Women’s Movement Groups Spread the Equality Message in East Africa

By Danielle M

Women around the globe continue to fight for equality and a more productive, rewarding quality of life. It’s in this light that CREA, a feminist human rights group from New Delhi, India has joined forces with GROOTS Kenya, a feminist grassroots organization with similar goals and Akili Dada, an organization dedicated to providing education and mentoring for young women on a worldwide, non-profit basis. Together these three groups are presenting CREA’s Fourth Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute East Africa Nov. 5-9, 2012, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Conference Objective

The intent of the five-day course is to take the collective knowledge garnered by the various participants and strategize how that knowledge can advance the women’s rights movement in Africa. Topics to be discussed include theories on the social movement and methods of gaining power, how to improve leadership to better organize groups and their movements and discussion of the challenges facing those advocating women’s movement issues in Africa. Conflict resolution, political participation and the methods for achieving women’s movement goals, as well as the tools for doing so, will also be discussed. The conference will use a combination of classroom instruction, case studies, films and group work using role play.

Conference Speakers

Noted activists and academics participating in the course include Srilatha Batliwala, based in India. As a Scholar Associate with the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, or AWID, Batliwala is currently working on helping to strengthen and advance women’s organizations, especially those at the grassroots level. Hope Chigudu, director of HopeAfrica and co-founder of the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network, Fahima Abdel Hafiz Hashim, the director of the Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre and skilled team developer, and Esther Mwaura-Muiru, one of the founders of GROOTS Kenya–or Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood–round out the noted conference speakers.

Participant and Travel Logistics

Participants must be female, between the ages of 25 and 45 and live and/or work in the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Somaliland, Somalia, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti or Burundi. Conference attendees should also have at least a three-year history of volunteering or being employed in efforts to advance women’s rights and/or some sort of youth activism. Participants must demonstrate how attending the conference will enhance the work they’re currently doing in this field and how it will help in future endeavors. A working knowledge of the English language is essential.

Travel expenses to and from the conference, including visa fees and the suggested purchase of one of the available mission trip insurance policies are the responsibility of the attendee. CREA will provide the required visa letters as well as a letter of invitation to the conference to speed up the process. Passports must be current. The organizers of the conference cover the tuition, accommodation–which is twin-shared–and all meals. The registration fee is $50. The deadline to register is September 10, 2012.

If you don’t happen to live in Africa, you can still become involved in the conference. Keep track of the group’s progress on Facebook or Twitter. Read up on CREA and see how they champion women’s rights on various levels by educating the public and advocating those rights. You may not make the journey to Nairobi, but there’s nothing stopping you from getting involved in a movement that could very well change the world for the better.

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Danielle is an internet geek with a shameful love for acronyms and memes. She’s passionate about living a healthy and active lifestyle, electronic dance music and educating young women about their rights.

Follow her on twitter @cherio_05

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