Report: Family Protection including Gender-based Violence in Mauritius

Report by Nnenna Ihua, Researcher at YUVA

Family protection is an important aspect in any society because the family is a small unit and families make up the society. Happiness and peace including safety are determinants of a healthy society. In Mauritius, Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare is responsible for family protection including gender-based violence, domestic violence, child abuse, elderly abuse, family conflict and conflict among neighbours. Police Family Protection Unit (PFPU) was set up in 1994 with the aim of providing specific services to vulnerable in Mauritius. PFPU is decentralized on a regional basis with a special policing approach for its operation with some underlying principles such as welcoming phase, active listening, individualism, non-judgmental attitude, freedom of decision and confidentiality.

Continue reading “Report: Family Protection including Gender-based Violence in Mauritius”

Access to HIV and TB Services in Mauritius

Report presented by YUVA at the ToT of ARASA, Johannesburg

  1. What is Mauritius’ HIV prevalence?

Mauritius HIV prevalence is 0.9%. This report was according to the World Bank collection of development indicators revealed by Trading Economics (2016). Over 70 million people have been infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and approximately 35 million people have died of HIV, from the onset of the epidemic. Also, a global record revealed that about 36.7 million people living with HIV as at the end of 2015 according to the World Health Organization. Although, Mauritius has been able to control the spread of HIV infection; the trend of HIV infection has it that in 2004 -2008, the estimated prevalence of HIV infection in the country was 1.2%, between 2009-2010 a prevalence rate of 1.15% was recorded. Between 2011 to 2013, a prevalence of 1.0% was reported and in 2014-2015, an estimated prevalence of 0.9% was observed for the population aged 15 -49 years according to the report of Trading Economics (2018). Continue reading “Access to HIV and TB Services in Mauritius”

The Situation of HIV/AIDS in Mauritius

According to estimates, a total number of 329 cases of HIV/AIDS cases were detected in the year 2016 in which 319 cases were Mauritians and 10 cases were foreigners. The yearly positivity rates of HIV recorded seem to be 0.36% for the year 2016, which concludes that the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Mauritius is 6671. Statistics clearly indicate that men have the highest prevalence of HIV as out of the 6671 cases 5061 are men and 1610 are women. Since 1987 Mauritius has reported approximately 953 deaths due to HIV. Continue reading “The Situation of HIV/AIDS in Mauritius”

1 December: World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

UNAIDS took the lead on campaigning for World AIDS Day from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response.

Themes run for one or two years and are not just specific to World AIDS Day. Campaigning slogans such as ‘Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise’ have been used year-round to hold governments accountable for their HIV and AIDS related commitments.

2016 Theme: HANDS UP FOR #HIVPREVENTION

In the lead-up to World AIDS Day 2016, the hands up for #HIVprevention campaign will explore different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.

A new report by UNAIDS Get on the Fast-Track: the life-cycle approach to HIV shows that countries are getting on the Fast-Track, with an additional one million people accessing treatment in just six months (January to June 2016). By June 2016, around 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people had access to the life-saving medicines, including 910 000 children, double the number five years earlier. If these efforts are sustained and increased, the world will be on track to achieve the target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020.

The report was launched on 21 November 2016 in Windhoek, Namibia, by the President of Namibia, Hage Geingob and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé.

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GLOBAL HIV STATISTICS

  • 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2016)
  • 36.7 million [34.0 million–39.8 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2015)
  • 2.1 million [1.8 million–2.4 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2015)
  • 1.1 million [940 000–1.3 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses (end 2015)
  • 78 million [69.5 million–87.6 million] people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic (end 2015)
  • 35 million [29.6 million–40.8 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic (end 2015)

People living with HIV

  • In 2015, there were 36.7 million [34.0 million–39.8 million] people living with HIV.

UNAIDS World AIDS Day event – Moving forward together: leaving no one behind

UNAIDS will host a special event on 30 November 2016 to commemorate World AIDS Day and the commitment to move forward together to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Websites of Previous Observances:

Source: UN, 2016

Enhancing Youth-Elder Alliance in Governance in Mauritius

YUVA Dialogue 2015 is being held tomorrow at Port Louis. This is inline with the commemoration of the International Youth Day 2015 in Mauritius. YUVA has invited YUVANs, school and university students, members of local NGOs and the press to debate on the topic, “Enhancing Youth-Elder Alliance in Governance in Mauritius”.

