“Never anything for us without us! This heartfelt cry, raised in the 1990s by South African activists fighting for the rights of people with disabilities, has become a pillar of advocacy for many other groups. Today, it is time for women and girls in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, and the organizations that represent them, to claim it.
Why do Our Voices Matter?
It is a fact: we, women and girls from French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, are often forgotten or minoritized in international meetings and political processes. In the struggle for women’s rights and gender equality, when the international community determines the major orientations regarding policies or funding, the already limited place of civil society is dominated by organizations speaking in English.
We live in our own realities. Our perspectives and demands must be taken into account, but we find it difficult to make them heard when we do not have access to information, documentation, decision-making spaces or even the networks in which women’s rights organizations mobilize and coordinate?
It is time for this to stop.
The Generation Equality Forum, an opportunity not to be missed
25 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and as the international community prepares to set new strategic priorities for the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality around the world at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, we must make our voices heard. The Generation Equality Forum is organized by UN Women and co-chaired by the governments of Mexico and France. Click here to learn more about the Generation Equality Forum.
Originally scheduled for July 2020, the Generation Equality Forum has been postponed for one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic makes the Forum more necessary than ever. Worldwide, the pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of women and girls to violence, discrimination and gender inequality. It has also demonstrated, once again, the leadership of African girls and women at the community, national, and regional levels. And once again, Francophone Africa is only marginally integrated into international debates on crisis management. Few resources are published or translated into French, and few analyses of the situation of African women in the face of Covid-19 focus on Francophone countries. More than ever, our contributions are needed.
We have at most one year left before the Generation Equality Forum. Let’s take advantage of this time to inform ourselves, mobilize and prepare ourselves to carry, together, the demands that we hold dear.
The Our Voices Matter initiative
Led by the Batonga Foundation in partnership with the XOESE Fund for Francophone Women, the Our Voices Matter initiative aims to ensure that the voices of women and girls from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa are heard at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum.
This project takes advantage of the additional year of preparation presented by the postponement of the Generation Equality Forum to enable women’s rights organizations, networks and movements in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa to have access to information that will allow them to participate in the discussions and decisions related to the Generation Equality Forum, and to have their messages, priorities and demands heard before, during and after the Generation Equality Forum.
The Voices Matter project will mobilize women’s rights organizations, networks and movements in the 22 countries of French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. The project will begin with the organization of webinars that will allow everyone to access the necessary information on their opportunities for participation and influence in relation to the Generation Equality Forum. It will continue with the implementation of a large online consultation on the priorities, needs, and messages of girls and women in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. The project will culminate in a major advocacy campaign leading up to (and during) the Generation Equality Forum. This project is being implemented with the technical assistance of the Global Fund for Women.
We have a year or less before the Generation Equality Forum. Let’s take advantage of this time to get informed, mobilize and prepare ourselves to carry out, together, the demands that we hold dear.
If your organization works for girls’ rights in French-speaking Africa, the Our Voices Matter project can support you through
Learn more about the Generation Equality Forum, find out how other civil society organizations are working to influence the Forum, learn more about the Our Voices Matter project, and exchange ideas on how your organization can use the Forum to advance your national advocacy.
Upcoming webinars will take place:
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Thursday, July 15, 2020
Time and Duration: Webinars will be 90 minutes in length and will begin at :
3:00 p.m. West African time (Dakar, Cotonou, Lomé, Bamako, Niamey, etc.)
16.00 Central Africa time (Yaoundé, Kinshasa, etc.)
17.00 East African time: Kigali
A large online consultation
What are the priorities, needs, and messages of girls and women in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa? It’s up to us to define them! See you soon for more information on the consultation.
An advocacy campaign
Once we have identified our priorities, it is up to us to advocate for them! Join us for an advocacy campaign in the months leading up to the Generation Equality Forum, and during the Forum itself.
Sign up for the monthly NVC newsletter to stay informed about the latest opportunities!
For more information, visit the project website: https://nosvoixcomptent.org/en-savoir-plus/