Ebola virus disease – International Red Cross and Crescent Movement Statement / The world needs humanitarian workers in West Africa. Stigmatizing them or restricting their movement will hinder the global response.

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An effective global response to the Ebola virus disease crisis in West Africa requires unhindered movement to and from the region for humanitarian workers. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is urging all governments to support and facilitate this, and ensure health workers returning from Ebola-affected countries are treated with respect and without discrimination. These workers are on the frontline of all our efforts to contain and combat the disease.

The international and local workers at the centre of the humanitarian response to Ebola are an inspiration to us all, and are vital in demonstrating that undertaking this work can be done in a safe and secure way. Stigma or discriminating against health workers – including isolating them with no scientific basis – will lead inevitably to a human resources crisis at a time when we need qualified people willing to join the response and go where they are most needed.

While proportional preparedness and vigilance are appropriate, travel restrictions will – and already are – hampering the Ebola response, and paradoxically, this may increase the risk of the disease spreading further.

Restrictions in West Africa could drive the epidemic underground and force patients showing symptoms of the disease to cross borders unofficially. This will make it extremely difficult for governments and humanitarian agencies to keep track of them and, crucially, undertake the contact tracing that helps to prevent the disaster growing. It also prevents us from effectively treating patients, and so will increase the number of preventable deaths.

Globally, we urge our partners, the media and governments to join the effort to fight stigma and discrimination in affected counties and elsewhere. An epidemic of fear is hindering our response efforts and thus fuelling the spread of the disease.

Fear should not lead to paralysis, but instead inspire solidarity with those taking the fight against this disease into the field where the opportunity for impact is the greatest. It is not a fight we can win from afar.

Ebola is a global problem and it requires a global response today.

IPU urges political dialogue to ensure swift return to constitutional rule in Burkina Faso

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IPU deplores the reported dissolution of parliament in Burkina Faso and is strongly urging all sides in the West African country to engage in genuine dialogue to ensure a rapid return to constitutional rule.

“Once again parliament has fallen victim to the inability of the political class to find common ground to resolve conflict. We deeply regret the violence and crisis that have ensued and urge restraint and political dialogue to not only restore calm but also constitutional rule swiftly. A peaceful and stable future for Burkina Faso depends on it,” said IPU President Saber Chowdhury.

IPU also deplores the attack on the National Assembly and parliamentarians on Thursday. As the most legitimate forum for resolving political differences, parliament has to be protected.

As representatives of the people, the physical integrity of the MPs also needs to be protected. IPU is monitoring the situation closely.

Calling all African innovators! – AIF announces 30-day extension for the US$ 150 000 IPA 2015 award

HARARE, Zimbabwe, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — AIF announces 30-day extension for the US$ 150 000 IPA 2015 award – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for African innovators to take their innovation to the next level and benefit Africans across the continent

• Entries can now be submitted by 30 November 2014 at 24h00 GMT

• Applications from women and young people are encouraged

• Post-prize support to help boost your innovation!

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) (http://www.africaninnovation.org) today announced a 30-day extension of the entry for its Innovation Prize Award (http://www.innovationprizeforafrica.org) (see also #IPA2015). Applications can now be received by 30 November 2014 at 24h00 GMT. With a total prize share of US$150 000, African innovators stand to gain much more, such as recognition through our unique IPA brand, increased opportunities to attract investments, continental and international media attention, and the chance to positively transform the African innovation landscape.

Logo Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA): http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/ipa-3.jpg

Logo African Innovation Foundation (AIF): http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/aif.jpg

Make your innovation count – submit your application now!

IPA targets innovators in 5 key sectors (http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/priority-areas) that include agriculture and agri-business; environment energy and water; manufacturing and service industry; health and wellbeing; and ICTs. The competition is open to all Africans including those in the diaspora, irrespective of socio-economic status, gender, demographics or profession. Says IPA Director, Pauline Mujawamariya: “We want to take the ecosystem of innovation to a new level across the continent, and are therefore encouraging applications from all 54 African countries to be a part of this unique initiative. We particularly encourage women and young people from all sectors to submit their applications”.

