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Cablegate: Tanzania's Nomination for 2010 Int'l Women of Courage Award

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R 071457Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9114
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAR ES SALAAM 000846

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/GWI, AF/PD, AF/E

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KWMN PHUM PGOV KPAO TZ
SUBJECT: TANZANIA'S NOMINATION FOR 2010 INT'L WOMEN OF COURAGE AWARD

REF: STATE 111471

1. U.S. Mission Dar es Salaam nominates Ananilea Nkya for the 2010
Secretary's Award for International Women of Courage for her
tireless efforts to promote equality, opportunity, and justice for
Tanzanian women and girls.

Advocating for Women's Human Rights
-----------------------------------
2. Through the Tanzanian Media Women's Association (TAMWA), of
which she was a founding member in 1987 and has been executive
director since 2001, Mrs. Ananilea Nkya ("NN-kya") has been a
leading advocate for women's advancement through awareness raising
and judicial reform for over 20 years. Though Nkya and her
colleagues initially faced great obstacles to establish TAMWA, the
organization has given Tanzanian women a voice and transformed
Tanzania's media environment, ensuring wide coverage of women's
issues and a professional media corps with many qualified female
journalists. Using a technique called "bang" journalism, Nkya
garnered media attention for key issues affecting women through
coordinated media reporting campaigns.

3. Among the most important judicial reforms Nkya championed from
2002-2005 was a through a media campaign calling for the repeal of a
Zanzibari "Spinsters, Widows, and Female Divorcees Protection Act No
4 of 1985" that criminalized out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Risking
threats of death from those opposed to such reform on the 97 percent
Muslim isles, Nkya pushed ahead with civic education and encouraged
continued reporting by TAMWA members, which eventually resulted in
the repeal of the law.

4. Over the past six years, Nkya has also lobbied Tanzania's
government for an amendment to the Law of Marriage Act, which
currently allows girls younger than 18 to marry and in essence
allows forced marriages of underage girls against their will. As a
result of her efforts, the government is presently drafting a white
paper, the first step toward an amendment to the law. Nkya also led
a media campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), still
widely practiced among certain Tanzanian tribes. The continued
anti-FGM media campaign is now sustained by journalists who do not
even belong to TAMWA. Her work helped secure passage of the Sexual
Offence Special Provision Act in 1998 which criminalized FGM and
increased the punishment of rapists to 30 years in jail and provided
a life sentence for gang rape and raping minors.

5. Nkya has implemented civic education to provoke public debate
about the caliber of Tanzanian leaders and to encourage voters to
make thoughtful choices at the polls, emphasizing the importance of
electing responsible, uncorrupt leaders. During the recent local
government elections, she was aggressive in her efforts to encourage
women to carefully consider electing competent leaders. As a
result, she faced threats and even a public berating from a
high-level elected leader. Her response? "If you are good leader
than why are you threatened by civic education? It is better (for
me) to die doing something I believe in than to leave the country to
go to rubbish." These actions directly support our MSP goal to
"Govern Justly and Democratically," especially in advance of the
2010 general elections.

6. In 2009, Nkya led a TAMWA campaign aimed at reducing the female
school dropout rate due to unplanned pregnancy. In mainland
Tanzania, girls are not allowed back in school after having a child,
yet they face pressure from teachers and other adults in the
community to engage in sexual relations. The campaign
"SIDANDANYIKA" (I cannot be cheated) aims at empowering impoverished
girl children to say no to sexual temptations or offers of financial
support in exchange for sex, and has become a household phrase for
many Tanzanians.

7. Nkya, a Commissioner for the National Tanzania AIDS Commission,
has led TAMWA in media advocacy work on HIV and AIDS, especially in
raising awareness of the need to provide Post Exposure Prophylaxis
to survivors of rape. Preventing, Treating, and Caring for those
with HIV through "Strengthening Health Outcomes" is a key mission
goal.

Advocating for Women's Advancement
----------------------------------
8. In 2005, Nkya initiated a revolving scholarship fund with
international donor support that has provided scholarships to 12
TAMWA members for bachelor's degrees in journalism. She also has
championed a TAMWA project that provides a one-year exchange program
in journalism to neighboring East African countries and Norway.
Additionally, since 2003, Nkya has implemented activities to train
women politicians and aspiring politicians to use media more
effectively for political campaigns. As a result, the number of
women vying for political office has increased seven-fold since
2000, and women have received a greater role in decision-making at
all levels. These actions support our MSP goals to "Improve the

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Quality of Education" and "Promote Economic Growth and Prosperity."

9. Post has not yet informed Mrs. Nkya of this nomination, but
believes she would willingly accept the award and would be available
to travel in March 2010. Full name: Ananilea Nkya; Job Title:
Executive Director, Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA); Date
of Birth: 14 August 1958; Citizenship: Tanzanian; Address: P.O. Box
24552, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; E-mail: ananilea_nkya@yahoo.com;
Languages: English, Kiswahili. Post will forward additional details
as required.

10. The Mission's point of contact for the IWOC nomination is
Public Diplomacy Officer Karen Grissette (grisetteke@state.gov; +255
22 266 8001 x 4158).

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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