About us

About the SOAWR Coalition

The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) Coalition is a continental membership-based network of organisations working to advance women’s rights in Africa. SOAWR works to ensure that African states sign, ratify, domesticate and implement the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). Currently, we have 72 member organisations working in 33 different African Union member states. 

SOAWR’s goals include:

  • To contribute to the accelerated ratification of the Protocol in the states that have not ratified it.
  • To support the domestication and implementation of the Protocol in states that have ratified it.
  • To implement tracking and documentation mechanisms on the Protocol at the national and sub-regional levels.
  • To strengthen national community mobilisation efforts to popularise and use the Protocol.
  • To enhance conceptual clarity of coalition members around advocating for the Protocol.

SOAWR’s Vision 

African women fully enjoy their rights as provided for under the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. 

SOAWR’s Mission 

Hold African Union Member States accountable and enhance partnership to fulfil their obligations under the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; and encourage other stakeholders to actively apply the Protocol for the promotion and protection of the rights of women. 

SOAWR’s Core Values

1. Equality and non-discrimination 

We believe that the full implementation of the Maputo Protocol is key to addressing the patriarchal and sexist character of institutions, norms and governing values in order to realise full equality and end discrimination against women and girls and realise full equality. 

2. Solidarity and partnership 

We believe in solidarity as a means of building an effective, transformative movement for change in Africa. We therefore envision SOAWR as a collective force for action for women’s freedom and rights. We shall act together and support the struggles and initiatives of women Rights champions and organisations across the continent and with vertical and horizontal partners of women’s rights across the world. 

3. Freedom and dignity 

We believe that freedom is central to social justice. We are a force for African women’s freedom; we are driven by the principle of defending and upholding women’s voice, agency, dignity and rights across the African continent. We therefore envision SOAWR as a collective force for action for women’s freedom and rights. 

4. Diversity and inclusivity 

We believe in the diversity of women and their unique strengths and insights. We also recognise that women’s intersectional identities may interact to intensify violations and we work towards eliminating such discrimination. We believe in holding each other accountable to the indivisibility of women’s rights and we believe in the importance of courage to confront patriarchy. Therefore, we consciously work in the margins of society and work with and for women in the margins. 

5. Commitment and accountability 

We believe that progress towards a continent where women’s rights and dignity are secured will only flow from action by networked, committed and inspired women and women rights champions who are guided by high standards of accountability. Without the passion and commitment and accountability internally and by Member States, transformation will be slow to achieve.

Why SOAWR?

  1. To contribute to the accelerated ratification of the Protocol in the states that have not ratified the Protocol. See the Protocol Watch
  2. To support the domestication and implementation of the Protocol in states that have ratified it.
  3. To implement tracking and documentation mechanisms on the Protocol at the national and sub- regional levels.
  4. To strengthen national community mobilisation efforts to popularise and use the Protocol.
  5. To enhance conceptual clarity of coalition members around advocating for the Protocol.
  6. Coordinate support at a regional level to ensure a linked-up campaign.
  7. Advocate nationally and regionally for universal ratification of the protocol.
  8. Use national, regional, continental and international forums to engage governments in discussions over the ratification and implementation of the protocol.
  9. Maintain close collaboration with the African Union Commission, the AU Legal Counsel, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of African Women, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the African Human and Peoples’ Rights Court.
  10. Expand its popularisation campaign by developing materials and programmes for broadcasting on national and community radio stations across the continent.
  11. Widely distribute a practitioner’s manual on application of the African Women’s Rights Protocol for legal action on promoting women’s rights; and offer relevant training on the same.

Follow these links to read about the benefits of becoming a member of SOAWR and about our membership criteria: