YAOUNDE: A court in Cameroon has found two men guilty under the country’s harsh law banning gay sex, a lawyer said, continuing a string of recent convictions that has drawn international condemnation.
Michel Togue said judges in Yaounde, the capital, sentenced 48-year-old Joseph Omgbwa to two years in prison and 19-year-old Nicolas Ntamack to one year. A third suspect, Seraphin Ntsama, was acquitted.
The convictions came less than two weeks after a prominent Cameroonian gay rights activist, Eric Ohena Lembembe, was tortured and killed in an attack his friends suspect was related to his activism. Togue said he plans to appeal the convictions, which he described as baseless.
“You know, this judgment makes me very sad and angry because we didn’t have evidence to convict those guys of being homosexual,” Togue said. He said the verdict would further devastate a community already shaken by the death of Lembembe, the most prominent African gay rights activist to be killed since 2011.
“Ever since this man was murdered the community is really frightened, and I think they didn’t need this kind of verdict today, ” Togue said. Homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison in Cameroon, and officials have zealously pursued prosecutions under the law dating back to 2005, according to local and international human rights groups. Human Rights Watch says the country pursues more prosecutions of sexual minorities than any other in sub-Saharan Africa. In a March report, the organization said charges had been brought against at least 28 people under the law in the last three years.
Omgbwa was arrested in August 2011 after gendarmes, tipped off by a man who said Omgbwa made sexual advances toward him, searched his house without a warrant, according to Human Rights Watch. A court report said the gendarmes found “several objects that left no doubt about (Omgbwa’s) homosexual activities, ” including condoms and a lubricant. The other two suspects, Ntamack and Ntsama, were arrested when they went to visit Omgbwa in prison.
Omgbwa and at least one of the other suspects have said they were subjected to forced anal examinations intended to determine whether they had engaged in gay sex, a procedure rights groups say has no scientific merit and is tantamount to torture. Neela Ghoshal, senior Human Rights Watch researcher for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, said the case violated promises from Cameroonian officials to pursue gay suspects only if were “caught in the act.”
“It’s shameful that two more people have been convicted of consensual same-sex conduct in Cameroon, ” just after the killing of Lembembe, she said. “The government continues to send the message that LGBTI people are less than human. “On Monday, a group of Cameroonian gay rights groups said they would be forced to suspend their HIV/AIDS programming until international partners helped them confront a worsening security situation.
“In the fight for the rights of sexual minorities in Cameroon, the long-decried climate of homophobia has intensified and now has reached a critical point, ” said the statement signed by leaders of four organisations, including Lembembe’s CAMFAIDS. “We also note that serious threats have been made against the locations and members of our organizations, to the point where continuing our current work unchanged would be dangerous, ” the statement said. “We reject a partnership that reduces our associations to simply a labour force that must work in precarious, dangerous conditions.”
25 July 2013
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the Coalition of the campaign, Africa for Womens’ Rights : Ratify and Respect reiterates its call for the continental ratification of this progressive instrument within the African human rights system and for its effective implementation.
Adopted on July 11, 2013, to complement and strengthen the articles of the African Charter related to the protection and promotion of women’s rights, the Maputo Protocol is an important instrument of reference. Its provisions, with regard to civil and political rights, physical and psychological integrity, sexual and reproductive health, non-discrimination, economic emancipation, among others, symbolise African States’ commitments to put an end to discrimination, violence and gender stereotypes against women.
« The adoption of the Maputo Protocol was an exceptional moment, historical for the realisation of the rights of women in Africa. Today, this instrument constitutes a model, a endless source of inspiration. Provided its ratification and full implementation, it can represent a real tool of action for the lasting transformation of our societies » declared Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on the rights of women in Africa.
