Read this very interesting post and the comments. Unfortunately it looks like the infamous anti-gay law has been signed by the President while in fact the 'scientific report' that was submitted does not even support this text, despite all the claims to the contrary. My hunch is the scientists were coerced to come up with something but even under pressure their contribution was not enough. It had to be viciously twisted (by the President's 'scientific' advisor?) to provide some sort of support. Of course most (all) local media claim 'scientific support' but that's just not true. Amazing manipulation.
After some more thinking I wonder how much credibility one can give to the report presented to President Museveni who seems to have chosen persecution to gain popularity but still looked for scientific support for his decision. Let us not forget Galileo's lesson. How much independence was left to the physicians that were requested to provide a 'scientific' advice to Museveni? What choice did they have in the present Ugandan context? It's interesting to see how Museveni hides behind the scientistshe probably coerced. Reading Udoka Okafor's contributionin the Huffington Post one can see that a significant part of the problem lies with the christianization and especially the most recent activities of the US fundamentalist evangelicals. Not that the islamic groups are innocent (see below extract from Facebook's Museveni's page). It remains to be seen how best to actto defend human rights and academic freedoms.
President Obama has warned Uganda about anti-gay legislation. Will such a law have an impact on the support provided by US based NGOs for tobacco control activities in Uganda and other African countries? It could if they take seriously the defense of human rights.
A one year grant of $100,484 to the African Women's Alliance for Tobacco Control to promote smoke-free workplaces, $68,254 for the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance, $91,339 for the Tobacco Control Board. Total awarded = $260,077.
Revisiting the grants database we discover this $300.000 grant awarded in July 2013 to the Association pour la défense des Droits des Consommateurs involving 7 countries: Chad, Niger, Burkina, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, and Burundi.
Below is the text (in French) of a cyber-interview with Thanguy NZUE OBAME, about the adoption of a Tobacco Control law in Gabon. It provides additional details to our previous post (in English only). Very interestingly article 48 of this law proposes to award 2% of the tobacco taxes to fund tobacco control activities. If adequately implemented such a budget would be extremely valuable and effective (see question 8) as most of the time no regular funding is provided. The choice of 2% is an improvement upon the goal mentioned (never implemented) in the article 6 of the 1988 European Charter Against Tobacco, "impose a levy of at least 1% of of tobacco cotx revenue to fund specific tobacco control and health promotion activities".
The Textochange group in Kampala is looking for bloggers to blog about tobacco control. An interesting initiative but they don't tell if there is any financial incentive/compensation for the bloggers to blog?
CTCA's pdf report, Tobacco Industry Monitoring, Regional Report for Africa contains a detailed presentation of the industry tactics in 14 countries. it was published in August (sorry for the delay in telling you about it). Two small questions: 1. is a French version planned (could be a summary) 2. Who took all the pictures (many from Burkina Faso)? it would be interesting to make them available separately (with the due credits).
From a note posted on the Global Tobacco control Forum on Facebook (are you a member?) by Evan Blecher that pointed to the November 11 ACS press release (also below). Unfortunately the link to the full report did not work but it will certainly be fixed asap. Just so you know if you try right away. You can find the document (Google doc) here
Pressing the Nigeria's Ministers to sign the tobacco control law with an active advocacy campaign on Facebook, plenty of pictures, a petition, but do they listen? I wonder to what extent the Gates Foundation that works extensively in Nigeria in other areas could not use this network to help advocate for this law? It would be in line (if I understand it correctly) with the new organization of the Foundation as described by Jeff Raikes in a recent interview with Tom Paulson: "It was an opportunity for us to drive a closer working relationship between the global health and global development activities.
One way to explain this is by anecdote.
In December 2010, I was down south in Ethiopia in a primary health care center. The obvious health interventions offered at the clinic were posted on the wall. Some were the obvious ones like child immunization and support for HIV.
But they also posted about personal and environmental hygiene, about water and sanitation and nutrition. They even had a model garden outside.
I realized at that moment how important it was for us to reorganize in a way that pulled all of our programs together to support families (as opposed to isolated interventions). That was the driving force behind the reorganization."
As you can see from the most recent posts I have started to look at what happened in the past, especially since 2007/2008 when philanthropists Bloomberg and Gates provided millions of dollars that changed the face of tobacco control and I am wondering about what's next, especially, very concretely what is the Gates Foundation going to decide as they look for an organization to promote tobacco control in Africa for the next 3 years. I have a feeling of déja vu and fait accompli while at the very same time hoping for a change, a new practice in the process of grant management, engaging the whole community, including potential 'dissenters'. Making this wish I am only taking the word of CEO Jeff Raikes when he described his '3Ts priorities' in the speech he gave in Belfast in June 2012. I have a few ideas about encouraging everybody to pitch in, share their personal evaluation of what happened since 2007/08 and offer suggestions/wishes for the next 3 years. Stay tuned.