Youth constitute the majority of the population on the African continent. This forum explores the convergence of traditional (Mauritian Tradition) and modern ways of social engagement in political governance interactions. It discusses the imperative for youth participation in governance, as well as the challenges and opportunities for dialogue between youth and elders in governance systems. It will also discuss cultural norms that have prevented the development of collaboration between youth and elders, as well as the consequences of constricted relationships, for example the entrenchment of elders as leaders.

1) The imperative for youth-elder collaboration in governance

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets, inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” — Plato, 4th Century BC (Guardian, 2009)

A 2012 study of youth across Africa published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and cross-checked by the Africa Governance Institute (Africa Governance Institute) captures a range of African youth perspectives on governance;

  • 56% of African youth are interested in current affairs. Urban youth have a higher level of interest than rural youth.
  • Less than 1⁄4 of African youth surveyed think their country is a full democracy, and less than 1⁄2 are satisfied with their democracy.
  • While a majority of youth believes that violence is not justified in politics, 75% of those surveyed do not exclude the adoption of non-conventional forms of political action (including violence) if their socioeconomic situation is not improving and their political voice is not heard.
  • 80% of young people do not consider emigrating abroad as a relevant solution, and all insist on the fact that the conditions of their social, political and economic integration need to be established in their respective countries and in Africa.

2) Eldership as leadership

The following proverbs show that leadership is generally considered the responsibility of elders who have accumulated years of life experience. These experiences, ostensibly, are the requisite competencies required for public office. The cultural notion of leadership as the responsibility of older individuals is reflected in the structure of several contemporary governance systems:

“A young man standing cannot see what an old man will see sitting down.” — Igbo, Nigeria

Meaning: Elders are guided by the wisdom of experience and, therefore, will always have advantage over the young.

“An Okro plant cannot grow taller than its farmer.” — Creole, Sierra Leone

Meaning: The youth (Okro plant) is planted by the farmer (elder) to whom it owes its existence and sustenance. Thus, the youth cannot be greater than the elder.

“When a kid goat bends down, it sucks from its mother’s breast.” — Swahili

Meaning: Youth are admonished to defer to elders, and reap the reward of nurturing.

3) Inhibited communication

“When the elderly person is doing things wrongly, things that are destroying or capable of destroying both the old and the young, both the present and future generations, the young is expected not to question that action even though he or she would be affected in the consequences of the wrong actions of the elder/leaders.” — Rajesh B. (Mauritius, 2015)

“We live in a country infested by young people, we live in a country where our leaders do not want to be challenged, questioned and called to order by the younger population. We live in a country where the culture and respect card gets used every time young boys and girls call their leaders to order, we live in a country where our leaders use ‘culture’ and ‘respect’ to keep the youth silent and limited.” – Aneesha Bibi Z. (Mauritius 2015)

As a result of inhibited youth expression, youth voices are faint in the structures of governance, and can be ignored by elders. Also, young individuals who attempt to criticise governance systems, failures or actions can be discredited and disgraced. Youth who dare to confront elder leaders may find themselves cast as cultural offenders, and violators of the hallowed tradition of respect.

4) Social Media and Political Expression

Social media has allowed youth to voice opinions and, to some extent, engage with elders in governance. It has been reported that there are 100 million active Facebook users in Africa (TechCrunch, 2014).

How far do you agree that young people of Mauritius are utilizing social media to improve the accountability of political leaders?

The current generation does not want to be treated as the ‘other’. They want to be engaged, they want to talk, they want to contribute. Is the Government of Mauritius doing enough to endorse Internet access and the usage of smart phones?

5) Setback and frustration in governance

“If the world has one picture of African statesmen, it is one of rank corruption on a stupendous scale. There hardly seem any leaders who haven’t crowned themselves in gold, seized land, hand over state businesses to relatives and friends, diverted billions to foreign bank accounts and generally treated their countries as giant personalized cash dispensers”. – Moyo, 2009, p.49

Note: This discussion topic has been adapted from Ms. Ify Ogo’s (PhD Candidate, Maastricht University) presentation at the MINDS Annual African Youth Dialogue 2015.