The Purple Bulb Strengthening African women's individual and collective leadership capacities and forming strategic partnerships to tackle patriarchy and attain gender equality

Dear Reader,

“When I was young, I thought that life of equality, wisdom and justice would be my birthright if only I worked hard at school, excelled, got a good job and a good salary. I was wrong”

In saying this, Hope Chigudu stirs us to the plight of the African woman, how she must work twice as hard to achieve half the results obtained by her male counterpart. All this due to the numerous injustices thrown her way through the suppression of her voice in decision making, sexual harassment, the devaluing of her work in both public and private spaces, not forgetting the abysmal poverty experienced by her sisters in rural areas, for whom policy decisions from their sexual and reproductive health to access to primary health care and free education are made without consideration of their needs.

In 2019, we continue to envision a world in which African women are politically, economically and socially autonomous and are champions of change in their lives and societies. Our focus remains on strengthening the individual and collective leadership of African women and forming strategic partnerships, to tackle patriarchy and attain gender equality and women’s empowerment for a just and secure Africa. We invite you to walk this journey with us in the Purple Bulb and beyond. In this edition, you will experience the actions AMwA is taking to address the limited participation of women in politics and decision making, sexual and gender based violence and advancing the rights of women in the horticulture industry. From Kampala to New York, Nairobi to Bangui, follow our engagements as we amplify African women’s voices on the continent and beyond, in our International Women’s Day message and at the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Enjoy this edition of the Purple Bulb!

Re-orienting and strengthening the journey of feminist and transformational leadership at the African Women’s Leadership Institute

The struggle to translate the increased numbers of women in leadership into improvement in the socio-political and economic position of women remains one of the last battles at the frontier in the fight for women’s self-determination. While the numbers of women in political leadership and other spheres have increased, a number of factors at play render their influence mostly invisible and inconsequential. Conscious of these dynamics, we convened a feminist and transformational leadership training for 25 African women hailing from 13 countries in East and Southern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. It was electrifying! Read all about the training.

Catalysing a Movement of Young Feminist Leaders in Uganda

Governments in Africa have made legally binding commitments to respect, protect and fulfil women’s rights, recognizing their intrinsic value as well as the synergies between women’s rights and wider prosperity. However, the translation of equality before the law into positive outcomes for women has remained problematic. This underscored the urgent need to build a strong and accountable movement, held together by solidarity in sisterhood, and an unimpeachable value system; so that it is able to withstand pushback from those with power, and collectively make demands for women’s human rights and reject a culture that normalises injustice. It all started with a training. Read on!

Building Feminist Leaders to Accelerate the Implementation of the Kampala Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence

In areas with persistent and sporadic conflict situations such as the Central African Republic, challenges remain in protecting women and girls against sexual violence. As part of the ICGLR National Civil Society Forum, we conducted a training to build the capacity of women leaders in CAR to be able to effectively engage in politics and to take up leadership positions to combat sexual and gender based violence. Here's what happened during the five days!

Reflecting and strengthening the mentorship component of the TuWezeshe Akina Dada project in Uganda

Mentoring is a core part of leadership. In order to raise-up a generation of capable young women leaders, we need to ensure they have solid foundations. Through mentorship, young women leaders can be equipped with skills, confidence and power to both transform and navigate their lives and communities. Through our TuWezeshe Akina Dada young women's leadership program, we paired our fellows with older, established women who have excelled in their various professions who would walk their leadership journeys with them. We came together to assess the state of the mentorship program and identify ways of strengthening meaningful relationships between mentors and mentees that will propel all participants in their fight against gender based violence and inequality. Here are some tips on Feminist mentorship.

Looking back at the African Women's Leadership Institute

What you learn at the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), you never learn at any school

We bring you Nyambura Gathumbi, a Feminist activist and alumna of the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), with extensive knowledge in women’s right advocacy, with specific focus on issues of marginalized groups. She is one of the founders of Women in Participatory Education theater (WE-PET) a pioneer all women theater group that seeks to empower young women and girls to understand gender issues and participate in development processes using theater. We had a conversation with her about her leadership journey, lessons from the AWLI and her vision for African women and girls. Meet Nyambura!


We engaged at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a UN led event that brings together all actors working on women’s rights to debate what issues to include on the women’s agenda. This year’s priority theme which was “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” was an opportunity for AMwA to promote and amplify the issues of women working on flower farms to ensure that they have systems in place to protect them from risks that they may face at work, and to also ensure that public infrastructure that responds to their needs is put in place. At the CSW, we convened a side event to surface issues on maternity protections that many women on flower farms are denied. Read about our side event here!

Ahead of the CSW, we convened a policy forum to propose remedies for protection of women workers. This is what happened!

Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Conflict and Forced Displacement should not be on the fringes. It should be on the agenda of the Gender is My Agenda Campaign

Our Research, Advocacy and Movement Building Manager, Leah Eryenyu represented AMwA at the 33rd session of the Gender is My Agenda Campaign where she talked about sexual violence in conflict and why it is important to increase resourcing for Gender Based Violence. Read our full submission here.

read our International Women's Day 2019 statement

Click here

FEminism and men?

Is there space for men to engage in ending patriarchy? And if so, what would that look like? Why should men be involved in championing women's issues? Are there consequences to male exclusion? We had a conversation on male engagement and this is what happened. Read here.

what does sexual positivity, wellness and liberation mean to you?

Having open and honest conversations about our sexuality and our bodies liberates us as women. However, many women do not have enough knowledge on this theme. Together with Choose Yourself, we had a conversation to raise the consciousness of young women around their bodies and choices and also open avenues healing from past traumas. Well, let’s talk about sexual positivity, wellness and liberation. Click here

Breaking the Silence around sexual and gender based violence among teenage mothers in Serere district, Uganda

With the majority of women affected by some form of gender based violence, and with African women at risk of specific harmful practices and norms, the TuWezeshe Akina Dada programme aims to improve the rights and amplify the actions of young African women in their fight against all forms of gender-based violence. We caught up with Debbie Akello, a young lawyer and TuWezeshe 2018 fellow who shared about sexual violence in her community and how she is speaking out against the vice. This is Debbie's Story

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Created with an image by Mana Amir - Definition of Feminism by Huffington Post

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