FEMNET and the European Union urge for greater commitment to gender equality and women’s rights in Africa

Nairobi/7th August 2019: The European Union in partnership with the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) have urged African governments to strengthen collective capacities that will ensure increased gender equality and women’s rights in Africa.
At the same time, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth & Gender Affairs Professor Magaret Kobia has lauded the EU/FEMNET partnership calling it a “critical and sustainable approach to gender equality”.
At a dinner gala on Tuesday, the EU and FEMNET launched a 4-year partnership project titled A Strengthened Women’s Network for Greater Impact”.  The project funded by the European Union will be implemented by 14 FEMNET member organizations in seven African countries.
Speaking at the launch, attended by women’s rights organizations, participants from diverse African countries as well as members of the Diplomatic Corp, the European Union Chargé d’ Affaires Mr. Hubert Perr expressed optimism that the partnership will  go a long way in transforming the lives of women and girls in Africa.
“When we launched the “She is We” in Kenya last year, we were categorical that governments cannot speak of addressing inequalities without ensuring that there is gender equality.  This is what this partnership today pushes to achieve in not only the seven selected countries but across the whole of Africa and globally”, said Mr Perr.

A global agenda

Professor Margaret Kobia, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth & Gender Affairs reiterated this call. The CS urged that the FEMNET/EU partnership should manifest even beyond Africa’s borders to maximize its impact: “The gender agenda is a global agenda, we should not feel that it is only a struggle for women in Africa. We must in our pursuit for gender equality connect these issues to what is happening globally and thus be present in all platforms and processes that seek to address it” said CS Professor Kobia.
Also present at the launch was Her Excellency Ambassador Mette Knudsen of the Embassy of Denmark who took the opportunity to reinforce commitment to the upcoming high-level 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) that will be held in Nairobi later in the year. “It is our strong belief that we cannot achieve a successful ICPD programme of action without consolidating greater government commitment on improving gender equality.  Many countries have so far committed to participating in the ICPD and we are certain that gender equality will feature greatly in that commitment” said Ambassador Knudsen.
The FEMNET & EU Partnership will be implemented in seven countries; Mali, Tunisia, Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda, Mauritius and Kenya. FEMNET will implement the program alongside  OXFAM. The project seeks to enhance the capabilities of African women and girls for the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Accounting for all African women

FEMNET’s Executive Director Memory Kachambwa said the partnership with the EU will go a long way in ensuring that all of Africa’s women are accounted for and that their plight will be addressed in a transformative manner that will rid the continent of discriminative practices and patriarchal bondage. “When we strategize, organize and mobilize as we intend to do within this project, we know that every  move we make will be targeted at detonating patriarchy and liberating women from all mannerisms and practices of violation and discrimination. The strength of our partnership is the diversity of our representation enriched by the numerous capacities and experiences on best practices that will be exchanged to improve the living conditions of women and girls in Africa.  This is itself a powerful attribute” said Kachambwa.

Partners express optimism for impact

An array of CSO partners from different African countries speaking at the Launch expressed optimism that the solidarity within the partnership will help in addressing critical areas of eliminating gender violence and discrimination in their countries which they intervene in on behalf of women and girls.
Ms. Jean Nzuzi Nsamba, from the organization Comité National Femme et Développement
(CONAFED) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo highlighted the plight of women in conflict in the DRC and the need for other African countries to stand in solidarity with peace and conflict resolution issues in her country.  “When we seek this partnership, we are hopeful that the cries of the women and girls from the conflict areas in DRC will be heard and resolved. Women suffer the most in this kind of situation” she said.
Another partner Ms. Shyleen Momanyi of the Young Women’s Leadership Institute, Kenya (YWLI) while lauding the FEMNET/EU partnership expressed optimism that this project will give room for young women to be visible and heard in the gender equality and empowerment process even beyond national borders. “We come into the space to ensure that young women are visible and are heard. Our goal is to dismantle patriarchy in all its forms so that Africa’s young women and women live in dignity and are safe from all forms of discrimination” she said.
The FEMNET & EU partnership seeks to strengthen the institutional and operational capacities of FEMNET as a regional umbrella organization for coordinated actions at global, regional and national levels. It will also reinforce the institutional capacities of FEMNET’s member organizations to effectively represent their constituencies in regional and global development platforms for the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
For more information and/or to request for an interview please contact:
FEMNET Head of Communications Mildred Ngesa; m.ngesa@femnet.or.ke / +254 727 835
The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) is a pan- African membership-based feminist network based in Nairobi with over 700 members across 48 African countries. FEMNET envisions an African society where gender equality is achieved and women and girls enjoy their rights and dignity while in its mission it seeks to facilitate and coordinate the sharing of experiences, ideas, information, and strategies for human rights promotion among African women’s organizations through networking, communication, capacity-building and advocacy at the regional and international levels.  Since its inception in 1988, FEMNET has played a leading role in building the women’s movement in Africa and ensuring that women and girls’ voices are amplified, and their needs, priorities, and aspirations are prioritized in key policy dialogues and outcomes that have direct and indirect impact on their lives. For more visit our website www.femnet.org  – Twitter @FemnetProg #FeministDialogues
About the European Union:
The European Union Delegation to Kenya has the status of a diplomatic mission and officially represents the European Union in Kenya. We promote the European Union’s (EU’s) values and interests, monitor the political, economic and commercial situation in the country and the region, oversee the various forms of cooperation between the EU and Kenya, and provide information about the EU’s relations with Kenya. The EU’s key values and interests can be summed up as: peace, people, prosperity, the planet, and partnership. Here in Kenya, the EU:

  • works together with Kenya, including through AMISOM, to promote peace in neighboring Somalia;
  • supports democracy and devolution, helping to bring political power closer to ordinary people;
  • is Kenya’s biggest export market and a major source of private investment, as well as providing financing for Kenya’s infrastructure and rural development to spread greater prosperity in the country;
  • supports environmental conservation, which also has wider benefits for the planet;
  • works in partnership with Kenya both as a political partner (through regular political dialogue) and as a development partner (in coordination with other donors of assistance and the relevant Kenyan authorities).

For more information and/or to request for an interview from the European Union:
Political, Press and Information Section
Delegation of the European Union to Kenya
Dunhill Towers, 115 Waiyaki Way
@EUinKenya #EU4Women

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