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Dear friends 21 December 2009 The year 2009 has been my maintenance and repair year with two bouts of surgery, double arthroscopies and a pelvic operation, giving me pain and other relief, so I am back in Australia briefly - I am now looking forward to another very healthy decade. I began writing this while sailing in a house boat down the Murray River from Renmark in South Australia with the families of three of my four children, in the wake of their renowned great great great grandfather, Captain William Randell who steered one of the first paddle steamers Mary Ann between river ports in 1853 in Victoria to open the Murray to river traffic. Great relaxation and splendid fun – swimming, bird-watching, climbing, rope jumping, walking among stunning gum trees with beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the water! It is also the occasion for the family to celebrate my 70th birthday – a bit early but I will be in New York again on 8 March 2010. I hope to have New Year with my Dubai family who were unable to travel at this time – but that will depend on recovery time – I go into hospital in Sydney tomorrow. I was able to visit nine gender/women studies centres in Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata when I travelled to India to speak at the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund’s 40th anniversary celebration, held in conjunction with the India Federation of University Women Associations. Earlier this month I organised an international conference for gender centres in Africa with speakers from the Great Lakes Region, Cameroon, South Africa, Slovenia and USA (photo). This was the outcome of the Centre for Gender, Culture and Development’s (CGCD) first successful grant application to the Australian Government, with support from the Embassy of South Africa in Rwanda. I have just received the welcome news that the Norwegian Speakers from gender centres in Africa relaxing at CGCD after conference Government will fund the masters program at CGCD at the Kigali Institute of Education – I have signed a 3 year contract for the position of Director of CGCD with the possibility of a 3 year renewal (probably by then as Assistant Director to a Rwandan), delighted about the prospect of spending another productive 6 years in Rwanda. Rwanda. Rwanda has been admitted as the 54th member in the Commonwealth group of nations, composed mainly of former British colonies. Almost simultaneously, Rwanda and France agreed to restore diplomatic relations, three years after the two countries severed ties over an incident triggered by controversial indictments issued by a French judge. Awards. The Doing Business Report of the World Bank Group ranked Rwanda as the world’s top reformer in creating a business-friendly environment, jumping within one year from 139th to 67th out of 186 countries sampled – almost 60 positions. No country in the world has ever managed such a feat. According to the report, Rwanda is the 5th highest ranking African country after Mauritius (17th), South Africa (34th), Botswana (45th) and Namibia (66th), beating Africa’s other giants like Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco in being open for business. Out of the 10 indicators of the Report, Rwanda registered massive reforms in starting a business (from 14 to two days), employing workers, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, trading across borders and closing business. The business reforms are part of the government’s wider efforts to promote Rwanda as a business and investment destination, in order to drive the growth of the private sector and generate wealth. Rwanda’s economy showed resilience, growing at an average of 9 percent in the first half of 2009, driven mainly by both an expanding industrial base and a good crop yield. President Paul Kagame has since been appointed by the World Bank as a member of its 2011 World Development Report team, which will focus on the links among conflict, security, governance, and development, being invited as a leader in advancing global thinking in this field. Rwanda emerged the least corrupt nation in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region according to the Corruption Perception Index 2009 released by Transparency International, which ranked Rwanda 89th out of 180 countries, sharing the 10th position of least corrupt countries on the African continent alongside Lesotho, Malawi and Morocco. Rwanda scored 3.3 out of a possible 10 points, improving by 0.3 from its 2008 score of 3, and very much compared to its neighbours, which are actually declining - a major concern to the region in general. The report indicates that as the world economy begins to register tentative recovery from the financial crisis, some nations continue to wrestle with ongoing conflict, poverty and insecurity and that no region of the world is immune to the perils of corruption. The African continent however remains on top as the region where corruption is most prevalent. A meeting in Kigali of Ombudsmen from ten African countries as well as Sweden was a further vote of confidence that Rwanda’s sustained fight against corruption and mismanagement has been noticed well beyond our borders. For his outstanding