Tag Archives: FEMNET

FEMNET – A short clip



FEMNET – a Pan-African Feminist Network of over 400 women’s rights organizations continues to promote women’s rights and the gender equality agenda.

FEMNET is about mobilizing and connecting our members – strengthening their capacities to organize and participate effectively in the development processes at different levels in Africa.

FEMNET is about informing and sharing ideas, experiences, strategies and models that are working for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Yes, FEMNET is about influencing policymakers to create an enabling environment and avail adequate resources for the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Are you a member? Join FEMNET membership and together we can make gender equality and women’s empowerment a reality!




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


Breaking Down Silos – in Post-2015 and Beyond


FEMNET-AMWA-meeting-e1404324294838-870x532By Muchiri Nyaggah*

In their paper The Benefits of a Big Tent: Opening Up Government in Developing Countries, J Goldstein and J Weinstein argue for a “big tent”; one term under which open data and open government communities can pursue a common goal. I believe the term is fitting for the post-2015 processes and the unprecedented opportunity they present stakeholders in the development sector.

The development sector is peppered with silos and silos-within-silos as stakeholders carve out niches and ring-fence them with descriptive names and jargon to go with it. We have the transparency movement, the accountability movement, the human rights movement, the feminist movement, the climate change movement, the environmental protection movement, the access to information movement….the list could, quite literally, go on and on. A cursory glance through the recent zero draft from the co-chairs of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals shows many of these constituencies are represented across the 17 focus areas. Indeed their input, especially through the Major Groups, is documented in Rio+20 and throughout the 12 OWG sessions that resulted in the current zero draft. When attempts to mainstream certain aspects such as gender equality, women’s rights or even peace and security are made, it introduces some challenges at implementation and oversight (the latter a role played by among others civil society). This is because those advocating for accountability and public participation, for instance, now have to understand the challenges of doing so in fragile states. Those working in open government need to remain aware of the need to be gender responsive in design of initiatives. Those working in peace and security need to be aware of the issues related to illicit financial flows and international trade. These are just three examples of what can become a complex programming challenge.

I recently had the honour of participating in a strategy meeting organised by FEMNET, FOWODE, Ipas, Akina Mama Wa Afrika and the Government of Uganda on Strengthening African Women’s Voices in the Post-2015 Process. Held in Kampala, Uganda the meeting was opened by the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut and brought together participants working in women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality in Africa. There were participants from organisations working in political empowerment, open government, sexual & reproductive health rights, governments and media. The value of bringing together stakeholders from such a broad cross-section of civil society and the public sector was, in my opinion, immense as many who attended can attest. This was, for me, a practical illustration of how the Post-2015 process has provided a big tent for the development sector.

In appropriating the term “big tent” to the post-2015 context I hope to conceptualise the post-2015 process as an opportunity which stakeholders can leverage to tackle the grand challenge of poverty eradication as a single global community effort. We need to ensure none of the issues we deem critically important for Africa’s development goals are left unarticulated in the final post-2015 development framework.

The efforts of FEMNET, FOWODE, Akina Mama Wa Afrika and others to bring together those who are not normally part of these conversations is laudable. It’s efforts like these that we at Open Institute are keen to catalyse and promote because of their potential to perforate the silos and release new insights across constituencies. We look forward to collaborating with others under this tent as we continue to encourage our governments to maintain ambitious and transformative goals in the post-2015 agenda.

A key output of this meeting was the development and publication of a position statement by civil society organisations encouraging governments to support a transformative goal on gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment among seven other issues. You can find the Kampala Position Statement on 2015 here on the FEMNET website.

*Muchiri Nyaggah is the Deputy Executive Director of the Open Institute. Connect with him @Muchiri or Muchiri@openinstitute.com

Africa’s Commitment to SRHR


By Yvette Kathurima

The conclusion of the Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, also known as ‘Maputo Plan of Action’ therefore stated “African leaders have a civic obligation to respond to the Sexual and Reproductive Health needs and Rights of their people. This Action Plan is a clear demonstration of their commitment to advance Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Africa.” This decision was communicated in the Decision on the Continental Policy Framework for the Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Africa (Doc. EX.CL/225 (VIII) which “ALSO URGES Member States to mainstream SRH in their National Health Programmes by developing linkages between SRH, HIV/AIDS and other primary health care programmes and to draw inspiration from the Continental Policy Framework for the Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Africa.”

