News Articles

Here is a selection of news articles about the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

To browse older articles, click on a month from the list on the right.

Click here to browse selected speeches by Stephen Lewis.

'Ask Her' gives African women platform to share world views

Theo Sowa speaks with Canada AM about the Ask Her Talks

May 27, 2015

Canada AM , CTV News

When the latest ebola crisis hit West Africa, women were the first responders. They've been at the centre of the HIV&AIDS crisis, and on the frontlines helping victims of violence and sexual assault. And yet, when governments and NGOs look for solutions, their voices are rarely heard. Theo Sowa has made it her life's mission to change that. She's a women's rights activist and CEO of the African Women's Development Fund. She's also one of five remarkable women taking part in the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Ask Her Talks... 

Ask Her Talks giving African women a voice

A series of speeches at McGill University Monday night on the roles African women play in the face of crisis on their continent offered first-hand perspectives from people who are making change despite facing violence, illness and the tragedies that accompany both on a daily basis.

May 25, 2015

Staff, Montreal Gazette

The series, called the Ask Her Talks, was presented by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which works with groups who treat people with HIV/AIDS in Africa. The theme of the series is to highlight the insights and opinions of women who are on the front lines dealing with problems like AIDS, the recent Ebola epidemic and the devastating impact of violence in countries like Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Despite being the front-liners who consistently help the victims of disease, sexual assault, domestic violence and children being recruited into wars, women’s voices are little heard when governments or many aid organizations seek solutions. The foundation’s series, which will continue in other Canadian cities, seeks to change that.
Theo Sowa, chief executive officer of the African Women’s Development Fund based in Ghana, was the last of five women to speak Monday night and said important decisions on Africa’s problems “are being made based on false impressions” and that the “current narratives” portray African women as helpless victims.
"African women are not victims. African women can look after their own children," she said, adding that the first people to respond to the Ebola epidemic were women in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who operated with very little funds.
When aid organizations finally eventually came to realize this, Sowa said, funds from foreign aid organizations have since been directed elsewhere.
"Women everywhere are so often expected to provide unpaid services," Sowa said while singling out the Carnegie Foundation in the U.S. for its decision to go in a different direction by donating money directly to community groups in the parts of Africa that were affected by the outbreak of Ebola. She said that decision worked because instead of the donation being charity, it helped those communities pull together while facing a crisis.
The Ask Her Talks series is sponsored by the CIBC and will continue in Toronto, at the University of Toronto, on May 27, and Ottawa, at Carleton University, on May 28. The talks are hosted by Jackie Richardson, a Toronto-based jazz, blues and gospel singer.
While introducing the speakers, Richardson asked the people in attendance to not forget that when things get tough, "it’s the women who step up."
"Let’s remember, for every woman who speaks here tonight there are thousands who are also making the change in Africa," Richardson said.

Ask Her: African women need to be heard to solve social issues

Two of the inaugural Ask Her Talks speakers, Theo Sowa and Netty Musanhu, are interviewed on CBC Radio's The Current

May 25, 2015

The Current, CBC Radio

They are on the front lines of conflict, poverty and disease. And when the world tries to solve problems, they are ignored. We turn to two activist African women, who say it is time politicians started seeking solutions from the women of Africa.


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