36 out of 54 member States of the African Union (AU) have so far ratified the Protocol, a clear victory for those who over the years have tirelessly mobilised and worked to achieve this goal. Moreover, in many countries, legal and institutional measures, such as laws prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence (Kenya, Liberia), criminalising domestic violence (Ghana, Mozambique), prohibiting female genital mutilation (Uganda, Zimbabwe) or establishing mechanisms mandated to promote women’s rights (Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal), have accompanied these ratifications.
See the interview of Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on the rights of women in Africa, on the progress made and challenges remaining since the adoption of the Protocol (interview conducted on 10 July 2013)
Despite these notable achievements, there are still some obstacles to the full realisation of women’s rights on the continent. Eighteen (18) states , have still not ratified the Protocol, and in several of these countries – including Sudan, Central African Republic or Egypt, which still facing serious political crisis or situations of armed conflicts – women continue to be the main targets of violence, discrimination and stigmatisation.
For Sheila Nabachwa, FIDH Vice President and Ag. Deputy Executive Director (Programs) at the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI – Uganda), «Non-State Parties should understand that, today, the trend goes on the other side. 10 years after its adoption, it is time for these States to ratify the Protocol and accept that the guarantee and protection of women’s fundamental rights can no longer suffer from political, cultural or religious considerations or pretexts ».
In State Parties, several of the rights enshrined in the Protocol, or provided within national laws, are yet to be fully implemented. In DRC, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, thousands of women victims of sexual violence continue to demand justice and compensation; in Uganda, they are still waiting for equality within the family to be recognised ; in Nigeria, they continue to fight for their right to property to become a reality. Unfortunately, most of the State Parties do not respect their obligation, under article 26 of the Protocol, to indicate, in their periodic reports submitted to the ACHPR, the measures undertaken for the full realisation of women’s rights as provided within the Maputo Protocol.
«The adoption of the Maputo Protocol by African States represented a formidable progress from a legal point of view ; its effective implementation should now symbolise the respect of the obligations they have freely consented to abide by » declared Mabassa Fall, FIDH Representative to the African Union.
On this tenth anniversary of the Maputo Protocol, the Coalition of the Campaign Africa for Women’s Rights: Ratify and Respect pays tribute to the determination and courage of the women and men who advocate tirelessly to ensure that the rights guaranteed in the Maputo Protocol are not lost. In this regard, our Coalition notes with concerns the repeated attacks in several countries against women activists, a phenomenon that must be taken seriously and to which States must respond without delay. The Coalition of the Campaign calls on all national, regional and international actors to join the considerable efforts that are made on a daily basis for the ratification and enforcement of the Maputo Protocol.
SOURCE : International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)10 July 2013
US Supreme Court strikes down policy requiring AIDS groups to oppose prostitution in order to receive US Government funds.
On 20 June 2013, the United States (US) Supreme Court struck down section 7631(f) of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (The Leadership Act). This provision which the Court called the “policy requirement” mandates that no funds made available under the Leadership Act may “provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.”
The US Supreme Court ruled in response to a challenge filed on 23 September 2005 by 5 civil society organizations against the provision and its negative impact on their efforts to address HIV. The organizations include: Alliance for Open Society International; the Open Society Institute; Pathfinder International; the Global Health Council; and InterAction.
The US Supreme Court held that the policy requirement violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution which protects free speech. In particular, the Court held that the “policy requirement compels as a condition of federal funding the affirmation of a belief that by its nature cannot be confined with the scope of the Government program.” The Court noted that “the First Amendment prohibits the government from telling people what they must say.”
Commenting on the decision of the Court, Purnima Mane of Pathfinder International said, “It has been a long and uphill battle, but we are very happy that the Court has spoken out in defense of our ability to engage with sex workers so we can better put in place programs that protect them and their clients from HIV.”
Respondents had claimed, among other things, that adopting a policy explicitly opposing prostitution may diminish the effectiveness of some of their HIV programs by making it more difficult to work with sex workers—a population at higher risk of HIV infection.
