STATE OF THE AFRICAN WOMEN PROJECT
What is the SOAW Campaign about?
The "State of the African Woman” campaign is a project aimed at contributing to securing, realizing and extending women’s rights as enshrined in African Union policies in sub-Saharan Africa.
Funded by the European Union, the three-year advocacy, communication and awareness-raising campaign is implemented by five organizations being co-beneficiaries: YWCA Kenya, Faith-To-Action, Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), IPPF EN, DSW and two as Associates, KIT-Royal tropical institute and GIZ. IPPF Africa Region as the lead beneficiary.
The campaign focuses on strengthening Civil Society contribution to promote the implementation of the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol) and the Maputo Plan of Action (MPoA) at four decision-making levels across sub-Saharan Africa; continental, regional, national and sub-national levels. The ability of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to push for the implementation of policies is of greatly acknowledged across the continent.
The Action’s overall objective is securing, realising and extending women’s rights enshrined in African Union policies in African countries.
The first intermediate objective of the Action is to influence legal and social norms on women’s rights through greater transparency and public pressure on duty bearers.
The second intermediate objective is to hold decision makers to account for their policy commitments on women’s rights through a stronger civil society voice and meaning participation in decision making.
YWCA Kenya Role
- Overall coordination of 16 YWCAs in Africa
- Work with 32 Young women champions from the 16 MAs
- Capacity build the 16 MAs and 32 YW champions
- Support for 32 YW champions events (advocacy outreaches) at national level
Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Madagascar, Lesotho, The Gambia, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Liberia.
All the activities implemented in the SoAWC are aligned with the SOAW project four main themes including articles in the Maputo protocol namely;
- Article 2: Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
- Article 5: Elimination of Harmful Practices: This refers to female genital mutilation and other traditional practices that are harmful to women including early child marriage
- Article 14: Health and Reproductive Rights
Highlights of the activities includes;
- Member Association (MA’s) capacity building
- Youth champions capacity building
- Establishment of communication channels and social media platforms for the youth champions and enhancement of the hashtag #RightByHer
- Participation of YWCAs and youth champions in key national, regional and international events.
Youth Champions Events
Highlights of YWCA youth champion activities around Africa include;
- In Lesotho, the Youth Champions use electronic media through interviews on the national television station to advocate for the SOAW project, highlighting some of the issues discussed during the Nairobi meeting.
- In Ethiopia and Gambia, the Youth Champions actively use social media platforms by forming groups on telegram and Facebook to reach out to a wider audience of girls, women, men, opinion influencers as well as policy makers in their countries.
- Social media is a very effective communication tool that all the Youth Champions are actively utilizing to share information and opportunities for advocacy using the hashtag #RightByHer
- The YWCA Kenya Youth Champion from Kisii county, which is an area with a high prevalence rate of FGM at 96.1%, has been involved in a number of #EndFGM grassroots advocacy initiatives and mobilizing on the campaign against changing the FGM law in Kenya and adoption of Anti-FGM policy.
- Madagascar, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda champions continue to use school platforms (Y-Teen clubs), safe space forums and national networks to challenge social norms on women’s roles, rights as well as generate conversations around issues on the project key themes, especially SRHR.