Human Rights in Africa: A General Overview

By: Macy Janine Pamaranglas – Art in Tanzania Intern

Introduction

The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights came into force on the 21st of October, 1986. It established a solid foundation and standards to promote and protect Africans’ human rights.

According to Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or any status.”

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (source)

Despite the efforts to improve the lives of the African people, the continent still suffers from increasing human rights violations. These human rights abuses include violating socio-economic and cultural rights, illicit killings, discrimination and harassment, suppression of dissent, environmental deterioration etc. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s human rights situation worsened; thus, many people were obliged to halt their education and even forcibly lose their homes.

Here are some of the numerous human rights violations which have been occurring across the region:

Restriction of Expression:

Tiseke Kasambala, Chief of Party of Advancing Rights in Southern Africa Program at Freedom House, says that some African countries have been introducing cybercrime and cybersecurity laws; these aim “to prevent the type of organizing and mobilization of social movements, and civil society organizations on the ground”. Kasambala adds that it is not merely shutting down the internet, but it also involves preventing people from discussing and criticizing the State in the online space. Such shutdowns can be observed in southern African nations such as Lesotho. These cybercrime and cybersecurity laws were also under discussion in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

TechCabal (source)

In addition, internet disruptions occurred in countries like Eswatini, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia. As a matter of fact, on June 2021, the Nigerian government suspended Twitter after the latter “deleted a controversial tweet from President Buhari for violating its community rule”. On September 2021, the Tanzanian Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports suspended the operations of a privately owned media outlet called Raia Mwema, for a month. The Tanzanian government justified such action since Raia Mwema was constantly “publishing false information and deliberate incitement”.

Gender-Based Violence and Discrimination

Females still struggle to fulfil their rights as Africa remains subordinate to women and girls. Hence, issues such as child marriage, restricted access to sexual and reproductive health services, and discrimination against pregnant students are prominent in the region.

In South Africa, there was a significant increase in crime rates related to sexual offences, and there were at least “117 cases of femicide in the first half of the year”. For instance, a 23-year old female law student named Nosicelo Mtebeni, was killed, mutilated, and placed in a suitcase and in plastic bags by her partner. In Chad, a 15-year old girl was gang raped, and the cruel act was recorded and posted on social media.

The Conversation (source)

Furthermore, child marriage remains rampant in Africa. For example, a 4-year-old Namibian child was forced to marry a 25-year-old man when she was 2 years old. In Tanzania, pregnant girls were banned from attending school, and these girls were forced by the government to participate in a “parallel accelerated education program”, which is known to be an “alternative education pathway”. The problem with the latter is its inaccessibility in terms of distance and cost. Fortunately, the Tanzanian Ministry of Education officially declared on November 24, 2021, that adolescent mothers are now allowed to attend public schools.  

Abductions, Torture, and Evictions

The lives of human rights activists are prone to abduction, torture, and eviction in Africa. In the case of Zimbabwe, the government fails to hold security forces accountable for their serious human rights abuses, particularly during the “August 2018 post-election violence” and the “killings and molestations during the January 2019 protests”. In Rwanda, a YouTuber named, Yvonne Idamange, was sentenced a 15-year imprisonment as he condemned the State’s policies.

The New York Times (source)

Jon Temin, Director of the Africa Program at Freedom House, mentions their organization’s research on NGO legislation in Africa. Their studies have shown that over the last 15 years, 12 Sub-Saharan African nations “have adopted various versions of repressive NGO legislation”, and such legislation aims to limit NGOs’ ability to register and receive funding. For instance, in Togo, granting and renewing NGO licenses are suspended.

Violation of Refugee Rights

Refugees carry a great burden since not only are they forced to flee their lands, but they are also victims of threats, harassment, and arrests. Tanzania is one of the most important hosting countries for refugees. As of January 1, 2022, it has 246, 780 refugees who are originally from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Human Rights Watch, Burundian refugees were being maltreated by Tanzanian security forces. Moreover, the latter forcibly returned Mozambican refugees to their conflict-ridden northern part of the country. Therefore, the UNHCR raised this concern by stating that Tanzania violated “the principle of non-refoulement under international standards and regional refugee law.”

The United Nations (source)

In South Africa, refugees were being discriminated particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Refugees were not provided with COVID-19 aid programs such as food packages during lockdowns.

Conclusion

Despite Africa’s commitment to promote and protect human rights, there still remain flaws in the government’s response. States should respect media freedom and freedom of expression, for they are human rights. Governments should allow human rights activists to speak for their fellow citizens since criticism is the start of positive change.

African governments must prioritize the well-being of women and children. Females should have equal rights to men regarding education, health, jobs etc. Additionally, victims of malicious gender-based crimes should be protected and given remedies to recover. Whereas perpetrators of the crime should be held responsible for their abusive actions.

