The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) () Coalition has launched the 20 for 20 Solidarity Awards to commemorate Africa Day and the 20th Anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol).
Founded in 2004, SOAWR is a regional network of over 80 national, regional, and international civil society organizations based in over 30 African countries. The primary area of focus for SOAWR has been advocacy for African States to urgently ratify, domesticate and implement the Maputo Protocol.
The 20 for 20 Solidarity Awards seek to recognize and celebrate twenty state and non-state actors who have made exceptional contributions towards the promotion and uptake of the Maputo Protocol at national, regional, and continental levels.
Nominees will be judged on their contribution to the core themes of the Maputo Protocol, which will be based on the ten categories, including the Normative Change Category, Resilience (Long Standing) Category, Access to Justice Category, Women’s ECOSOC Rights Category; Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Category, Equality in the Family Category; SGBV, VAWG and Ending Harmful Practices Category, Women’s Political Rights Category Inclusion and Diversity Category; and Young Women’s Category.
Further information on the categories is available here ().
Nominators are encouraged to visit this page: () to make official submissions for nominees.
Speaking during the launch of the award, Equality Now’s Director, Africa Office, Faiza Mohamed, said that nominators were expected to submit their nominees’ details by June 14, 2023, after which the nomination period will be closed. She added that the award recipients would be recognized at a high-level celebratory awards gala on July 11, 2023, in Nairobi- Kenya, bringing together high-level government officials, dignitaries, organizations, and institutions, from across the continent.
“Launching the Solidarity Awards on this day has some sentimental and intrinsic value for the important step that the African Union has taken in birthing the Maputo Protocol to promote and ensure the rights of women and girls are protected, given that the African Union is commemorating Africa Day today,” she said.
The Maputo Protocol was adopted on July 11, 2003, by African Heads of State and Government. It demonstrated African leaders’ willingness to protect, promote and fulfill women’s rights on the continent and was reaffirmed in the Solemn Declaration of Heads of State and Government on Gender Equality in Africa adopted in July 2004. Today, the Maputo Protocol is recognized as one of the world’s most progressive women’s rights treaties.
“While we all work towards a gender transformative agenda in Africa, a formal recognition of excellence for advocacy interventions that have contributed towards this progress has the potential to catalyse change in our societies,” said Hannah Forster, Executive Director, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS).
“We are recognizing those who have steered the arduous complexities of gender inequality in Africa in the hope that this will inspire others to make a difference, more so the young women in Africa,” added Gloria Agueh Dossi Sekonnou, President Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement (RFLD).
Formed in 2004 when the Maputo Protocol was adopted, the SOAWR Coalition dedicated itself to the promotion of the Maputo Protocol as a key instrument in realising the human rights of women and girls in Africa, aligning its mission to the AU’s All for Maputo Protocol Programme. The women-led Coalition was critical in ensuring African countries had ratified the Maputo Protocol. Following valiant efforts by the Coalition, the Maputo Protocol is also reported to be the fastest human rights treaty to come into force and has been ratified by 43 out of 54 African countries.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Equality Now.
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About Equality Now:
Equality Now (www.EqualityNow.org) is an international non-governmental human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional, and national legal advocacy. Our international network of lawyers, activists, and supporters achieve legal and systemic change by holding governments responsible for enacting and enforcing laws and policies that end legal inequality, sex trafficking, online sexual exploitation, sexual violence, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage.
Solidarity for African Women’s Rights ( ) is a coalition of over 80 civil society organisations working across 33 African countries to protect women’s rights. Established in 2004, SOAWR works to protect the rights of girls and women as provided for in the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.