leadership in transforming Rwanda by forging a strong, unified and growing nation, President Kagame was awarded the 2009 Clinton Global Citizen award for Public Service. The award recognised Kagame for working to strengthen infrastructure, develop rural health and education systems, increase access to energy in rural areas and develop ties with the international business community. Former US President Bill Clinton described Kagame as ‘one of the greatest leaders of our time’, not only for the socio- economic prosperity or the political stability that he has ushered into Rwanda, but also for the act of freeing the hearts and minds of his people to think about the future, a ‘miraculous’ transformation after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. In this small landlocked country with limited resources, Kagame is investing in intellectual capital by partnering with Google, Intel and Cisco to help turn the country into an African technological hub with trained tech professionals. He is the first to acknowledge that much more work remains to be done and does not deny that it’s an uphill battle, but refuses to put a ceiling to his ambitious vision. Other recent awards received by Kagame include the Global Leadership Team’s Most Innovative People Award for Economic Innovation during the Lebanon 2020 Summit, the International Medal of Peace given by Pastor Rick & Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, and the Utah State University’s Presidential Merit Citation Award, especially for the increase of students in higher learning institutions. In 1994 before the genocide, there were 2,500 students in post-secondary schools - now over 45,000 students, an increase of 1000%. Awards have also been received by government agencies. Rwandan Immigration Department beat all African countries to win the prestigious 2009 African Association for Public Administration and Management award with its innovative Online Visa Application project. Rwanda was the only African country to be awarded with one of the five Tourism awards - the Best Stand Personnel - at the World Travel Market Exhibition in London. Health. Rwanda’s proactive stance in health has continued with over three million condoms distributed by the National AIDS Control Commission as one of the main activities to mark this year’s World AIDS Day. Millions of female condoms were distributed for free, while male condoms cost RWF100, about 50 cents. The increased access to condoms is a bid to reduce HIV infections. With increasing nutritional progress, maternal health improvement and implementation of the nine-year basic education programme that includes pre-school, Rwanda has been cited as a nation committed to the development of its youngest population. Compared to other African countries, Rwanda has done well. Most women access antenatal care - a vital stage for child development. Over 50 percent of pregnant women now deliver at health facilities compared to 30 percent in previous years. Education. In an effort to beat the three-month deadline to construct the 3,172 classrooms required for its new nine-year basic education programme, the Ministry of Education has enlisted the services of the Rwanda Defence Forces and the National Police. Communities at district and sector levels are also involved in the building program, with the Minister demanding that every Rwandan has to play a role if construction is to be completed on time. The additional classrooms are to accommodate students who will enrol in 2010. The program ensures that students complete six years of primary & three years of secondary at the same school. The new education system was adopted to cut-down on the dropout rates. Police. The National Police force is setting up a Gender Directorate, charged with gender mainstreaming and research, that will focus on boosting gender equality ‘by empowering both women and men through dissemination of information, coordination and networking with all stakeholders and mainstreaming of gender at all levels’. The directorate will facilitate the implementation process of national, regional and international gender equality instruments and inform women of their rights through discussions and counselling. Women’s advancement. 2008 was the beginning of a reform process within the UN that could result in profound change for women worldwide. Ongoing discussions within the General Assembly during the last two years have resulted in overwhelming support for new and improved gender architecture within the UN, creating a new women’s entity that will have strong country presence, significant funding capacity, high level leadership and a strategic normative and policy making function. In October the UNESCO General Conference elected Irina Bokova, a Bulgarian diplomat, as its first female head. Gender equality and education for sustainable development are both high on her agenda. German Chancellor Merkel was re-elected with an easy victory. The Indian government's move to raise reservation for women from 33 per cent to 50 per cent at all tiers of local government is historic. Not only does it recognise that women, who constitute 50 per cent of the population, must have adequate representation in the public space, it also validates the good work of several women grassroots leaders who have helped transform their communities and localities. Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Union minister for Panchayati Raj said, "This is a richly deserved tribute to the women who, under the 33 per cent quota, got into 'panchayats' and performed with such distinction that it forced a laggard Centre to join the ranks of eight states, which had already granted 50 per cent reservations to women. And Bangladesh has increased the number of reserved seats for women by more than double to 100 - there will be direct election in these seats. Sheikh Hasina’s government is working to ensure recruitment, promotion and placement of women in top positions in the administration, armed forces, autonomous bodies, educational institutions and judicial service. Family News. Doug, Julie and Nathan are still enjoying life in Dubai and the travel opportunities that being a doctor with Emirates Airlines provides. Doug visited WW1 battlefields in Turkey, Julie visited South Africa and had two short trips to Australia, and Nathan went walking in Cyprus (Duke of Edinburgh), toured South India with his youth group and attended a music camp in Bahrain. Both Julie and Nathan spent their summer in Queensland where Nathan successfully completed his Grade 6 viola examination, following the achievement of straight As in all his O-level subjects. Julie completed her teaching qualifications in TESOL with the London Teachers College and continues to teach piano privately from home. Doug and Nathan play with the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra and enjoy their scuba diving. They continue to offer hospitality to many visitors. Andrew has taken a break from Elite rowing coaching and moved to South Australia to live with his partner Vicky, taking up a position as Director of Rowing at Prince Alfred College. They plan to marry in the New Year. Vicky is the Director of Rowing at Walford School, Head Coach at Adelaide Rowing Club and has recently been appointed as a High Performance coach at the SA Institute of Sport. Emilia, Harrison and Isabella lived with Lynda in Sydney while completing their school year. Emilia has graduated from year 12, has her driving license and drives the family car. She has three jobs and is enjoying being financially independent. Harry completed year 9 at Kings and has continued to do well in his studies and excel in sport, being invited to a Wallabies Rugby Union national talent identification program and winning a full boarding scholarship and half fees at the Kings School. He is a corporal in the cadet corps, a member of the Stage Band and completed his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze. Bella has completed year 8 at Tara and continues to do well academically as well as singing with the School Choir and the Sydney Children’s Choir and being an active member of Girl Guides. Jessicca finished year 3 this year and Alicia year 1 in the gifted and talented classes at Haberfield public school. Both girls were busy with music, dance, swimming and drama activities after school. Their end of year concert for dance was Alice in Wonderland which the girls loved. Adam’s computer company has grown this year with his business partner involved again, following his return from Nepal. They are looking to take on a trainee to keep up with demand. Ellen has finished another year as Women’s Coach at UTS Rowing Club and again took a crew to the World Rowing Championships in Poland. Both Adam and Ellen continue their involvement at St David’s Uniting Church in Haberfield where Adam is treasurer and Ellen is now helping to run the children’s ministry. . Erica and Ian were married this year and had lots of travel together connected with Ian presenting academic papers on Aboriginal art and artists at various international conferences. They both loved returning to Italy midyear, where Erica also presented a paper, and they spent time with family and friends over east in September. Erica enjoyed a stint of research work in Kununurra seeing old Northern Territory friends, and continues with her yoga and PhD studies. They will miss Inci and his partner Katie who have moved to Melbourne, closer to Paris and Lena, who are continuing their studies in law and economics. Little Mila is a special joy for Lena, James, and the whole family and is growing vigorously. The Perth household will downsize to three in 2010: Levi is ever busy with his tennis and Thai kickboxing and his final year of school ahead, expecting the TEE results to help him determine his future. Let me share a wonderful verse from the Persian poet, Hafiz Even after all this time The sun never says to the earth, “You owe me” Look what happens with a love like that – It lights the whole sky. My greetings of love and peace to you during this special season. Shirley Professor Shirley Randell AM, PhD, Director, CGCD, KIE, Rwanda PO Box 5039, Remera, Kigali, Rwanda Tel: +250 (0)2 5511 7138 Fax: +250 (0)2 5258 6890 Mob: +250 (0)7 8830 8967 Australian mobile 0419 005 936 firstname.lastname@example.org www.shirleyrandell.com.au email@example.com www.ifuw.org/rwanda On the holiday houseboat L to R - Back: Levi, Harrison, Andrew, Shirley, Isabella, Emilia, Ian, Front: Adam, Amara, Vicky, Alicia, Emilia, Ellen, Erica
"Rwanda 21 Dec 2009"