Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, recently concluded the second workshop organised by the World Women's Observatory (WWO), aptly titled “African Network against Violence and Discrimination of Women. First steps”.
The four-day event, scheduled from July 3rd to July 6th, 2023, with the participation of 26 lay organisations, 27 congregations and 5 religious conferences representing 22 countries, fulfilled expectations of being a key meeting for empowering women and initiating a positive change. During this transformative event, the Observatory presented the initial results of its activities in Africa and shed light on existing best practices.
“The main problem for nearly half of the African female population is being an invisible victim of violence and discrimination. What is even more concerning is that this occurs systematically and is widespread at all social levels”, explained Mónica Santamarina, President General of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations and its Observatory. "In collaboration with the Hilton Foundation," emphasised the President, "we are implementing a project aimed at eradicating discrimination and violence against women in Africa, for a cultural and social paradigm shift”.
In this perspective, the Observatory focuses on fostering collaborative networks between religious congregations and civil society organisations, as well as on implementing training activities and capacity development for women.
Patricio Caruso, an Observatory consultant, highlighted the workshop's alignment and continuity with the 2022 event held in Kenya, emphasizing its significance in strengthening networks between lay organisations, congregations, and institutions across various African countries.
The workshop, conducted both in English and French, featured training activities and had notable speakers, experts in diverse fields.
To date, the WWO's listening initiative has directly engaged in Africa 10,680 women across the continent who had the opportunity to share their stories of pain as well as their achievements through a targeted survey. Additionally, 110 "expert" women, working closely with diverse communities in 37 African countries and contributing to significant results within their institutions over the years, have shared their experiences on women’s violence and discrimination. Among the 110 women involved, 59 are laywomen and 51 are religious.
Ana Martiarena, the project coordinator, considered the July event as an opportunity to extend their invitation to other organisations, institutions, and individuals, encouraging them to contribute with their knowledge, work methodologies and experiences to combat discrimination and violence in Africa.
The initiative was supported by the social campaign that invites people to "Become an Ambassador of the Invisibles". This campaign is a call for active participation in bringing about changes so that even the most vulnerable and defenseless women can have a voice and the respect of their dignity. All campaign materials are available for download on the Observatory's webpage and are disseminated through the WWO's Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.
To learn more about the main events of the Tanzania workshop, click here.