The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) coalition through its members participated in the 11th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development held on 14-17 November 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa.
SOAWR set up a campaign corner to show case the campaign for the ratification, domestication and implementation of the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. During the 4 days, SOAWR distributed its brochures and other material to delegates at the conference and SOAWR members present interacted and networked with participants from across the world explaining the urgency in universal ratification and domestication of the Protocol for African women .
On 16th November 2008, SOAWR hosted a lunch time caucus at the AWID forum titled: ‘Using the Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa as a tool for the protection of Women in Africa’. The purpose of the caucus was to publicize the SOAWR campaign as well as brainstorm on strategies to strengthen the protocol campaign. SOAWR members gave an introduction to the SOAWR campaign, strategies that the coalition has used successes and challenges and provoked participants to think of other strategies that they together with the coalition could adopt to make the campaign more visible and effective. Thereafter SOAWR launched the ‘Crossroads’ radio drama and distributed to participants present. SOAWR urged participants to use the radio drama in their advocacy work and where possible replicate the same in local language to reach wider networks Participants made some valuable contribution among them; the need to simplify the protocol’s content and translate into local languages; the importance of radio and using it to popularize the protocol; the need to understand how to domesticate international treaties in our various countries so as to create more informed and effective strategies; and the importance of researching on women’s rights in Africa to inform our interventions.
The panel included the following SOAWR members: Hannah Forster (ACDHRS), Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe (Akina Mama wa Afrika) and Mama Koite (FEMNET) and Caroline Muthoni (Equality Now). Other SAOWR members’ involved in the planning of SOAWR activities included Carlyn Hambuba and Asa Eriksson from FEMNET.
Today marks International Women’s Day, a day where the world pauses to take stock of women’s diverse achievements as well as the persisting patriarchal systems which undermine efforts to transform