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Nairobi, 07.01.09: Kenyan anti-poverty campaigners have launched the “Piga Debe for Women Rights Campaign” at a well attended concert held at the Carnivore grounds in Nairobi as part of mobilization for the International women’s day.
“Piga Debe” in Kiswahili means “make a big noise” and draws its inspiration from women’s voices in Africa who have repeatedly shouted over the years that “Enough is enough, no more deaths in childbirth”.

The concert which was hosted by renowned gospel musician Kanjii Mbugua, featured Kenya’s top female artistes Wahu, Neema and Atemi who were chosen on this day to showcase success in breaking down male domination through their achievements, quest for independence, entrepreneurship and persistence in the harsh world of the arts.

The Piga Debe” concert organized by the United Nations Millennium Campaign Africa Office, Kijiji Records and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (Kenya), symbolically kicked off a month long awareness campaign seeking to draw attention of African governments to the outrageous fact that thousands of women continue to die needlessly during child birth.

Concert host, Kanjii Mbugua repeatedly called on the Kenyan government to take urgent action by investing more resources in health facilities and training of skilled health workers, particularly mid-wives and nurses.

“It is not acceptable that every minute of every hour of every day, women continue to die from preventable deaths. Our governments must do something to stop this unnecessary loss of precious lives,” mourned Mbugua.

Kanjii Mbugua drew applauses from the crowd when he called on governments to enhance participation of women in key political positions noting that the commitments made in relation to the gender empowerment goal are far from being met.
“I am certain that we would have less violence or wars and more development in Africa if more women were given an opportunity to hold powerful government positions,” he said.

Maternal mortality continues to be one of the unconscionable human rights violations of our time, more than 500,000 women still die annually in pregnancy and childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable.

In a related event, the UN Millennium Campaign Africa office launched a status report “PIGA DEBE for Women’s rights: The missing link towards accelerated achievement of MDGs in Africa” at a function during the on-going International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership and Development, International Peace and Security hosted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

The report which reviewed the status of the MDGs in 17 African countries, focuses on gender equality, women’s empowerment and maternal health, argues that the Millennium Development Goals will not be realized unless and until women’s empowerment, rights and development are achieved.

The report stresses the fact that addressing inequalities based on gender greatly reduces poverty and increases levels of well-being for the entire population.


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