Reclaiming a Transformative Agenda for Gender

A new year and a fresh start for the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) as they meet together to plan for the Advancing Gender Equality through Civil Society (AGECS) project.

The project meeting marks the genesis of another tumultuous year, 2023 to nuance gender equality and women’s empowerment among the select Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Whereas women continue to be underrepresented across the continent, the necessity for inclusivity for their political, social and economic growth remains a trivial matter. Implementing the project is therefore timely as it promotes equality while challenging archaic patriarchal and political norms to make room for gender-responsive policies.

“Advancing gender equality is a fundamental human right. I am pleased that the AGECS project has rolled out and we expect to see the CSOs meaningfully engaged in identifying and responding to gender and social barriers as well as advocating for gender transformative policies and practices in policy advocacy and in their programming,” said Dorothy Otieno, AGECS Project Coordinator, FEMNET. “Women should be meaningfully engaged in decision-making processes so that they can lead a dignified life in a just and inclusive society. Women must Lead.”

“Now is the time to collaborate and learn from each other, we need to meaningfully institute gender responsive approaches so that we achieve gender equality,” remarked Rebecca Mbuti the Gender Coordinator from Aga Khan Foundation (East Africa). “We also need to take stock of our interventions so that we can measure the extent to which we are influencing positive change at grassroot level.”

Markedly, African women and girls in all their diversity continue to experience a myriad of normalized and deeply entrenched injustices, oppression, discrimination and exploitation. Therefore, this requires that any intervention should commit to consistently interrogating and challenging the embedded systemic and structural norms and practices in communities.

Speaking on the same issue, Daniel Mudibo, AGECS Project Coordinator, Aga Khan Foundation said that “Integrating the gender agenda is important in our programming and this project enables us to reach the unreached communities.”

With the same breadth Kennedy Chande, the AGECs Regional Manager emphasized that programming that prioritizes gender justice is fundamental to creating and nurturing just, inclusive and sustainable societies.

During the work planning meeting, the Kenya based implementing partners; Dream Achievers Youth Organization (DAYO), Sauti Ya Wanawake Pwani and SlumChild Foundation shared their progress reports, planned activities, achievements and developed approaches for enhanced synergy. The meeting was quintessential as it was the first step to unpack the realities of women and also acknowledge that we have to transform patriarchal gender norms and power inequalities across the continent.

This article was written and compiled by Imali Ngusale, for more information on the AGECS project contact Dorothy Otieno via


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