Southern Africa - Connecting Regional Partners and Allies

Malawian women 2012JASS works with in-country partners who represent a wide spectrum of often marginalised constituencies, formal and informal women’s organisations and NGOs committed to a social justice agenda. Drawing on the diversity and reach of these organisations and alliances, JASS is able to connect with those who have the biggest stake in advancing rights in Southern Africa: women living with HIV and AIDS, LBTI people and young women.

The partners and alliances we build bring contextual knowledge, implementing experience, political savvy to negotiate the complex dynamics and an established constituency. JASS enhances this with a critical analysis of power and the leverage of local-to-global networks. The regional partnerships aim to maximize the reach and impact of our collective resources and expertise to promote justice and rights for women in Southern Africa.

There’s a lack of cooperation. Instead, we work in issue silos and sectors - HIV, GBV, poverty - with only occasional linking discussion. But have we done the work of identifying common bottom lines? Without it, we risk leaving silences and gaps, for example the ties between violence against LBTI and gender-based violence. ~ Thinkshop Report

JASS SNA’s strategic approach to partnerships allows for engagement across these silos, challenges partners to address the interconnectedness of the range of issues and has created opportunities for unusual and powerful collaborations. JASS Southern Africa connects these networks by mobilising women across a broad spectrum, including positive women, young feminists, sex-worker groups, and LBTI activists (lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex.)

Malawi Network of Religious Leaders living with HIV/AIDS (MANERELA+)

The Malawi Network of Religious Leaders living with HIV/AIDS is a 1500-strong membership network with extensive reach through Christian, Muslim and other faith communities. With its wide reach and critical analysis on women’s specific inequalities around HIV/AIDS, MANERELA+ catalyses change.

Widespread patterns of male privilege, social discrimination (e.g. lower levels of investment in the health, nutrition, and education of girls and women), institutionalised economic inequalities that keep resources out of women’s hands, making women dependent on men, less able to negotiate sex, more likely to practice survival or transactional sex, and more subject to violence. ~ Rev. MacDonald Sembereka

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)

GALZ braves an increasingly dangerous and fragile operating context to provide critical services to LGBTI in Zimbabwe. With allies like Musasa Project, GALZ builds common ground across women’s and human rights organisations and civil society at large for safety and security.

We are not just LGBTI people – we are Zimbabweans, Africans, citizens. So we add our voices. For example during the cholera scourge we spoke up as citizens demanding clean water. We speak out for citizens’ access to health, education, justice. We speak as Africans, not as a marginalised, boxed minority. ~ Partnership Report

Youth Vision Zambia

Youth Vision Zambia (YVZ) was formed by young Zambians to organise for sexual and reproductive information, technologies and rights. Bringing an essential youth perspective, YVZ has a demonstrated commitment to young women’s rights and leadership in the form of their Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Women’sNet

A feminist organisation that works to advance gender equality and justice throughout Southern Africa through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Women’sNet provides technical and creative capacity-building at the regional level. Together we have worked to conceptualise and carry out the Feminist Tech Exchange, which builds and strengthens women’s communications skills with a key analysis of power and access to communications for movement-building.

Katswe

Katswe Sistahood is a vibrant movement of young women that promotes access to comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). Envisioning a society where Zimbabwean men and women are equal, Katswe engages women, sex workers, and urban youth using the revolutionary “pachoto” methodology. Pachoto meets young women where they are, using art, drama, song and wellbeing methodologies to build solidarity and connections across boundaries.

Musasa

Musasa Project is the only organisation providing legal, shelter and counseling services to women and educating society on the problems of domestic violence and its effects on development, at family and national levels in Zimbabwe. With JASS, Musasa carries out the Heart—Mind—Body Initiative.