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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dr. Jill Biden visits Zambia

Here is a pool report on the Dr. Biden's visit to Gambia.   She is in Africa on a three-continent visit focusing on anti-gender issues and education.

This pool report comes from Perpetual Sichikwenkwe from the Times of Zambia newspaper. Her report follows, below.
Dr. Jill Biden.   Photo/ Organizing for Action website.
U.S. second lady arrives in Zambia's capital city Lusaka, for a two day official visit
At exactly 22:20 p.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Military Aircraft number 50932
carrying Dr. Jill Biden, the wife to U.S. vice president Joe, touched
down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, the Zambian
capital city.


Dr Biden who is on a three day visit to Africa is accompanied by
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Administrator Rajiv Shah, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues, Catherine Russell and other officials.


Dr. Biden, clad in pink and white emerged from the aircraft with her granddaughter Finnegan Biden and waved at the U.S. Zambia mission  and
Zambian government officials that were at hand to welcome her. She immediately jumped in a waiting U.S. official vehicle to her hotel for rest in readiness for a busy first official visit day.


Wednesday, July 2 was full of activities around Lusaka as  Dr. Biden
and her delegation met with Zambian's second lady, Charlotte Scott,Zambian minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina, minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, professor Nkandu Luo and Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health Emerine Kabanshi at Government house.
They discussed matters relating to women's and girls' leadership,education, and empowerment.
Zambia is one of the countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) with fewer women in decision making positions while many women and girls lack empowerment in education and other sectors.


While at Government House, Dr. Biden witnessed the signing ceremony between Dr. Shah and Ms. Wina to mark the beginning of a U.S.-Zambia collaborative internship and mentoring program dubbed "women at work".

The program is aimed at enhancing the leadership skills needed for
young women to enter into mid- and senior -leadership public, private
and civil society positions throughout Zambia.


Dr. Biden who is expected to also Visit the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone later visited Shalom school located west
of Lusaka and give a key note speech for her three-country visit to
Africa.

The U.S. Government supporting a program at Shalom for girls'education through the USAID-funded "Time to Learn" program that provides scholarship to vulnerable children in secondary schools. 


The U.S. second lady will Wednesday afternoon take part in a panel discussion on women's entrepreneurship and U.S. support for women in business in Zambia. Tomorrow the delegation will visit the Ng'ombe One Stop Health Centre situated in the highly density township on the northern part of the Lusaka capital.
The U.S. Government is supporting women's health, anti -gender violence programs and programs for orphans at the centre. Zambia is the first stop country on Dr. Biden's visit to the three African countries. 



The pooler also briefed the media on a stop the second lady made to one of the community schools located in Kanyama Township, west of Zambia's capital city, Lusaka.


Dr Biden who was accompanied by Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rajiv Shah, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues Catherine Russell, her granddaughter Finnegan Biden and other U.S. officials was welcomed by singing pupils who were praising the U.S government for the help rendered to them.
The pupils were elated that the US Government has joined hands with the Zambian government to brighten their hopes of a better future through education.
 She told the pupils "And as a lifelong teacher, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is to meet students, like all of you".
Dr Biden told the pupils that what they were doing - putting their education first was important because they were creating a lifetime of opportunities for themselves and their families.
"It's a pleasure to be here at Shalom Community School and to meet all of you... and to be joined by Administrator Raj Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development ...Cathy Russell, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues ... and David Young, our Charge d'Affaires in Zambia" she said as she smiled at them.
The second lady said that U.S. was committed to ensuring that young women have the tools they need to not only survive but to thrive in their communities.

Dr. Biden said that a strong educational foundation can provide a sense of hope of normalcy and the chance at a better life.

"If you change one classroom, pretty soon that classroom has changed one school...that school has changed a village that village has changed a province ...and that province has changed a country", Dr. Biden said.
She said that her trip to Africa would focus on  girls' education and on how women's participation in government, the economy, and civil society can accelerate economic development, improve health and educational outcomes, and foster peace and security.
She said this was being done by ensuring that all students have access to quality education.
Dr Biden expressed her concerns about the horrific capturing of girls in Nigeria which she said has triggered anger reminds the world that girls around the globe risk their lives to pursue their ambitions.
"I've been a teacher for over 30 years.  I love helping students -navigate their future ... and see it grow bright before their eyes" she said.
A pupil and beneficiary of the "Time to Learn Scholarship program", Martha Matongo, thanked the U.S. government for the help rendered of paying for her school fees, uniform and resources to purchase school materials.
Zambian's deputy permanent secretary in the ministry of education Christine Mayondi, said community schools forms an integral party of the education system and was happy that the Zambian government and other partners were helping such schools.
Wife of Zambia's vice president Guy Scott, Charlotte, said 2014 was a special year for Zambia as it was celebrating its 50 years of independence and it was important to receive visitors like Dr. Biden and her delegation.

An excerpt from Dr. Biden's remarks encouraging youth to continue their education.
"...as a lifelong teacher, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is to meet students, like all of you.
What all of you are doing – putting your education first – is so important. By focusing on your studies, you are creating a lifetime of opportunities for you and your families.
So, on my trip over the next few days, one of the areas I will be focusing is education. 
But I will also be looking at how women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society can accelerate economic development, improve health and educational outcomes, and foster peace and security.
The United States is committed to making sure girls and young women have the tools they need to not just survive – but to thrive in their communities. 
Through partnerships with Zambia and other African governments, we hope to improve women’s lives through educational opportunities, access to healthcare, combatting gender-based violence, and empowering women – because a nation cannot reach its full economic potential until its women reach theirs.
Many countries around the world now recognize that bringing more women into the workforce is key to economic growth, productivity and prosperity."

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