My recent visit to a group of people with albinism in Musanze District recently left me more excited than saddened as I had imagined. Reason? The faces that greeted me visibly beamed with a message of hope for a better future. “Disability is not inability”, they appeared to tell me in unison.
The over 100 persons with albinism live in Gahanga village under the care of Amizero Group. They are of mixed age categories: children, youth and elderly. Talking to them, they testify that though they face some discrimination from members of the society, it hasn’t stopped them from dreaming of a better future. They are sociable and participate in various government development programmes. Currently, Amizero Group cares for people with albinism from the four districts of Musanze, Burera, Nyabihu and Rubavu.
Amizero Group is a local organization which was founded in 2012 to support people with albinism. The group’s helps mobilize health services, different basic needs and provides social support for albinos. They also help integrate beneficiaries into society with messages of a bright future.
Tales of a tough journey
Clad in a white shirt and long black skirt, with a face punctuated with a broad smile, 18-year-old Denyse Ayinkamiye, one of the beneficiaries, explains how she leads her daily life, despite facing difficulties and even stigma as an albino.
“We sometimes face discrimination, but, despite my physical disability, I don’t see it as a big problem that can stop me working on my goals. I am in my second year at Kanzenze Secondary School and I always emerge among the best five students with an average of over 60 per cent every term.
“At home, I engage in farming and I have a cassava garden. In spite of the stigma I sometimes face, I am looking forward to becoming a national leader. Belonging to a group or any community like this helps us revive our hope,” she says.
Having lost her parents, Ayinkamiye currently lives with her elder sister in their native land in Kirerema Cell, Kanzenze Sector in Rubavu District. Her brother, Olivier Iyamuremye who is in Primary 4 at Kanzenze Primary School, also has albinism.
On the other hand, Jean de la Paix Shyirambere, 24, a resident from Busogo District who lives with albinism, says people with albinism have hope and security.
“The government has set in place tight measures against human trafficking. It is one of things that give us hope in everything we do because we feel protected,” he says.
Two of Shyirambere’s other five siblings are also living with albinism.
Hope amidst challenges
“In Musanze, as well as countrywide, organisations for people with albinism don’t have enough financial capacity to support these people with all basic needs to cope with this disability.
“For instance here in Musanze, we lack some crucial materials like sun glasses, albinism lotions (sun lotion), access to education, entertainment spaces and sometimes discrimination. For girls and women with albinism, they still need much more care,” Uwimana testifies.
According to Fr Bonaventure Twambazimana, the founder of Amizero Group, people with albinism still face stigma from some members of the society.
“There are still some members of our society who think that people with albinism are not like others. Some of the children with the condition are maltreated and rejected, but we do advocacy for them. These people need our support and care,” he says.
Albinism cases in other regions
In Kigali, people with albinism are mobilized under an organisation dubbed Organization for Integration and Promotion for People with Albinism (OIPPA).
The organisation caters for 115 people with albinism from the districts of Kicukiro, Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Musanze from Northern Province where It was founded in 2013.
During an interview with Nicodeme Hakizimana, the project officer of OIPPA, he explained that in Kigali, people with albinism still face various challenges, but they are not discriminated against much.
“With the help from National Commission for People with Disability, people with albinism are helped through connecting them to other members of the society and sensitising the society to change their mindsets against people with albinism. They get scholastic materials and health services,” Hakizimana said.
He one of the major challenges for organisations in charge of people with albinism is the lack of an identification and registration mechanism countrywide to be able to design projects tailored at helping these vulnerable people.
Authorities speak out
Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary at the National Commission for People with Disability (NCPD), explains that people with disability in Rwanda are cared for.
“Though they are some challenges like false mindsets against people with albinism, NCPDis taking new measures to bring better changes in their treatment. We have twice celebrated the International Day of People with Albinism and there’s one coming up soon. We want to address all issues that they face,” he says.
Ndayisaba explains that they will work with Rwanda Social Security Board to give all people with albinism health services under Mutuelle de Sante so that that can access sun lotion, one of the most expensive basic needs they need to survive.