Everyone is a potential winner!

As one of the top 10 finalists, you will receive media exposure and IPA will invest up to US$5 000 to further spotlight your innovation. Our rules are simple: if your innovation can be categorised as Original, Marketable, and Scalable, you are already half way there! If your innovation can create Social Impact, address existing development challenges faced by the community, or clearly demonstrate Technological or Scientific significance in its field and beyond, you stand a chance to win – BIG! We are looking for smart, innovative solutions that can drive tangible change on the ground and better the lives of Africans.

Winning the prize is certainly the main attraction here, but IPA 2015 has more to offer in terms of post-prize support. In what promises to be a ground-breaking forum for women aspirants, AIF will select 10 of the most promising projects driven by African women and support them with increased opportunities such as training, linking up with mentors, relevant networks and potential investors. Furthermore, 10 of the most promising projects undertaken by young innovators will have the opportunity to join the AIF innovation networks, with links to mentors, fellowships and other incentives. So if your idea can shine bright and sustain itself, you are in the line up to receive support to take your venture further and ignite the African innovation ecosystem!

Apply now! Your innovation stands to win a grand share of US$150 000

Since its inaugural launch in 2011, African leaders have endorsed IPA as an essential stimulus needed to create a platform to spur innovation across Africa in sectors critical to the continent’s sustainable development. Jean Claude Bastos de Morais (http://www.jeanclaudebastosdemorais.com) founder of the prestigious annual award, now in its 4th year running, is encouraging innovators across the continent to take advantage of the 30 November 2014 deadline: “The African continent is the new innovation frontier, and we therefore encourage innovators to be a part of the IPA platform and unleash their innovation potential, not only to further develop their inventions, but to contribute to Africa’s success story.”

Africa Innovation Foundation (AIF) (http://www.africaninnovation.org) mobilizes innovation across the continent for the personal, cultural and economic benefit of all Africans. AIF projects are aimed at stimulating African ideas and perspectives within emerging industries and diverse disciplines.

Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) (http://www.innovationprizeforafrica.org) is a landmark initiative of the AIF, an award that was launched in 2011 to support and catalyse African stakeholders to invest in emerging ideas by Africans to ensure a sustainable, prosperous Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA).

For further details, please contact:

Pauline Mujawamariya, IPA Director

Strehlgasse 4, 8001 Zürich


Tel: +41 44 515 5466 or +41 44 515 5460



Aulora Stally,

Communications Manager, AIF

55 Stonechat Lane, Greystone Park, Harare, Zimbabwe

Tel: +263 773 687 012

E-mail: aulora.stally@africaninnovation.org

African Innovation Foundation (http://www.africaninnovation.org)

Innovation Prize for Africa (http://www.innovationprizeforafrica.org)

@AfrinnovFdn; @IPAPrize

IOM Engages Mogadishu Communities in Discussion of Irregular Migration

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Federal Government of Somalia, women’s groups, youth groups, and IOM today concluded a seven-day community outreach campaign on irregular migration designed to sensitize local communities in Mogadishu to the realities of irregular migration.

At 3,300 km, Somalia is believed to have Africa’s longest coastline and every year hundreds of undocumented young Somali men and women die at sea en route to Europe. But young people continue to make the journey in search of security, jobs and education.

In response to this, Somali regional authorities with support from IOM, last week launched an awareness raising campaign targeting potential migrants with messages tailored to help them make informed decisions.

The campaign was funded by the Norwegian government and used a variety of channels including radio, TV, SMS, billboards and community outreach activities.

Over the last seven days, more than 2,800 youth in primary schools, high schools, technical institutes and universities across Mogadishu have been reached through the campaign.

Over the next six months, more young adults will be targeted in Baidoa, Galkacyo, Garowe, Bossaso, Hargeisa, Beledweyn, Kismayo and Mogadishu and the campaign hopes to eventually reach over five million potential migrants.

