We are watching you!

We know it when a man craves undeserved attention.  We can smell an inflated ego from miles away. We have been born and bred amongst the most misogynistic of men, shackled and strapped tightly around cultural and societal bondage which in reality have claimed hundreds of thousands of our sisters.

We know what the journey feels like. We have lived it. We have walked it.  We still live it albeit differently now.  In that seat of power you occupy, be informed that women of Africa – women of the world know the implications much better that you may care to spell-out!

We saw it in your sexist derogatory comments and statements to women like us in different platforms. We cringed and winced as you spewed body-shaming and demeaning attributes for the simple reason that they were women. We are watching you!

With every narcissist remark you made about women – any woman, you became a marked enemy to the women of Africa.  You became the stray hound of the park. And because of this, we are watching you – We will keep watching you until you understand that Women’s rights are not negotiable!

We marked you, not with hate, because hate diminishes us to your pathetic level. We watched you with venomous anger and we marked you with unwavering determination to fight even further against your bigoted selfish ideologies and all those of your kind.

We are watching you. We will keep watching you for as long as you occupy this powerful office in the land. Our eyes will not wander from you because there is too much of liberties at stake under your reign to afford you the liberty to trample all over us.  It has taken us years of struggle, push and shove to garner gains across the world –  to push for equality for women across board and no, we are not about to let go so easily! That is why we will watch closer than ever, more intensely. We will bore into your conscious until you can fully comprehend the magnitude of just who we are.

Like it or not, we are watching you. Even though you are not exactly easy on the eye to our liking, we will still watch you, all of us – billions of us, all of us!  You know what? Three decades back, women in Africa and across the world were not where they are today. We have crawled, we have staggered, we have walked, we have run and we keep running – running for what is rightfully ours and running everyone out of town who might dare to block us from achieving this goal. We run them all out of town; the rapists, the sexists, the cultural bigots, the misogynistic pigs, the women haters and batterers, the oppressors and gender dictators, we go for them and we eventually flatten them to nothingness.

Trust us. Believe us. Hell hath no greater furry than all of us together from all corners of the globe hurdling to watch you – to keep watching you.

We watched as you belittled, demeaned and disparaged the strong woman who bravely challenged your assent to the White House. Well, we out here in Africa and the rest of the world are “that woman” and we are watching you and we will stalk you, snoop around you, hound you and dance on the back of your conscious until you will understand that women are as equal as any man can be!

The one-million women’s march was just the beginning. You may not see us in the streets now but believe us when we say, we are marching on. We never stopped. We keep marching on; through your conscious, ripping through your boardrooms and frustrating your policies at the pinnacle of change, we are marching on!

Today we watch you, tomorrow we watch you even more. Women of the world are determined. We will protect our gains. We will enhance our liberties. We will safeguard our freedoms and nobody, absolutely nobody has the right to mess with them. Never forget that.

Now repeat this statement slowly; we…are…watching…YOU!

“Do not violate women!” African women warn Donald Trump

African women have taken note of the inauguration of Mr. Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States and now warn him to desist and abstain from any forms of objectification and/or violation of women and girls during his tenure as president.

With this latest development that has garnered keen global interest, the pan-African regional organization, African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) is cautioning the newly elected president of the US to govern with a studious commitment of upholding respect and rights for women in America and globally.

“As the new president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, it is paramount to observe and understand that women the world over deserve respect and dignity at all levels and must be granted equality at all spheres and be free of all forms of violence and discrimination” said FEMNET’s Executive Director, Dinah Musindarwezo.

Within a hotly contested election year, FEMNET has keenly observed the disturbing revelations of violation and disregard for women that has elicited deserved indignation both in the US and globally.

“It is our firm submission that the government of President Donald Trump must adhere to uphold and respect universal principles of human rights and women’s rights as enshrined in universally accepted principles of which the US is boldly a part of”, said Dinah.

“Women of Africa have been peeved by the apparent sexist, misogynistic and utter violation of women as exemplified and revealed during the US election campaigns of 2015 and especially as advanced presumably by President Trump”, she added.

In light of widely reported cases of sexual and violations, misogynistic statements and concerning attitudes to the emancipation of women in the US, FEMNET affirms the explicit responsibility of the newly elected government of Mr. Trump to take note of universally adopted instruments of women’s rights and aspire towards safeguarding them.

“It is in the US that all women of the world have converged annually in New York at the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for the last 60 Years. It is in New York that women of the world deliberate, strategize and collaborate to make the world safer, just and equal for women and girls in the world. We hope that President Donald Trump will take note of this and treat this process with the commitment and support as it has been in the past” said Dinah.

FEMNET urges the new government of president Trump not to overlook core international human rights instruments, take a specific focus on the International Bill of Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and most importantly, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“It is not by chance that the world adopted and continues to agitate emancipation and gender equality in numerous platforms. For this reason, we emphasize that the United States, being a world Super power must within this new government of Mr. Trump amplify efforts to end all forms of violence and discrimination of women in the US and globally” added Dinah Musindarwezo.