Here is the whole text of the conference given by Jeff Raikes on June 5, 2012. Read it all and especially the parts at the end devoted to Transparency and Teamwork. I have reproduced the text below for 'safekeeping' because my experience has been that sometimes links were broken, texts were deleted and the original material was lost. Yes this also happened on the website of the Gates Foundation and for information about the tobacco control grants.
Surfing on line on the theme of transparency in relation with the ongoing selection process at the Gates Foundation I found this conference given in June 2012 in Belfast by Jeff Raikes (the soon to be leaving CEO of the Gates Foundation). As often he talks eloquently about the need for transparency and also says:“We need to go beyond grantees and partners, to the critics and dissenters of our approaches.” As a dissenter I cannot agree more but is such an attitude implemented now? What about testing it for real in the decision making of the Foundation of how the promotion of tobacco control in Africa should be organized? See below for a more recent comment by Jeff Raikes from an interview published on Humanosphere.
As it's grey and cold today I have decided to look at the relevant numbers for the grants awarded to promote tobacco control in Africa during the period 2007 to November 2013. I mostly computed the data for the grants awarded by CTFK for the Bloomberg Initiative, comparing them with the grants awarded by the Gates Foundation.
Reading an updated version (9/23/2013) of an interview with the Executive Director of the Alliance Nationale des Consommateurs et de l'Environnement (ANCE), Mr Ebeh Kodjo, who is also Secretary of ATCA, and an FCA board member (until december 31, 2013) the main problem seems to be funding. Nothing new? Except that ANCE has been one of the groups that received significant funding (the last CTFK grant awarded in Dec 2012 was for $152K+ while 54K had been awarded in January 2012) so how much is now needed, what happened to the previous grants, is any detailed budget explaining where the money went-goes available? Those questions are especially important when the Gates Foundation is looking for the next organization to coordinate their tobacco control efforts in Africa and ATCA could be a candidate.
This ad was posted on the site of the Center for Tobacco Control in Africa (based in Kampala). The deadline to apply is today! November 8! What organizations are going to apply? to serve as a strategic grant maker, capacity builder, and effectively coordinate with others working in tobacco control on the continent? Several existing (competing) groups are presently trying to do that. Strangely, once again, despite claiming to engage the whole continent the proposal is in fact much more narrow:The grantee organization will support work in 5-10 countries in Africa .
Another interesting (perplexing?) remark is Africa Tobacco control expertise is preferred but not required as a tobacco control expert could be hired as part of the investment.
What do you think? Is there any chance of a different organizing strategy being funded or are we going to see more of the same?
Duration of grant: 3 years, starting in 2014.
No budget amount if mentioned nor any mention of the capacity to operate in different languages (except English) despite the fact that the lack of French fluency has been, still is a handicap for all leading groups.
A specially trained team of tobacco control advocates has prevented the tobacco industry from getting a suggested tobacco tax increase in Uganda reduced.
The Ministry of Finance had proposed increasing Uganda’s excise tax duty on cigarettes by 45.5 percent in the 2013-14 budget. When the matter was discussed in Parliament’s Finance Committee, the industry submitted a petition calling for an increase of just 11.4 percent.
Here is one announcement but where are the articles? Where is the beef? There are no details about the $ amount of each award and there is no mention (apparently) of any radio project while radio broadcast remains a dominant medium in Africa. Another copycat reprint of the press release that does not provide any additional information.
Visiting the youtube channel of the Nosmoke Revolution advocacy campaign one can see that the most viewed of the 9 videos (apparently) is the spot by model LISSA (Mame Diarra THIAM) with 12000+ views (see her on FB). All the other videos have on average a few hundreds views but for the rappers with a few thousands (but on 2 months instead of only one)
The Prevenir Association (?) was awarded a one year grant of $65,925 in August, to 'galvanize support for the adoption of a FCTC-compliant TC bill in Senegal.
They had received a two months $31,241 grant in May. We found a FaceBook account for Prevenir but the main source of information remains LISTAB (in French)although the most recent post as of today is more than two months old (end of August 2013). Maybe because the updating now takes place on their FaceBook page, with details about their most recent campaign, NoSmoke Revolution (on FaceBook as well) and advocacy efforts.
The Bllomber Initiative/CTFK allocated $67,942 to the Tobacco Control Foundation of Nigeria for advocacy for passage and presidential assent of the national tobacco control bill (NTCB) in Nigeria. This comes in supplement of previous 2013 grants.
Recent grant noted on the Bloomberg Initiative website: $84,962 for The Ethiopian Public Health Association (EPHA) to support a 5-day Seminar for English-speaking African lawyers in Addis Ababa on the FCTC and the drafting and implementation of effective tobacco control legislation.
The countries that participated are: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea Equatorial, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. My question is: how were those countries selected? why? by whom? How much did the workshop cost? What about a cybermeeting instead of moving all those people? Information published by CTCA