He said currently NCPD has registered up to 897 people with albinism countrywide.
Albinism in humans is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. It is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus, and amblyopia. Lack of skin pigmentation makes for more susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers.
REMY NIYINGIZE (12 March 2017), People with Albinism in Musanze defying the odds to pursue their dreams. REMY NIYINGIZE for The New Times. Retrieved from: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-03-12/208810/
12 March 2017
Amnesty International says the recent killing of a person with albinism in Thyolo is a sign that Malawi should do more in prosecuting perpetrators of previous crimes against people with albinism.
On Tuesday, a 19 year old man with albinism, Madalitso Pensulo, was killed in Mlonda Village under the Nsabwe Traditional Authority in Thyolo.
Reacting to the killing, Amnesty International said Malawi’s failure to address policing issues and to investigate previous crimes against people with albinism is giving criminals confidence that they can get away with the murders.
“Malawian authorities must take immediate steps to address the poor policing and failures in the criminal justice system which have led to a climate of impunity for crimes against people with albinism.
“People with albinism are living in fear within their own communities. This latest killing highlights the urgent need for Malawian authorities to ensure an effective criminal justice system to bring suspected perpetrators of past related crimes to justice. They must ensure a coordinated security strategy that protects all people with albinism in Malawi, and put an end to their abduction and killing,” Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena.
He also called on the police and to make sure that they bring to book Pensulo’s killer in order to send the message that attacks on people with albinism will not be tolerated.
Martha Chikoti (13 January 2017), Amnesty calls for swift prosecution of albino killers in Malawi. Martha Chikoti for malawi24.com. Retrieved from: https://malawi24.com/2017/01/13/amnesty-calls-swift-prosecution-albino-killers-malawi/
13 January 2017
DO not call me an albino, I am an African man living with the condition of albinism.
These are the words of Thubelihle Sibonakaliso Mpisi, a 24-year-old commercial law attorney who was born and bred in Gamalakhe and now works for Adams & Adams Attorneys. Thubelihle was approached by this prestigious South African law firm in 2013, when he was still at university. “I just couldn’t say no to this offer of a lifetime,” he said.
There is a difference between wanting a job and wanting to work. Adams is a firm that has people who are pioneers in their own capacity as individuals. It’s a great platform for people who are focused, but also have a great sense of legal creativity and most importantly, have purpose. So I thought it’s best I join them,” he added.
“My approach has always been to say that as people, we will always accentuate fundamental and necessary biological differences such as race and skin colour.
My simple view is that, it starts with equality and ends with equality. Pigment is just but one part of human biology,” he said.
“While I consider myself to have achieved some success, which I have worked very hard for, I do not consider myself to have attained this out of greed but out of the ever-evolving dynamic nature of success- you have to keep working towards building and getting more,” said Thubelihle.
He also feels strongly about making the most out of the present moment and making it count, without expecting to derive anything from it.
“I am currently working towards obtaining my doctorate in law, perhaps once I have done that I can say with more certainty that I have made it,” said Thubelihle.
With all this said, albinism is not a disease or a plea for pity but rather a human condition that does not prevent anyone from reaching their full potential and excelling beyond society’s expectations.
Ntandoyenkosi Dlamini (3 January 2017), Albinism won’t stop me. Ntandoyenkosi Dlamini for http://southcoastherald.co.za/. Retrieved from: http://southcoastherald.co.za/181375/albinism-wont-stop-me/
3 January 2017
Four people with albinism in the UK and Ireland agreed to be photographed by broadcaster Reggie Yates to send a message of hope to Malawi.
A new photo series for Amnesty International is intended to show solidarity with people with albinism in the south-east African country, where they face abduction and grave desecration because of prejudice and superstition.
Yates, a BBC presenter and documentary maker, said he was inspired by Annie Alfred, an 11-year-old girl who wrote of her experience of prejudice in Malawi for Amnesty.
“The dangers and threats levelled at people living with albinism in Malawi are hardly ever discussed here in the UK,” Yates says.
