Dear Reader,

Look back to a time when you confronted an injustice, extremely afraid of the repercussions, known and unknown, but you spoke out anyway. How about a time when fear held you back and you remained silent in the face of oppression? What are some of the fears that you have overcome along your Feminist journey and in your efforts to advance social justice for women and girls in Africa? See how far you have come, learning to speak out when you have been afraid the same way you have always spoken out when you were tired.

During this quarter, AMwA continued to increase the recognition of women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment in decision making at all levels. Through our African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), we contributed to the amplification of the voices of young African women through strengthening their ability to speak out on issues of concern to them and women in Uganda and beyond. The young women leaders joined a vibrant network of women leaders collectively engaging various stakeholders on the rights and autonomy of women and girls. One such collective is the Uganda Feminist Movement which convened for the 8th successive time bringing together about 100 Feminists at the Uganda Feminist Forum 2019 hosted by AMwA as part of our vision of a vibrant feminist movement deeply rooted in feminist principles and values of solidarity, reflection, renewal and disruption.

Looking at building Feminist economies, we have not tired of dismantling patriarchy and capitalism which never stop impeding women’s participation in the global economy, exploiting their labour yet giving them none of the rewards. This and more is what we bring you in this edition to the Purple Bulb. May you be inspired to embrace an uncomfortable loudness and disrupt, disrupt, and disrupt some more!

And to celebrate your avid allyship in the fight against patriarchy, look out for a couple of resources shared. We generated a number of knowledge products on African women’s lived realities that will serve to inform the movement’s future advocacy initiatives. By so doing, we hope to narrow the gap between activism and the development of feminist theory.

Strengthening Young Women’s Leadership Skills for Full and Effective Participation At All Levels of Decision-Making in Political Life

For so long, young women leaders have failed to assimilate into mainstream political parties due to deeply entrenched patriarchal beliefs reinforced by a culture of patronage. One would think that such issues would be long forgotten in the 21st century but the glaring face of women’s under-representation at all levels of governance is one we see daily. One of the ways AMwA has contributed to addressing this challenge is by building and strengthening the self-confidence, political consciousness and agency of young women through leadership development and mentorship. In September, we launched The Young Women in Leadership and Mentorship Programme supported by UN Women Uganda to bridge the gender equality gap for women in governance processes by enhancing their voice and agency through a one-year mentorship programme. It was kicked off with a five day residential training for 27 young women leaders and this is what happened!

Catalyzing new levels of transformative mentorship to strengthen the voice and agency of the young women leaders

By now, we can all agree that mentoring is an effective way to nurture and achieve advancement in the transformation of society. However, a number of studies have found that there are limited mentorship programmes for women in political leadership. Most of the available programmes follow a matronising strategy and worse, lack the systematic approaches to attract and retain young women to join leadership and participate in governance processes. Under the Young Women in Leadership and Mentorship Programme, AMwA rolled out a one-year mentorship programme for her alumna to provide them with a forum to connect with a community of activists and change-makers in Uganda, have access to continuous learning spaces and strategic partnership building opportunities to align diverse viewpoints and scopes of work to protect and promote women’s human rights. Unique to our mentorship approach is that it is rooted in feminist ideologies of sisterhood and accountability, ensuring that both mentors and mentees benefit and feel supported at the personal and professional level. We held an inaugural orientation conversation to familiarize our mentors with the essentials of feminist mentorship. Here’s what you should know!

Do HR Managers in the horticultural sector care about gender relations in the workplace? We are making sure they do!

The Women@Work campaign is a global campaign that seeks to propel decent working conditions for women who earn their living in global production chains such as coffee, flowers and garments. AMwA as a leading feminist leadership development organization in Africa was partnered with Hivos to develop a women’s leadership strategy as a mechanism to address the identified leadership needs of various stakeholders within the horticulture sector in Eastern Africa and advance women’s leadership in the sector. Having engaged the flower farm workers more than once in feminist leadership development trainings, we gathered that without the full engagement and goodwill of frontline leaders and key decision makers at the farms, the change we desire would not happen. In 2018, AMwA convened a gender consciousness training for HR managers from participating farms to influence the adoption of gender policies and practices on these farms. One year later, we gather the collective again in order to gauge the progress and share learning on blossoming women’s leadership in the horticultural sector to promote decent work. Read more!

Looking back at the African Women's Leadership Institute

The AWLI Gave Me The Freedom and Courage to Pursue a Career That I Was Passionate About

6000 African women and counting, The African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) has been strengthening young African women’s leadership capacities since 1997. Through her unique Personal Mastery, Organising Skills and Taking Action - POT model, the AWLI has equipped feminist leaders to tackle patriarchy and attain justice for women and girls in Africa. Our network includes thousands of alumnae and partners spread across Africa and the diaspora and no AWLI experience is ever the same! However one thing is guaranteed, participants are never the same again. We bring you Ashanut Okille, a lawyer and development practitioner with over fifteen years’ experience of supporting interventions that promote human rights, governance, gender equality, and institutional/organizational strengthening in Africa. She shares why attending the AWLI is one of her unforgettable moments on her leadership journey.

