Shaping the agendas on violence against African women and girls
Our policy and advocacy work dates back to FORWARD’s campaign to criminalise FGM in the UK in 1985 – which resulted in the UK’s first law against FGM: the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act. Our commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” involves active engagement with policy advisors and local governments, EU and international governing bodies.
We recognise that change can only be achieved through action taken together. Our international advocacy work focuses on building relationships, growing networks and knowledge-sharing platforms with diaspora women’s organisations – to strengthen advocacy action and to enable more effective engagement with policymakers in the UK, EU and Africa.
We are proud to be appointed the Secretariat of the African Women’s Diaspora Network, an African women-led collective of individuals and organisations from the diaspora working towards attaining gender equality and empowerment of African women and girls. The network’s first event, Celebrating 15 years of the Maputo Protocol explored the contribution of African diaspora women to improving African women and girls rights.
Raising our voices
Our Africa Diaspora Forum in partnership with The Girl Generation (2015) brought together 80 women from across the UK – all active in the promotion of gender equality, human rights and development. This forum offered a platform for African diaspora women to network, showcase and acknowledge the positive impact participating organisations and individuals’ work has achieved – bringing us closer to equal rights for African women and girls.
The forum will continue to develop actionable strategies and increase the visibility and involvement of Africa diaspora organisations addressing the rights violations and needs of African women and girls in the UK and Europe.
This aspect of ADAPT’s/FORWARD’s work is focused on the prevention, protection, public awareness and provisioning services through ensuring the voices and needs of African women and girls are heard and listened to in political spaces.
We aim to influence policy developments and discourses at all levels, on all forms of violence against women and girls, particularly FGM, child marriage and child motherhood. Through strong evidence based on research carried out in our UK and Africa programmes we conduct targeted campaign and policy activities in line with our strategic plan.
Recognising that we cannot do this alone we work with networks -domestically and internationally- including the End Violence against Women Coalition, Girls Not Brides, the Gender and Development Network and the End FGM European Network all in an effort to amplify our advocacy messages. FORWARD remains Co-Chair of the Girls Not Brides UK national partnership working with Pauline Latham MP to bring forward legislation of criminalise all child marriages. As Co-Chair of the End FGM European Network we are working to ensure that the issues of FGM in Europe are strongly articulated from the diaspora perspective.
This year, FORWARD staff and 4 Tuwezeshe Fellows attended the European Development Days 2019, highlighting the positive roles that young women leaders can play in addressing inequalities particularly in media (edutainment) and in supporting African young women to be at the forefront of their own campaigns against VAWG.