THE VOICES FROM Reflecting on the last quarter of 2019 and looking ahead to 2020
Siha Launches the
#CEDAWforSudanwomen Campaign Stop Tokenism In Women's Rights Sudan Must Adopt And Commit To Women's Human Rights Sudan Women's Convening:
"Nothing About Us, Without Us" The Sudan Women Protest Photo Exhibition
A Documentary: The Sudan Women Protest
Women Street Vendors From Kampala Petition Local Government For Their Rights SIHA Partners With KCCA to Commemorate International Day Of Persons With Disabilities - 2019
Women Street Vendor Cooperatives' Leaders Dialogue With Local Government In Hargeisa First Respondents To SGBV Meet To Discuss A Referral Pathway For Survivors In Mogadishu
The 16 Days Are Over, But Our Work In The Horn Of Africa Is 365/6 Days Of Activism
I would like to extend warm greetings at the start of this new year and decade. My hope is that each one of you is fueled for a new season of activism and advocacy within our different circles of influence. Over the past year, SIHAâ€™s work across the region has been fueled by passion to keep at the front-line and a renewed commitment to shift paradigms, all why unlearning, learning and re-learning. In 2019, we worked even closer with our members, extending support through a multitude of ways. We debuted new modalities and approaches of work, of which we are excited to roll out across the region and firm up our position to continue advocating for the full realization of womenâ€™s rights within our jurisdiction. Looking ahead - this 2020, we are re-reflecting on power and its different manifestations. In our work, we have consistently recognized all the three faces of power used in ways that impede on the rights of women and girls across the globe. In order to advance gender and social justice, we remind ourselves that we must keep interrogating power's different manifestations by asking ourselves who bears the agenda-setting power. If we want to see and create permanent change in systems and structures of power, we will only succeed by dismantling the hidden and invisible sources of power. This year, we intend on affirming that the self is a source of power through all our programming and advocacy. Whilst we document and record our experiences and lived realities, we are also becoming increasingly intentional about creating space and time for healing while recognizing that our well-being is imperative to sustaining our movement-building work in the region.
Regional Girls' Camp:
With this, I wish you all a prosperous 2020. Enjoy reading our latest newsletter.
A luta Continua, Martha Tukahirwa Regional Advocacy and Communications Officer
Women's Conferences For Women Street Vendors In Uganda And Somaliland
Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa
SIHA LAUNCHES THE #CEDAWFORSUDANWOMEN CAMPAIGN On January 2nd 2020, SIHA through the Sudan Women Protest organized the first #CEDAWforSudanWomen March to kick off a three-month campaign calling upon the Sudan government to sign and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Sudan is currently one of three countries in the world that has not signed and ratified the instrument. Bearing a joint memo signed by a group SIHA's Regional Director, Hala Alkarib is pictured alongside Ms. Ihsan Kazzam & Ms. of activists, women rights organizations Saeedah Koko handing the Memo to the Communication Secretary of the Prime and representatives from the wider Minister - Mr. Albarraq Alnazeer. (Photo: SIHA) Sudan women rights movement, the procession made its way across Khartoum to hand deliver to the different duty-bearing offices within the government namely: the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments. All offices acknowledged receipt of their respective copies of the memo. ________________________________________
STOP TOKENISM IN WOMEN'S RIGHTS – SUDAN MUST ADOPT AND COMMIT TO WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS SIHA firmly believes that the Sudanese transitional government must ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). Sudan’s ratification of these human rights doctrines will assure the different communities in Sudan that the transitional government is committed to peace and an inclusive Protesters at the first Sudan Women Protest in Khartoum (Photo by: Ula Osman) and diverse Sudan in which women fully enjoy all the same human rights as men. If the transitional government hopes to maintain the support of the women’s movement – a movement which played an instrumental role in ending the Bashir regime – it must fulfill its promises to Sudanese women and girls, through ratification followed by the policy changes necessary to bring Sudanese laws fully into harmony with CEDAW and the Maputo Protocol.
SUDAN WOMEN'S CONVENING: RE-BUILDING SUDAN From October 17th to 19th, 2019 , sixty five women from various parts of Sudan gathered in Khartoum for a 3-day convening organized by SIHA Network, in collaboration with Urgent Action Fund Africa for Womenâ€™s Human Rights. The convening was characterized by a high level of transparency, impartiality and, a spirit of partnership and solidarity. The event primarily sought to acknowledge the efforts of women in the Sudanese Revolution, along with over thirty years of persistent struggle undertaken with resolve and determination. During the three days, the attending women discussed essential issues of paramount importance to the women of Sudan around security, safety and fundamental rights.
