Gender Inequality and HIV/AIDS in Lesotho

The purpose of this article, drawing from existing literature, is to traverse gender inequality among the Basotho (a tribe in the southern African country called Lesotho) in the era of HIV/ AIDS. Several studies portray gender and HIV/ AIDS – which is a human disease, as having a very strong and critical relationship with human behaviour and the way people respond to health challenges (Kimaryo et al. 2004; OwusuAmpomah et al. 2009). We draw from Meade and Earikson’s (2000) human disease ecology framework. Human disease ecology approaches the geography of disease from an ecological viewpoint. Ecology is the scientific study of the relationship of organisms to each other and to their environment. Disease ecology can thus be interpreted as the study of how disease interacts with humans, animals, plants, and the environment. Meade and Earickson (2000:21) further point out that “the human ecology of disease is concerned with the ways human behaviour, in its cultural and socio-economic context, interacts with environmental conditions to produce or prevent disease among susceptible people”

A Woman’s Place in Lesotho

Lesotho faces a number of challenges in achieving equality between men and women. The subordination of women is deeply ingrained in Basotho culture with the minor status for women only being removed within the last decade. Whilst legislation has increased rights for women on paper, there is still a long way to go before this makes a difference to women on the ground.
Today, Basotho women face severe disadvantage which is mostly brought about by the patriarchal culture which keeps women oppressed and makes them more vulnerable to abuse, poverty and disease. Rates of violence against women are high with around 86% of women reporting incidents of abuse.1 There are large numbers of women in poverty2 in Lesotho with female headed households more likely to be in poverty than those headed by men.3 Furthermore, many women are prevented from making decisions about things which affect them (such as their bodies) which makes them more susceptible to diseases such as HIV/AIDS and increases the risk of maternal mortality.

Thematic Area(s): , ,

Tracking Progress on Macroeconomic and Social Developments in the Eastern Africa Region

Given the difficult global context, the continued resilience of economic growth in the Eastern Africa region has been quite remarkable. But this strong performance has increasingly been accompanied by growing (and sometimes quite vocal) concerns over the quality of the growth – particularly the extent to which growth has been conducive to broad-based poverty reduction and employment creation. Across the region, there is evidence to support the idea that, despite a much improved economic performance in the 2000s after two decades of economic stagnation, a lot of social and economic aspirations have still not been fulfilled. One example of this is that, although USD 1.25-a-day poverty has been reduced in relative terms in the region (from 65 per cent of the population in 2000 to 54 per cent of the population in 2011), the absolute number of citizens living below the international poverty line has actually increased, from 155 million to 166 million over the same period.

Burundi Case Study

The political situation in Burundi is typical of a post-conflict country that is striving to reconcile the need to consolidate the newly restored peace and responding to the basic needs and demands of the population, while laying the required foundation for sustainable development.
Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries, with a very low Human Development Index ranking (185th out of 187 countries). As a result of difficulties in access to employment and production factors, women are more affected by poverty than men.
Support from the international community is subject to conditions due to concerns about governance in public administration, including corruption, embezzlement, lack of transparency in recruitment processes, excessive politicization of public administration, etc.

EAC Gender Community Development Analysis – Burundi

Since its independence, Burundi has always joined the international community to address issues facing the world within the framework of international instruments it ratified together with other UN member countries. Thus, Burundi has never ceased to testify its commitment by complying with basic human rights such as provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenants on Human Rights (1966), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), the Copenhagen Declaration (1995) stressing community development through poverty reduction, job creation and social inclusion, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981).

