26 Jul 2013 05:10
WINDHOEK, 26 JUL (NAMPA) The Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) high-level task force on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the capital.
The partnership agreement was signed by outgoing OAFLA president, Namibian First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba and UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa and chairperson of the high-level task force for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV, Professor Sheila Tlou.
In her remarks, the First Lady said the agreement provides a framework and principles for collaboration between OAFLA and the UNAIDS Independent Task Force.
I recall last year, the task force paid a courtesy call on my office. During that meeting, we exchanged views on how we could co-operate, she noted.
According to Pohamba, she subsequently extended an invitation to the task force to attend the OAFLA General Assembly, and to make a presentation on a proposal for collaboration.
The proposal for collaboration was well-received by the African first ladies, and that is the reason why we are here today, to formalise this marriage, which I believe will be a successful and fruitful one for the common good of our people, she stated.
The First Lady further said the task force is spreading its wings to include the entire continent of Africa, of which more than 90 per cent are members of OAFLA.
The aim of the agreement is to implement the advocacy plan which will target women, the youth and children; to research and report on effective policy implementation; and to convene multiple stakeholders and decision-makers to discuss potential problems and recommend effective solutions. The task force has the capacity to raise funds from a variety of sources locally and internationally, she beamed.
Also speaking during the signing event, Tlou praised the First Lady for speeding up the process which culminated in the signing of the partnership agreement.
In October last year, the task force was here in Windhoek to discuss the partnership with OAFLA. Within two months, we got an invitation to address the opening ceremony of the OAFLA General Assembly in Addis Ababa in January, and today we are here to sign the agreement, she said.
In Namibia, the task force pledged to work closely with the Organisation for the Empowerment of Widows/Widowers and Orphans of HIV/AIDS in Namibia (OEWONA), of which Pohamba is the patron.
This will be done in order to scale-up OEWONAs work on the positive engagement of men in AIDS response in support of women who need them as partners in accessing testing and treatment; scaling-up the elimination of mother-to-child transmission initiatives; protecting young women and girls from sexual exploitation, and ending violence.
Professor Tlou commended Pohamba for the leadership she provided during her tenure as OAFLA president.
As you step down in the next few days, rest assured that you have done us, the women of Africa, proud. We wish you every success in your endeavours, and we know that you will continue in your efforts to empower women and girls in Namibia, in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and on the rest of the continent, she noted.