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What’s Next for Malawi’s New Dawn?
A few weeks ago, chief opposition leader, Lazarus Chakwera was appointed as the new president of Malawi, generating new expectations and renewed hope. Following the election, we asked our allies to reflect on the significance…
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Obituary for Mabel Moyo & Retelling Stories of Organising in Zimbabwe
We walk in the footsteps of those who came before us. What is your theory of change? But is it value for money? These pesky questions have become the bane of many an activist’s life…
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Stigma & Discrimination Kill the Soul: What we learnt from HIV & AIDS
I feel like I have been here before, like I have travelled this exact same road. It must be eerily familiar, to those of us who grew up and lived through the early days of…
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Nourishing our movements: Reflections from JASS’ Cross Movement Dialogue
As women, we are always vulnerable to violence but there are shades of violence directed to women who do not conform to the social expectations of what it means to be a good woman: lesbians,…
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The Fires We Light
By Maureen Kademaunga The fires we light are not fires to set alight police cars, they are small cooking fires we make in our township backyards to feed the children when there’s no electricity. The fires…
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Women Voicing their Demands in Zimbabwe
Ahoy macomrades Ahoy. This was the call to action on June 13 as hundreds of Zimbabweans converged in the nation’s capital at the Harare Magistrates Court to support the release of Pastor Evans Mawarire who…
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Fighting for the Right to Lands, Livelihoods and Life
The WoMin–JASS Southern Africa Feminist Movement Builders School (1-10 March) was a meeting like no other: 32 women from seven countries across Africa, representing a diversity of languages, ages, backgrounds and more. The one thing…
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Our Bodies, Our Lives (and ICTs!)
“I now know how to use a tablet which is not a norm in Malawi because [many believe] tablets cannot and should not be used by a local woman like me,” says woman activist leader…
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Rebelling for the Right to Education
“When you’re an ‘activist’ you are labelled all sorts of things, [you are seen as someone] who is ‘rebellious’,” says long-time Zimbabwean student rights activist, Evernice Munando.  Students across the globe are rising up and…
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Breaking out of the Boxes
I am a writer, and an avid reader. But I am always left thinking where the stories about me are? When do I ever read a story in which I can see or even feel…
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I Write (and Wear) What I Like
Sister ko mabva matakura masofa acho mukati rega ndifambe ndakasenga (Sister, your body looks like you carried the couch with you into town). Hure (prostitute) Eish mukoma vari kunakirwa kumba uku (Eish, your husband/boyfriend should…
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African Women Stand up to Big Coal
JASS Southern Africa (JASS SNA) sat down with two activists who are saying “No!” to Big Coal: Nomonde Nkosi, a young feminist activist from rural Mpumalanga, South Africa and Betty Abah a poet-environmentalist from Nigeria.…
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Tripping Over Inequality
Kicking off 2015 with an odd bang, the African Union (AU) both commited to an agenda of women’s empowerment and elected 90 year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as chair – despite international criticism of his…
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The Business of Beauty & Body Politics
Marita sits on a stool at her stall in an open market just outside Harare. She is counting brightly-coloured sweets and placing them carefully into a bag. Her neighbour on the right sells packets of…
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Truth, justice and the feminist way
Ask a roomful of people to stand up if any of them have ever experienced violence personally or know of a woman who has experienced violence. They’ll all stand. Ask this same group if they…
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Malawi: How far have women come?
