Category Archives: Pan-Africanism

Women’s Forum: Feminist Perspectives on the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

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By Nyaguthii Wangui Maina*

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July 10th 2015, marked an important day when feminists from around the globe converged in Addis Ababa Ethiopia to share their views, reflect and consecrate their ideas ahead of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
With a vibrant room filled to capacity by both female and male counterparts, succinct and pertinent opinions were shared on the amalgamated view that the stakes are indeed high for realizing gender equality and women’s rights as development financing is shaped, negotiated and agreed upon in Addis Ababa. A consistent theme that did however run throughout the discussions was that transformation of mindsets was critical in surmounting the structural barriers impeding gender equality.

The forum was opened by Ms Dinah Musindarwezo from FEMNET and Ms Rosa Lizarde from the Feminist Task Force and Women Working Group on Financing for Development, both of them echoing the views and concerns of participants present in the room; that the road ahead was indeed bumpy.

Despite the well known fact of women’s empowerment and gender equality being basic human rights and central to human development, governments and global state actors alike have nonetheless mismatched their commitments with the required financing and policies. If anything, the alarming trend of women’s civil society spaces shrinking globally is a cause for concern and redress. A keen participant added to this point by raising the issue of women at home being excluded from influencing these very processes. “There is a strong disconnect between politics and the economy and women’s voices are missing everywhere, even at home in domestic processes,” she said.

Ms Rosa Lizarde of the Feminist Task Force, and Ms Dinah Musindarwezo of FEMNET

Ms Rosa Lizarde of the Feminist Task Force, and Ms Dinah Musindarwezo of FEMNET

As the forum began with discussions on the issues at stake in the Financing for Development negotiations and strategic interventions on ways to overcome global obstacles for gender justice and sustainable and equitable development, Ms Lakshmi Puri, deputy Executive Director of UN Women, urged the audience to consistently remember that there can never be enough gender in these discussions. “The political declaration from CSW59 committed member states to support and provide a safe environment for women and girls, however, making all stake holders accountable is pertinent; the private sector has a massive role to play too,” she said. Ms Puri also urged for cohesive interventions in pushing for gender equality. “We must show solidarity between women from the north and south to push our common agenda forward.”

The forum took place in five consecutive sessions. The full program for the women’s forum can be seen here.

Session 1 highlighted the Red Flags for Women’s Rights around the Third Financing for Development Conference and the Post 2015 Development Agenda. An infographic on some of the key areas raised by experts from the Women’s Working Group can be seen below:

Womens major group red flags

Session 2 included five thematic discussions on the red flags highlighted. These were as follows: Tax Justice & Domestic Resource Mobilisation; Private Finance; International Public Finance; Debt, trade, systemic issues and technology; and Follow up and Review.

Session 3 included a plenary session where there were report backs from the thematic group discussions. Thereafter discussions by simultaneous working groups on FfD3 regional priorities took place.

The final session included reflections dubbed, ‘Morning after Addis. What comes next?’  This was a very participatory discussion which encapsulated both stock-taking and looking forward in the horizon for feminist and women’s organisations looking at where they would find themselves post-Addis; a look at the links with Post 2015 and other processes at the regional and global level; and what in fact the Addis outcome could mean for the Post 2015 process. This session was summarised by the highlighting of the existing opportunities at regional and global level to advance the links between women’s rights and the FfD agenda.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Emma Kaliya (FEMNET Chairperson) and the Women Working Group co-coordinators echoed the same sentiments. After all is said and done and there is sufficient mobilisation of resources, how will these resources be used to enhance gender equality? What does the governance architecture look like? How will we consistently and persistently mobilise ourselves to ensure that women’s rights are at the heart of development? Yes investing in women makes economic sense, but the current economic model in and of itself undermines addressing women’s rights as basic human rights.

*Ms Nyaguthii Wangui Maina is a blogger; connect with her on her blog Musings of A People and on Twitter @nm_wangui.

#African Lives Matter

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It’s 8.57 pm on April 15th and I’m seated at the Vienna Cafe at the #UNHQ waiting patiently to hear the results of the negotiations for the day. For the past three days, I have been attending the 48th Session of the Commission on Population and Development. This year’s theme is ‘Integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post – 2015 development agenda.’ My days have been plagued with discussions on key terms and language such as ‘harnessing the demographic dividend’, ‘the right to development’, ‘sovereignty’, ‘multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination’ and ‘putting people at the centre of development.’ While seated here, a colleague @bmunyati, approaches me to review his post, ‘Xenophobia Must Fall! “How can we be silent when our people are being killed? ” I tell him to give me ten minutes as I quickly go through Twitter and news articles on the incidences of Xenophobia currently taking place in South Africa.