Shots of the Sudan Women Convening (Photos: SIHA)
"NOTHING ABOUT US, WITHOUT US" THE SUDAN WOMEN PROTEST PHOTO EXHIBITION
Photographs taken by different Sudanese were on display during the Exhibition
A DOCUMENTARY: THE SUDAN WOMEN PROTEST Following the Opening of the above Exhibition, the Sudan Women Protest short documentary was launched. This short documentary captures the first Sudan Women Protest march where women from all walks of life and backgrounds from Sudan marched the streets of Khartoum - extending out the pivotal role that they played in the transition.
On October 19th, 2019, SIHA Network organized a photography exhibition in collaboration with a group of Sudanese photographers, to showcase the courage of Sudanese women during the Sudan Women Protest; a protest which led to the ousting of former President Omar Al Bashir and the formation of a new transitional government. The exhibition was intended to celebrate and honor their efforts in contributing to the end of 30 years of oppressive rule in Sudan.
UGANDA WOMEN STREET VENDORS FROM KAMPALA PETITION LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR THEIR RIGHTS
Wambi Molly, a woman street vendor from Kawempe handing over a petition to the Mayor of Nakawa Division, His Worship, Eng. Ronald Balimweso Nsubuga at his office in Nakawa Division Headquarter
On Monday 18th November 2019, 70 women street vendors representing their cooperative societies from Naguru, Kawempe and Wandegeya lodged in their petition against the Kampala Street Traders Ordinance 2019, presenting their recommendations to His Worship, Eng. Ronald Balimweso Nsubuga - Mayor of Nakawa Division. Accompanied by SIHA Network and a number of journalists in tow, the women made known the gaps within the proposed legal instrument and presented their recommendations for better provisions in view of women specific needs.
Some of the recommendations tabled were: Adjusting the time for them to sell on the streets, Addition of clauses that ensure their protection from sexual harassment and abuse including boundaries that the law enforcement officials must not cross; Removal of the restricted trade license; Reduction of the high cost of trade license and uniforms, and Replacement of the overalls with overcoats as taking account women specific needs. They further requested the Mayor to forward their concerns to the relevant authorities at Kampala Capital City Authority for redress, of which he committed to do before the ordinance is passed in January 2020.
SIHA PARTNERS WITH KAMPALA CAPITAL CITY AUTHORITY TO COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES - 2019
The Certificate of Appreciation handed to SIHA for supporting the transformation agenda of Kampala City (Photo: SIHA)
On December 6th, 2019, Kampala Capital City Authority through Office of the Mayor of Nakawa Division partnered with SIHA to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The objective of the event was in line with the global theme - "Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda". Specifically at this event, discussions held were around the sensitization of PWDs around their rights of which SIHA seized the opportunity to speak about the rights of women in the public and private sphere.
SOMALILAND WOMEN STREET VENDOR COOPERATIVES' LEADERS DIALOGUE WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN HARGEISA In October 2019, SIHA Network in Somaliland facilitated a strategic meeting between the local government and women street vendor cooperative leaders to introduce the women’s cooperatives, and the advocacy work that they are carrying out in ensuring the protection and realization of their rights and protection while carrying out their businesses. During the meeting, the women spoke to the challenges they face while doing their business including physical assault, forced eviction, harassment by police officers, and insults from men. They also presented their achievements in business as a result of engagements with SIHA Network.
One of the women street vendors in Hargeisa speaking during the meeting with Local Government Leaders
“This is the most important meeting that I have participated in recently because this is about building trust between us and our people, it’s about removing the misunderstandings between us and our clients, and I appreciate SIHA Network for their effort because they have really done what we are expected to do by ourselves.” – Director of Social Affairs and the Acting Mayor, Hargeisa -
SOMALIA FIRST RESPONDENTS TO SGBV MEET TO DISCUSS A REFERRAL PATHWAY FOR SURVIVORS IN MOGADISHU
A photo of some of the participants that took part in the first respondents meeting in Mogadishu, Somalia
On December 8th, 2019, SIHA held a one day coordination meeting for local first respondents from 30 service providers to discuss referral networks for survivors of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Mogadishu, Somalia. SIHA is in the final stages of establishing a referral pathway with strategic focal points to effectively disseminate information and link women to necessary services as well as build local coalitions pursuing anti-SGBV work in Mogadishu. The meeting was made possible with support from Oxfam Novib.