However, since 2006, there has been significant regression in terms of understanding and implementing policies on SRHR. Most recently, many African states have argued for a redefinition of the term ‘Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)’ with a preference towards ICPD language that highlighted ‘Sexual and Reproductive Health’ and ‘Reproductive Rights’ usually followed by qualifiers. This is evident in the Common African Position Pillar 3: People Centered Development with states ensuring universal and equitable access to quality healthcare, including universal access to comprehensive sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights (e.g. family planning). This redefinition is problematic as it undermines the importance of sexual rights. Consequently, discussions on bodily integrity and autonomy regarding the right to choose your sexual partner and freedom from sexual violence are disregarded. Additionally, comprehensive sexuality education and supporting the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents are overlooked.

*Yvette Kathurima is the Head of Advocacy at FEMNET (African Women’s Development & Communication Network). Connect with her @Wamburay and advocacy@femnet.or.ke



In Solidarity

The African Women’s Development and Communication Network, FEMNET, has called on hundreds of its members across over 40 African countries to organize and mobilize peaceful demonstrations at Nigerian Embassies around the continent on Thursday, 15th May 2014, also the International Day of the Family, to express pan-African solidarity with the abducted Nigerian school girls, their families and their loved ones. May 15th marks one month since the girls were abducted.

Actions are being organized simultaneously around the continent to express concern over the slow response of the Nigerian government and demand the immediate and safe return of the 276 girls as well as at least eight more who were subsequently abducted. These follow a series of atrocities by Boko Haram, which include a bombing that killed of over 300 last week as well as abductions and killing of school going youth in previous months.

Upon the safe return of the girls, we call for the commitment of the Nigerian government, among others, to provide psychosocial support, to rebuild the schools and reaffirm the girl’s rights to safety, security and education as a process of restoring their dignity. Calls are also being made for urgent action by fellow African governments, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to substantively support immediate and long term interventions to address the underlying systemic issues.

In light of this, all citizens of conscience are invited to join in the solidarity day of action on Thursday, May 15, 2014 to speak out against increasing fundamentalisms and oppressive systems of patriarchy and domination that perpetuate injustice.

In Kenya, the Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter, Akili Dada, Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition and FEMNET will be leading a peaceful march to the Nigerian High Commission commencing at Freedom Corner, Uhuru Park at 9AM. Participants are asked to wear something red in solidarity and support for Nigeria.

Pan-African Expressions and Marches of Solidarity are taking place across the continent.

Cameroon. Cote D’Ivoire. Egypt.  Ghana. Liberia. Mauritius. Madagascar. Seychelles. Senegal. Sudan. Tanzania. Togo. Uganda. Zambia. Zimbabwe.

Take action:

Sign the letters to Nigerian government officials as well as other policy makers here.

Join us online – see social media messages and mapping here.

If in Nairobi, join us in person on Thursday, May 15th.

FEMNET Statement on Abduction of Girls in Chibok, Nigeria

Pan-Africanism & the Women’s Movement


Pan-Africanism & the Women's Movement AWJ Issue 6_Page_01

In this sixth issue of the African Women’s Journal, we continue to keep the African Women’s Decade Alive by stopping to take stock – What has Pan-Africanism meant for the African Women’s Movement, and likewise what has the Women’s Movement meant for Pan-Africanism? Has one impacted on the other, and in what ways? These are some of the questions that are explored in this issue.

Throughout the issue, articles point to the fact that the two: Pan-Africanism and the African Women’s movements work hand in hand and are in fact, inseparable, one cannot move without the other – as Sankara asserts – both are a necessity for the triumph of the revolution.

We open the Journal with “Pan-Africanism” a poetry piece by Nebila that reflects on what Pan-Africanism is[nt] followed by a piece by Semiha who takes a critical look at the parallels between Pan-Africanism and the African Women’s Movement, and how the latter has furthered the former. Norah shares the hostile context in which FEMNET was birthed 25 years ago, and what FEMNET means to both Pan-Africanism and the women’s movement. Gbenga explores the role of new media technologies in facilitating solidarity, shrinking time and space, advancing the agenda of both movements and provides concrete recommendations for Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Tsitsi argues that Botswana remains a democracy mainly reserved for only half of its population; the men. Camalita examines the case of South Africa – as ‘Freedom Day’ is commemorated every year on the 27th of April, is there really cause to celebrate? Jamillah and Linda argue that Pan-Africanism has contributed greatly to defining what the women’s movement will be to able do for African women as it gives them a sense of common identity and operates within their context. Sara delves into the Gender dimensions in discussing and implementing development – isn’t Pan-Africanism about self-sufficiency and control over our own resources?

Access the full journal here.  Send your feedback to communication@femnet.or.ke and library@femnet.or.ke

Our Call for Abstracts for the next issue – Shaping our Collective Futures is out! Submit before 13th of September!