25 May 2016
Today, the International Conference Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) National Civil Society Forum of Uganda, under the leadership of Akina Mama wa Afrika supported by Amplify Change, are gathered in Kampala for a 3 day advocacy workshop on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The workshop is aimed at strengthening the capacities of Ugandan civil society to encourage the effective the implementation of the Kampala Declaration and other related instruments on Sexual Gender Based Violence.
Recognising the prevalence and devastating impact of SGBV in the Great Lakes Region, the Heads of State and Government of Member States of the ICGLR held a special session on SGBV in 2011 at the Fourth Ordinary Summit, culminating in the signing of the Kampala Declaration. The same year, the ICGLR also launched the Zero Tolerance Campaign on SGBV, sending a strong message of governments’ commitment to end all forms of SGBV and promote human rights in the Great Lakes Region.
Yet, despite these commitments and the continued ratification of various international and regional instruments, SGBV continues to be perpetuated with impunity in the region as conflicts and generalized insecurity continues to fuel human rights abuses. Whilst patterns of SGBV cut across all countries in the Great Lakes Region, with for example, Uganda’s Police Crime Report, 2010 showing that 8645 cases of rape and other sexual violence were reported, the situation is even worse in countries affected by armed conflicts like Democratic Republic of Congo, where UN Secretary General report to the UN Security Council, indicated more than 1,100 women and girls being raped per month in Eastern regions alone, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and more recently in Burundi.
In a bid to accelerate the implementation of the Kampala Declaration and bring its spirit to life, CSOs are calling on governments of the Great Lakes Region and Uganda in particular to:
For further information, please contact:
With support from the Common Wealth Foundation, Akina Mama wa Afrika embarked on a 3 year project under the theme,” Contributing to building a vibrant women’s movement advocating for women’s land rights in the new wave of land acquisition in Zambia, Namibia and Swaziland”. The project which was launched in Zambia, has so far trained a total of 33 women from Zambia (15) and Swaziland (18) in feminist research, advocacy and movement building. The recently concluded training held on 11th -14th of May 2016 at the George Hotel, Manzini in Swaziland was critical for Swaziland women as it re-awakened the need secure women’s land rights. Key among the outcomes of the meeting was the formation of a women’s land alliance that is aimed at mobilize women groups and collective advocate for women’s land rights with unified voice
While the ownership of resources is a key driver of empowerment, there are many African women whose property rights are denied. The violation of women’s property rights is largely fueled by patriarchy which perpetuates the subordination of women and renders women powerless in a male dominated society. “Land ownership and access is confused with headship which is communicated as strictly a male preserve. The means of acquiring land being cattle and money are generally viewed as more of men’s then women’s terrain.” Doo Aphane, Women for Women
Swaziland is one of the many African countries that have adopted and ratified international and regional instruments stipulating the equality between men and women such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women1979 (25th April 2004.) ratified without reservation, AU Women’s Protocol in 2012, SADC Gender and Development Protocol ratified in September,2012 and adopted a constitution with provisions that clearly spell out the rights of women and a national gender policy of 2010.
Despite the existence of the above laws and policies, women’s land rights are still violated in Swaziland. There has been a failure to implement laws and policies on women’s property rights especially in as far as women’s land rights are concerned, there are outstanding Bills such as the Administration of Estates Bill and Marriage Bill which if adopted into law would have a bearing on women’s land rights, but these are yet to be made into law. These coupled with presence of a dual legal system of Roman –Dutch Law and customary law, which has not been reconciled in many facets and emergency of large scale land acquisitions for commercialized farming in Swaziland further threatens women’s land rights.
As discussions ensued, participants cited other barriers to women’s land rights that included; customary laws, norms and practices, lack of and /or limited knowledge on land rights, and lack of collective action challenging government to implement laws and policies that could foster women’s land rights. “I was asked to bring my husband, a brother, or a son to register land in my names”. Mabuza Bongiwe, Municipal Council of Mbanane Important to note also was the link drawn between women’s bodily integrity and power dynamics on women’s property rights.
Although there have been individual actions undertaken against the violation of women’s land rights such as the High court case of; Mary-Joyce Doo Aphane v. Registrar wherein Aphane challenged the validity of S16 (3) of the Deeds Registry Act in view of Section 20 and 28 of the Constitution these actions have not been sufficient enough to transform women property rights thus calling for more action.
Demonstrating their solidarity and commitment through songs participants collectively developed a political agenda geared towards ensuring government domesticates laws and policies to enable women access, own and control land. In addition an action plan was developed encompassing activities on conducting a baseline survey on women land rights, documentation of women’s lived realities, development of IEC materials on women land rights for awareness campaigns, and engagement in advocacy initiatives among others. Women being deprived the right to own land also deprives them of the economy. Zethu
Although the formation of a movement on women’s land rights is not going to be an easy road for the women of Swaziland especially at a time when the public order management bill is underway the women were determined to push for the realisation of women’s land rights. As the saying goes where there is a will there is a way, we trust that with commitment from the Swaziland women, support from AMwA, and other partners, Swaziland women will be able to realise and enjoy their land rights.
Where will you be when…
We engage every woman on land rights
We question land issues fearlessly
We defend our birth rights on land dissemination
We own and use land without barriers…
Extracted from a Poem by Nelisiwe .N.
Theme:Drawing on existing initiatives to build a vibrant women’s movement advocating for women’s land rights in the new wave of land acquisition in Malawi"
Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) will from 7th – 10th of November, 2016 host a feminist leadership training focusing on the two modules of AMwA’s Africa Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI)curriculum- Organizing Skills and Taking Action, focusing majorly on feminist research and documentation, advocacy and accountability; Strategy Development and Communication for social change; movement building; Understanding social movements, Networks and Partnerships; Resource mobilization; Building Alliances and Networks.
The Institute is aimed at ensuring that women are able to analyze the impact of land acquisitions with a feminist lens and are equipped to adequately influence laws and policies on women’s land rights.
The training entails follow up activity that will support some of the participants to undertake Research and Documentation of women lived experiences to inform policy advocacy, policy influence and movement building.
The institute will bring together 20 feminist/women leaders from Malawi to include AMwA Alumnae and other women activists working on women’s land issues.
Please note that this call for Applications is only open to participants resident in Malawi only.
•A support letter from your organisation committing to support your engagement in the training and post training activities
•A brief CV (not more than 2 pages)
•A one-page motivation statement on why you would like to attend the AWLI and how you will use the experience to contribute to the enhancement of the movement on women’s land rights.
•One passport size photograph
•Information (brochures, leaflets) about your organisation
The deadline for receiving applications is 20th October 2016 Any applications received after this date will not be considered. Only successful participants will be notified of their selection.
Kindly circulate this call to all your networks.