UPDATES FROM AROUND THE REGION THE 16 DAYS ARE OVER, BUT OUR WORK IN THE HORN OF AFRICA IS 365/6 DAYS OF ACTIVISM On 10th December, 2019 - activists, feminists, and women’s rights organizations around the world concluded 16 days of focused activism as part of the 2019 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. This year SIHA engaged with local partners to hold community dialogue events across the Horn of Africa Region, addressing a variety of issues relating to women’s rights, ranging from workplace sexual harassment, prevention and risk mitigation strategies for GBV, women’s engagement and participation in civic and political spaces, the CEDAW ratification campaign (of which Sudan and Somalia are yet to ratify), sensitization around Sexual and Reproductive Health services and referral networks of service providers, Response and Rehabilitation support to trafficked women and girlsmigration. SIHA also held an Artivist Pop-up, a Facebook live panel discussion, and a Graduation Ceremony for the Sudanese women who completed the Breaking Gender Stereotypes vocational training program among other activities across the region.
REGIONAL GIRLS' CAMP: SISTER!! SISTER!! With support from the NoVo Foundation and in partnership with our members - the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD) and the Good Samaritan Association (GSA), SIHA Network organized a Regional Girl’s Camp in Beshoftu, Ethiopia in September, 2019. The Camp brought together 41 participants girl migrants, many of whom are survivors of internal displacement and human trafficking from Ethiopia, Somaliland, and Sudan. The camp fostered a space for reflection, learning, unlearning, experience sharing, healing, and fostering conversations on life skills, gender and feminism, risks and assumptions in mixed migration, coping mechanisms, collective engagement, and advocacy, among others.
STRONGER TOGETHER: WOMEN'S CONFERENCES FOR WOMEN STREET VENDORS IN UGANDA AND SOMALILAND With support from the African Women Development Fund (AWDF), SIHA Network organized two inspirational conferences for the 300 women street vendors that we have been working for the past two years. The conferences which were held in Kampala, Uganda and
Hargeisa, Somaliland respectively were aimed at linking the women street vendor cooperatives to the wider women's movements in both countries. Seasoned women rights activists and professionals in both countries spoke to different issues affecting women, in addition to speaking to the pool of resources and opportunities that the women need to tap into. The space nurtured was one of inspiration, learning and networking.
SIHA'S LATEST PUBLICATIONS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: GENDER INEQUALITY AND RAMPANT SGBV IN WAU, SOUTH SUDAN Through the qualitative research that was undertaken in Wau Town at the end of 2018 to early/mid 2019, “Caught in the Middle: Gender Inequality and Rampant SGBV in Wau, South Sudan” critically examines the dynamics of violence experienced by women and girls, to understand the root causes, and provide policy recommendations on how this can be addressed. The key observations from the paper range from sexual violence, bride-wealth based marriage practices, transactional sex, to disproportionate burdens to provide financial and care work for the family. Consequently, this has significantly undermined the freedom and safety of women and youth in Wau.
"BETWEEN POVERTY AND TRAUMA – A SHELTER MANAGEMENT MANUAL FOR MIGRANT AND TRAFFICKED WOMEN AND GIRLS The “Between Poverty and Trauma – Shelter Management manual for Migrant and Trafficked women and girls” has been developed to respond to the growing needs within the Horn of Africa to establish transitory shelters for women and girls whose lives and well-being are at risk. The manual was inspired by the experiences of women and girl migrant domestic workers and women whose poor employment conditions combined with societal and cultural stigma make them vulnerable to abuse, often leading to trauma, poor mental health and stigma.
THE WOMEN IN ISLAM JOURNAL
A PLATFORM FOR LEARNING, ACTIVISM, AND CONVERSATION IN ARABIC AND ENGLISH Women in Islam is an annual journal published in both English and Arabic by SIHA Network. The journal provides a space for the narratives of women and men in Muslim societies, with a focus on East Africa, and also explores and reflects on the variety of interpretations of Islam and their interactions with understandings of feminism and gender equality. The core aim of the journal is to encourage people living in Muslim communities to exercise activism against dogmatic discourses based on militant and Salafi religious views. The journal is comprised of contributions from Muslim and non-Muslim scholars and activists from around the world.
LOOK OUT FOR ISSUE 5 OF THE JOURNAL COMING OUT SOON
Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa