Fab Feminists

#BeBoldForChange; Team Fab Feminists at the Global Goals World Cup

On Sunday 5th March, FEMNET was part of 28 regional teams of passionate young women and girls that participated in the Global Goals World Cup (GGWCUP) that was hosted at the Impala Grounds in Nairobi. This football tournament, unlike normal football matches, was aimed at advocating for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and participating teams were to choose which goal to play for based on their daily works and passion.

FEMNET was represented by team FAB Feminists and were playing for SDG goal 5 and in particular targets 5.2 and 5.3 that focus on ending all forms violence against women and harmful practices such as FGM, and child marriage.

Team Fab Feminists was composed of women and girls brought together by resolve to see an Africa that is safe for the girls and women, an Africa where women and girls realize their full potential without gendered discrimination and an Africa that appreciates women and girls as equal agents of change.

Members of the team ranged from students to young women working towards the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights through advancing #SRHRDialogues in their communities and amongst the constituencies to young women politicians.

The football tournament was intended to challenge the stereotypical belief that women’s place is at the kitchen and enable women claim their space in the public and male dominated sphere of sports. The fact that it was an all female tournament sent out a strong message; that women too can do and own it! The GGWCUP was not an on the pitch affair only; teams were expected to advocate for the goal they are playing for off the pitch as well in efforts to rally the crowd, raise awareness on the SDGs and give visibility to the issue they were playing for. That being the case, Fab Feminists had mobilized a team of cheerleaders who, just like the playing unit, were young women passionate about a gender equal society and dismantling patriarchy. They cheered the playing unit on; chanting and challenging those in attendance to take action and end Violence against Women.

FEMNET  hosted a photo booth where messages on ending violence against women, female genital mutilation, child marriages were disseminated using various branded items such as hand flags, graffiti and  placards with various BOLD messages. Some of the notable messages were “Blow The Whistle Not My Destiny”, “Kick The Ball Not My Body”.

Fab Feminists seized the platform to demand for an end to Violence Against Women in both private or public spaces. From the Fab Feminists, the message was clear; women must be included in decision making at the grass root level but also at the policy making and implementation stage.

Fab feminists further decried the need to eliminate harmful practices against women and girls such as Early and forced child marriages that prevents them from enjoying their childhood and denies them sufficient empowerment.

The message was loud and clear; #WhatWomenWant is to KICK OUT All forms of Violence against Women!!

Briefing on SRHR and SDGs - FEMNET-cover

Leaving no One Behind in SRHR: Tag along all; feminists, chauvinists, moderates, culturists and religious

The National CSOs training on SRHR and SDGs was a highly packed interactive event with a dynamic mix of stakeholders. The goal of the training, organized by FEMNET in partnership with International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) and Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation, was to ‘enhance the capacity of women’s rights advocates to be able to engage policymakers on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and SDGs in Kenya’.

Achieving the Africa We Want requires widespread stakeholder engagement and aligning the various protocols, principles and laws with real actions.

While the discussions focused on array of issues around the SRHR and the relevant laws/policies/declarations like the Maputo Protocol, Maputo Plan of Action and Abuja Declaration as well as the Kenyan Constitution, the coffee table like debates and TV format presentations brought to the fore some salient issues that need to be addressed by the stakeholders.

For instance, picture these:-

  1. A young lady, sexually active, not married, stays with ‘overbearing and possessive parents who dare not talk about sex with her’, gets pregnant, is abandoned by the boyfriend and infected with STIs, stigmatized by peers and left at the mercy of fate.
  2. A young boy who is sexually active, but feels embarrassed to buy condoms from a community chemist and forces the girlfriend to use emergency pills as much as twice a week. Scientifically, the e-pills are stronger than the normal pills, as they are to be used for emergency
  3. A married couple who find it hard to talk about contraceptives yet not ready to have more children.
  4. Unmarried and married women who procure abortion with or without the knowledge of partner and suffers post abortion disorders yet not willing to seek help for fear of being stigmatized.

These are some of the issues that marked the day one of the CSOs training. Of course no one is to blame for the myths surrounding SRHR but there is need to have bold conversations to demystify them and foster learning. The discussants agreed that SRHR is a complex issue that requires unique approach and takes into account socio-economic, cultural and religious connotations.

This brings us to the next issue; is SRHR a woman issue?

