Mother Necessity, where would we be without independent women?

(Nika C. Beamon)

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention; that’s certainly true when it comes to women in this country redefining the structure the American workforce and institution of marriage to meet their changing lifestyles.

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention; that’s certainly true when it comes to women in this country redefining the structure the American workforce and institution of marriage to meet their changing lifestyles. The advancements women have made in terms of education and income have forced numerous adjustments to be made, arguably assisting America, as a whole, to be more competitive in the global community.

According to in the Pew Research Center, single women with college degrees have higher incomes now then their counterparts in 1970 while the wages of unmarried men haven’t faired as well. Overall, the earnings of all women with a college education have skyrocketed by 44 percent between 1970 and 2007 whereas there’s been a mere 6 percent growth for men. Consequently, there are an increasing number of women in the workforce.

In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of all those people employed, or 47.4 percent of those employed in December 2009 were women. As a result, women who are also mothers are requiring employers to make significant strides to change the workplace to meet their needs. These adjustments i.e. flex time, compressed workweeks, paid maternity leave, on-site child-care and nursing facilities; job sharing, nursing mother rooms, etc… benefit all of society.

Of course, financial independence all means women have more options in terms of when or if she wants to get married, thereby changing the picture this institution in America. According to the US Census Bureau, just 55% of males ages 18 and older and 50% of women are married. I look at the rise of singles in this county in my book I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out. What I found is that while most people want someone to share their life with being about to fulfill your own dreams as an individual has gives women the opportunity get married for the right reasons and therefore have a healthier, better functioning, long lasting union.

While some may see the adjustments in society by women as a downside, it’s clear that women view them as growth; a chance to make their mark on the world in a way that will ultimately make it better for the American family and for them as individuals. After all, it’s also said that there’s no growth without change and we can all agree that the US need to continue to progress.

I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married
ISBN: 978-1-55652-819-4
To read an excerpt:
Available @ and
To watch a video trailer: log on to

Single, Women, Dating, Relationships, Valentine, s Day, African American, Marriage

For more information:
Contact: Nika C. Beamon
P: 973-230-0923

The University of Maastricht Graduate School of Governance & Oxfam Novib are working to discover the financial services that African migrants in the EU need.

The University of Maastricht Graduate School of Governance in the Netherlands is working with Oxfam Novib , the international poverty action initiative, on discovering the financial services that African migrants living in the European Union need access to. They are currently conducting a study that seeks to engage ten different African migrant communities across the EU.

The goal of the research is to suggest ways that financial services, particularly money transfer services, could be made easier and cheaper to access for Africans living in the EU. The study’s results will also be used to guide Oxfam Novib in fostering partnerships with African organizations in the EU and microcredit organizations in select African countries.

Survey Link: Click Here

ACP Civil Society Forum - Joyce van Genderen

Interview ACP Civile Society Forum- Joyce van Genderen-Naar

Watch live streaming video from acpcsforum at

ACP28/020/09 Rev.1 Brussels, 11 December 2009


3rd ACP Civil Society ForumDeclaration 2009

Brussels, Belgium

(ACP – EU Partnership)

3rd ACP Civil Society Forum

Declaration 2009

Brussels, Belgium

(ACP – EU Partnership)

We, the Representatives of Civil Society Organizations of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), meeting in Brussels on the 10th and 11th of December 2009, within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and subsequent to the mandate of the adopted Plan of Action of the Civil Society meeting held in Entebbe, Uganda in October, 1997, with the precise intention of fulfilling the objectives of the ACP Civil Society Forum to promote, facilitate and enhance the vital contributions of regional and national grassroots, community based and other civil society organizations, who work for the benefit of the people of the ACP Regions ,

1. Noting that the ACP – EU Partnership Agreement signed the Cotonou Agreement on the 23rd of June 2000;

2. Acknowledging the justified place, role and the right of Non State Actors (NSAs) to be involved in all phases of the cooperation process, as legally enshrined in the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement;

3. Relying on the ACP Civil Society Plan of Action dated July, 2001 that was subsequently endorsed by the 27th ACP – EU Council of Ministers Meeting in Punta Cana on the 27th of June 2002 as the basis for its actions;

