French-speaking women’s organizations strengthened in Lomé on institutional sorority by the foundation XOESE



The feminist foundationXOESE, THEFonds forFwomenFrancophones, organized from November 25 to 26, 2023 in Lomé, its event called the “CAMP FEA” Institute. An inter-regional meeting on “institutional leadership of women and young women”, focusing on the theme “Institutional Sisterhood – consortium/networking”. The activity brought together participants from several French-speaking countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, the Democratic Republic of Congo,the Republic of Congo?the Central African Republic, Togo, Senegal and online Haiti

The “CAMP FEA” Institute is part of the 2023 capacity building program and the 2018-2024 strategic plan ofXOESE. It also goes intotherea direct line of its activities within the framework of the “Feminists in Action” (FEA) Project and constitutes one of the pre-events of the International Francophone Forum2023by XOESEwhich is held in person in Lomé and simultaneously online from November 27 to 30, 2023 on the theme: “Building the Francophone feminist movement: Where to start? »

Participants singing the Camp Fea song as an interlude

The “CAMP FEA” in Lomé pursues several objectives, among others, to help participants understand the issues of institutional leadership by women’s and young women’s organizations; encourage the creation of strong networks between participants and promote institutional sisterhood; equip participants by introducing different tools and concrete techniques promoting cooperation and mutual aid and solidarity; identify sources of funding available to women’s and young women’s organizations that enable networking and consortium; develop a networking strategy adapted to the situation of your organization and acquire skills in jointly writing financing proposals and searching for technical and financial partners.

Director of the Camp Fea Institute

According to Ms. Steffie KUEVIAKOE, Capacity Building Program Manager – Coordinator of the “Feminists in Action” project withinXOESE, this camp, the second of its kind, constitutes capacity building for the direct and indirect recipients of the “feminists in action” project.

“We already had a first camp which was held in Abidjan in June on the theme of mobilizing financial and non-financial resources. This time, we find ourselves on the theme of institutional leadership and therefore institutional sisterhood, consortium building and networking. The organization of this camp is the result of various observations and in particular the fact that women want to come together to access greater funding and to be able to replicate in their country activities that work well in other countries,” a- she explained.

The purpose of this training is therefore to promote collaboration and institutional sisterhood, in order to improve the effectiveness of feminist projects, to influence policies in favor of women and to create sustainable networks of leading Civil Society Organizations. within their community.

The work is directed and led by two consultants

During the two days, the activities were directed and led by two consultants, Ms. Victobelle KPETEMEY and Mr. Florent GNANLE, both trained lawyers. Several modules furnished the discussions, including “the definition of consortium and networks with case presentations”; “the stages of forming a consortium/network”; “theoretical training on the basic elements of a consortium (memorandum of understanding)”; “practical cases”; a “capitalization session of the Feminists in Action project”; “management and strengthening of consortia and networks – practical exercises”; “theoretical training on the basic elements of a consortium (contract/termination)”…

The participant in the room before starting the session on consortium building and networking led by the consultants.

The two consultants gave their best to the participants so that they were seasoned on the issue of institutional sorority.

One of the essential aspects that Ms. Victobelle KPETEMEY insisted on to the participants is the need to distinguish between a network and a consortium. “The consortium is set up to work on a specific, well-defined project and at the same time ensure a transfer of skills. That is to say, organizations come together to respond either to a call for projects or to work on a question and find solutions to a problem. As for the network, it can be analyzed in a much broader way than the consortium,” she explained.

She also talked to the participants about the different stages of forming a consortium. According to the latter, there are four stages. “First we have the planning stage, then the consortium creation phase, then management or operation and finally the monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning stage. »

For his part, Mr. Florent GNANLE trained the participants on the consortium agreement. According to him, these are “agreements which bring together several structures which aim to participate in a call for projects or which wish to evolve and set up a project together”. How is a consortium agreement negotiated? How to understand these different most important clauses? How is it signed? How is it executed? All these questions were addressed by the specialist.

Group work on the importance of consortia and networks

Everyone’s expectations met

The two days of discussions were very rich. This is evidenced by the satisfaction expressed by the various stakeholders. “I felt the participants were sufficiently enthusiastic. The motivation that reigned there, the quality and above all the sincerity of the discussions were impressive. There was sharing of experience and I think they leave sufficiently equipped. They will be stronger than ever,” expressed the consultant, Mr. Florent GNANLE.

Ms. Victobelle KPETEMEY added, adding that “the enthusiasm of everyone proves how useful this camp is for the beneficiaries”

At the level of the Xoese foundation, satisfaction is also there. “We are really happy and delighted that these women from different countries were able to come together and better understand what the consortium and the network are but above all how they are going to go about it. For us, it’s really a great success,” rejoices Ms. Steffie KUEVIAKOE, Capacity Building Program Manager – Coordinator of the “Feminists in Action” project atXOESE.

For their part, the participants confirmed that they now have an in-depth understanding of the notion of institutional sisterhood.

Ms. Falola DJOGBENOU, one of the representatives of Benin, expresses: “our impressions are very good. We first thank the partner. This is my second participation in Camp FEA. It must be said that this camp allows us to strengthen our capacities. Regarding this second camp, the theme addressed, institutional sorority is very relevant. As primary leaders, we need it in our various organizations. Apart from these capacity building activities, we also had the chance to speak with a team of psychologists who came to boost our morale and de-stress us. This session will also allow us to better orient ourselves in all aspects of emotional and human relationships.”

For Ms. Amida TCHAMDJA from Togo, it is a meeting of sharing and learning which will allow their organizations to form a consortium so that their actions have more impact. “The discussions were clear. We understand better what a network and a consortium are. From now on we will have more difficulties if we want to go into a consortium,” she added.

Same story with Ms. Constance Nathalie DOUMBI who comes from the Central African Republic. She says: “The two days were very intense. I express a real feeling of satisfaction. We had presenters who were really up to the task.”

Indeed, the institutes created by XOESE aim to be spaces for exchange and sharing in order to be able to strengthen women’s organizations, movements and activists. They are aimed at women and young women (of all ages, all socio-economic categories and all educational levels), particularly those who are leaders or in decision-making positions in organizations already supported or not by XOESE.

The concept of “CAMP FEA” was chosen to illustrate how the training times are intended to be within the framework of the “Feminists in Action” project: short times like bootcamps which are intensive training times.

Furthermore, the participants in the FEA Camp also had to visit the Femme Plus Togo Association, one of the beneficiaries of the “Feminists in Action” project.

It should be noted that the Feminists in Action initiative, funded by the French Development Agency, is a powerful lever to give feminist organizations involved in countries in the South the means to act and build a world more respectful of rights. women and girls.

Some participants in Camp Fea t-shirts after the training session

After 4 years of implementation, in Xoese, the results are satisfactory. “Feminist in action, it’s 4 years. It’s several meetings, several projects, several countries and the results are positive, even if the women found this project quite difficult in terms of administrative constraints,” says Ms. Steffie KUEVIAKOE.

XOESE is a feminist public utility foundation whose goal is to financially and technically support the implementation of initiatives by women’s organizations in the French-speaking countries of the Deep South. It was created on September 1, 2015 and is based in Lomé, Togo.