In its 2012 report, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law already noted that, “The pledge puts grantees in an impossible bind. If they don’t sign, they are denied the funds they need to control and combat HIV. If they sign, recipient organisations are barred from supporting sex workers in taking control of their own lives.”
Female sex workers are 13.5 times more likely to be living with HIV than other women of reproductive age in low-income and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest HIV prevalence, the pooled HIV prevalence among sex workers is 36.9%.
The involvement and empowerment of sex workers with regard to HIV prevention, treatment and care services has shown to have great impact in reducing HIV infections among both female sex workers and the overall adult population. “The end of this requirement is a significant victory for sex workers and their advocates globally. Our contributions to effective HIV responses have now been recognised,” said Ruth Morgan-Thomas of the Global Network of Sex Work Project.
Given the importance of the case for the global AIDS response, the UNAIDS Secretariat participated as an amicus curiae (friend of the court). In that role, UNAIDS provided public health evidence and human rights arguments to support greater access to funding and resources for organisations engaged in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services with and for sex workers. UNAIDS main points to the Supreme Court included: 1) Sex workers are among the populations most affected by HIV; 2) engagement with sex workers is essential to an effective response to HIV; and 3) any effective response requires adequate funding for programmes designed to ensure HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers.
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé praised the groups that were courageous enough to challenge the provision. “This shows civil society at its best – advocating for global health for all. No group, including sex workers, should be left behind in our efforts to bring the AIDS epidemic to an end.”
US funding critical to HIV response
US leadership and generosity has been instrumental in the progress made in the global AIDS response over the last decade. Since the adoption of the Leadership Act, some 45.7 billion dollars have been made available to address HIV worldwide. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), authorized by the Leadership Act, has been the largest health initiative ever undertaken by one country to address a global health epidemic. Thanks to US funding, access to HIV treatment has been expanded in low- and middle-income countries, and millions of lives are being saved. The decision of the US Supreme Court to strike down the policy requirement will greatly contribute to expand and improve the global AIDS response even further.
21 June 2013
MPs in Siberia are to vote on a new law which would allow homosexuals to be flogged publicly as a punishment for their ‘disgrace.’
Ultra conservative MP Alexander Mikhailov says the new law would allow Cossack paratroopers to drag gays off the street for their punishment.
‘I want to call on people to get a healthy perspective of this disgrace,’ he told local media.
‘Our district needs a law that would give paratroopers the right to grab gays on the street and drag them to the city square, where Cossacks would whip them,’ he added. Critics say that Mikhailov’s bill is unlikely to be passed.
But some are worried that it could gain support in Russia’s current anti-gay backlash that has led to laws allowing judges to jail people for ‘promoting’ homosexuality.
In another move that will broaden Russia’s rift with Western nations over gay rights, its politicians passed a bill today barring same-sex foreign couples from adopting Russian children.
The move saw strong signals of support from President Vladimir Putin.
The State Duma, or lower house of parliament, approved the bill by a 444-0 vote in its third and final reading, sending it to the upper chamber, which is also expected to approve it. Both houses are dominated by the United Russia party, which is loyal to Putin.
In power since 2000, Putin has championed socially conservative values and held up the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral compass since he weathered a wave of protests by mostly urban liberals and started a third Kremlin term last year.
He has rejected U.S. and European criticism of a ban on spreading gay ‘propaganda’ among minors that the Duma passed earlier this month that gay rights activists fear has fuelled attacks on homosexuals.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Thursday that the ‘propaganda’ ban could stigmatise gays and cause discrimination, and the United States has said it severely restricts freedom of expression and assembly.
The Duma vote to ban adoptions by same-sex couples from abroad came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has criticised Putin over civil rights, met him at a showcase Russian economic forum in St Petersburg.
Germany has also condemned the gay ‘propaganda’ ban and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who is gay, said after its passage that attempts to stigmatise same-sex relationships had no place in a democracy.