Speaking at a football match attended by 400 people marking the end of the launch week, Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Osman Mohamed Abdi called on Somalis to engage more proactively in saving the lives of many young people who are lost at sea. “We must join forces and keep reaching out to each other, until all of us are fully aware of the dangers of irregular migration,” he said.

Central African Republic: The painful taboo of rape

BANGUI, Central African Republic, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Being raped can result in lifelong trauma for survivors of sexual assault. Having been brutally raped in front of one’s children and fearing sexually transmitted diseases in the aftermath only adds to the psychological and physical impact of the assault. Sadly, living with such trauma is part of life for an unknown number of women in the Central African Republic, a country that descended into extreme levels of anarchy, violence and lawlessness at the end of last year.

Since July 2014, MSF has offered assistance and support to victims of rape who find their way to one of two clinics in the capital of Bangui. From July through September, 247 victims of sexual violence have received help. Most of them have been women, but girls down to the age of eight and a several men have also sought assistance and support.

They have come to the clinic even though being the victim of rape is taboo in the Central African society.

“People are ashamed to come, but when they have the possibility of free care and support, they muster up the courage and come nevertheless, says Helene Thomas, an MSF clinical psychologist at the clinic at Bangui’s General Hospital. Radio-spots played on the local radio stations have made this new offer known and sought after, in spite of the risk of being stigmatized or being left and rejected by one’s husband.

The support at the clinics ranges from tests for pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, as well as psychological consultations. These provide the patients with a safe space to share their experiences and to discuss their feelings of sorrow, humiliation and fear. Helene Thomas also checks for signs of depression during the series of consultations that normally last a few months. She encourages the patients to find their inner strengths to rely on, so as to start feeling better.

No one knows how many adults and children have been raped – and continue to be raped. “I am convinced that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg”, says Helene Thomas, “there are many, many more victims out there”.

One of the women who has mustered up the courage to seek help is a 24 year-old woman from the city of Bambari. “It was the month of May. Two men from a rebel group came to my home. They asked for my husband – but he was not there, so they told me that I would have to pay”, she explains in a quiet voice while looking down at her hands. “They tore my clothes off, my children started to cry and they raped me in front of them. Now, I always feel abdominal pain”, she says. “In the beginning, I could not sleep, but now it is a bit better. My son, who is five years old, started to talk to me about what he saw, but I cannot talk to him about it – I do not want to hear his words”, she says.

Another soft-spoken woman cries quietly while she tells about her ordeal back in January when four rebels assaulted her. The children saw it all – including her passing out from the pain and waking up several hours later, in the middle of the night. She is waiting for the tests that will tell if she is now HIV-positive. “I cannot be with my husband. I feel numb”, she says and talks about the continued pain she also feels in her abdomen.

It remains a rarity in the Central African Republic that victims of rape see their perpetrators brought to justice. In some cases, the family even forces the victim to live with the rapist out of shame about what happened.

“I just recently worked with a family who had forced their 15 year-old daughter to live with the boy who had raped her. She had attempted to take her own life and was referred to us by a social worker. We tried to intervene, and explained to the family that no one should be forced to live with their rapist – but rather that rape is a crime, and that the rapist should be brought to justice”, says Helene Thomas.

As horrifying as these experiences of sexual assault are, consultations can have a positive impact. “There is almost always a change for the better”, says Sylvie Nadege Gonekra, who is a midwife at the clinic in Bangui’s General Hospital. “After a few consultations, I notice a change on most patients’ faces,” she says.

“Some of the women will remain traumatized for life – but if, for example, we can get the family to be very supportive of the victim then there is a chance. The assault will never be forgotten – but they can pull through and end up having a life without severe psychological trauma,” Helene Thomas says.