Conventionally, the chauvinists perceive the topic as a feminist issue that should be lumped together with maternal issues. However, SRHR is a developmental issue and concerns all human beings. The Programme for Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994 placed human rights (including the right to plan one’s family) sexual and reproductive health and gender equality at the very heart of sustainable development. Both men and women have sexual and reproductive rights that must be respected, protected and fulfilled. The newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (also being referred to us the SDGs) promises to leave no one behind and therefore SRHR programmes and initiatives must always tag everyone a long; men, women, boys and girls. True to the concept note, no one was left behind;

 

So what next?

We all agreed that there are sufficient laws to address SRHR, though specific national legislations are required to monitor implementation. It is expected that the Reproductive Health Care Bill (2014) will enhance an individual’s right to make decisions regarding reproduction free from discrimination, coercion and violence.

Demanding accountability from duty bearers such as county governments, capacity building and alliances formation characterized by intense grassroots reach, citizen journalism and citizen generated data are crucial in achieving the SDGs. Specific focuses must be made on particular vulnerable groups such as the youth, abused/raped women, adolescents, elderly, HIV positive people, and people living with disabilities.

All in all, achieving SRHR requires proactive intergenerational actions and grassroot based approaches to implement the relevant policies and laws.  The cross cutting issues, outlined by the delegates, require involvement of all stakeholders; their affiliations, beliefs, backgrounds and aspirations. In solidarity with the silent suffering majority, the myth, the stigmas, the misconceptions, the innuendos, the abuses, the violations and the reckless behaviors must STOP.

 

Article by Michael Asudi, Country Coordinator, Organization of Africa Youth.

 

 

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16 Days Campaigners CALL for an End to Gender-based Violence and Violations of the Right to Education

On November 25, 2015, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) will launch the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Along with over 5,478 organizations and other participants from 187 countries and territories, CWGL is calling for an end to gender-based violence and accountability on the part of policymakers and community members to end violence, discrimination, and inequality.

The 16 Days Campaign is a powerful platform to educate the public and governments about gender-based violence, human rights, and the intersections of political, economic, and social realities.

CWGL is sharing resources, coordinating with global participants on their actions and hosting a social media mobilization with a Twitter “teach-in.” To participate, contact the global coordinator at 16days@cwgl.rutgers.edu and follow @16DaysCampaign. Use the #16Days and #GBVteachin hashtags to join the discussion.

READ full Press Release

For more information, visit http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu.

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WATCH: Shutting Down the Rainbow Nation, #FeesMustFall #NationalShutDown

Students shook the South African nation to its very core this week as protests swept across campuses with the so-called born frees at the helm. “Shutting Down the Rainbow Nation” is a ten minute documentary that captures the energy and heart of the student-led movement, which shut down higher education institutions around the country. It speaks to the policing of the black body, state violence, and the fall of the ‘rainbow nation’, sewn together with videos posted by the public on Twitter and Facebook throughout the shutdown. History was re-written this week, as it became clear that even though the revolution may not have been (adequately) televised, it was certainly tweeted.

“all we want is to better ourselves as well as break the cycle of poverty – mobilizing and uniting our struggles, interwoven with bigger struggles for economic transformation and social cohesion”

Source:

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Girls Not Brides Urges Governments to Implement the New Global Target to End Child Marriage they Committed to at the United Nations

PRESS RELEASE by Girls Not Brides on International Day of the Girl 2015

As the global community marks International Day of the Girl Child, on 11 October 2015, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage calls on governments around the world to develop, implement and fund policies, programmes, and plans to end child marriage.

If we do not act now, the number of women married as children is set to soar to 1.2 billion by 2050.

Girls Not Brides has launched its #MyLifeAt15 campaign to remind governments of the 15 million girls every year whose ambitions are thwarted when they are married as children. The campaign follows the recent adoption of the first global target to eliminate childearly and forced marriage as part of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The International Day of the Girl Child was declared by the United Nations in 2011 as a day to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

Lakshmi Sundaram, Executive Director of Girls Not Brides, said, “Child marriage was a taboo subject just a few years ago. Now, we are delighted to see a target on ending child marriage in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, but it’s not enough for governments to agree on targets to end child marriage. If we truly want to see a change in the lives of the 15 million girls married every year, governments have to live up to their commitments.”

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