At #CPD48, while we argue against the instrumentalization of women and the youth, the need to respect sexual and reproductive rights as human rights that are indivisible and inalienable, another battle is taking place on my beautiful continent Africa. This time, the battle has shifted from an ideological debate to a rallying call for leaders to put an end to Xenophobia, an end to the senseless killings. The attacks against the immigrants from Somalia, DRC, Mozambique, Nigeria and Malawi and recently Pakistan and Bangladesh is an attempt to ‘rectify the wrongs’ in a situation where the immigrants are taking jobs and opportunities away from Black South Africans. A quick review of the literature highlighted that similar attacks took place in 2008 where over 60 people were left dead and hundreds more were displaced. The attacks were rumored to have begun when the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini was quoted saying the foreigners should pack their bags and leave. He claims that his words were taken out of context but reports have recorded the attackers saying, ‘The King has spoken.’

I am tempted to say we have a crisis of leadership in Africa… From all corners of the continent infact. We recently marked one year since over 200 girls were kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria and they are yet to all get back home safe. Two weeks ago, 148 students in Kenya were killed while studying at Garissa University. Since then, the Kenyan government is working on building a wall that divides Somalia and Kenya and plans to send refugees back to Somalia.

In North Africa, North Africa, women’s human rights defenders are jailed and killed for advocating for non-discrimination and an end to violence…and now this. How much more can we take before deciding to rise up in large numbers? How long will we continue to sit in silence and watch OUR AFRICA crumble. It begs the question, is Africa truly rising? The African Union, Department of Political Affairs says, “Xenophobia erodes AU’s shared values on human and people’s rights and principles of continental unity, integration and Pan-Africanism”. Where then are our leaders? What are they doing to safeguard Mwalimu Nyerere’s vision of a United Africa? @TamukaKagoro77 says that, “Afrophobia and Xenophobia are maladies that infect the literate but ignorant among us. I tend to agree. So as others boycott South African products such as DSTV, I choose not to be silent. I choose to call on other Africans to stand in solidarity with the majority of Black South Africans who see xenophobia as injustice and not abandon them in their time of need.

While we continue negotiating on the importance of integrating population issues into the next development framework, we must put people at the centre of development discourse free from discrimination. Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights states, “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or any status.”

We must put an end to this prejudice and hatred. Xenophobia must stop!

By Yvette Kathurima, Head of Advocacy at FEMNET and can be reached on twitter @wamburay

Implement #MaputoProtocol NOW!

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SOAWR Post Card_Page_3

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (better known as the Maputo Protocol) is one of the world’s most comprehensive women’s human rights instruments, with progressive provisions aimed at addressing the current realities of girls and women across the African continent including addressing harmful traditional practices, economic empowerment, ending violence against women and food security. The theme of the AU Summit this year; “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063” provides a unique opportunity to accelerate commitments towards the Maputo Protocol.
The Maputo Protocol currently has 36 ratifications.

“Realization of #TheAfricaWeWant through #Agenda2063 starts with implementation of the #MaputoProtocol. Implement Now! http://thndr.it/183gcJe”
Support SOAWR in sharing this message here;
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/21509-implement-maputoprotocol-now?locale=en

Give Against Ebola

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Dear fellow african, dear friend

You are one of the people that I know that is compassionate beyond the position that you hold or the work that you do. Your organization may or may not be working directly on Ebola, but i am sure that first as a person, second as an african and third as a development practitioner, you care about what is happening in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as well as beyond.

I have felt powerless in front of the increasingly scary reports of the spread of the disease and the struggle that the people, organizations and governments in these three countries are facing in containing it. I looked for a way in which i who is neither a health professional, nor a person living in these countries could help. When i found no way to contribute, my colleagues and i decided to create it with the help of many people including Paulo Gomes, Ecobank, videographer Bruno Demeocq, Photographer Mamadou Gomis, friends, people on the street, and others that are too many to mention; after a careful search of national organizations that we could support, going through a due diligence process, agreeing on transparency and accountability measures with recipient organizations, we have have finally launched the Give Against Ebola campaign last week.

The Give Against Ebola campaign (www.facebook.com/giveagainstebola) is a call to all Africans and others do give as little or as much as they can to national organizations working to stop the spread of Ebola. It is also about asking everyone we know to do the same, about getting our colleagues, our institutions, our communities involved.

If you choose to step in and support, here are three things you can do:

Rapid Transfer: Walk into any Ecobank and send a Rapid Transfer to the three organizations. Ecobank will give all sending fees back to the organizations.
Public Health Initiative Liberia – Give Against Ebola 002101472431001
COFFIG – Donne Contre Ebola 0040294615407701
50/50 Group – Give Against Ebola -00110843541502
Wire Transfer: From the comfort of your home, in front of your computer please do a wire transfer to these accounts. Again Ecobank has waived all fees on these accounts on the receiving end.

Ask your colleagues and/or organization to make a donation. Your organization can encourage staff to give individually and match staff donations, or make an institutional gift. We can send you all the materials you will need to structure the conversation with people. Please make it clear that no amount is too little. Every little helps. If all people can give is $1 each, it is already $1 more than there is today. Events are a great way to get to work in solidarity, talk to others about the disease and preventative measures. If you do organize an event, or a meeting about the campaign, please remember to take pictures and post on the Facebook page or send it to us.

Doing any one of these things will take only a few minutes of your time. A few minutes that could help save lives, contain a global threat, and help nation that are asking for help.

I really hope you will find it worth your time and your resources to support this initiative. Feel free to write, call, text with your comments, questions, critiques or clarifications.

Thank you,
Valerie
vtraore@niyel.com

KAMPALA CIVIL SOCIETY POSITION STATEMENT ON POST 2015

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June 25th, 2014

We representatives of women’s rights, faith and community-based, civil society organizations, media and government from over 14 countries across the continent convened to deliberate on ‘Strengthening African Women’s Voices in the Post-2015 Processes’and the Africa We Want and Need.

We recognize that the Common African Position (CAP) has strong commitments to ensure that “No person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities.” African Heads of State specifically highlighted the inextricable link between gender equality, women’s rights, women’s empowerment and Africa’s structural transformation.

Within the Post-2015 global process, this recognition has led to a dedicated goal on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. For gender equality and women’s empowerment to be truly transformative, it must be anchored in a human rights framework. In addition to a stand-alone goal, it is essential that women’s rights be a cross-cutting priority within the entire Sustainable Development Goals framework.

The prioritization of women’s rights will ensure that spatial, political, social and economic inequalities are addressed. Furthermore, the redistribution of wealth, power, opportunities and resources is critical for addressing prevalent inequalities between men and women, within and between countries.  In addition, development cannot be achieved without peace, security and accountable governance as clearly articulated in CAP.

We therefore call for your support on the following:-

a)      A transformative goal on gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment;

b)      Recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work – the burden of care falls disproportionately on women and girls and must be shared among men and women; the State; Private Sector, Communities;

c)       Eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls – in policies, laws and practices. This includes the elimination of harmful practices including FGM and early, child and forced marriage;

d)      Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights; which would address unacceptably high levels of maternal mortality, teenage pregnancies, transmission of STIs, HIV/AIDS

e)     Access to, control over and ownership of resources and assets including land, energy, credit, information and technology;

f)   Mobilize domestic resources through innovative financing such as curbing illicit financial flows, eliminating tax havens, instituting progressive taxation, gender-responsive budgets, reallocating military expenditures and eliminating corruption;

g)    Ensuring gender parity in decision-making, transparent and accountable governance at all levels

h)     Addressing peace as stand-alone goal and also ensure its mainstreaming throughout all other goals with an emphasis on the principles of good governance and rule of law.

We urge you to keep the spaces open for meaningful CSO engagement in all stages of the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the Post 2015 development framework. We also emphasize the need to mobilize the maximum available resources tomeet existing human rights obligations and ensure the full enjoyment of economic and social rights, following principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilitiesnon-retrogression for the diversity of actors engaged in development, especially women’s organizations and movements. As CSO representatives and other stakeholders, we are committed to work in partnership with African governments to ensure the realization of the above to deliver an inclusive, participatory and equitable Africa we want and need – not only for the next 15 years but for generations to come. Let this be our legacy.

For more information, contact: communication@femnet.or.ke