Lastly, refugees should not be mistreated; instead, they have the right to be protected and taken care of, considering the unfortunate evacuations they need to execute.

In short, according to Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.”

Sources

Africa Regional Overview Archives. Amnesty International. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/africa/report-africa/

African Commission on human and peoples’ rights. African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Legalinstruments. (1981, June 27). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=49

Brookings Institution. (2019, November 21). The state of human rights in Africa. YouTube. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eA5KJRmKH8

Operational Data Portal. Country – Tanzania (United Republic of). (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://data.unhcr.org/en/country/tza

World Report 2022: Rights trends in Tanzania. Human Rights Watch. (2022, January 17). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2022/country-chapters/tanzania-and-zanzibar#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20Human%20Rights%20Watch,province%20during%202020%20and%202021

Zenda, C. (n.d.). Human rights violations soar across Africa, report finds. FairPlanet. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.fairplanet.org/story/human-rights-violations-soar-across-africa-report-finds/

MARKETING STRATEGY

By Mariam Msangi – Art in Tanzania internship

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.  A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, essential brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements. A thorough marketing strategy covers “the four Ps” of marketing: product, price, place, and people.

Understanding Marketing Strategies

A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what it stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business. This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services.

Benefits of a Marketing Strategy

The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customisation, or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition. In addition, market research can help chart a given campaign’s efficacy and help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.

What does a marketing strategy look like?

A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and PR campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the “four Ps”: product, price, place, and people. The functions and components of a marketing plan include

  • market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries 
  • tailored messaging that targets specific demographics and geographic areas
  • platform selection for product and service promotion
  • digital, radio, Internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines.

Is a marketing strategy the same as a marketing plan?

The terms marketing plan and strategy are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the program may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities monthly, quarterly, or annual, while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.

Four types of marketing strategies

Cause Marketing

Cause marketing, also known as cause-related marketing, links a company, its products, and services to a social cause or issue.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing focuses on customer retention and satisfaction to enhance your relationships with existing customers to increase loyalty.

Scarcity Marketing

Scarcity marketing creates a perception of a shortage which aims to entice customers to purchase out of fear that they may not be able to get it in the future.

Undercover Marketing

Undercover marketing, also known as stealth marketing, involves marketing to consumers in a way that they do not realise they are being marketed to.

The first two – cause and relationship marketing — are considered “positive” marketing techniques that focus on the benefits to others. The second two – scarcity and undercover marketing – are more unconventional and potentially controversial techniques.

What are the 5 P’s of Marketing?

The 5 P’s of Marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and People – are key marketing elements used to position a business strategically. The 5 P’s of Marketing, also known as the marketing mix, are variables that managers and owners control to satisfy customers in their target market, add value to their business, and help differentiate their business from competitors.

Product

Product refers to the products and services offered by a business. Product decisions include function, packaging, appearance, warranty, quality, etc.

Customers need to understand the features, advantages, and benefits of buying goods or services. Therefore, when thinking about a product, consider the key features, benefits, and the needs and wants of customers.

Price

Price refers to the pricing strategy for products and services and how it will affect customers. Pricing decisions do not include just the selling price but also discounts, payment arrangements, credit terms, and any price-matching services offered.

When determining a pricing strategy, it is essential to consider the business’s position in the current marketplace. For example, if the company is advertised as a high-quality provider of mechanical equipment, the product pricing should reflect that.

Promotion

Promotion refers to the activities that make the business more known to consumers. It includes items such as sponsorships, advertising, and public relations activities.

Since promotion costs can be substantial, it is essential to conduct a break-even analysis when making promotion decisions. It is necessary to understand the value of a customer and whether it is worth running promotions to acquire them.

Place

Place refers to where the product/service of the business is seen, made, sold, or distributed. In essence, place decisions are associated with distribution channels and getting the product to targeted vital customers.

It is essential to consider how accessible the product or service is and ensure that customers can easily find you. The product or service must be available to customers at the right time, place, and quantity.

For example, a business may want to provide their products over an e-commerce site, retail store, or third-party distributor.

People

People refer to the staff, salespeople, and those who work for the business. People’s decisions are usually centred around customer service – how do you want your employees to be perceived by customers?

CONCLUSION: Through marketing strategy, it allows the company to oversee from far how it will be moving from the current situation to its desired position.

The Creative Activist

Martin Saning’o Kariongi Ole Sanago

Weeks have gone by, my national exams were nigh, since Mr. Martin Saning’o had passed away from COVID-19. I had a dream. In the dream, Mr. Martin said to me, in Swahili, with rough translation to english as, “Dare to dream big, never give up and always have a spirit big enough to achieve your dreams. Never give up my son and remember I love you!”. I woke up emotional that day but I also had a thought. He has done great works that most don’t know of. I wouldn’t want his works to go unnoticed – I would want people to know of the works that he did and the benefits he has brought to the Maasai community in Terrat, Simanjiro. This is his story.

Martin was born in the early 1960’s in the Simanjiro district of northern Tanzania. This is in the Maasai heartland – the high arid plains south of Arusha. In common with many Maasai of his generation, Martin and his family cannot be sure exactly when he was born. But Martin believed it to be born in 1960 or 1961.

                                                       Simanjiro

Martin was one among the minute number of Maasai children to have received education at the time. He used his education well. He wanted to give back to society that brought him up, so in the early 1990’s he founded IOPA – Institute for Orkonerei Pastoralists Advancement. Although IOPA’s first priority was to deal with land rights, it also eyed health problems and water supply problems that the Maasai in Terrat faced.

Martin became an activist, and made critical moves to ensure that the Maasai aren’t displaced from their traditional lands – The government had been displacing the Maasai at the time from areas they claimed to be ‘National Park areas’. His moves were seen to be ‘too critical’ to some in high places, and as a result the government initially refused to register IOPA.

As impossible as it may seem, Martin sued the government for displacing the Maasai from their traditional lands. At the time, more than 6000 Maasai had already been displaced by the government form National Parks. IOPA, led by Mr. Martin, filed a number of cases against the government which later on resulted in a landmark ruling by the High Court in IOPA’s favour.

Martin recognized that education was the key to enlighten the Maasai on a number of things: land rights, their own health, their livestock, the ongoing changes in the outside world, and a number of other things. He figured that a community radio would effectively serve this purpose. He took measures to establish a community radio, the first ever in Tanzania. He worked his fingers to the bone – a lot of sleepless nights – and finally the ORS FM first broadcasted news in 2002. The radio was in fact the first ever community radio in Tanzania – or in a larger perspective East Africa. It broadcast news in Kimaasai (the Maasai native language) and also played Maasai music.

After the idea of the community radio, Martin also realised that there was a need for electricity – not only for the radio station but also for the receivers of the information they portrayed. He worked on a number of projects, in association with different international organisations, to bring electricity to the Maasai people.

Martin also worked to help women facing different challenges, most especially those in the maasai areas – they were more prone to treacherous practices – such beatings from husbands, mutilation and harassment. IOPA created a safe haven where beaten women would go to and tell their stories. It also tried to prevent female genital mutilation, FGM, child marriage, and women oppression. IOPA dedicated some of its resources to educate women and raise the status of women in the Maasai society. IOPA also sought to help women economically. IOPA established dairies in Simanjiro with a long-sighted view of enabling women to sell milk and get money, they used to acquire their needs and the needs of their families. In the maasai culture, the only resource that belongs to women is milk.

Martin had broad and liberal outlook in his work, which touched each and almost every age group and social class by the time. For children, IOPA helped establish more than 50 pre-primary and primary schools across the region.

Martin’s work didn’t go unnoticed – he was elected an Ashoka fellow in 2003 and got the attention of a Dutch philanthropist, Dini de Rijcke, and began to work with her through her foundation, Strichting Het Groene Woudt (SHGW). Through working with Ashoka and SHGW, IOPA achieved many of its objectives. The Dutch foundation provided IOPA with 5 dairy plants and generators to power them across the region, and each dairy could process up to 2000 litres of milk into yoghurt, cheese, ghee and butter per day. These products were sold throughout the country. In cooperation with these organizations, IOPA was also able to work on a number of water supply projects, that bore fruits as the people in the dry Maasai lands got water with much more ease than before.

The women’s refuge centre was expanded to also be guest houses that could accommodate visitors to the area. IOPA also added additional generators to build one of the first mini-grids in the country to supply more than 1000 people in Terrat village with electricity, since the government had considered it too expensive to connect Terrat to the national electricity grid.

                        The IOPA centre in Terrat with guest house, community hall and dairy

Martin was bestowed various awards for his great work such as Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation and World Economic Forum Africa, the Ford Global Community Leadership Award, and Dubai Global Innovator Award.

Martin suggested that IOPA had to try and create viable micro businesses, so that even after funders ended their collaborations, IOPA would still be able to run its activities and thrive. As of today, IOPA’s remaining running projects include ORS FM radio, a few dairy plants, the conference centre, the water business, the guest house, and education and health support project in Terrat.

In 2019, IOPA was changed to Orkonerei Maasai Social Initiatives (OMASI) – an NGO – because of government laws and regulations, and by the end of 2020 Mr. Martin had achieved most of his goals and dreams.

On March 1st, 2021, Martin passed away. I can say that he hasn’t truly died because his works still live on – he lives through his works. He has left a legacy and very big shoes to fill. This story of Martin is supposed to be a motivation to anyone with big dreams, anyone who is fighting against all odds to achieve their dreams. I hope I have done his story justice.

If you will it, it is no dream; and if you do not will it, a dream it is and a dream it will stay

                                                                                    – Thomas Herzl –

Martin Saning’o Kariongi Ole Sanago