African  Women’s Strategy Convening on CSW62

Southern Sun Hotel, Johannesburg

7 October 2017

By Tandi Pilani

Welcome remarks were made by Dinah Musindarwezo and Phumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (UN Women)

Participation is a right, not a gift

Groots perspective provided by Ester Mwaura

CSW is a space for solidarity. It is the only opportunity for women to engage with the Ministers of Gender. All barriers are equalised.

Lopa Banjaree, UN Women pointed out that there is an

An erosion of the gender equality of gender itself

Women’s rights groups show up in numbers at the CSW to claim that space for achieving standard setting on gender equality. E.g. in 2013 CSW57 Ending Violence Against Women theme saw unprecedented mobilisation of activism.

Media and information tech, communications are very important for rural women, young rural women and young women leaders.

CSO need NGO participation

13 African countries are members of the CSW

Bureau of the CSW Chair is Ireland

Kenya, Colombia, Estonia and Bangladesh (4 vice chairs)

LGBTI issues. What are the strategic, entry points for the CSW ?

Panel discussion:
Nyaradzai Gumbozvanda opens the debate

The global space at the CSW needs to be protected. How do we link innovation to control the vulnerabilities?

Young African women are not given the opportunity to write expert papers linked to the CSW.  There are young women with doctoral degrees who could actively contribute.

We need a cultural good number of young advocates to be engaged in the meetings. Why is New York the location for the meetings for example? Nyaradzayi Gumbozvanda highlighted that she had actually written a paper that argues against New York being the locations for the CSW. The logistics of the travel to the CSW in New York are extremely challenging for some women and girls.

Emphasis was placed on ensuring that young people are involved in the side events and on the panels.

GROOTS is writing a paper as well and overall celebrates the opportunity to be part of the CSW – but we need to be clear on what it is that we can speak specifically on?

Ester Mwaura, GROOTS Kenya

Grassroots women

Resolution 33/22 HRC was quoted by Ester as a good tool to push further

SDG priority principle “leave no-one behind”. 1, 2 and 11 are very important for rural women to drive the implementation of the SDGs

It is recognised that women rely heavily on the agricultural sector

Data is very important

Let us stick to the Beijing Platform 4 Action

Eunice Musiime, Akina Mama wa Afrika

NGO CSW Africa is still a young platform. But we are organising.

Let us celebrate the theme for 2018

The 3 challenges

Capacity, Consultation, Connecting the dots

Webinars can only reach a specific category of people. It was suggested that the African caucuses are used as spaces to do trainings in the 5 days. In 2015 a full room of activists engaged.

NGO civil society space – African women’s caucus at the CSW

Itumeleng Komanyane, SONKE

Interesting insights

New York UN Headquarters is not ideal for the women. The soft issues like toilet facilities are often overlooked.

Milestones of advocacy need to be understood fully

Intersection between development and human atrocities was noted.

Open discussion on: Strategies of engagement - all levels of engagement – participation, voice, influence. A review of existing spaces of engagement; discuss proposed spaces and next steps of lobbying advocacy

Lope Banerjee, UN Women facilitated the session

This is the moment to discuss the topics decided by the commission.

Composition of the panel – 50% should be young rural leaders. At least  50% should be the goal, it may get to 30% but 50% should be what we aim for.

Ngozi from Nigeria joined via Skype

Question posed to Phumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

What is your relationship with Nigeria. How is UN Women responding to peace and security issues?

Food and urban area issues?

UN Ex Director confirmed that the they do indeed work with Nigeria, albeit the limited funding.

Zimbabwe speaker: How can we maximise opportunity at national level to galvanise the women?
NGOs need to have a position of their own/ disengaged from the Zimbabwean government. Let us focus on the national process

Zero draft paper will be given to countries in January 2018 (this will be the opportunity to change things)

The politics around the CSW was highlighted

Namibian colleague speaks on the importance of the keeping the relationships with governments but also that we should hold them accountable.

At country level CSOs need to be organised and present ourselves as a collective.

Memory Kachamwa of FEMNET – brought up the issue of rural women and the need for translation from English to French (particularly for the West African women). Cost for this need to factored in.

Themba Kalua – UN Women raised some good points especially around learning about each other.

Issue around land rights

Data capturing is very important in relation to policy briefs.

Bafana Khumalo – Sonke Gender Justice

We need a multiple strategy.

Engage in country as CSO

CSW - those who cannot physically attend can be included by setting up WhatsApp groups and other forms of social media so that way their views can be captured

It is critical to link up cross-country. The love/ hate relationship with the government is the strategy that we should be applying.

A Malawi example was given on the tripartite relationship

  • Ministry of Finance
  • Minister of Gender
  • CSO

The importance of disaggregated data was also highlighted.

Susan Chirara (Rural Women Association of Zambia) shared that she had been involved in the country processes. She vocalised the challenges of the government officials speaking to a farmer

CSW  lessons learnt  - do the lessons learnt get used to inform what we do further?

Nyaradzai noted that a mind-shift is necessary – to move away from individualisation

Training for CSO

  • Training one young person from each of the 13 countries. They will be trained on how to lobby and carry out advocacy work effectively in Addis Ababa.
  • Training of CSOs so that when they go to New York they are guided and not lost
  • Plan to hold a rural women’s conference

A post CSW meeting is very important to have – UN Women committed to paying for the room.

Further advice shared

  • CSOs need to read and avoid being rhetorical. How do we position our expertise at the level of substance?
  • Need to do a mapping of our spaces of influence
  • Technical paper – Power Mapping – we need a paper on the CSW similar to the Maputo Protocol
  • Mapping on strategy is very crucial.
  • Demanding soft accountability – how do we create our own she-volution?
  • How can we negotiate with airlines for seats – we need to be more innovative around resourcing.

Contribution from Gender Links speaker

  1. Global Alliance on Media and Gender
  2. ETV
  3. ENCA

We need to partner with them to put gender on the agenda

There should be linkages between the Review Team and the Priority Team.

The World Economic Forum,  (WEF) have a good way of documenting events. It was suggested that we build partnerships with media organisations like Power FM.

HIV resolution will be talked about at the next CSW

5th World Conference  - Lopa spoke about the opportunity to do a 5 year assessment of the SDGs in 2020

UN Women will be 20 years old and the ILO 100 years

Thoughts are welcome on the 2020 conference and what it will look like. What will the lead up look like (in terms of our technological world?)

Should we consider a side event reflecting both young women’s leadership and its impact?

Phumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka – we should host a side event [with other states] to try and showcase rural women as a continent. The next CSW must have a rural feel in order to amplify the voices of the rural women.  Thinking needs to begin now on how we are going to position rural girls?  The macro and structural changes are critical to this thinking.

Human Resources practitioners – some women in the workplace are being given packages that work against them. Women need to be trained so that their presence is felt. 

Engage Public Broadcasters so that they cover the CSW and bring the issues alive.

We need to focus on building Africa bottom up

The issue of Peace and Security and strengthening the implementation of 1325

The network wants to address the issue of electoral integrity and push for global movement building.

Action for all: Request by Dinah to share ideas on mass mobilisation

Phumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Macro-economics. Le t us explore how this can be thematically a topic for one of the roundtables at the CSW

Nyaradzayi Gumbozvanda: Positive about the next 5th World Conference and sees the event as a way to energise the feminist movement.


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