Towards Women’s Rights and Empowerment
The International women's day, celebrated on the 8th of March, forms an important part of ACORD's calendar as it brings to focus the issues of women's rights and empowerment. The theme for 2012 "Empower women- End poverty and hunger", aims to recognize the importance of securing social progress, human rights and fundamental freedoms for women in Africa.
From 27th February to 9th March 2012, ACORD has been taking part in the 56th Commission on the Status of Women Conference (CSW) in its capacity as having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). On 2nd March, the ACORD team together with partners from FEMNET and GROWA, held a parallel session which attracted women rights activists, people in charge of policy formulation, and other important participants. During the meeting, the need to help survivors of sexual violence to rebuild and transform their lives by putting them in the driving seat for change was emphasised.
During the CSW, ACORD's key message of "Strengthening livelihoods and foods security for SGBV survivors as a way of reparation" was well articulated and is expected to influence policy-making around the world in the months to come.
In keeping with the theme for 2012, women's empowerment in agricultural production was given particular focus, whereby a ‘Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)' was launched on 28th February by the United States Government's Global Hunger & Food Security Initiative and partners (USAID, International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI] and The Oxford Poverty and Human Development initiative [OPHI]). Based on a three country pilot research conducted in Bangladesh, Guatemala and Uganda, the Index draws its analysis from five areas, namely Production, Resources, Income, Leadership and Time.
"The financial and economic empowerment gives the women the confidence and authority to take on challenges at household and community level", this was a message from Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, President of the Nigerian Widows Development Organisation
Kenya: Putting Women on the Driving Seat
ACORD has taken significant steps to foster the recognition of fundamental rights for women in the 18 African countries where it is present. Empowerment includes: raising awareness and understanding of women's rights. Some notable scenarios aimed at ensuring equal rights between the genders include encouraging registration of land title jointly in the names of both spouses, and supporting women who are the heads of their households, often widows, to register the land in their own name. In some places the introduction of formal property rights can make a break from the status quo and improve women's rights; in others, formal laws on land are just ignored in practice, and it is more meaningful to work within the informal systems of ownership that are in place, which are often communal.
ACORD is currently on a programme mission in Western Kenya to offer women leadership and mentorship trainings and to encourage more women to vie for political and administrative positions ahead of Kenya's general election. The trainings methodology includes legislative and constitution awareness and issues pertaining to the requirements and qualifications that women require to vie for leadership positions. Additionally the team is providing the women with strategies aimed at curbing challenges faced by women interested in politics.
The goal of ACORD is to continue to make a significant difference in the lives of young girls and women affected by sexual and gender based violence. ACORD invites you to offer your donations, either monetary or in-kind of whatever amount. With the help of donations from willing supporters we shall continue to see improvements and further outreach in our work.