Silencing our Fears and Fearing our Silence at the Uganda Feminist Forum 2019

When we asked you about your relationship with silence and fear above, we were preparing you for this moment in time – an instant where you make herstory by joining in the shared dreams, hopes and actions of sisters in the Uganda Feminist Movement at the 8th convening of the Uganda Feminist Forum. After centuries of being socialized to hold fear in high esteem while watching our liberation fade away, the UFF Working Group resolved to put to silence the numerous fears that have crippled the Feminist movement in Uganda. At the UFF 2019, a series of conversations were held to deepen the movement’s appreciation of the political, social and economic setbacks that women in Uganda face and how to enhance the effectiveness of our workings through building a sisterhood anchored in solidarity, respect for diversity, ethical feminist leadership and strong feminist institutions. AMwA convened the UFF 2019 from 30th July to 1st August 2019 in Jinja under the theme “Silencing our Fears and Fearing our Silences” in the spirit of encouraging critical inquiry, collective reflection, healing and a rekindled commitment to dismantling patriarchy through a politicisation of silence. Join in reminiscing the powerful convening here.

Watering the seeds of resistance sown at the convening of the 8th Uganda Feminist Forum

One of the commitments made by Ugandan Feminists at #UFF2019 was to regularly convene spaces for reflection on trends of concern to women and girls as well as strengthen solidarity within the movement. It is against this backdrop that the Uganda Feminist Forum (UFF) with support from Urgent Action Fund-Africa convened a space to continue discourse and further buttress ideas of challenging power and oppression introduced during the conversations held at the forum. The conversation also sought to further interrogate the state of feminist organizing in Uganda. Our Feminist and Transformational Leadership Associate, Hazel Birungi, penned down her reflection of the discussion. Dig in!

A new frontier on tax justice from a feminist perspective in Uganda

Africa is estimated to lose 50 billion US dollars annually to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) - resources which could fund country’s entire health and education budgets! Without IFFs, the Central African Republic would have been able to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 on child mortality in 45 years compared to the 218 years at current rates of progress. When it comes to gender justice, the impacts of IFF are dismal with African women being hit hardest. In August, we set forth on a mission to plug illicit financial flows for women’s economic empowerment, a move which birthed a movement of women-led tax justice advocates. Read on.

Ending the Culture of Silence on Sexual Harassment at Institutions of Higher Learning in Uganda

If a young woman attending any university had a dollar for every instance of unwanted sexual remarks or advances she has had to fend off, she would be rich! Cases of sexual harassment and assault in learning institutions continue to be the order of the day as reported on various media platforms and confirmed by our baseline study on the vice carried out in three Universities in Uganda in 2017. Since #MeToo, more young women have come out to speak against sexual harassment and we are making sure they never stop doing so. Together with Femme Forte Uganda and supported by Urgent Action Fund – Africa, we convened an equip circle to support young women at institutions of higher learning in reclaiming their bodies in an in-depth conversation of what constitutes sexual harassment. Read all about the session that was facilitated by our Research, Advocacy and Movement Building Manager, Leah Eryenyu.

Young Women’s Political Participation and Movements

Young women in politics suffer double discrimination by age and gender despite women’s proven abilities as leaders and agents of change as well as their right to equal participation in political processes. While all young people are hindered from participating in active politics because of their lack of experience, young women are doubly hindered because of patriarchal perceptions and sexism. Akina Mama wa Afrika held a conversation on young women’s organizing in leadership reflecting on the strength of autonomous movements to bring out about lasting change. The primer for the conversation was a screening of the documentary, Knock Down the House which was meant to spark off conversation around grassroots organizing. Here's more.

The Africa CSO Consultation on the Common African Position (CAP) on Population and Development Meeting in Namibia

As the ICPD Programme of Action marks 25 years this year, what do you think are the main population issues affecting Africa today? The Africa CSO Consultation on the Common African Position on Population and Development was convened from 4th – 5th September 2019 in Windhoek, Namibia where AMwA participated. The meeting brought together 120 Civil Society Organisations representatives from across the continent working on SRHR to participate in a two-days CSO consultations to contribute to the content of the Common African Position on Population and Development that would guide future negotiations and ensure Africa’s key priorities, concerns and strategies are reflected in outcome documents at all levels of decision making. Read all about it here!

Meet Akina Mama wa Afrika’s Board of African Women Leaders!

We are pleased to announce the addition of new members to our Pan African Board of Directors. We are thrilled at the passion and expertise they bring in leading AMwA on her mission to strengthen the individual and collective leadership of African women, forming strategic partnerships, to tackle patriarchy and attain gender equality and women’s empowerment for a just and secure Africa. The new Board members bring a wealth of experience in their fields and all envision a world in which African women are politically, economically and socially autonomous and are champions of change in their lives and society, one young woman at a time. Please join us in welcoming them to the AMwA family. Click Here to Meet our Board of Directors!

Have You Read OUR 2018 Annual Report?

Our 2018 highlights and the impact of our work was concisely captured in our 2018 Annual Report. We invite you to relive our unforgettable moments in strengthening the individual and collective leadership of African women, forming strategic partnerships, to tackle patriarchy and attain gender equality and women’s empowerment for a just and secure Africa. Read our Annual Report now!

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