A Look at Positive Women’s Organising in Malawi, 2005 to 2014 It is hard to conceive the magnitude of what Malawian women activist leaders with whom JASS works and the hundreds of women they represent…
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Authentic Movements need Authentic Efforts
In recent weeks, much global activism has focused on action towards justice for the over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April this year. Under the broad banner of ‘Bring Back Our Girls’,…
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Searching for the ‘A-ha!’ Moments: A Chat with Pat Made
Fungai Machirori, founder of Her Zimbabwe, sat down with fellow feminist journalist, Pat Made at the JASS Southern Africa Strategic Planning & Review to explore the ins and outs of communications for feminist movement building…
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Building from the ‘I’ to the ‘We’
For three days in Johannesburg, JASS has been asking the big questions for feminist movement building and activism in Southern Africa: where, what, who, why and how. It couldn’t come at a more pressing time…
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On Women’s Agency & Feminist Alternatives in Southern Africa
I read Ngugi wa Thiongo’s The Trial of Dedani Kimathi years back when I was still in lower secondary school. The character that sticks with me most since that time is the woman political activist…
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Seven Striking Things about Zimbabwe’s Stop Rape Now March
Over four hundred women are waiting in front of Harare Town House, a spot that once marked the centre of the city. There are all sorts of women in the crowd—the young and the less…
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Jolism, Strike, Score!
The Strange Dynamics of Mixed Gender Spaces I am sitting in a room packed with excited leaders for a leadership forum organised by the Gugulethu Youth Development Forum.  It’s blisteringly hot and it makes it…
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When reality becomes stranger than fiction, Gumbura gets going!
Rape of women and girls is proving to be a deliberate constant in Zimbabwe. On 3 February the Harare magistrate court concluded an ‘exceptional’ case in which Robert Gumbura, founder and supposed ‘pastor’ of an…
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The Story behind the Vagina Warriors
There’s an act of defiance in going onstage… We are standing in the garden of Katswe Sistahood’s office in Harare. It is 29°C, the sun beats on our foreheads until we’re shiny with sweat and…
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Dancing with Malawian Women
When a woman has been living life like that of ‘[a] rat on a treadmill,’ tired and resigned; in a state of hopelessness, helplessness and despair, on the brink of giving up—it is hard to…
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Feminist Social Struggles in a Globalised World: What Malawi’s Women Have to Teach Us
Written by Dr Simukai Chigudu JASS’ work in Malawi has many lessons to teach about activating the energy women have and opening safe spaces for them to interrogate issues of power, organize collectively and demand…
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Waiting for Elections in Zimbabwe
“They’re already neck-and-neck, heading for a run-off!” That’s a running joke on the streets of Harare as we wait for July 31, the day of Zimbabwe’s national elections. Walking through the city’s streets, standing in…
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A Walk Down Vilakazi Street
The winter sun bathes the gently curving road, the street, the people, the commuters and the face-brick houses.  In that instant, the narrow road we have been walking upon suddenly appears welcoming and prosperous. However,…
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Upcoming Zimbabwe Elections, Wiztech, and Feminist Politricks
7 am TALKCITY cyber cafe, Joina City Mall, Harare A long, winding queue has formed from the Julius Nyerere entrance, past the Edgars shop, across Jason Moyo, stopping right at the corner of the main…
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Fanning the Flames of Feminist Activism in Zambia
Sometimes you just don’t know where things will end up. In 2009, JASS held a series of movement building institutes (MBIs) in Southern Africa that were attended by feminist activists in the region. These institutes…
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Sex Workers’ Rights are Women’s Rights
Written by Wala Nalungwe, a young Zambian feminist activist who is also the Coordinator for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy Project at JASS partner organisation, Youth Vision Zambia. “Would you fight for the rights of…
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What’s in a Partnership?
“You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child. Well it takes many people to build a movement.” At least that’s what we re-discovered over the three days JASS Southern Africa…
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Malawi: 10 things we would write about if we had the time
After a whirlwind of activity over roughly 14 days, we leave Malawi bone-tired but also excited about the depth and breadth of JASS’ work, our partnerships with MANERELA+ and women leaders from a wide spectrum…
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Marching All the Way to Parliament
It’s hot. 36 degrees. We are not sure the march is going to happen. How can women take to the streets with the sun burning down on their heads? As we arrive at Kamazu Statue, there are not many…
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Highlights from the National Women’s Dialogue and More in Malawi
Over two days, more than 140 HIV positive women activists met to celebrate the campaign they built to access to better ARVs and treatment literacy. As a prelude to the Global Race to SAVE Lives…
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Caution: Fearless Women Crossing the Line in Malawi
There’s energy in the air—here in Malawi. It crackles and shimmers, builds and builds, until it feels as though we are riding on a tidal wave of collective power, of women who have come from…
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Moo-vement building in Malawi
The dusty roads twist and turn. The setting sun signals the end of another day. The roads are chock full of mini busses ferrying weary workers home, street side sellers with tomatoes, ground nuts, sweet…
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Where did all the “bad women” go?