Putin says Russia does not discriminate against gays, but he has criticised them for not adding to Russia’s population, which has declined sharply since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
The same-sex adoption ban was rushed through parliament after Putin said in late April that a new French law allowing same-sex marriage went against traditional Russian values. It also bars adoptions by unmarried foreigners from countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
The ban fits into a Kremlin campaign to restrict foreign adoptions, a sensitive issue after Americans and Europeans flooded into Russia in the post-Soviet era to adopt children.
In December, Putin signed a law banning all adoptions by Americans, a move motivated by disputes with Washington over human rights and what Russia says is the insufficient prosecution of adoptive U.S. parents suspected of abuse.
Advocates of adoption say same-sex couples can provide loving homes for children who might otherwise founder in Russia’s troubled system of orphanages. Relatively few Russian couples adopt despite state efforts to promote the practice.
Same-sex marriage is legal in 15 countries, including seven in Western Europe, and in some jurisdictions in the United States and Mexico. Same-sex couples are not recognised under Russian law and cannot adopt.
A March poll by the independent Levada Centre found that 85 per cent of Russians opposed same-sex marriage. But there is no big grassroots movement against gay rights in Russia and critics say the measures are being imposed from the top down.
‘It’s pretty strange to see this major wave of homophobia in a country where two-thirds of society was brought up by same-sex couples – mother and grandmother,’ one Internet user said in an online forum, referring to the problem of absentee fathers.
21 June 2013
By Paul Milligan
Nigerian lawmakers approved Thursday a bill to outlaw gay marriage and crack down on gay rights, including criminalising public displays of affection between same-sex couples.
The House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill which provides for jail terms of up to 14 years for gay marriage.
A gay rights bill has already been approved by the Senate but it was not immediately clear if the laws were identical.
If there are no differences between the two, the bill will now go to the president for his approval.
Under the bill, “persons that entered into a same-gender marriage or civil union contract commit an offence and are jointly liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment each.”
It also says “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes a public show of same-sex amorous relationship commits an offence and shall be liable to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”
Beyond concerns about gay rights in Africa’s most populous nation, some have also questioned whether funding channelled through non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in jeopardy by the bill.
Today, May 22nd, in the afternoon the Swedish Parliament voted to finally remove the mandatory legal requirement of sterilization for those who want to change their legal gender. The change enters into force on July 1 of this year.
Although the legal requirement has not been applied since January 10 of this year, when the decision of the Court of Appeal in Stockholm took effect, today’s decision is obviously extremely important. The Court found that the claim was contrary to the Constitution and the European Convention, which was also mentioned by several members in today’s debate, says Ulrika Westerlund, President of RFSL. Today’s vote marks the end of a very long work from the LGBTQ and trans movement to change an outdated law, which stems from a time when the approach to human rights was different. The Act came into force in 1972, when Sweden also forcibly sterilized other groups.
But much remains to be done before the law respects all trans people and allows everyone to live their lives according to their own will.
-Now that the forced sterilization requirement is removed, it is vital that we continue to work to improve the law, including by removing the age limit of 18 to change a person’s legal gender. In today’s parliamentary debate before the decision the age limit was discussed and the government parties argued that the matter is investigated within the Government Offices right now. We will of course follow up on this, says Emelie Mire Åsell, President of RFSL Ungdom, the Swedish Youth Federation for LGBTQ Rights.
Even though the forced sterilization requirement is removed, more changes are needed for many trans people to become biological parents. Embryo donation must be allowed so trans men can get the same opportunity as other men to donate gametes to their partner. The so-called presumption of paternity also needs to be gender-neutral. This is needed for several reasons, but among other things since no longer only legal men can contribute genetically to the children born within a marriage.
