EMPOWERING OUR SISTERS- MY RIGHTS MY FREEDOM
TuWezeshe Akina Dada is a consortium project implemented by FORWARD and local partners , Akina Mama wa Afrika and Sub Saharan Advisory Panel in six countries (Tanzania, Uganda, Somaliland, Wales, Scotland and England). In Tanzania and Somaliland the project is being delivered by two associate local partners Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association and Children ‘s Dignity Forum respectively. The project aims at empowering a new generation of young African women leaders to influence and shape decisions about their rights, amplify their voices and strengthen their collective action to be free from all forms of sexual and gender based violence.
The aim of the project is to improve the rights and amplify the actions of African girls and young women in their fight against all forms of violence. Our vision is to raise up a new generation of young women leaders who are capable activists and advocates claiming their rights and freedoms. So, how do we do this?
MENTORING and LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
Through mentoring and leadership development programs to grow the capacity of young women to be change-makers in their communities and nations.
HARNESSING THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA
We understand the power of social media as a means of networking, idea sharing and even revolution in this globalised-day and age. We understand that gender based violence has no concept of national boundary lines, so neither do our actions to dismantle it. Through social media and social communication platforms, we seek to engage participants from all over the world to meet fellow advocates, share ideas, articulate themselves and discover the power of female solidarity as a means of sustainably and effectively transforming communities and cultures.
We also know how important it is to NOT have a single story of African women, either on the continent or in the diaspora, so we wanted to put our voices front and center as we work with and for ourselves to attain our rights and freedoms.
UTILISING ALL SIX REGIONS OF AFRICA
We believe that the empowerment of African women and girls is an intersectional process, so our approach is intersectional, both in terms of activities and participants. Although Africa is often conceived of as five regions (North, South, East, West and Central Africa) we recognise the existence and potential of our sisters in the diaspora, and the ways in which they too are affected by gender based violence as diaspora African women and girls. As such this project sought to strengthen the links between young women on the continent and in the diaspora, as well as improving their visibility, profile and leadership potential. The project worked across generational and urban/rural divides so we can really and truly ‘empower our sisters’ as we claim our rights and freedoms.
Since the initial development of the Tuwezeshe Fellowship – FORWARD has continued to learn and modify the programme – ensuring that it is getting better and better. One of the first learnings in every participating country was the need for counselling and psychological support. It quickly became clear that young women are silently dealing with many challenges which impede their ability to achieve their full leadership potential. FORWARD and partners have addressed this gap securing psychological support not only for the course duration but also for the long term is needed. We have taken on board the suggestions from Fellows to amend the course content to provide more training on specific forms of violence- including more time to discuss FGM and child marriage; more time to discuss project planning and budgeting.