Spotlight CSOs Knowledge Sharing Forum: Stories from Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in preventing violence against women and girls
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will meet from 6 to 7 July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the “Spotlight CSOs Knowledge Sharing Forum” to share stories, lessons learned and promising practices towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls in Africa.
The “Spotlight CSOs Knowledge Sharing Forum”, which runs from 6 to 7 July in Addis Ababa, will bring together five CSOs that are implementing projects under the Spotlight Initiative, to share knowledge on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG), Harmful Practices (HR) and Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHRR), as well as how to engage with African Union Commission (AUC) processes. Government counterparts, AUC members, other civil society organizations and developing partners will also be present at the Forum.
“Women’s Rights CSOs and networks in Africa are doing critical work in designing and implementing initiatives in Ending Violence against Women and Girls. The CSOs Knowledge Sharing Forum intends to fully harness the stories and learnings from these organisations’ life-changing initiatives”, stated Ms. Awa Ndiaye-Seck, Special Representative of UN Women to the African Union (AU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The CSOs to be present at the Forum were selected by UN Women after a call for papers for regional interventions to end violence against women and girls in their countries though the spotlight initiative support. The selected CSOs that will share their stories at the Forum are:
1. African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), Nigeria
2. Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L), from Liberia
3. Girl Child Rights (GCR) from Mozambique
4. Justice Centres (JCU), Uganda
5. Musasa, Zimbabwe
The five CSOs have been providing relief to survivors of Gender Based Violence in their regions, offering programmes that promote women's economic empowerment, women’s access to justice, financial literacy, temporary shelters, legal support among others.
Stories of hope
As part of their work in restoring dignity and confidence to women in several provinces of Zimbabwe, Musasa launched the mobile 'One-Stop Centre’ to provide temporary shelter, medical treatment, legal advice, food, medication, life skills and counselling to women and girls experiencing gender-based violence.
As two adolescent girls’ who experienced gender-based violence explain, “We could have missed the opportunity to take Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) due to lack of information and long distances to clinical services. Thanks to Musasa’s we are safe and our pursuit for justice was a success”. The two girls are part of the 1,674 survivors reached through the mobile 'One-Stop Centre’ implemented by Musasa’s Centre, under the Spotlight Initiative.
Recognizing the role of men in breaking the cycle of violent against women, the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), in Nigeria, implemented the “Male Engagement Program for GBV/SRHR/HP Reduction”, with a strategic approach to working with men, traditional and religious leaders, and youth groups.
In the ‘Spotlight CSOs Knowledge Sharing Forum’, Centre LSD will share its experience in working with men and boys in the abolishment of the ‘money-woman’ tradition which involved infants’ marriage and use of female children for debt settlement. The tradition was abolished in August 2020 during the Spotlight initiative project in Obanliku, Nigeria.
“The resolution to end the age-long practice of ‘money-woman’ did not come as easy. We have taken the necessary traditional steps to eliminate the practice. We have also carried out advocacy and enlightenment in the community and beyond to arrive at where we are today”, shares Mr. Vincent Dania, Program Coordinator at Centre LSD.
Civil society and women-led organizations play a pivotal role in advancing gender equality in the African countries. The ‘Spotlight CSOs Knowledge Sharing Forum’, offers an opportunity to the CSOs to highlight the interventions they are undertaking in their regions but, most importantly, it creates a space to learn from each other’s practices and lessons to build a peace, just and equitable future for women and girls in Africa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.