RALF Newsletter: February 2021

Welcome to 2021!

The first RALF Newsletter for 2021! Welcome back to us all. 

CAL began the year with her biannual staff review and planning meeting where we, as the name suggests, reviewed the last year and planned for the coming one. And it is with this same spirit that we get into our first newsletter of the year – taking a look at what has already transpired in 2021 in terms of human rights and activism, and sharing with you what we hope to achieve in the coming year.

We end off with some news about upcoming projects and a love offering from our hearts to yours.

Social Justice

Many of us had hope that 2021 would be a kinder year but we have continued to see states and state instruments attempts to crush self-determination and disruption from dissenting voices.

Already this year:

  • The Indian government passed three farm acts in September 2020 that effectively reduced government protection of farmers by decreasing regulations, pricing, sale and storage of farm produce. This resulted in the #FarmersProtest which saw the state meat our violence against protesting farmers, creating electricity blackouts and cutting off access to food and water at protest sites. 
  • Ghanaian security forces raided and shut down the office of an LGBTI rights group in Accra after politicians and religious leaders called for its closure, forcing activists to go into hiding.
  • Protests in Poland continued following the Polish government’s ban on abortion. Abortion has become illegal except in cases where it safeguards the life or health of the person carrying the pregnancy, or where the pregnancy is the result of rape.
  • Countries in the global north have been hoarding covid-19 vaccines, deliberately making sure they are unable to reach populations in the global south.

We do, however, draw  hope and inspiration from our comrades in Argentina whose advocacy saw the state legalize abortion up until the 14th week of pregnancy.

Looking forward:

Similar to 2020, feminist activists are going to have to continue to be innovative, disruptive, tactical and defiant in our quest to dismantle systems of oppression and build feminist futures of freedom and autonomy.

We hope to continue the work that we started during our #16daysofactivism2020 campaign, asking:

  • How do we change the current discourse on wellbeing to one that acknowledges the dismantling of institutions of oppression as necessary to foster and sustain individual and collective wellbeing?
  • How do we build strong and sustainable South-South movements to be able to hold states accountable in multilateral spaces?
  • How do we improve our knowledge systems (how we produce and disseminate) on violence against women and Women’s political participation to inform our advocacy?

We will also continue our internal and external work on wellbeing, attempting to more intentionally coordinate all our programming to continue to build well, sustainable and effective movements, communities and societies.

Source: Well-being in feminist activism

The Power Up! Consortium is hiring

The Power Up! Consortium, an alliance of women’s rights organisations including JASS (Just Associates), Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), Yayasan Pemberdayaan Perempuan Kepala Keluarga (PEKKA), and Gender at Work (G@W), is seeking a Programme Coordinator to support our partnership. Power Up! works in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (MFA).

We are looking for someone with:

  • strong commitment to women’s rights, feminism and social justice
  • strong working knowledge of international development, women’s rights & movement building
  • experience in lobbying and engaging the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a full-time role, based out of the Netherlands

Apply by March 12 2021

Follow this link for more details about this exciting role.

Autonomy Project: Western and Central Africa

The Autonomy Project is expanding into Western and Central Africa!

The research and community organising teams at CAL have been working with activists in Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Liberia to bring you some exciting research and video projects. 

Watch the video below for a small taste of what’s to come. 

The African Feminist Standpoint 

At the end of last year we launched the call for submissions for AFS Issue #4 : Concerning Violence. The call was closed on 15 February  and we are incredibly excited about the submissions we have received. Over the next few months we will be working with our wonderful contributors to create another amazing issue of the AFS.

In the meanwhile you can catch up on previous issues of the AFS here.

For the month of love

Mainstream Valentine’s day often focuses on hetero-romantic relationships. We thought we would explore a more expansive and encompassing, definition of love – as a tool for connection, and of course for feminist movement building. 

For the month of love, we asked Secretariat staff to complete the following sentences:
A feminist in love looks like…
Decolonized love is…