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The Autonomy Project: A report on Violence Against Women & Women’s Political Participationin Rwanda, Benin & Tunisia

The Autonomy report on violence against women and women’s political participation in Rwanda, Benin and Tunisia was prepared as part of a project, aims to shift conversations on gender and women’s sexuality towards coherence, and an understanding and acknowledgement that women live without freedom or autonomy over their bodies, supported by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).

Summary

The Coalition of African Lesbians’ (CAL) strategy for 2019-2023 is focused, as a culmination of past years of work, on three pillars of work, ‘Think’, ‘Build’ and ‘Influence’. These pillars succinctly encapsulate CAL’s focus on feminist activism through a sexual politics lens. CAL’s thinking work involves consciousness-raising and producing knowledge in and of different forms. The building work involves fostering and growing relationships with and between activists and movements, as well as, supporting feminist community activism work that is done by and together with our members and partners. While all of CAL’s work is advocacy work by and large, the final pillar in the organization strategy, ‘influence’, is more directly geared towards direct action and dissent in advocacy. Influencing work involves lobbying for change in national, regional and international spaces, using media and knowledge produced at CAL to articulate messages and facilitate debate on various issues in feminism and sexuality politics.

This report is prepared as part of a project supported by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) which aims to work with feminist activists and organisations in Benin, Rwanda and Tunisia to shift
conversations on gender and women’s sexuality within both state and non-state actors. The direction of the shift in conversations on gender and women’s sexuality is aimed to be towards coherence and in understanding and acknowledgement that women live without freedom or autonomy over their bodies. This project builds upon and continues CAL’s past work on bodily autonomy into Benin, Rwanda and Tunisia.

The Autonomy project’s thematic focus in the three countries is twofold, i) the elimination of violence against women and girls and sustaining respect for their bodily autonomy, ii) expanding the democratic space and sustaining inclusive governance and equal political participation of women. This is a two-year project aimed at supporting and amplifying the existing advocacy work being done by feminists in Benin, Rwanda and Tunisia, specifically on the two thematic areas. CAL’s support for the feminist advocacy in the three countries in this project is by, building knowledge on women’s realities, supporting feminist activists to lobby states and to hold them accountable in fulfilling their obligations to uphold, protect and
promote women’s rights, and to support and promote solidarity and community care for and among feminist activists.

Read the full report here.

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