Musasa-JASS Wellbeing Circle in Zimbabwe. What makes a “bad woman”? Does she laugh too loudly or speak out of turn, drink too hard or dance all the time, have too much sex or no sex…
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Young Zambian Women Tackle Patriarchy, Power & Sex
Patriarchy. Power. Sex. These are the concepts that young women in Zambia are grappling with at the Young Women’s Leadership Camp. Patriarchy – through institutions like the family, tradition and culture, education and the media – controls women’s sexuality as…
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The Personal is political: Inside out with Malawian feminist Tiwonge Gondwe
Writer, feminist researcher, and market organiser, Dudziro Nhengu (Zimbabwe), interviewed Malawian activist, Tiwonge Gondwe in Istanbul, Turkey (April, 2012). Tiwonge, please tell me about your relationship with JASS? I knew JASS in 2008 in Cape…
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Women Build their Collective Power by Pen and Paper in Buhera
By Vimbai Njovana   The period from the FTX till now has been something of a whirlwind tour for me and an exhausting one too. As I reflect on the skills gained and the time…
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A Brief Virtual Discussion on “NGO-isation” and its discontents
Hope Chigudu said: NGO-isation? I am not sure that I know what this term means but what I know is that there is a way in which we do things as NGOs that makes some…
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How and Where Does Change Happen for Women?
Malawian Activists in workshop The reunion with the women we have been working with in Malawi was emotional. Tiwonge, who has been involved since the beginning in 2007, lifted me up in the air as…
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Connect Your Rights!
At APC Women’sNet “Connect Your Rights!” Workshop in Mombasa, Kenya. My mind is literally exploding with concepts and ideas.I’m at the APC Women’sNet “Connect Your Rights!” Workshop in Mombasa. We opened the workshop with a…
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Building Pathways and Movements: Feminist Tech Exchange
A statement by Feminist Tech Exchange participantsJohannesburg, South Africa – 20th July 2011 From the 18th to the 20th July 2011, the first Southern African Regional Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) was hosted in Johannesburg, South…
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Psst, psst, I slapped a policeman today!
8:00 a.m Zimbabwe time. At Charge Office Flea Market, where we have learnt skills to multiply the dollar for daily survival, there are stacks and stacks of second hand clothes, and unopened bales too. We…
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Heart-Mind-Body: Creating Organizations with a Soul
The Heart-Mind-Body workshop, held at Chengeta Lodge just outside Harare (April 9 – 10), brought together 26 women, each with diverse experiences, perspectives and survival strategies, all united by a common concern: sustaining the work…
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Taking the Power Within and Crossing the Line: Reflections from JASS in Malawi
Hope Chigudu shares reflections about building women’s voice in Malawi and powerful stories of the ways in which grassroots women internalize the power framework and use it to challenge, resist and rebel against various forms…
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Wise Advice for Activists from Ugandan Sex Workers
In time for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Hope Chigudu shares lessons learned from our sisters – activists, sex workers, feminists in Uganda…   They hate writing. They like music, dance and…
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I am a Chameleon: Young Feminists in Zimbabwe Carve Out Space for Themselves
  Every woman is a chameleon. She changes her color to suit the situation; she adjusts and adapts to face the pressing challenges. She wears a different face but the essence of who she is…
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If this is not feminism, then what is?