Ten young film crews. Ten inspiring climate films

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ten young film crews from ten different countries were chosen as winners in the Action4Climate documentary competition (http://www.connect4climate.org). Their outstanding and unique films inspire the world to take action on climate change.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/c4c.jpg

“These talented young film makers connect to their audience in emotional and powerful ways about the dangers of climate change. They have done serious, important work, which shows that climate change could result in a world that is unrecognizable today, and that we need act now to protect the planet for future generations.” Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group

The Action4Climate competition was launched in early 2014 by Connect4Climate (www.connect4climate.org), the global climate change communications program. It attracted hundreds of entries from all around the world. Italian film director and screenwriter, Bernardo Bertolucci, chaired a renowned jury of film makers tasked with choosing winning films in two age categories.

“We were amazed by the originality of the stories and the genuine concern shown by these young film makers about the effects of climate change. They described the effects of climate change from hundreds of different points of view. Selecting winners was an almost impossible task.” Bernardo Bertolucci

In the 18 -35 age category, the $15,000 top prize went to the Portuguese film maker Gonçalo Tocha with his provocative film “The Trail of a Tale”. This inspiring story revolves around a letter written in the future to society today. Dobrin Kashavelov from Bulgaria won second place cash prizes of $10,000 with “Global Warning,” a harrowing film about the catastrophic effects on survivors of last year’s typhoon Haiyan in the

Philippines. Third place $5,000 prize was awarded to American filmmaker Nathan Dappen for “Snows of the Nile”, a documentary following Nathan’s adventures uncovering indisputable evidence of the fast disappearing glaciers of Uganda’s ‘mountains of the moon’.

“I am immensely proud to be chosen as the winner and really hope my film helps people realize that we need to act now to protect our future.” Gonçalo Tocha

In the younger 14 -17 age group, “The Violin Player” took top spot. This beautifully animated film was the brainchild of Francina Ramos, a young Argentinian film maker and her co-producer/composer Benjamin Braceras. Second place went to “Facing the Flood” by Constantin Huet from Switzerland, an investigative account of the changing conditions in Greenland and the Maldives. Georgia’s Tura Tegerashivili was awarded third place for the whimsical “It’s Easy if You Try”. All prize winners receive production equipment and software to help them hone their skills and talents and inspire them to create more climate change stories.

“What an amazing honor! I am so excited. I hope The Violin Player makes people want to stand up and tackle climate change.” Francina Ramos

The jury is made up of filmmakers Atom Egoyan, Marc Forster, Mika Kaurismaki, Fernando Meirelles, Mira Nair, Bob Rafelson, Walter Salles, Pablo Trapero and Wim Wenders, along with film executives Rose Kuo and Cynthia Lopez, and World Bank Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, Rachel Kyte. They felt the standard in the competition was so high that a special prize was awarded to “Balud” by Panx Solajes from the Philippines, for his creative personal reflection devastating floods caused by climate change.

Connect4Climate also decided that two submissions should be recognized for their ability to present local stories that also have a profound global impact. Special Connect4Climate prizes are awarded to “Tinau” from UK/Kiribati producer Victoria Burns, exploring the grave concerns of small island nations such as Kiribati, and “The Change,” a touching portrayal of the effects on young people in a Vietnamese coastal community made by filmmakers Ha Uyen, Huong Tra, Quang Dung and Quang Phuc. A People’s Choice Prize voted for by the public was won by a team from Brazil for their film “Pachamama” depicting the effects of global warming in Sao Paulo.

Prizes for the competition were graciously provided by Edison, the Italian power company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In addition, Vimeo, the video sharing website, is enthusiastically donating Vimeo Plus accounts for one year to all the finalists from developing countries.

The winners will be announced on October 30th at the Sustainia “100 Solutions” Award Ceremony in the Royal Theater, Copenhagen, celebrating the creation of new solutions for sustainable living. The general public can then see a selection of videos from winners and finalists online and on television, as well as at festivals and events.

“Connect4Climate was tremendously excited by the amount of interest shown in the competition from around the world. It demonstrates the level of concern shown by creative young people and their desire to be involved directly in exposing climate problems and finding lasting solutions. We were also gratified to experience the seamless coming together of international organizations, the private sector and civil society to support and promote the competition ” Lucia Grenna, Program Manager, Connect4Climate

It is envisaged that the high standard of the Action4Climate documentaries will help promote greater climate change awareness and inspire viewers to action.

