‘Social safety net helps secure lasting peace’


Professor Bunwaree giving the lecture (Photo by GT)

Professor Sheila Bunwaree of the University of Mauritius said this during a lecture she gave last week to 20 Seychellois and Mauritian journalists and university students attending a seminar on gender-sensitive reporting in Quatre Bornes.

Noting that the global economic crisis is affecting women more than men everywhere, she echoed the voices of earlier speakers who had said helping women especially those with children ensures the young people grow up better educated and healthier.

“This makes it easier for the children to get good employment and earn a decent living when they grow up as opposed to them getting into anti-social behaviour,” she said.

“Helping women solves many problems in society, not just the immediate socio-economic ones they may be facing,” she told Nation in an interview.

“If a mother decides to let her children miss school due to short or long-term difficulties then we get a generation of many illiterate people without the right kind of education. That could happen if the children lack food, uniform, school bags or whatever, the young people would grow up and go into the labour market with little possibility of finding jobs and that would become very problematic. The generation will end up with all the social dislocations like criminality, drug addiction, prostitution and many others,” she said.

“Therefore the support the Seychelles government for example gives to mothers is not useful only for now but also for the future, for generations to come, for sustainability.”
“Men need to realise that women need support for them to help mould sustainable societies in the long run.”

She said education – the basic part of which is offered here for free – “is in the long run the best opportunity to get people out of the poverty trap, as it helps give people the right kinds of skills, with the right kinds of attitude, the right kind of thinking and arms them with the chance to be able to plug in into the labour market and take charge of their lives, which then means people can be sure of their livelihood”.

“When people are sure of their livelihoods, there is less discontent and less conflict which means it is more work towards the promotion of peace.

“So we are more sure if we have equipped our nations with the right kinds of attitudes and education that empower young people, particularly women, we are building and consolidating long-term peace,” said Professor Bunwaree.

She said an educated woman is not only better able to offer her children better chances to go to school, but will better appreciate the value of education.

Seychelles was represented at the seminar by four reporters -- Myra Labiche and Stephanie Remie from the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation along with Mandy Bertin and George Thande from the Seychelles Nation.

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