Les Depeches de Brazzaville and le Journal de Brazza published on 4 and 5 February an op-ed by UNFPA Representative David Lawson. The UN diplomat analyzed the actions, including leadership advocacy, and technical and financial support by UNFPA, that led to a 61 percent maternal mortality reduction over a ten-year span. These include political commitment, media, social and community mobilization, strengthening emergency obstetric care and health personnel training, providing free c-sections, fighting obstetric fistula and monitoring maternal deaths. Mr. Lawson concluded, "reaching MDG5 for Congo is now in sight. UNFPA will continue to do its utmost to make it happen." Read in French: le Journal de Brazza
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 31 January on the signing ceremony of a partnership between Ecumenical Council Christian Churches of the Kouilou Province and a Catholic Social/Humanitarian NGO (AMI), under the auspices of UNFPA. The partnership is aimed at supporting the elderly and young people in social and civil actions. This is the first ever such partnership and UNFPA, a partner of both entities, was invited to patronize the event. Speaking on behalf of UNFPA Representative David Lawson, UNFPA Southern sub-office Head Bruno Bilombo said, "UNFPA works for the populations, with communities and religious leaders on reproductive health issues. We are pleased that this partnership strengthens community mobilization around population and development issues." Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Le Journal de Brazza published on 28 January an op-ed by the Executive Director of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin. It outlines progress made on maternal mortality reduction since the launch of the Campaign for the Acceleration of the Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), and the challenges ahead to reach MDG5. It stresses the need to extend family planning to protect women's lives and for African leaders to take additional measures to reduce maternal mortality. Dr. Osotimehin said, " If the continent is to continue its remarkable economic and social progress, then reducing child and maternal deaths must be a top priority." Read in French: Le Journal de Brazza
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 26 January on the outcome of a meeting between Youth Minister Anatole Collinet-Makosso and UNFPA Representative David Lawson. Discussions focused on the establishment of the UNFPA-sponsored national Youth Volunteer Corps by April 2013; the mobilization of indigenous youth for the upcoming session of the UN Forum on Indigenous Issues in Brazzaville in March 2013; youth mobilisation for a subregional youth forum in March; and discussions on the outcomes of the Bali World Youth Conference. Mr. Lawson said, "The Youth Volunteer Corps will provide youth job opportunities, thus hope, while productively serving the national development of the country." Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Les Depeches de Brazzaville published on 25 January an op-ed by UN Under Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin on the Campaign for the Acceleration of the Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), which was launched by the African Union and UNFPA in 2009. Heads of State and Governments of the African Union will be meeting in Addis Ababa on 27 January for a Special Session on CARMMA to review progress, identify challenges and ways and means to address them, including financial commitments by African leaders. Dr Osotimehin said, "If the continent is to continue its remarkable economic and social progress, then reducing child and maternal deaths must be a top priority. It is within our reach that no woman should die giving life." Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Congo-Brazzaville: UNFPA Media for Development Strategy acclaimed
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 24 January on the official release in the economic capital of Congo, Pointe-Noire, of the most popular UNFPA-sponsored comic mini TV series "Les Boulistes, Season 3." Thematic episodes included gender equality and women's rights. The mini series has been presented by UNFPA Representative David Lawson at international film festivals in Cannes and Montreal in 2011. Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
IRIN News reported on 24 January on the sharp maternal mortality reduction, over 45 percent, between 2005 and 2012. Maternal mortality in Congo in 2012 is estimated at 426 deaths per 100,000 live births, against 781 deaths in 2005 and 890 in 1990. UNFPA Representative David Lawson said, "If this reduction trend continues at this pace, Congo could reach MDG5." UNFPA assistance on family planning, free c-section, maternal deaths monitoring, strengthened emergency obstetric and antenatal care and free fistula treament are referred to by the Ministry of Health as some of the key ingredients for this achievement. Read in English: IRIN News