“But the reality for so many of them is terrifying. It was great to have met such amazing people from all walks of life, and to take their photographs which I hope will play a role in supporting and encouraging Annie Alfred and all the thousands living in Malawi with albinism.”
“My hardships started from childhood, because I never had the chance to know my father. I was told by my mum he left the hospital when he came to see me for the first time and he never came back because he did not believe I was his son.”
“I thought this would be a practical thing I could contribute to, to show people with albinism in Malawi that they’re not alone. That we stand in solidarity with them.”
In April of this year alone, four people, including a baby, were murdered in Malawi. Police have been slow to react to the rise in killings abductions, according to Amnesty, leaving people with albinism living in fear.
Kathy Voss, Amnesty International UK’s individuals at risk campaign manager, said: “Many Malawians with albinism speak out for their rights, but it takes courage and persistence. We are delighted with Reggie Yates’ beautiful photos which project a clear message of support and solidarity, which can help to keep people going.”
The photographic exhibition: Reggie Yates and Amnesty International present “From London to Lilongwe: Photographs of solidarity and hope” will be on display at Huck Art Gallery, Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London on 16-17 December.
Karl McDonald (13 December 2016), People with albinism in UK stand up against Malawi killings in photo series. Karl McDonald for inews.co.uk. Retrieved from: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/world/people-albinism-uk-stand-malawi-killings-photo-series/
13 December 2016
With its evening gowns, celebrity judges and tears of joy, this beauty pageant in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, was like many others – except for one thing: all 20 contestants had albinism.
Titled Beauty Beyond Skin, the world’s first albino pageant was designed to celebrate people who lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes, and to fight the widespread persecution of albinos in east Africa.
Ten women and 10 men modelled the latest fashions at the event as they competed for the title of Mr and Miss Albinism Kenya in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people, including the deputy president William Ruto.
The contestants used the occasion to petition the government to better recognise and respect their condition. Some dressed up as army officers, waiters and police officers to highlight that albinos belong in every part of society.
But the event was also about fashion: some outfits were crafted from materials such as cement bags, balloons, paper bags, doormats, cotton wool and CDs, showcasing creativity and individual style.
Loyce Lihanda, who was crowned Miss Albinism Kenya, said: “For so long albinos have been treated as half-humans because they [are] different. In turn this has affected our self-esteem and the ability to utilise and explore our skills and talents.
“We come from a mentality that we cannot achieve what ‘normal’ people can because we are different. Yet time has proven that we can excel.”
In Kenya, albinism is a highly stigmatised condition. The biggest threat to people with the condition is the trade in albino body parts – used in traditional medicine and believed to bring good luck and financial and political gain – on the black market.
In neighbouring Tanzania, at least 75 children and adults with albinism have been killed since 2000, and more than 62 others have escaped with severe injuries after attacks by people seeking to supply witch doctors thought to pay up to $75,000 (£61,500) for a full set of body parts.
Last year more than 35 albinos were evacuated from towns near the Kenya-Tanzania border after an increase in ritual killings, allegedly linked to politicians hoping to be elected.
Isaac Mwaura, Kenya’s first and only albino MP, said Kenyans needed to change their attitude towards albinos, and pointed out that the celebration marked 10 years of campaigning by the Albinism Society of Kenya.
“A time is coming when we will have people with albinism serving in the army and police force. We already have some in the National Youth Service, and this is a milestone in achieving inclusion despite the difference in skin colour,” he said.
“We have come to say that people with disability are beautiful people. We can have the names ‘beautiful’, ‘handsome’ and ‘albinism’ in one society.” Ruto said the government would work with albinos to ensure their safety. “The dream of every child is valid, and it does not matter [what] their skin colour [is],” he said.
Ruto said the government had earmarked various benefits for albinos, including a 100m Kenyan shillings (£807,500) drive for sunscreen, special sunglasses and tax breaks.
The Albinism Society of Kenya chair, Alex Munyere, said more needed to be done to dispel myths about the condition. He said intimidation and harassment had serious repercussions in the lives of many albinos, leading to trauma and, in extreme cases, suicide.
