Category Archives: Opportunities

UNCCD short writting-contest 2015



Theme: Land nurturing people nurturing life

The UNCCD is pleased to announce its first Short Writing Contest. The theme is ‘Land nurturing people nurturing life
  • How would you express your relationship with land in a poem?
  • ​What does land mean to you?
  • Do you know any proverb about land in your country? Is it still relevant in your today’s life?
We welcome all literary expressions and styles, from a very short Haiku-style to a short story of up to 500 words. Entries must be written in English.
There are two categories:
(1) University Students and General Public
(2) Children and Youth in High-School and Below.
The winner of the first category will receive US$500, the second US$300.
Please note that all shortlisted entries will be checked for plagiarism. Plagiarized works will be disqualified from the competition.
Deadline for receiving the application is 15 May 2015.
Please fill in the form which is available on this page, and send it either by:
Fax: +49 228 815 2898
Postal mail: UNCCD Library, UN Campus, PO Box 260129, 53153 Bonn, Germany
The winner will be announced on the UNCCD website on 17 June 2015, the World Day to Combat Desertification.




free web-based course by Gender Hub provides participants with a general grounding in the current concepts of governance from a gender perspective, and offers some examples and resources for applying these within key governance institutions, with a focus on governments, and in particular Nigeria.

The course has been designed for a broad range of people, including: gender focal points within ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), gender leads in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and those working in new and traditional media roles. However, anyone interested in understanding the challenges relating to gender and governance, such as non-gender specialist policy advisers, academics and students would also benefit.

Although the course is intended to be most useful for people in Nigeria, it could be valuable for people from any region. The course is short, self-paced, and facilitated, and completion is marked by a certificate award issued jointly by BRIDGE, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK, and Gender Hub.

Application deadline: Jan 29th

Course runs: Feb 2nd to Mar 2nd

Cost: Free

Requirements: Access to computer, the internet, an email address, and a modern browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, etc)

Link to registration page, and further details:

Brazil: Dilma Rousseff re-elected President


source: The News

Leftist incumbent Dilma Rousseff was re-elected president of Brazil on Sunday, the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal said, after a down-to-the-wire race against center-right challenger Aecio Neves.

Rousseff, the first woman president of the world’s seventh-largest economy, took 51.64 percent of the vote to 48.36 percent for business favorite Aecio Neves, election officials said with more than 99 percent of ballots counted.

After a vitriolic campaign that largely split the country between the poor north and wealthier south, Rousseff crucially picked up enough middle-class votes in the industrialized southeast to cement a fourth straight win for her Workers’ Party (PT).

The 66-year-old, a former leftist guerrilla who was jailed and tortured for fighting the 1964-1985 dictatorship, called for unity. And she promised dialogue to give Brazil the changes she said that she knows voters want.

“This president is open to dialogue. This is the top priority of my second term,” she told supporters in the capital Brasilia, clad in white beside two-term predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

After four years of sluggish economic growth culminating in recession this year, she admitted her own report card had to improve and vowed to combat corruption.

“I want to be a much better president than I have been to date,” she said, issuing “a call for peace and unity” after a bitter campaign of low blows and mutual recriminations.

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Call for papers for publication on the theme “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”


Source: AU

Call for papers for publication on the theme
“Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”

AU ECHO is published by the Directorate of Information and Communication of the African Union Commission during the ordinary summits of the African Union. At a time when Africa continues to face adverse publicity despite the many successes registered in different sectors, calls have often been made by the continent’s leaders for the active pronunciation of the continent’s progress, while not overlooking the challenges. The AU ECHO therefore provides a platform for member states of the African Union and African citizens to tell Africa’s story; and to impart and share knowledge and experiences in key programmes and initiatives of the AU. It focuses on the successes achieved by member states and African society in the implementation of decisions and programmes of the AU.

The AU ECHO is published in both print and online versions. Its topics are guided by the themes of the summits of the AU. The theme for the African Union summits for 2014 is “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. Accordingly the AU ECHO will be accepting contributions on the progress that has been made in this respect on the African continent.