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 18 January on a donation by UNFPA of medical reproductive health products and equipment to the main hospital of Brazzaville, as part of UNFPA's effort to support the government's fight to reduce maternal mortality. UNFPA Representative David Lawson underlined that UNFPA supports maternal mortality reduction in development programmes but also as part of its humanitarian response in Congo. "UNFPA is pleased to be the government's main partner in the reduction, by 45%, of maternal mortality between 2005 and 2012. Efforts should continue to reach MDG5 by 2015" concluded the UN diplomat. Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 10 January on the humanitarian assistance provided by UNFPA to the women affected by the floods that damaged the economic capital city Pointe-Noire at the end of 2012. UNFPA provided dignity kits to hundreds of displaced women and girls, in response to a call by the Province Governor Honore Paka. UNFPA Representative David Lawson saluted the excellent coordination by the local authorities and support by the private sector saying, "I am pleased that UNFPA could contribute to alleviating the suffering of women in need and help contribute to a more hygienic and safe environment, especially for pregnant women and the elderly." Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 4 January on the reduction of maternal mortality in Congo by 45% since 2005. Thanks to UNFPA support, the government has managed to reduce this scourge to 426 deaths per 100,00 live births. UNFPA Representative David Lawson saluted this achievement and said that the country could well reach MDG5. He commended the political will and decisive measures adopted by the government to achieve such progress. UNFPA is the main government partner in the fight against maternal mortality. Mr. Lawson concluded, "We are pleased UNFPA contributed to saving so many women's lives." Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Congo-site and Le Journal de Brazza published on 28 December an article and a press release issued by the UNFPA in Congo-Brazzaville, saluting the 45% maternal mortality reduction achieved over the past five years. UNFPA has fully invested in this issue over the past four years and emerged as the main partner of the government in this fight. UNFPA Representative David Lawson commended "the political will at the highest level and the decisive and courageous health measures accompanied by UNFPA. As the main provider of emergency obstetric care equipment and training for health practitioners, UNFPA invested over USD 3 billion over the past three years in maternal mortality reduction." Achieving MDG 5 is now a reachable objective for the Republic of Congo. Mr. Lawson concluded, "We are pleased UNFPA contributed to saving so many women's lives. Efforts must be sustained to reach President Sassou Nguesso's objective that no women die giving birth." Read in French: Congo-site and La Journal de Brazza
DRTV, Congo-site and Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 21 December on the approval by the Congo government of the new 2014-2018 Congo-UNFPA cooperation agreement. UNFPA Representative David Lawson said, "Congo is experiencing steady economic growth, massive oil revenues, debt relief and budget excess and is on its way to an emerging economy within the next decade. It should thus devote ample resources to this new programme, while UNFPA could contribute to enhancing budget execution." The Minister Chief of Staff applauded the quality of the document as a reflection of the excellent cooperation between Congo and UNFPA. Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville and Congo-site
Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 20 and 23 November on an academic workshop jointly organized by the recently established UNFPA-sponsored Population and Development Centre of the University Marien Ngouabi in Brazzaville. Students, teachers, researchers as well as development practitioners debated on the importance of population dynamics, health and development. Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville and Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Les Depeches de Brazzaville and Congo-Site reported on 7 and 11 November on the launch of the development of the new UNFPA/Congo Cooperation Programme. All concerned ministerial department officials, parliamentarians, civil society actors and international development partners, and UNFPA officers worked together for two days and defined priorities of the upcoming cooperation programme (2014-2018), which should be validated in December 2012. Read in French: Congo-site and Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Congo-site and DRTV reported on 9 October on the Kinshasa International Film Festival and UNFPA's award for best documentary film "Mouato: the Life of Congolese Indigenous Women." Produced as part of the UNFPA-Congo communication and outreach strategy, presented at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2011 and at the Liege International Film Festival (Belgium) in 2012, the film presents the reproductive and maternal health challenges confronted by Congolese indigenous women. UNFPA Representative David Lawson said, "This award is an international recognition of indigenous women's and peoples rights in the Republic of Congo and worldwide. We hope the film will serve the cause of all African indigenous peoples." The documentary film is currently being used by UNFPA and national partners to support the implementation of a ground-breaking and first-ever Africa law protecting and promoting indigenous peoples rights in Congo. Read in French: Congo-site
Congo-site reported on 3 October on a capacity-building workshop jointly organized by the Health Ministry and UNFPA on UNFPA software "RH Access" meant to facilitate access to reproductive health commodities from UNFPA. Speaking on behalf of UNFPA Representative David Lawson, Roger Laly, Reproductive Health Commodity Specialist, saluted the efforts by the government in recent years to invest in strengthening reproductive health management capacity. Read in French: Congo-site