“People with albinism suffer a lot of stigma and grow up without parents,” Munyere said. “If we can appreciate them more, we can break the cycle of low self-esteem and help them achieve their dreams.”
A version of this article first appeared on the Daily Maverick
Njeri Kimani (31 October 2016), Kenya hosts the world’s first albino beauty pageant. Njeri Kimani in Nairobi for the Daily Maverick. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/31/kenya-hosts-worlds-first-albino-beauty-pageant?CMP=share_btn_gp
31 October 2016
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has said that EAC Partner States must take effective measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against albinos.
The Assembly condemned all forms of discrimination and attacks against persons with albinism, ritual killings and the trafficking in persons of the same in the EAC Partner States.
The Resolution urging all Partner States to protect the rights and the freedoms of persons living with albinism was moved by Tanzania’s representative Shyrose Bhanji at eala sitting in Zanzibar.
The Resolution states that Persons with Albinism have continually been discriminated against with regards to employment, and access to educational, social and financial services.
“Subsequently, there are increased systematic violence, brutal attacks on and maiming of Persons with Albinism, targeted for ritual killings due to the myths and misconceptions that their body parts are a source of wealth and good charms,” Bhanji noted.
The Resolution, seconded by Abubakar Zein (Kenya) and Nusura Tiperu (Uganda) says, such brutal attacks go contrary to a Resolution guided by of the African Charter for Human and Peoples Rights/Res.263 (LIV) 2013 on the prevention of attacks and discrimination against Persons with Albinism.
“EALA thus implores Partner States to prioritise affirmative action towards Persons with Albinism for purposes of addressing long history of marginalization.” A statement issued by assembly spokesperson, Bobi Odiko said.
Article 6(d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community enjoins the EAC Partner States to uphold, among others, the fundamental principle of good governance including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, social justice, equal opportunities and gender equality.
The same Article further enshrines EAC’s recognition, promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
On its part, Article 2 of the African Charter guarantees every individual, the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized in the African Charter regardless of race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.
Article 18(4) of the African Charter provides that persons with disabilities enjoy the right to special measures of protection in keeping with their physical or moral needs, in addition to Article 23 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which provides for the special protection of women with disabilities.
The Members reiterated that people with Albinism suffer a lot of discrimination that is not often reported.
The disappearance and killing of albinos continues to be a challenge in some of the Partner States in the region.
The Assembly called for collaboration with different stakeholders to stem the vice and urged. EALA states to institute a collaborative partnership with the Civil Society Organisations, the Private Sector or other actors with the view of eliminating stigma against persons with albinism and promoting the rights, dignity and living conditions of persons with albinism in the region.
Joyce Namutebi (24 October 2016), EALA warns against discrimination of albinos. New Vision.co.ug. Retrieved from: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1438513/eala-warns-discrimination-albinos
24 October 2016
As September marks Albinism Awareness Month, the Albinism Society of SA has launched a campaign for people living with albinism to come to the fore and get help with accepting their condition as self esteem is their greatest challenge.
The myths around people living with albinism are also a great challenge. “The one that we are greatly dealing with, is that we don’t die, we disappear," says Executive Director at the Albinism Society of SA Nomasonto Mazibuko.
“We disappear because people come after us for our body parts, so they traffic us,” she adds.
Mazibuko says they are trying their best to deal and dispel such myths around people living with the condition.
The Department of Social Development has also been helpful. “Social Development has come on board, they have given us assistive devices and they provide us with dignity packs, whereby the Minister of Social Development together with the deputy minister are assisting us in educating people about albinism.”
Nthabi Gwiji (27 September 2016), The greatest challenge to Albinism is the myths around the condition. SABC. Retrieved from: http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/3ad01a804e646ccfb1f5f98c39fca03d/The-greatest-challenge-to-Albinism-is-the-myths-around-the-condition---20160927
27 September 2016
Shannon Cleave has never let low vision slow her down. The Paeroa (New Zealand) woman and her twin Ellisia were born with albinism, which affects the pigment in the iris causing short-sightedness and photophobia, or glare problems. Because of this, they cannot drive, but that hasn't stopped Shannon from horse riding and becoming a Rally-O dog obedience judge. "We've always tried to do what we wanted," Shannon said.