For More information or to request an interview, contact:
Mildred Ngesa, Head of Communication, FEMNET: communication@femnet.or.ke/ ngesamildred@gmail.com +254 727 137 853


Since inception in 1988, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) continues to play a leading role in building the women’s movement in Africa and ensuring that African women’s voices are amplified and influence decisions made at national, regional and global levels, which have direct and indirect impact on their lives.

As a pan-African membership-based organization working to advance women’s rights, FEMNET has a mandate to mobilize African women to hold governments accountable to commitments previously agreed upon to achieve gender equality and women’s rights including: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

FEMNET’s vision is an African society where gender equality is achieved and women and girls enjoy all their rights and live in dignity. It’s mantra is women’s rights are human rights, its’ mission is to mobilize African women for the achievement of gender equality and the realization of women’s and girls’ rights at all levels. For more information visit: www.femnet.co

FEMNET’s Contribution and Engagement at the 2nd High Level Meeting on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (HLM2) in Nairobi, Kenya (28th November – 1st December 2016

For More information related to FEMNET’s contribution contact; Catherine Nyambura, prog-associate@femnet.or.ke
Follow on Twitter: @FemnetProg   Hashtag: #WhatWomenWant  #HLM2 #GPEDC


Women’s Forum


FEMNET Secretariat and Members moderating various sessions during the Forum



28th November 7.30am- 6.30pm KICC Preparatory forum to build capacity of women’s rights organizations to effectively engage in HLM 2 and also provide space for development of collective advocacy strategy.
CSOs Forum


Dinah Musindarwezo, FEMNET will present key Outcomes from the Women’s Forum that will inform the CSOs Position



29th November 8.00am- 6.00pm Pride –Inn Westlands Organised and meaningful participation by CSOs is critical in ensuring the voices of the peoples and communities it represents or work with are heard.


This preparatory forum will be a convening of over 100 civil society delegates to discuss the positions, messages, and key demands of the CSOs to make development cooperation effective. The plenary and parallel sessions in this Forum will be an avenue where delegates can level off on what they will bring to negotiation table and during their interventions in the HLM2 sessions. Click to Download Programme



High Level Meeting


30th November- 1st December The two-day high-level meeting will offer a unique platform for heads of state, ministers, heads of major international organisations and leaders from civil society, the private sector, foundations, local government and parliaments to showcase successes and identify innovative approaches. The meeting will include seven plenary sessions, parallel discussions on bottlenecks, a series of side events, and market place stalls for showcasing successful innovation, implementation, and sharing knowledge. Click to Download Programme



UN Women Side Event: Closing the Gap; Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

FEMNET on the  panel

Dinah Musindarwezo- Executive Director


30th November 2.30-3.30pm Taifa Investment in gender equality continues to be low, in 2012-13 only 5% of foreign aid funds had gender equality as a principle objective (UN Women 2016). On the other hand gender Ministries are among the under resourced Ministries receiving on average 2% of the national budget. Although gender responsive budgeting is used extensively to implement gender equality policies and action plans, there are still huge funding gaps up to 90% of what is required to for gender responsive programmes that benefit women and girls, provide basic services such as access to clean and safe water, comprehensive sexual reproductive health rights and services, prevention and response to violence against women and girls, clean accessible energy  and frameworks relating to land ownership,  control inheritance and property rights.


FEMNET Side Event


Mutual Accountability for Women and Girls Human Rights in Africa: Rising beyond Rhetoric to Concrete Actions in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


1st December 7.30am-8.30am KICC

Amphitheatre Room

Platform for key actors to reflect on practical implementation mechanisms and strategies for achieving the aspirations set out in the 2030 Agenda (SDGs), other regional and international commitments including the Maputo Protocol, Beijing Platform for Action, International Conference on Population and Development Programme (ICPD), Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development,  and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Gladiator Session


Valuing Women’s Economic Contribution


FEMNET on the Panel –  Memory Kachambwa- Head of  Programmes

1st December 8.30am-9.15am KICC Lively discussion of hot issues on Recognising and Valuing Women’s Contribution to Economic Development. The session will cover development aid landscape in supporting women’s rights and gender equality, unpaid care work, aspects of financing gender equality for the achievement of Agenda 2030 in particular Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls and SDG Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development; curbing illicit financial flows, resourcing for women’s rights, addressing the gender gap in rural development and assessing the role of private sector in financing gender equality beyond cooperate social responsibility.


PLENARY 5 SESSION: Women and Youth Economic Empowerment


FEMNET on the Panel – Dinah Musindarwezo Executive Director

1st December 10.30am-12.00pm KICC The overarching goal of this session is to deliberate on the accountability of development  stakeholders in relation to women’s rights, gender equality and the rights of  the youth in the context of development cooperation. The plenary is a clarion call for accelerated efforts by all partners to unleash the power of youth and women as dynamic contributors to society, to create synergies, share practices and catalyse all knowledge on promoting Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth.



Press Release: “Hyena” Jail sentence is a failure to justice for women and girls in Africa

Press Release

For immediate release

“Hyena” Jail sentence is a failure to justice for women and girls in Africa

22nd Nov 2016 / Lilongwe – Malawi

Women’s human rights organization alongside cultural and religious leaders from African countries currently meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi have condemned in the strongest terms the “lenient” sentence passed on a man arrested for knowingly sexually violating women and allegedly infecting  them with HIV-Aids.