4. Recognizing, assessing, and acting upon the established objectives of the said ACP Civil Society Plan of Action;

5. Assessing the work of the delegates as presented by the Chairpersons and the Rapporteurs at the two previous statutory meetings held in 2001 and 2006 of the ACP Civil Society Forum and their respective Plan of Actions;

6. Embracing the legitimacy and legality of all the foregoing;

7. Considering the passage of time since the 1997 Meeting, the limited capacity of Civil Society Organisations, their limited access to information and subsequent low involvement in ACP-EU processes;

8. Noting the due expiration of the current Cotonou Agreement in the year 2020;

9. Hereby declare the urgency of taking ownership of the ACP Civil Society Forum and to formulate guidelines and procedures, relating to:

i. Management and Organisation of the ACP Civil Society Forum

Declare that:

1. The Civil Society Forum shall meet every two years at the headquarters of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Grouping in Brussels;

2. There shall be regional meetings of Civil Society on an annual basis to facilitate and promote regional dialogue and consensus – these meetings shall therefore be convened in the respective regions;

3. The ACP Civil Society Forum, taking into consideration, the provision of gender equality, shall adopt the following operational structure in order to provide a channel for information flow from bottom up; create a network for coordinating actions; sharing, gathering and disseminating information:

a. The Chairperson of the ACP Civil Society Forum shall lead and oversee the process;

b. One National Focal Point from each of the seventy-nine member states, and one Regional Focal Point (Vice Chairperson) from each of the Six ACP sub-regions shall be installed to manage the flow of information and communications with Civil Society Organisations in the said six sub-regions;

ii. Operations of the Civil Society Forum

Communication and interchange:

1. The ACP Civil Society Forum shall effect communications by means of an inclusive CSO social network via the internet and by any other media that is practical for that purpose in order to fill gaps in the communication flows essentially as a central pillar to fulfilling the functions of the Civil Society Forum at all levels.

2. Acknowledging the recognition accorded to the work of Civil Society by the Cotonou Agreement, the ACP Civil Society Forum shall develop positions and advocacy based on the principles and precepts of Evidence Based Knowledge Sharing and Policy Making relying on the wealth of ACP Civil Society expertise and sensitivity for that which concerns the strategic interests and the practical needs of populations they represent and advocate for.

iii. Commitments:

1. Acknowledging the established guidelines for Civil Society Capacity Building support mechanisms at the national level requiring a civil society organization to contribute up to 25% of the resources required to access European Union funding, we hereby declare that the Forum will advocate for the reduction of this stipulation and mechanism review (to no more than 10%). In that, in general, development funding mechanisms require co-payments or contributions from beneficiary populations;

2. At the next mid-term review of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, and at the all-ACP level, we advocate that EDF Intra-ACP financial resources are committed to fund the ACP Civil Society Forum, in order to facilitate the implementation of the objectives of this and all prior Meetings of the ACP Civil Society Forum, as outlined in the ACP Civil Society Forum Declarations and the Plans of Actions.

We do hereby declare that Civil Society, at the national, regional and all-ACP levels shall stand ready to:

i. Participate in the negotiation, implementation and monitoring of the Economic Partnership Agreement ;

ii. Participate in the discussions and actions addressing Natural Disasters the Environment and Climate Change;

iii. Participate in the monitoring and evaluation of attempts to accomplish national indicators;

iv. Participate in the promotion of the use of Culture as a means of National, Regional and Human Development;

v. Participate in the discussions and actions addressing the present global economic and financial crisis;

vi. Participate in fostering sustainable youth development;

vii. Participate in policy dialogue and programmes that promote transparency and good governance at all national, regional and all-ACP levels of development;

viii. Participate in the promotion of food security and sovereignty;

ix. Participate in the monitoring and evaluation of progress on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals;

x. Participate in the promotion of gender equality, human rights, good governance and democratic processes;

xi. Participate in the policy dialogue and programmes on Sexual and Reproductive Health and in the fight against HIV and AIDS;

xii. Participate in the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, ACP Parliamentary Assembly, ACP Council of Ministers, ACP Committee of Ambassadors;

xiii. Participate in the creation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Civil Society and public policy at all levels.