The legal gender change also needs to be fully applied. For example, a person who has legally changed gender must be able to have that reflected in their children’s data in the population registration and the confidentiality of data of the authorities must be protected. Major health care reforms are needed as well, in terms of access to care for all who need and want it, and in terms of the quality of care offered.Tonight RFSL, RFSL Ungdom, KIM, FPES and DU, the Anti-Discrimination Office of Uppsala, celebrate the parliamentary decision, but we are also continuing our work together for redress for those who have already been sterilized. Before the summer we will submit our claims for forced sterilization to the Chancellor of Justice.
For more information:RFSL’s President Ulrika Westerlund +46-703-450 183 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RFSL Ungdoms’s President Emelie Mire Åsell +46-707-664 664 or email@example.com
CLICK HERE to download the CCM Fast Facts e-Poster.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has recently published the 2012 CCM Composition data on its website. While AIDS Accountability International commends this transparency, the nature of the large Excel file-format does not make the data accessible or easy to interpret. This is a barrier to accountability. Responding to this need as urgently as possible, AAI has created a CCM Fast Facts e-Poster which highlights some of the more important statistics on CCM composition in Africa:
Q: Did you know that only one country in Africa has sex worker representation? Which one is it?
Q: Which country only has 5% women sitting on its CCM?
Q: Do you know which three African countries have members representing men who have sex with men?
The Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) are the in-country boards in charge of deciding what goes into Global Fund proposals, and how the grants are divided up and managed. Who is sitting on these boards? Who is really affecting the Global Fund decision making process?
Statement of Human Rights Defenders on the Need for an Integrated and Comprehensive Approach to the Protection of Human Rights related to sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions at the Human Rights Council.
As many of you know, in June 2011, the Human Rights Council began an important process to strengthen the protection of the human rights of people all over the world on the basis of sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
This was the outcome of decades of work by social movements and good strategic leadership by both civil society and many states.
A Resolution was adopted on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
This June marks two years since that Resolution was adopted.
What do we want to see at the Human Rights Council in taking forward the work on sexuality, gender and genedr identity?
Below, is a Statement that has been shaped by a group of civil society organisations, coalitions and networks from Africa, Latin America and from the Caribbean.
1. Read the Statement
2. Sign On.
You do this by sending an email to
Mtinkheni Munthali – firstname.lastname@example.org
Eunice Namugwe – email@example.com
You can sign on as an individual or as an organisation.
Please state in your email
NAME OF ORGANISATION [in full]
Then insert into SUBJECT LINE the words:
3. Forward the email to your networks and contacts.
More information will follow in the next days and weeks!
The Teams at the Secretariats:
African Men for Sexual Health and Rights
Coalition of African Lesbians
Statement of Human Rights Defenders on the Need for an Integrated and Comprehensive Approach to the Protection of Human Rights related to sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions at the Human Rights Council
-10 May 2013-
We, the undersigned human rights defenders, working to advance societies that affirm peoples’ diversities, choice, human rights and agency throughout the world, hereby state our position on the role of the Human Rights Council following (HRC) the adoption of Resolution 17/19 on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by the United Nations HRC and of the Report of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity [A/HRC/19/41].
Progressing from the OHCHR study and Report, as well as the recent Regional Consultations and the Oslo Human Rights Conference, one of the key questions for the international community is ‘what would constitute an effective institutional response from the United Nations HRC to advance the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of people all over the world based on their sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions?’
Our position is that an intersectional approach is required to address violence and violations based on sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. Such an approach by the HRC will affirm and strengthen existing work for the full integration of the human rights of people based on their sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions into all existing UN mechanisms, agencies and systems. Such integration should be deliberate, systematic, resourced, coordinated and sustained. We believe that this intersectional and integrated approach will ensure respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of people from diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions as integral to a comprehensive human rights agenda, and not present as a separate category of rights.
We believe that effective change in the violence and other violations against persons based on their sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions is dependent on an incremental approach. Such an approach will work to build on and sustain the momentum established by Resolution 17/19 and the Report of the OHCHR [A/HRC/19/41] in a context of dialogue and engagement both within regions and across regions and between states and between states and civil society. Such an approach will also ensure that technical assistance is available to enable states to take measures to address the violence and other violations against people on the grounds of their sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and enable stronger accountability for implementation.