Women have traditionally played critical roles in African society. Gender equality flourished in ancient lands where women occupied positions of responsibility, for example, we had Queen Ann Nzinga of Angola, Makeda the Queen of Sheba in Ethiopia, Queen Ahmose-Nefertiti of Egypt, Mbuya Nehanda of Zimbabwe, Yaa Asantewa of the Ashanti Empire, Dahia Al-Kahina of Mauritania, Buktu of Mali and many, many other women that held very great responsibilities in our ancient civilisations.

The continent has taken many decisions towards gender parity. The Assembly of the African Union has demonstrated its commitment to gender equality by adopting important decisions which form the basis of the AU Gender architecture: i.e. the Constitutive Act, AU Protocol on Women’s Rights, Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, Africa Women’s Decade, and the Fund for African Women.

Yet women still do not have equal access to opportunities and services.

This issue of the AU ECHO, to be published and distributed to Heads of State and other high level delegates at the January 2015 summit of the African Union, among other AU stakeholders therefore seeks evidence based articles on the progress that has been achieved in terms of women’s empowerment and development, especially at this time when the continent is in its first year of Agenda 2063. Contributions are being sought from organs and employees of the African Union, governments of member states, women’s organisations and institutions that promote women’s empowerment and development, who want to share their successful experiences as well as some of the challenges faced.

Submissions open: September 12 2014
Submissions close: November 10 2014
Languages: Articles for publication should be submitted in any of the AU languages i.e. English, French, Portuguese and Arabic
Distribution: The AU ECHO will be distributed to Heads of State and Government of the African Union and other delegates at their 24th Ordinary Summit in January 2015. Soft copies will be posted online soon after.
Copies will also be distributed to development partners, universities and civil society organisations.
Word count: Not more than 2000 words per article
Illustrations: Photographs and other illustrations that enhance the article are welcome, although these must be original to the author and be copyright free.

All submissions must contain the full name and address of the sender, his/ her organization and job title. Send your manuscript to the Chief Editor at with a copy to the Publishing Editor at

#Raising Awareness to Reduce the Burden of Mental Health Issues on Youth


By Bethseba Akoyo

The United Nation’s International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12th every year to acknowledge the efforts of the youth in society and foster an understanding of issues affecting the youth. This year’s theme of the International Youth Day is “Youth and Mental Health” under the motto “Mental Health Awareness”. The United Nations describes youth as individuals between the ages of 15 to 24; this description is different from some nations who view the youth as those aged between 15 years to 29 or 35 years. Regardless of the definition, youth are individuals who are in an age of transition between childhood to adulthood. During this transition, there are many significant decisions they have to make since they are faced with dilemmas that will shape their future. This age thus calls for a state of mental health and support which allows the youth to make better decisions about their wellness and that of the world at large. Mental health is a subject that gravely affects the youth as youth with mental health conditions experience a lot of discrimination. Currently, 20% of the world’s youth have a mental condition. Severe mental illnesses often begin before the age of 24 and they are characterized by psychiatric disorders which render the youth unable to make important decisions about their lives. Most of them even fall prey to suicide, which is ranked the third cause of death among youths in the globe. The common mental disorders that affect our youth are anxiety disorders, attention deficit, behavior disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and substance abuse. These disorders may however vary depending on the environment of an individual. The disorders are overarching affecting their general health, performance in school and work and their social lives.

There is need to protect the youth from mental disorders by giving them access to effective and modern mental health services that will not only give them the capability to better their present lives but also empower them to take charge of the future and use their ideas and talents to contribute to the development of the global society. Youth with mental health conditions should be empowered so that they can feel secure in society. The youth are our tomorrow’s leaders, activists, feminists and innovators. Investing in their mental health implies that we are investing in the future and securing a better life for future generations. We should foster mental health among youth with mental health problems through supporting their ideas and providing a platform through which they can express these ideas without intimidation. The youth also require access to comprehensive education that educates them how to solve problems facing them such as hunger and poverty, conflict and unemployment. As we observe this year’s Youth International Day, let us also keep in mind that youth with mental health conditions form a significant part of society; respecting and advocating for their rights forms a strong background from which they can rise up and take part in the development of society.

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Bethseba Akoyo is an Intern at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). You can connect with her on twitter @bethbelle and email