iv. Final Provisions:

i. Undertake to promote, distribute and implement this Brussels Declaration and Plan of Action on the aforementioned issues;

ii. Request the ACP Ministers of Finance, ACP and EU Councils of Ministers to reaffirm a commitment to provide access up to 15% of EDF resources for Civil Society Orgnisations, which will contribute to the disbursement of funds in a timely manner;

iii. Appeal to ACP States, EU and the joint ACP-EU institutions, in collaboration with our partners and financial institutions for development at national, regional, all-ACP and international level, to support, follow-up and participate in the implementation of the Brussels Declaration of the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum; and

iv. Request the Chairperson of the Meeting of the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum, in collaboration with the Chairperson of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and the Secretary-General of the ACP Group, to forward this Declaration to the Chairperson of the next Meeting of ACP Ministers of Finance, Presidents of the ACP Council of Ministers, EU Council of Ministers, and European Commission, Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Heads of the ACP Regional Integration Organisations, ACP Media and relevant bi- and multilateral partners.

Brussels, 11 December 2009

For the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum

Mr. Lawman Layon Lynch


EU Trade Conference in Brussels

Joyce van Genderen-Naar

On 16 March 2010, I attended the EU Trade Conference in Brussels, the "EU Trade Policy towards Developing Countries: Challenges and opportunities for the next years" in Brussels. There were many EU Civil Society Organizations, EU officials, Asian representatives and only a few ACP representatives.

ACP and EPA were mentioned all the time, meaning Africa, not Caribbean and Pacific. Caribbean was only mentioned when the EC spoke about the only full signed EPA, the CF-EC-EPA, and the control mechanism through the new EPA Parliamentary institution. The implementation and ratification problems of the CF-EC-EPA were not discussed and there was no presenter from the Caribbean or the Pacific. There was a presenter descending from Italy for Latin America and Caribbean, who only spoke about EU Trade with Latin America. The Asian presenter from India spoke about the EU Trade with China, India, Korea etc. Not Pacific.

Prof. Festus Fajana, African Union was one of the presenters. He said that the EPA has been forced upon the ACP. The EC said to be optimistic and will go on with the EPAs for Africa. (Note: On 29 April 2010 the Civil Society Organisaties are organizing a big International EPA Seminar in Brussels to deal with these issues).

There were also presentations about EU Trade with Asia and Latin America. We were informed that the EC has only Free Trade Arrangements with Korea, to be followed by Singapore and Japan perhaps. With regard to Latin America only with Mexico and some two other South American countries. Asian and Latin American countries are sceptic and don't want certain EU rules and standards imposed upon them by the EC.

The Trade Unions presenter asked EC not to close Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, because it is the most dangerous place in the world for trade unionists: over 60% of all trade unionists killed in the world are Colombian, between 2007-2009 128 Colombian Trade Unionists were assassinated. That should also be brought forward with regard to the banana agreement between the EC and Colombia.

Other most important news was that the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GPS) will end in December 2011 and will be replaced by a new system, and that their will be public consultations online in April and May 2010, for stakeholders, civil society, private sector etc. to give their views. The EC Public Consultation will be on the website in a few days. ACP stakeholders could and should participate in these Public Consultations.
The EU GPS system is the system of preferential trading arrangements through which the EU gives preferential access to its markets to developing countries, in the form of a reduction or elimination of the custom duties on goods originating from developing countries.

Many countries are depending on this GSP system, existing of- a general agreement, which provides autonomous preferences to 176 developing countries and territories;
- the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP +), which offers additional preferences to support vulnerable developing countries in their ratification and implementation of relevant international conventions in this fields; and
- the Everything But Arms arrangement , which provides duty-free, quota-free access for all Least - Developed Countries (LDCs).

The conference programme and more information are available from the conference website:

Call for Applications: "Healthy Mothers, Strong World: The Next Generation of Ideas for Maternal Health"

September 2010 – May 2011

Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) present the first annual Young Champions of Maternal Health Program. The nine month professional development opportunity will be launched at a global Maternal Health Change Summit, to be held from August 30 – September 1, 2010 in India.

About The Young Champions Program

Strong mothers enable children, families, communities and economies to grow and thrive. Yet there are over 500,000 maternal deaths every year, and millions more suffer from preventable disabilities. The causes of these tragedies are many, but most causes are rooted in the unequal social and economic status of women.

Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force are partnering to create an innovative new program that transforms the field of maternal health globally. The Young Champions of Maternal Health Program will use the Changemakers online platform to identify 16 young leaders – called Young Champions – from around the world that will spend nine months working abroad on a maternal health project while being mentored by a seasoned Ashoka Fellow in the field of maternal health.

2010 Young Champions of Maternal Health Program Structure

Sixteen Young Champions will be chosen to spend a nine (9) months abroad working on a maternal health project, each mentored by an established Ashoka Fellow and his or her organization working in the field of maternal health. The Ashoka Fellows and their staff will design projects for the Young Champions that complement and build upon the proposed project of their application. Young Champions will assist and work under the tutelage of the Ashoka Fellow as they apply their new skills to developing their own project.

The nine month mentorship will take place in a different country from the Young Champion’s country of residence. All living accommodations, transport, visas, insurance and other incidentals will be covered by the program. A monthly stipend will also be provided in accordance to the prevailing wage rates of the country in which the Young Champion will reside.


Successful completion of at least a B.A. (or equivalent degree)
A track record of involvement in public health, as indicated by professional and/or academic experiences.

A clear commitment to and professional interest in the improvement of maternal health, especially in developing countries.

Demonstrated leadership qualities and potential as evidenced by community and organizational activities reflected within the application.

Preparedness and enthusiasm to participate in a nine month mentorship experience with an Ashoka Fellow who may live in a country that is of a different cultural context.

Please read through the Young Champions Guidelines and Criteria at located under “Competition Information”. All young professionals are welcome to apply, whether they have an existing maternal health project or a new project proposal that is still in the idea stage.

For more information, please visit Should you have further questions, please contact us at with “maternal health” included in your subject line.

To apply, please visit: - you will be prompted to register for Changemakers to obtain access to the entry form.

Application Deadline;

March 17, 2010

About Ashoka’s Changemakers

Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka, an organization with over three decades of finding, funding, and expanding the work of social entrepreneurs across the globe. It is a global online community of action that connects people to share ideas, inspire and mentor each other, and find and support the best ideas in social innovation. The Changemakers online community builds on this history and expands the Ashoka vision by creating an “Everyone a Changemaker” world through networking, relationship-building, and the sourcing of funding opportunities.

Through its collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers has created one of the world’s most robust laboratories for launching, refining, and scaling ideas for solving the world’s most pressing social problems.

About The Maternal Health Task Force

The Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth brings together existing maternal health networks and engages new organizations to facilitate global coordination of maternal health programs. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Maternal Health Task Force convenes stakeholders and creates an inclusive setting to engage in dialogue, build consensus,

Workshop: Awaken the Goddess Within April 24th Breda The Netherlands

In collaboration with Mariposa Import and Màrshé Breda, the Afro European Sisters Network and Women of the African Diaspora organize the workshop Awaken the Goddess Within.

Awakening the Goddess Within is an invitation to awaken your feminine source of power. It is about nourishing a woman from the roots of her being and empowering her from the inside out. Acknowledging your value, beauty and self-worth as a woman is essential to awakening the Goddess within you. Are ready to awaken your goddess within? If so, then this workshop is the space and place for you to meet with your Goddess and other Goddess’s a like.

Program Saturday 24 april 2010:

- 09.30 - 10.00 Arrival

- 10.00 - 12.00 Workshop Jurne Azubiah (UK)

- 12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

- 13.00 - 15.00 Workshop Jurne Azubiah (UK)

- 15.00 - 15.30 Koffie pauze

- 15.30 - 16.30 Workshop Lori van Echtelt (NL/US)

- 16.30 - 17.30 Màrshé Breda

- 17.30 - 18.00 Socialize

Workshop Awaken the Goddess Within by Jurne Azubiah.

Workshop Hair and Self by Lori van Echtelt

Workshop Food/ Culture and Enterperneurship by Màrshé Breda

Where: Oneness Africa
             Chr. Huygensstraat 44
             4816 BK Breda (The Netherlands)

Price: 25,= euro

Reservations via:

More info soon!

Due to international participants/ speakers the workshops will be in English.