The mandate of the HRC is not to mirror the prejudice of Member States but to set standards that member States should be held accountable to and be bound by. The international community has witnessed increasing dialogue among States on violence and other violations based on sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, demonstrating shifts in prejudice and willingness to engage. The HRC must both continue, through ongoing dialogue, to identify and address the intersecting factors of discrimination which make up the root causes of such violations and tobuild on efforts to sustain these shifts.
We are concerned about calls for a special mechanism which would focus solely on sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe that this is a short cut and an apparent quick win to addressing the societal problems that establish and sustain the violence and violation based on sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
We believe that the creation of such a mechanism would pose significant risk of contributing to the process of solidify identities even where they do not exist and creating or reinforcing “an other” category. For some of us the work we do on sexual orientation and gender identity and the way we struggle for recognition of who we are is based on important and sometimes powerful identity categories. Often, these categories are not fixed identities, but standpoints we take in the struggle for dignity, freedom and equality.
As UN special mechanisms are dependent on the cooperation of States either by their own volition or by activation of a treaty obligation, it will be very difficult for a special mechanism on SOGI to function in the absence of an explicit treaty obligation binding States to cooperate with it. Consequently, the UN cannot count on the voluntary cooperation of States with such a mechanism.
We are further concerned that a special mechanism on sexual orientation and gender identity, whether a Special Rapporteur, Independent Expert or Working Group, would for a number of years after its establishment, be immobilized, dismissed or ignored by some states and actively resisted by others. This would have serious consequences for the possibilities of change at a national/country level. It would likely also increase the focus on name, blame and shame processes with the consequences of further polarization within the Council. We anticipate that the creation of such a special mechanism will, in effect reinforce the opposition to the protection of human rights of people based on their sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions. This could set back gains made since June 2011, as an international tussle ensues within the Council and elsewhere. We believe that such an intervention will for some time to come strengthen the divides amongst states on this issue and will narrow the range of effective measures that some states are willing to take to address the violations; It could reduce the possibilities of and/or delay real change at a local, country/national level where it is most needed. It is unlikely to facilitate or enable the kind of change we need as a community at a local and country level.
In the light of the above positions and concerns, we call on the HRC to adopt a resolution which will:
1. Request, to give effect to A/HRC/19/41 paragraph 82, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene an expert meeting to prepare Technical Guidance on the application, at a national level, of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to eliminate discrimination and violence based on gender, gender identity and sexuality with a focus on sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions. This Technical Guidance should be presented to the HRC at a formal plenary session within two years following the resolution and within one year following the report [see 2 below];
2. Request, in keeping with A/HRC/19/41 paragraph 81, that the OHCHR conduct an in-depth study that demonstrates both the human rights situation in relation to sexual orientation and gender identities and expressions as well as promising and good practices that can serve as a basis for addressing the violence, violation and discrimination facing people all over the world in relation to sexual orientation and gender identities and expressions. The report to make recommendations that can serve as the basis for addressing the implementation/application gap at a country level through the drafting of Technical Guidance
All of this should be located within a process of sustained dialogue at all levels and between states and between states and civil society and supported through properly resourced technical assistance between countries as well as the adequate resourcing of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.
We further call on the Human Rights Council, subsequent to the adoption of a resolution addressing the above two interventions, to begin a process to encourage existing special mechanisms to identify and make recommendations to address the full range of protection gaps within UN human rights system. These would include but not be limited to protection gaps on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Written by Sonke Gender Justice Network
Sonke Gender Justice Network, the MenEngage Africa Network and the Women’s Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town are proud to host the second MenEngage Africa Training Initiative course: ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’, to be held from 16-26 September 2013 at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. This follows the highly successful pilot course that took place in August 2012.
