Participants actively engaged in the group work during the ICGLR stakeholder’s meeting Feb 2013 Lusaka
Today, AMwA focuses on strengthening African women leadership with a view to empowering African Women to represent and speak for themselves in driving the agenda on issues affecting them.
Translated from Swahili, the name means Solidarity among African women which symbolises the principles of sisterhood which forms the organization’s core foundation and ethos, “Speaking for ourselves.”
AMwA’s mission is to contribute to the full equality of all African Women by strengthening their individual and collective leadership and by forming strategic partnerships to tackle patriarchy and promote a just and secure Africa.
Current Aims and Objectives
- To become a recognised centre for excellence on transformational feminist leadership for African women with a focus on personal transformation
- To develop and sustain a strong and dynamic community of AMwAzons for learning, support & collaboration
- To develop and sustain a feminist organisational structure and culture that excels at learning, creativity and innovation
- To create and sustain a financially viable and increasingly sustainable organisation
How they Make Every Woman Count:
In making African women count; over the past 27 years, AMwA has worked to support African women through three core programmatic areas which have included:
Leadership Building; They focus on strengthening African women leadership facilitated by their African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI). Their training curriculum is based on a three dimensional framework known as the Personal Mastery Organising Skills and Taking Action (P.O.T) framework. As a result they have established a strong network of alumni (AMwAzons) across Africa who form coalitions and movements across Africa that address the causes of the African women. Their alumni also lead women’s organisations as well as other organisations at national regional and global levels.
Knowledge Generation & Dissemination; AMwA is passionate about the production of relevant information, past and present on issues affecting African women which they endeavour to document, capture in pictures and videos or any other means grounded in African feminist narrative to inform educate and act on. They strive to disseminate this to partners who are keen and passionate on the same issues for further input and generation of solutions through sharing findings with them and our stakeholders.
Coalition and Movement Building, AMwA has at its core, lobbying and advocacy to influence positions, polices legislations and programs through partnering with likeminded organisations and individuals to rise to the challenge of addressing issues and defending rights of African women. They believe in power in numbers and in the diversity of competences and strengths.
1.1 African Women Leadership Institute (AWLI)
AMwA’s flagship programme, the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) has been in existence since 1997.
The AWLI programmes address women’s leadership development at 3 main levels: The Personal Mastery (conceptual issues of feminist theory and practice in Africa, sexual health and awareness and self development), The Organising Skills (skills development in the management of organisations such as strategic thinking and planning, managing change, resource mobilisation etc) and Taking Action (Community mobilisation, constituency building, advocacy – linking local issues to the global context, intergenerational linkages etc).
Participants are encouraged to consider themselves as crucial in the process of women’s empowerment, both as individuals and as a collective. The AWLI aims to challenge and transform accepted paradigms of leadership which keep women from being in control of their own destinies to building a critical mass of feminist women leaders with a new social, political and economic agenda grounded in social justice, good governance and accountability.
1.2 Contribution to African Feminist epistemology By African Women
AMwA was part of working group that conceptualized & brought together over 120 self-defined African feminists under the African Feminist Forum to debate and analyze strategies of the African Women’s movement. And AMwA successfully hosted Uganda Feminist Forum UFF for 3years (2008-2010), the only National forum to host 3 consecutive annual forums - a space for organizing by the women’s movement, that has encouraged discussions around sexuality and sexual rights, among others.
1.3 Advocacy to influence policies that affect African women at national, regional and international levels.
AMwA as a Steering Committee member of Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) and as Secretariat of the national coalition on the AU Women’s Protocol named, “Women First: Uganda Coalition for African Women’s Rights’’,. Through these coalitions AMwA was instrumental in the activities that led to the ratification of the Maputo Protocol by the Ugandan government such as the production and dissemination of Information, Education and Information materials on GBV and SRHR. Uganda having ratified the Protocol with reservations, AMwA is working as a movement on the domestication of the Maputo protocol and continues advocacy and lobbying through the different coalitions at the national and regional level.
AMwA has continued to actively engage the CSOs to participate in ICGLR activities to implement the declaration and recently spearheaded the organization of ICGLR stakeholders meeting on the implementation of the Kampala declaration held in Lusaka Zambia in February 2013
"The AWLI changed my understanding of women issues… Coming from a conservative society which treats women as subordinate, I was initially contented to be led but after the AWLI training I am able to make some critical decisions on my own and own it up…I have taken advantage of these changes to contribute to my community through advocacy and sensitizing young women. As a Programme Officer I developed minimum standards for gender and integratinggender as a theme in all sectors"
Zam Zam ABDI BILLOW
1.4 Research and Documentation
AMwA has developed qualitative and quantitative data from the oral herstories, base line surveys on the Maputo Protocol and country research reports that have been used to develop policy briefs on GBV and SRHR to act as advocacy tools. The policy briefs highlight gaps and interventions necessary to scale up funding for women’s rights in GBV and SRHR.
They have produced Information education and communication materials such as videos, digital radio stories for distribution over the Internet, CD-ROMs, photo calendars, and posters on issues of Gender based violence, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Peace and security that have been instrumental in informing and promoting advocacy on various issues affecting women in Africa. A coffee Table Book of the East and Horn of Africa alumni (AMwAzons) was also produced.
1.5 Development of the AWLI Curriculum
AMwA strives for continued refinement so as to remain relevant to the ever changing operational environment that impacts on women’s organising and lives. In due regard AMwA embarked on the process of the reviewing the AWLI curriculum and development of the different modules that led to the revised AWLI P.O.T framework from (Personal Empowerment to Personal Mastery, Organisational Development to Organising skills and Transfer of Skills to Taking Action)
One of the participants receives her certificatie of completion of the AWLI training 2011 Entebbe
Overview of Key Challenges:
- Funding fluctuations put programs at risk : imbalance in funding for programs and overhead often inhibits investment in staff and systems
- Lack of a robust M & E system to follow up alumni due to limited resources, systems and processes to support it
- Poor knowledge management, learning on own programs and comparative reflection on similar external programming is weak
- Heavy reliance on consultants & lack of skills transfer that often leads to high expenditures as we largely depend on hiring of skilled personal to support the facilitation of activities such as AWLI, Documentation and Research.
- Limited and poor ICT facilities have been a big challenge to communication and advocacy, which has largely affected our ability to effectively track alumni, and expand on training programs such as online training and mentoring.
- Visibility as a pan African organization has also not been reflected in programming and staffing also due to limited funding that has further inhibited the expansion of organizational branch offices in the key strategic countries of operation
If you’d like to learn more about AMwA and follow their work, please consult their Facebook and Twitter pages or visit their website.
Plot 30 Bukoto Street
P.O Box 24130 Kampala,
(+256) 414 543681
(+256) 414 543683