Movement building in Rumphi, Tiwonge Gondwe’s village (Tiwonge has been part of JASS movement building in Southern Africa from 2007) As Sindi and I drove to Tiwonge’s town in Rumphi, northern Malawi, the light was…
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So that you know – more from Malawi
At the 11th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development (November 14, 2008, in Cape Town), Geeta Misra painted the landscape for ‘The Power of Movements’ by suggesting five common elements amongst movements: a…
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The Dangers of One Story
The latest dispatch from Hope Chigudu, this time from the North of Malawi, with Sindi Blose It’s difficult to know people till you meet them in their environment. The workshop situation can present what Chimamanda…
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Reclaiming Women Space and Voices: Crossing the Line in Zimbabwe
The gathering on the 6th March 2010 was a public one at the National Art Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe – one of the events taking place this month to commemorate International Women’s Day. The panel…
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The Springing Up of Herbs and Passions
This time we moved from the workshop rooms to the communities. We are humbly learning from the experience of the those who live on the margin, from their perspective, from their perseverance, from their assertiveness,…
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No longer Invisible
Written by Miles Tanhira, Information & Communications Officer at GALZ, Zimbabwe Therefore i will not keep silent.I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, i will complain in the bitterness of my soul (JOB 7…
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Give Them Wings to Fly: Crossing the Line in Zambia
A dozen young women have converged on the Protea Hotel Cairo Road in Lusaka, as JASS (Just Associates) Southern Africa continues with the process of movement-building in Zambia. This part of the process is Leadership…
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NEWS FROM UGANDA
Cabinet debates homosexuality draft law http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/707661 By Barbara Among THE Cabinet has debated the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill now before parliament and agreed to amend it. In a heated meeting yesterday, chaired by the second deputy…
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A day in the life of a zimbabwean woman
Public taxis are a nightmare, the screaming and rude conductors, the cursing drivers and the vulnerable passengers. Normally I don’t pay particular attention to other passengers in these dilapidated taxis, but what I witnessed today…
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Give me back my movement!
“We must involve the bosses. We can not move without them. The bosses are our partners. Many of them are just victims of the system too. Most of the employers mean well. All we need…
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The Flame that Will Build a Movement
This morning, the women left. We had a great time but also experienced some Oh! moments. A young woman, six months pregnant, fell really sick. The truth is she came to the workshop sick. Most…
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Crossing the Line in Malawi
Tonight we decided to chill – candles, blankets, drinks, chips; creating the kind of accommodating and comfortable atmosphere that would allow the us to engage effectively with issues that are regarded as very personal, reflective,…
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Malawian women’s stories may surprise you!
Some of us wore expressions of a most unprofessional glee as Victoria, one of the women at the workshop, a teacher by profession, made us smile by sharing a story of how she has been…
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I Am My Sister’s Keeper!
Our lives are written on our bodies. Sisters! Women living with HIV who are leaders in the AIDS movement in their communities in Malawi came together for the start of a four-day workshop organized by…
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Mobilizing against Homophobic Legislation in Uganda
Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill is generating outrage among African human rights advocates. A strong argument comes from Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe, Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika and author of a chapter in JASS’ collection Women…
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An Ode to an Activist – Keith Goddard
By Millcent Tanhira (GALZ) A small stature, a giant voice, a powerful spiritHow best can I describe you, words fail me.Your wit, intelligence and determinationAmidst all the struggle and condemnationWith the stubbornness of a horse,…
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Unlearning the ‘truths’
Zimbabwe was hounoured with the presence of Professor Sylvia Rosila Tamale from Uganda. She gave a talk at the Zimbabwe Women’s esource Center Network (ZWRCN). The room was packed to capacity with a mixture of…
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Three Seasons in Nairobi
We are almost there, making shape out of the confusion, enduring the pain, but loving each other as sisters, as we build and undo and rebuild, and we start seeing the shape of our Southern…
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A View from Fairview
As the 8 women in the planning meeting go to their rooms to retire for the night , I reflect on the day’s proceedings. What have we achieved, what are we going to do, where…
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JASS Strategic Planning in Nairobi – Reflections
It has been a long and intense day, emotionally draining – but in the spirit of strategizing for Southern Africa Women’s Movement Building as JMBs, it was well worth it. The honesty that is not…
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Reflections from JASS Southern Africa Planning
As I end the day, I would like to share my thoughts on the process on Planning for the Southern African Region.It has been an interesting process to be involved in, its shaping and defining…
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Prejudices
I was looking forward to a restful Easter, when on the eve of Good Friday I went into a meeting where I thought I would be in a safe space. This was a feedback meeting…
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International Women’s Day: Still a long way to go!