To apply for this training course, complete the online application at:www.menengage.org/mati2013application.
For further information, please go towww.mengage.org/mati2013course or refer to the attached document.
About the course
‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’ is a short, intensive, ten-day residential course which seeks to expand the skills and knowledge of women and men in the Sub-Saharan Africa region to scale up work on engaging men and boys in gender equality, and build a network of leaders and gender justice advocates. In so doing, it aims to strengthen existing work on the greater involvement of men and boys in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, fatherhood, LGBTI rights and other issues pertaining to gender equality.
The course will incorporate a mix of thematic and skills-building sessions – covering both theoretical and practical components – as well as a site visit and daily opportunity for reflection. Thematic sessions will address the topics mentioned above, while the skills building sessions will specifically address leadership (including youth leadership), organisational development, research methods, advocacy, resource mobilisation and monitoring and evaluation.
As part of the training, participants are expected to submit a ‘Project for Change’ proposal, which will be refined during the course and, most importantly, implemented within their respective organisations once the course is completed. The Project for Change is a project or programme that is applicable to engaging men for gender equality. It can focus on sexual and gender based violence, HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health or, LGBTI rights to name a few potential thematic areas. The project can be an existing one that needs to be expanded or strengthened, or a new initiative that must be implemented upon completion of the course. Through the implementation of the Project for Change, it is hoped that participants will be able to practically employ the additional skills and knowledge gained from this training.
To assist participants with the implementation of their Projects for Change, the course incorporates a six month Mentorship Programme. This mentorship component is a critical aspect of the training as it seeks to provide participants with ongoing support and guidance as they implement their projects at the conclusion of the training. Participants can elect their own mentor or have one appointed for them. Ultimately, certification for the MenEngage Africa Training Initiative (MATI) will be based on satisfactory implementation of the Project for Change and thorough engagement in the Mentorship Programme.
The organisers trust that this course will contribute to the strengthening of both individual and organisational capacities, and it is with great pleasure you are hereby invited to apply to attend.
Summary of the first course
From 20-30 August 2012, the first MenEngage Africa Training Initiative course ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’ took place at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. It brought together 23 participants (14 males and 9 females) from 13 African countries. Course content was delivered by global and regional experts and leaders in the fields of gender, human rights and social justice, for example, on topics such as ‘Why Engage Men?’ and ‘Gender, Culture, Tradition and Religion.’ Evaluations from the first course indicated that participants found the training very useful and it increased their knowledge and skills by 41 %. This is a positive outcome demonstrating that the modules on the course were effective in transferring knowledge and skills to participants on how to work with men and boys for gender equality.
The course is intended for gender activists, programme staff and project managers from women’s rights, children’s rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, and LGBTI organisations, youth leaders, government officials, UN Agency representatives, donors, academics and media advocates.
Who is eligible?
The ideal candidate will:
- Work in a field where they can influence gender justice and gender equality through their positions within non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), government, UN agencies, donors, academic institutions, faith based organisations, juridical systems or other relevant organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Have a minimum of 3-5 years work experience in gender, advocacy, human rights, social justice and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights issues
- Demonstrate commitment and interest in strategies and programmes aimed at engaging men for gender equality within Sub-Saharan Africa
- Have proven and demonstrable leadership experience/skills
- Have a basic understanding of gender issues, particularly around gender justice
- Demonstrate an understanding, commitment and willingness to be part of an intense ten day residential course
- Have an innovative proposal for a ‘Project for Change’, to be implemented on completion of the course
- Have the support of their organisation for both participation in the course and implementation of their Project for Change (where applicable)
- Hold a Bachelor’s degree in international relations, human rights, health rights, gender or other relevant fields (practical experience will be taken into account in lieu of an educational background)
- Be fluent in English
- Have interest/experience in running training courses
There are no registration fees. Applicants are requested to cover all travel-related costs in full. Accommodation and course costs will be covered by the hosts.