Shannon will join seven Kiwis with sight loss in an epic 700 kilometre adventure through the North Island in seven days for the Blind Foundation's inaugural 7 Day Challenge.
The participants, who range in age from 24 to 59, will undertake a series of physical challenges as they make their way from Tauranga to Wellington. The event begins on October 1, when participants will sail in a modern waka from Tauranga to the Tuhua, Mayor Island, wildlife refuge. Over the following five days, the group will complete a 40km relay run to from Tauranga to Rotorua, cycle on tandem bikes from Rotorua to Taupo, complete the Tongariro Crossing, Kayak down part of the Whanganui River and trek the Kapiti Walkway. The seventh day is a mystery leg that takes them into Te Papa in Wellington on October 7 to coincide with the foundation's Blind Week street collection.
Shannon, 36, who is an office manager for the Blind Foundation, said she wanted to do the challenge to empower people with low vision. "That's the whole point of the seven day challenge, is to inspire people to try and see how far they can go because you never know how far you can go until you try," she said. "You've got choices, it would be easy for me to not come to work and stay at home."
Blind Foundation Chief Executive Sandra Budd said the 7 Day Challenge was a chance for the participants to push their physical and mental boundaries. "They will have the opportunity to broaden their horizons, while showing New Zealand what we at the Blind Foundation already know – that people who are blind or have low vision can live a life without limits and achieve extraordinary things.
TERESA RAMSEY (27 September 2016), Waikato woman with albinism will compete in epic 700km adventure through North Island. Stuff. Retrieved from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/inspire-me/84452632/sevenday-journey-a-good-challenge-for-shannon
21 March 2016
Malawi has registered 55 cases of attacks against people with albinism in 2016, according to reports.
The Association of People with Albinism (APAM) which released the figures, said the attacks involves cases of albino killings, attempted killings, abductions, attempted abductions and exhumation of albino dead bodies.
PoliceAPAM executive member Alex Machila has since called on the country’s security forces to pull up their socks in dealing with the horrifying ordeals that people with albinism are experiencing. “Looking at the statistics that the association has in record, it only shows that there is need for the Malawi Police Service to step up security in all areas such as Machinga, Zomba, Mulanje susceptible to albino killings and abductions. “This will ensure that persons living with albinism are protected just like any other persons,” he said.
Machila also suggested that blatant disregard for the law by thugs who attack stems from the belief that they will not be handed stiff punishments in court. He proposed that prosecutors should come up with proper charges for the thugs. On his part, Southern Region Police Public Relations officer, James Kadadzera, claimed that the police have devised different security measures which include sensitisation campaigns to the public to advocate for the rights of albinos.
Mwayi Mkandawire (29 April 2016), 55 cases of albino attacks recorded this year. Malawi 24. Retrieved from: https://malawi24.com/2016/04/29/55-cases-albino-attacks-recorded-year/
21 March 2016
In May 2015, Tanzania’s deputy minister of Home Affairs, Ms Pereira Silima, issued an unambiguous warning to the members of her country’s National Assembly. “I want to assure my fellow politicians that there won’t be any parliamentary seat that will be won as a result of using albino body parts,” she declared. Ms Silima’s warnings appear to have gone unheeded during the run-up to Tanzania’s recently concluded elections.
The Tanzania Albino Society says that at least four persons with albinism have been killed since campaigning officially began on August 23. There is reason to believe that some of those running in the election were turning to a form of witchcraft that uses albino body parts allegedly to bring good luck.
Albinism affects approximately one in 17,000 people in North America but is much more prevalent in East Africa, where it affects as many as one in 1,400 people. Around the world, people with albinism are subject to widespread discrimination.
A February 2015 report of the United Nations Human Rights Council notes that, “as of October 2014, over 340 attacks against persons with albinism, including 134 killings, have been recorded in 25 countries.” The situation is particularly severe in parts of East Africa, where superstition fuels a lucrative trade in albino body parts, which are used in potions and amulets believed to bring good fortune.