The winning films can all be viewed at www.Action4Climate.org

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The World Bank.

Media contacts:

Frederick L. Jones – fjones@worldbankgroup.org tel: 202 473 9336

Giulia Braga – gbraga@worldbankgroup.org tel: 202 297 2116

Francis Dobbs – fdobbs@worldbankgroup.org tel: 202 288 5861

About Connect4Climate

Connect4Climate (C4C) (http://www.connect4climate.org) is a campaign, a coalition and a community dedicated to stimulating local actions that will catalyze larger, international, multifaceted movements to deal with global warming and its impact on the planet. It works with more than 200 partner organizations around the world and is funded by the World Bank Group and the Italian Ministry of the Environment.




Ask your questions LIVE to the Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The 9th edition of the African Economic Conference (http://www.afdb.org/en/aec-2014) will take place in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 1-3, 2014.

The Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank will host an online press conference during the last day of the African Economic Conference.

He will report on the conference theme of Africa’s continuing challenge to harness knowledge and innovation in the service of its economic development. He will also outline new African development bank actions and advocacy on the response to the ebola virus. In addition he will present the main findings of the ‘African Economic Outlook’, published during the African Economic Conference.

Journalists interested in attending this event will be able to ASK QUESTIONS LIVE VIA THE INTERNET.

Speaker: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank

Date: Sunday November 2

Time: From 14:00 GMT (Time Converter: http://goo.gl/OXmKMg)

Languages: English

How it works: This service is FREE and only requires a computer connected to the internet.

REGISTER: http://www.apo-opa.com/application.php?L=E&vc=AEC

Technical Contact: +41 22 534 96 97, sec.sg@apo-opa.org

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Canada Imposes Sanctions Against Both Sides of South Sudan Conflict

OTTAWA, Canada, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada strongly condemns the ongoing violence in South Sudan and is deeply concerned by its impact on the civilian population and on neighbouring countries.

“We are extremely disturbed by UN reports describing gross violations of human rights by both parties to the conflict on a massive scale, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“These actions, including the attacks by rebel groups in Unity state over the past 48 hours, are in violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on January 23, 2014.

“The targeting of civilians based on ethnicity is deeply concerning, and the individuals who perpetrate such atrocities should be held to account. That is why Canada is announcing targeted sanctions against individuals who have been directly or indirectly facilitating and supporting the ongoing hostilities on both sides of the conflict.”

U.S. Deeply Concerned by Sentence of Ethiopian Journalist

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Jen Psaki

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

October 30, 2014

The United States is deeply concerned by the October 27 sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn to three years in prison for “provocation and dissemination of inaccurate information.” Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental elements of a democratic society, and the promotion and protection of these rights and freedoms are basic responsibilities of democratic governments.

As President Obama stated during his meeting in September with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam, it is important that Ethiopia’s progress and positive example on economic development and regional conflict resolution extends to civil society as well. We urge Ethiopia to make similar progress with regard to respect for press freedom and the free flow of ideas and reiterate our call for the Ethiopian government to release journalists imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

SRSG Ibn Chambas deeply concerned about the situation in Burkina Faso

DAKAR, Sénégal, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) is deeply concerned about the situation in Burkina Faso, where violent incidents have occurred between security forces and demonstrators demanding the withdrawal of a bill on the revision of Article 37 of the Constitution.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, deplores the deterioration of the security situation in the capital Ouagadougou and in other cities across the country.

Mr. Ibn Chambas urges the national authorities to do their utmost to protect civilians and to favor dialogue. He calls on political and civil society actors to avoid resorting to violence.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, who is scheduled to travel to Ouagadougou tomorrow, Friday 31 October, together with representatives of ECOWAS and the African Union, encourages all parties to work towards a pacific solution in the interest of the stability of Burkina Faso.