A very limited number of scholarships to cover the full cost of participation are available. The hosts encourage ALL interested parties to apply.
To apply, please go to http://www.menengage.org/mati2013application to fill out the on-line application form.
Applications are to be completed by no later than 31 May 2013. Once completed, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Successful candidates will be notified by no later than 1 July 2013.
For further information, kindly contact Tanya Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org
9 May 2013
After the March 2013 launch of AAI’s Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) Community Consultation Report entitled “Who is really affecting the Global Fund decision making process?” AAI has begun conducting advocacy around the findings. The objective is to use the research as an accountability tool, acting as a best-practice and gaps analysis evidence base for improving the meaningful participation processes of women, girls and those marginalized by their sexual orientation in Global Fund processes.
Download the full report: Who is really affecting the Global Fund decision making processes? A Community Consultation Report
Download the survey report: Who is really affecting the Global Fund decision making processes? A Quantitative Analysis of CCMs
Download the media release: AIDS Accountability International on the Global Fund
To achieve this, AAI conducted its Global Fund Advocacy Week at the Global Fund Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-19 April 2013, since engaging Fund Portfolio Managers and Senior Technical Advisors on gender and key populations is critical for holding both the CCMs and the Global Fund Secretariat accountable for their obligations to marginalized populations. AAI also endeavoured to connect with other partners in Geneva, such as the World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA), the International Labour Organization (ILO) along with funding partners and independent stakeholders.
On Monday 15 April 2013, AAI began its Global Fund Advocacy Week in Geneva by meeting with Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (General Secretary) and Hendrica Okondo (Global Programme Manager SRHR & HIV Focal Point for Africa) at the World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA). The discussion focused on reducing the distance for dialogue between young girls and policy makers, creating spaces of “conversational accountability” and “intergenerational dialogues” so that young girls can have the opportunity to engage with decision makers, but in less technical forums. Leadership was also a topic of strategic thinking, with AAI and the YWCA brainstorming around how to redefine leadership so that it does not rest on the pillars of education or income.
The following day, AAI met with a team of senior technical specialists at the Global Fund Secretariat. Speaking with Linda Mafu (Head, Political and Civil Society Department), Sara Davis (Senior Specialist in Human Rights and Equity), Motoko Seko (Gender and Human Rights Specialist) and Mauro Guarinieri (Senior Advisor, Community Systems Strengthening and Civil Society), AAI pushed for greater accountability towards Human Rights in Global Fund processes. It was agreed during the meeting that viewing human rights through a public health lens can often be highly effective in certain contexts where the rights and women, girls and LGBT people can be politically and culturally sensitive. This supports the research findings in AAI’s CCM Report. AAI and the Global Fund also discussed the new CCM guidelines (2010) which say that CCMs should demonstrate effort to include key affected populations in the country dialogue process. In terms of the way forward, it was raised that Fund Portfolio Managers might benefit from capacity building on how to engage better with civil society outside of the CCM, as well as on human rights and key populations issues.
Continuing with Global Fund Advocacy Week, AAI met with two Fund Portfolio Managers (FPMs), Richard Cunliffe (Botswana, Swaziland) and Viviane Hughes-Lanier (Niger). At these two meetings, AAI consulted with the FPMs about how best to strengthen Africa’s CCMs through improved participation of marginalized groups. The result was a recommendation from the Secretariat to build the capacity of civil society to become principal or sub-recipients, train key populations CCM members on how to influence a meeting, and train the CCM Chairs and Co-Chairs on how to run a meeting that includes discussions of strategic thinking around human rights considerations.
At the end of the week, solid plans had been made to move forward with the project in a manner that continues to involve the Secretariat in Geneva. This way, AAI can increase its impact in pushing for greater accountability to women, girls and SOGI groups from both the CCMs in country, and the FPMs and Technical Specialists at the Global Fund in Geneva.