PROTECTING ALBINOS In Tanzania alone, official figures show that at least 75 persons with albinism have been murdered since 2000. Campaigners believe the real number to be much higher. Countless others have survived attacks, many of them losing fingers and limbs in the process. The body of a person with albinism is believed to carry a market price of up to $75,000. Yet with the harvest of albino body parts being particularly acute in the impoverished regions surrounding Lake Victoria, it is widely believed that East Africa’s wealthiest and most powerful, most notably parliamentarians themselves, make up the primary markets for this costly form of witchcraft. The Tanzanian Government has joined other administrations in the region, including Malawi and Namibia, in trying to protect persons with albinism. Measures including a ban on witchcraft and the arrest of scores of witchdoctors have sought to stem the harvest of albino body parts. However, more is needed to effect a change in popular attitudes. That is why, on June 3, 2015, the Senate of Canada adopted a motion concerning the rights of persons with albinism. The motion sees parliamentarians as critical in educating citizens about human rights and the challenges confronting people with albinism, and in advocating tolerance and adherence to the rule of law.
COMBATING PREJUDICE It calls on parliamentarians to exercise their influence within their communities to combat prejudice and disinformation, to reach out to fellow citizens about the multiple layers of human rights challenges confronted by persons with albinism, and to become advocates for tolerance and the rule of law, especially in the lead-up to elections. Vicky Ntetema, an award-winning former BBC journalist from Tanzania, in 2008 published a report exposing the use of albino body parts in witchcraft by politicians in Tanzania. She serves as the executive director of the Canadian-based NGO, Under the Same Sun, a leading advocate for the rights of persons with albinism worldwide. “I call upon you African leaders to wipe the tears of mothers of persons with albinism who suffer from stigma and discrimination because they have children with the genetic condition,” she appealed in a recent Facebook post. “I call upon you African leaders to console grieving mothers whose children have been mutilated and murdered so that their body parts can be used by witchdoctors to make their clients successful.” Vicky’s message is clear: the rights of people with albinism are human rights.
Politicians in Tanzania and across East Africa have not only the power and responsibility to ensure that those rights are protected, but also the influence to combat the ignorance that puts so many innocent lives in peril.
Raynell Adreychuk (3 November 2015), African governments and leaders have power to stop vicious attacks on albinos. Daily Nation. Retrieved from: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/African-leaders-have-power-to-stop-vicious-attacks-on-albinos/-/440808/2940230/-/ifsxqiz/-/index.html
21 March 2016
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, says Albinos have been discriminated, mystified, mistreated and killed for too long, for the erroneous belief that they have magical powers.
Ki-Moon called on all countries to end the discrimination that threatens the well-being, health and even the lives of people with albinism, and to provide programmes that will enable them play a full role in the society.
“I call on all countries and stakeholders to recognize that human rights apply to all people everywhere, including people with albinism,” he said in a message marking the second International Albinism Awareness Day.
Albinism is found in every country and society in the world, regardless of people’s ethnicity or gender. According to the UN, discrimination and stigmatization of people with albinism also exists to varying degrees all over the world.
“Albinism has often been subjected to mystification, triggering erroneous beliefs and myths. “The completely mistaken belief that potions or amulets made from the body parts of people with albinism have magical powers has given rise in some countries to a demand for such human remains. “This has led to attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism, and even to the theft of their bodies from graveyards.”
He highlighted that due to the long history of discrimination and stigmatization of albinism, in some places, people with this condition may live in abject poverty, without access to basic services such as accommodation, healthcare and education.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to leave no one behind. That includes people with albinism. The cycle of attacks, discrimination and poverty must be broken.” He also welcomed the appointment of the first independent expert on the human rights of people with albinism.
In response to the call from civil society organizations advocating for persons with albinism to be considered a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, the Council created the mandate of this independent expert in March 2015.
Mayowa Tijani (13 June 2016), Ban ki-Moon: Merely a myth… Albinos have no magical powers. TheCable. Retrieved from: https://www.thecable.ng/ban-ki-moon-its-only-a-myth-albinos-have-no-magical-powers
21 March 2016