On Tuesday evening after the two-year sentence by the Nsanje Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi upon the 45 year old man Eric Aniva, nicknamed “Hyena”, the Malawi Human Rights Resource Center (MHRRC), the NGO Gender Co-ordination Network and the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) are now calling for a review of the ruling by the High Court of Malawi and the Director of Public prosecutions to appeal the sentence.

“We are shocked and appalled that a man, living with HIV has for over two decades sexually violated children as young as 12 years of age in an outdated retrogressive culture that is harmful for women and girls and the magistrate saw it fit to only give him 2 years in jail!” reacted Mrs. Emma Kaliya, a veteran Malawi Human Rights Activist and Executive Director for MHRCC.  “What message does this send to all perpetrators of sexual violence hiding behind discriminatory and destructive cultural practices? that you can get away with only two years? This is a disgrace and a big let-down to the women and girls of Malawi. The courts of justice must revoke and reconsider this sentence” She added.

As the first case to be tried under the Malawi Gender Equality Act 2013, observers affirm that the sentence should have been higher to deter potential offenders and to bar communities from persisting with the practice.

“This is a great disappointment to the test of a new law that should otherwise be stringent enough to fully protect women and children. We are enraged!” said Mrs. Kaliya.

In a recent revelation in a BBC documentary that sparked wide condemnations in the region and in sections of the International media, Eric Aniva admitted to being HIV positive and being paid by parents to perform the traditional ritual of having sex with around 104 young girls in a cleansing ritual to mark their rite of passage to adulthood.

Some districts from parts of Southern Malawi, families pay a man referred to as “Hyena” to perform a cleansing sexual ceremony with bereaved widows to “exorcise evil spirits”. The same is also done to “initiate” young girls into adulthood at the turn of puberty with total disregard to the HIV status.

“These are the destructive cultures we are fighting against that have continued to endanger and harm women and girls in Africa.  This particular case presented a great opportunity for the Malawi Judicial system to affirm its commitment to justice for women and girls in Malawi but it has failed them” said Hellen Apila, FEMNET’s Head of Advocacy.

“Persistent sexual violations under the pretext of culture continue to dodge women and girls in the world and this must be vehemently condemned. We urge the government of Malawi not to waste this important opportunity to make landmark strides in ending destructive cultural practices by invoking the full force of the law and any other cases of sexual violations that infringe on the rights of women and girls” said Hellen.

Malawi’s Gender Equality At 2013 states that the criminal offence of sexual violation attracts a fine of 1 Million Malawi kwacha (Approx. $1200) or face a jail term of a maximum 5 years.

Speaking from the same meeting hosted by FEMNET and MHRRC, a section of religious and cultural leaders and media from Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Tunisia and Rwanda equally expressed outrage over the sentence and called for stiffer penalties.

“It is a disgrace that in our communities we still perpetuate this kind of violation to our women and girls.  It is time that we Chiefs from all communities in Malawi come together to fully condemn and castigate these harmful practices that endanger our women and girls” said Chief Mabilabo from Mzimba, Nothern Malawi. He added that the law in the corridors of justice must also amplify efforts to assure justice for victims of harmful sexual practices.

“It is disturbing that this kind of cultural practice has continued for so long. Many women and girls continue to suffer from such atrocities. There is serious need to step in more firmly to protect our women and girls” said Fr. Henry Chinkanda, a Malawian Catholic priest.

In view of the challenges of cultural practices that violate the rights of women and girls in many African communities, a Kenyan Cultural elder from the Njuri Ncheke  Meru Community Benjamin Mugambi castigated accomplices to retrogressive practices that continue to entrap vulnerable indigenous communities to continued violations.

“It is wrong for families to encourage this kind of practice by paying the “hyenas” to persist the violation. When parents give away their children to be sexually violated then this is a criminal act that is punishable by law and must be fully condemned.

For more information and to request an interview, contact: Mildred Ngesa, Head of Communications, FEMNET; ngesamildred@gmail.com / Tel: +254 726137853


CSO Nairobi Declaration on the Nairobi HLM2

We, the Participants at the Pan African CSO conference on  “CSO Preparatory meeting towards the second high level meeting  for Nairobi under the theme of ‘Fast tracking SDGs Implementation through Effective Development Co-operation’ held in Nairobi, Kenya on 24th – 25th October 2016, have come together as African Civil Society Organizations, including women’s organizations, labour unions, faith based groups, and networks, in the spirit of solidarity and partnership and as key actors in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation  from 35 African countries with over 500 million citizens of Africa to consolidate our position in our preparation to the second High Level Meeting .

Reaffirming that if the citizens of Africa are to see transformational and sustainable change in their quality of life in the Sustainable Development Goals context, the means of implementation and particularly the global partnership for effective development goals (GPEDC) must place gender equality, youth and women’s empowerment, as well as children at the centre of its focus in effective development co-operation.

Click to Download and Read the CSOs Nairobi Declaration towards HLM2