Not yet Uhuru! March 8 was International Women’s Day. This is a day marked to ‘celebrate women and recognize the great role they play in the world’. Women are not just women they are mothers,…
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Reflections – Malawi
I have been reflecting on the circumstances of the women we have been meeting during the Malawi workshops, on how they live and how they cope with the changes in their lives in the context of HIV…
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World AIDS Day 2008 in Zimbabwe: Why I Will Not Join the Celebration
Why I Will Not Join the Celebration World AIDS Day (WAD) came upon us again on the 1st of December – 2008 marking the 20th such commemoration. Surprisingly we are still doing the same things…
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Back Home in Harare from AWID Forum cape Town
I got home in Harare back from AWID Forum in Cape Town to even more distressing situation with prices of basic commodities beyond skyrocketing, cholera out of control while officialdom claims everything is under control.…
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Pens and Presentations Down
By Keba, South Africa A session that was supposed to be about experiences of hate crimes, and remembering people we have lost at the hand of homophobia ended up into something else. The session started…
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Amandla Awethu at AWID!
Written by Amanda Awethu I cannot believe I almost gave up on coming to Cape Town for the 11th AWID Forum. I was on the verge of giving up as I had hassles trying to…
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the voice of a grassroots woman
From AWID, I have learnt on how to strengthen women’s organisations and to bring solidality on womens movement in our regions and our countries and documentation is important. To make sure that we are  achieving…
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Young feminist at AWID
As I look forward to the opening of the AWID forum , I am quite excited about the work that the young feminist have planned for the conference.It pleases me to know that space has…
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JASS Crossregional Dialogue 2008: Workshop
By Wala The meeting was explosive with different ideas from diverse women across the globe. It was an enriching and eye opening experience. It also challenged me as a woman and as an activist to…
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Things Fall Apart
We have a bad cholera outbreak. Everywhere I look, I get worried – anyone, including me, has a high chance of contracting cholera. As if we have not had enough troubles with the political jokers…
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Crossing the line at the African Feminist Forum
Commonwealth Munyonyo, Kampala was this year graced with the presence of at least 150 African women feminists who got together to continue with the feminist revolution. Throughout the 4 days women from at least 29…
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Thank you to Stephen Lewis
  Dear Stephen Lewis, Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to attend the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. This meaningful experience provided us with the chance to get to know the…
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Political Crises Affect Women and Girls Most
I sit here in Harare agonising, and wishing I had the same courage our Swazi sisters have. The fear is just paralysing!! NGOs Ban, Political Crisis Stall ‘Basket Fund’ Saturday, 06 September 2008  THE political…
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Go! Go! Swazi Sisters!
Mbabane More than 1 500 mostly HIV-positive women staged an unprecedented protest in Swaziland on Thursday against a foreign shopping tour by eight of the ruling monarch’s 13 wives, in a country ravaged by Aids.Dressed…
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Julian’s Blog
  By Julian, Age 11 This AIDS conference has been full of knowledge. It wasn’t just about HIV/AIDS. It was about learning and gathering and sharing information and opinions among people with HIV and without HIV. I…
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What a Week in Mexico City!!!
The AIDS conference ended today. It has been an eventful week. I did not get to contribute to JASS blog as I tried to cram in as much of conference program as possible. There has…
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The day I crossed the line
Tuesday at the IAC was an action packed day for me. I got to speak in front of a lot of people which was a new experience for me and it definitely made me feel…
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