Sustaining Long-run Growth and Macro-economic Stability in Low-income Countries

Diversification and structural transformation play important roles in influencing the macroeconomic performance of low-income countries (LICs). Increases in income per capita at early stages of development are typically accompanied by a transformation in a country’s production and export structure. This can include diversification into new products and trading partners as well as increases in the quality of existing products.
Diversification in exports and in domestic production has been conducive to faster economic growth in LICs. Increased diversification is also associated with lower output volatility and greater macroeconomic stability. There is both a growth payoff and a stability payoff to diversification, underscoring the case for paying close attention to policies that facilitate diversification and structural transformation.
Empirical analysis using a newly-constructed cross-country dataset, complemented by country case studies, is utilized to examine the patterns of diversification and transformation in LICs since the mid-1960s. Most LICs have historically been heavily dependent on a narrow range of traditional primary products and on a small number of export markets for the bulk of their export earnings and sources of growth. These patterns have been changing over the past two decades, albeit with significant variation in the extent of diversification both across LICs and within regions. There is still ample scope to upgrade the quality of LICs’ existing export basket and/or introduce new higher value-added products, not only in manufacturing but also in agriculture – often the least productive sector in LICs. Development policies in LICs should therefore include rather than abandon agriculture.
Cross-country empirical evidence points to a range of general policy and reform measures that have proven effective in promoting diversification and structural transformation in LICs. These include improving infrastructure and trade networks, investing in human capital, encouraging financial deepening, and reducing barriers to entry for new products. But there is no one-sizefits-all recipe, as evidenced by the diversity of experiences recorded in the country case studies. A new diversification toolkit developed by Fund staff provides easy access to highly disaggregated, product-level data on export diversification and product quality, enabling country authorities and mission teams to conduct more detailed, country-specific analysis.

Inequality and the Emergence of Non-farm Employment in Rwanda

Off-farm employment has long been seen by farm residents as a way to bridge the income gap among them that arises from stagnating farm production and growing population pressure. In
Rwanda, where population density in certain regions approaches 400 persons per km2, subdivision and further fragmentation of land has led many households to supplement their incomes through employment in the non-farm sector of the rural economy. Government awareness of the need to stimulate non-farm employment opportunities for the rural poor has grown recently, as demonstrated by a well-known presidential address on this question (Rwanda, 1986), and the official declaration of the year 1988 as the “Year of Raising Farm Incomes.” Hope abounds for
converting such slogans into reality. Promotion of small enterprises, cooperatives, new sources of credit, and employment training are among the alternatives under study (Rwanda, 1988). Yet beyond its contribution to the overall growth of farm residents’ incomes, expansion of the non-farm sector can alleviate income inequalities in the agricultural sector that result from an unequal distribution of landholdings. To the extent that poor farm households with little access to land can obtain the training, capital and credit to facilitate their participation in the non-farm sector, their relative economic position will likewise be enhanced. Similarly, albeit indirectly,
households that continue to rely on agricultural wage labor as their primary source of income also benefit from an expanding non-farm sector, as the creation of employment alternatives shrinks the size of the agricultural labor pool and drives up the prevailing agricultural wage rates.

Gender Inequality in Nutritional status among Primary School Aged Children in Rwanda

The study aims at highlighting the issue of sex differences in nutritional status among primary school aged children in Rwanda. The nutritional status prevalence among this category; as well as; The determinants of sex differences in nutritional status among primary school aged children in Rwanda.

Gender and Community Development Analysis in Rwanda

The importance of mainstreaming gender in any country’s development initiatives and the need to monitor and evaluate the progress of the mechanism is premised on the alarming global gender disparities in social and economic opportunities, property and rights.
On several occasions, the Government of Rwanda (GoR) has, through its stands and actions, demonstrated its commitment to work towards the reduction of gender-based inequalities and promotion of gender equality and equity in all areas. Rwanda adopted the Beijing Platform for Action and undertook strategic actions aimed at
tackling twelve identified crucial areas. It ratified and adhered to a number of international and regional conventions, charters and declarations, including, the CEDAW, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations Security Council 1325, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the
New Partnership for Africa’s Development(NEPAD), Southern African Development Community (SADC), COMESA and among others . All these instruments highlight gender as an important approach for sustainable development. By ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in November 1981, Rwanda undertook to take appropriate measures, including legislation to fight any act or practice of discrimination against women, to modify and/or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which embody discrimination against women as discussed in the next section.

Development Finance and Inequality

Inequality is central to Oxfam’s mission to fight poverty. While growth is good for poverty reduction, its effectiveness is severely reduced in places where high levels of inequality persist and privileged elites are able to hoard the rewards. In those cases, marginalized groups will see little of the positive benefits from high growth rates. However, governments, donors, and NGOs (both domestic and international) can do much to help redress these imbalances, particularly in places where development finance (defined as both overseas development aid and domestic resource mobilization targeted towards development) makes up part of the national budget. This report explores how reforms to the way that development finance is provided and administered in developing countries can help to reduce inequality and, as a result, create growth that benefits all. The three case studies focus on education in Rwanda, fiscal policies and revenue collection in Ecuador, and universal health care in Thailand.

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