African women and girls at the grassroots - Their say on their world post 2015


The Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development (ACORD), has released a landmark publication that details the voices of African women and girls in the post Millennium Development Goals discussion.

African women and girls at the Grassroots – their say on their world post 2015 is a representation of African women’s voices from the grassroots. The report has attempted to give voice to grassroots women in the complex political and consensus building process that will result in the post 2015 development framework. In doing this ACORD aims to ensure that women’s contribution form the basis of the recommendations and resolutions that will be adopted on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The report situates its analysis in the experiences and perspectives of African women and girls, using their own words to illustrate the issues that a new development framework must confront.

ACORD held 45 citizen-driven workshops in 13 different countries across the continent. In six of these countries, ACORD held workshops specifically targeting women’s issues and concerns. The workshops triggered debate and discussion in some of the most remote and marginalised communities in Africa today, with citizens reflecting on the challenges they faced, and their ideas for how they want to see change take place. The findings of the consultations have been captured in a flagship report of the post 2015 process, entitled The Africa we want: Responsive states, empowered citizens, to be released soon.

ACORD’s Executive Director Ousainou Ngum, in his address during the launch of the publication during the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, said that the process of defining a new global framework must be transparent, inclusive and participatory and the new framework must include the voices of citizens, especially women, to avoid the mistakes of the current MDGs.

“It is for this reason that ACORD embarked on the process of collecting grassroots women and girls’ voices,” said Ngum. “The objective was to harness the power of the African women, to privilege their position as agents in their own development. As we all know African women have always contributed to development through food security, peace and conflict resolution, their families’ well-being, amongst others.”

Ngum further expressed that the report was an attempt by ACORD and its partners to ensure that women’s contributions form the basis of the recommendations and resolutions that will be adopted on gender equality and women’s empowerment. He thanked the Dutch Government for the financial support received through their FLOW programme.

“It is clear there can be no development if women’s rights are compromised,” reiterated Salina Sanou, Head of Policy and Advocacy. “There is a disconnect between grassroots voices and policies. Policies must respond to the needs of the people.”

The findings in the report have been summarised from both the general citizen workshops as well as the women specific workshops. In analysing women’s voices, issues in five key thematic areas were identified:

• Violence against women and girls.
• Access to and control over resources, including land, energy and information technology.
• Access to basic services with an emphasis on reproductive and sexual health services.
• Women’s citizenship and leadership
• Recognition, redistribution and remuneration of women’s unpaid care work.

“Having national policies that cater for gender parity is vital”, said Emmah Nungari, ACORD Kenya country director when addressing the distinguished participants at the launching event. “Sexual violence against women must specifically be targeted in conflict and post-conflict states”.

This report was launched in New York on March 17, 2014 during a joint event between ACORD, UN Women and World YWCA in the presence of Hon. Mary Clara Makungwa, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Republic of Malawi; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General; Kgothatso Elisa Mokoena, World YWCA; and the ACORD delegation (Ousainou Ngum, Executive Director; Salina Sanou, Head of Policy and Advocacy; and Emmah Nungari, ACORD Kenya Country Director), as well as participants and discussants from civil society, the donor community, government officials, the private sector and UN agencies.

To watch the webcast of the launching event in New York, click here!

For photos or more information, contact: Caroline Testud, Communication Coordinator, ACORD,