The African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) was set up in 1988 to share experiences, information and strategies among African women's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) through advocacy, training and communications so as to advance African women's development, equality and other human rights.
FEMNET aims to strengthen the role and contribution of African NGOs focusing on women's development, equality and other human rights. It also aims to provide a channel through which these NGOs can reach one another and share experiences, information and strategies to as to improve their work on African women's development, equality and other human rights.
FEMNET is governed by a Constitution and the following governance and administrative structure:
National focal points in African countries whose representatives attend a tri-annual Programming Conference and General Assembly;
An elected Executive Board which includes two Board members per sub-region and a Chairperson. In addition, there are two Ex-Officio Board members (immediate past Chairperson and the Executive Director);
An elected Board of Trustees to oversee FEMNET's assets; and
A Secretariat that implements FEMNET's programmes and is headed by an Executive Director.
FEMNET's specific objectives include:
exchanging experiences in planning, implementing and evaluating women's programmes and projects through interaction with NGOs, development agencies and relevant regional and international intergovernmental bodies;
promoting women's activities in Africa through the strengthening of existing organisations and the establishment of new ones as may be needed;
playing vanguard and catalytic roles in the treatment of feminist issues which cannot be handled by government gender mechanisms due to the threat that such issues pose to patriarchal states;
promoting the better utilisation of African women's NGOs by development agencies and regional and international intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) such as the African Union (AU) and the various United Nations (UN) agencies;
mobilising resources for African women's development, equality and other women's human rights by local, regional and international sources; and enabling collective action by African women's movements in order to tackle regional gender issues.
Since its inception in 1988, FEMNET has played a leadership role for African women's NGOs at regional and international decision-making and policy fora. FEMNET has gained recognition as the convenor of African women's movement in key circles, including the United Nations agencies, African Union, NEPAD processes and among women's regional NGOs. This recognition has resulted from persistent pursuit of its networking mandate and the quality leadership FEMNET has offered over the years.
FEMNET's major goal is to ensure that African women's organisations, lobby groups, decision-makers, like-minded organisations are able to gain conceptual clarity of key concepts and issues relating to the empowerment of women and gender equality. Further, that given this knowledge, they will be in a position, to act towards creating an environment of gender equality and social justice and to bring an end to all forms of discrimination against women.
FEMNET works in three main programme areas:
The Advocacy Programme
The Communications Programme
The Capacity Building Programme