RALF Newsletter

The April Issue

Masakhane Legacy Site Launch

In our last issue, we closed a chapter with the Masakhane Project with the launch of the Legacy Site; a hub that hosts all the work produced by the in-country collectives. Masakhane was not only a project but a labour of love, it created lasting relationships for both CAL, our partners LSVD and Filia and, the individuals in the 6 countries in which it was implemented: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Eswatini. The close of this chapter does not mean work around autonomy will stop, autonomy is still one of CAL’s strongest pillars of work as it affects all aspects of women’s lives and in particular, lesbian, bisexual and queer women.

Get ready to PowerUP!

Last year, 2021, we began a series of in-country engagements with our partners in Kenya, Rwanda, Benin, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to re-engage and introduce a new project, PowerUP!. The project, a 4-partner consortium, is a 5 year endeavour that engages women human rights defenders (WHRD) and their organisations and networks, particularly those that represent constituencies that have been marginalised in their communities and social movements (LBQ women, HIV+ women, sex workers, women workers and rural and indigenous women). Together with the WRHDs and activists, these 4 women’s rights organisations will be building, organising, mobilising and transforming power on three strategic agendas: Bodies, Voices and Resources.
In our engagements in-country, we made many linkages to the way in which we live and work. The many intersections that bind us, are what we will work on together, to bring about the changes we want to see. PowerUP! Will provide a platform for cross-learning and advancing women’s rights. PowerUP! Will launch virtually in May 2022.

HRC 49

The Human Rights Council’s 49th session was held from the 28th of February to the 1st of April 2022. In the African context, Eswatini managed to make a submission. CAL did not participate as much in this session due to changes within the organisation.
CAL intends to participate more intently in the Universal Periodic Review sessions 42 and 43 to be held in June and September. The countries to be reviewed under these sessions are Zambia, Ghana, Gabon, Botswana, Burundi, Mali and Benin. CAL will reach out to in-country partners to offer technical support together with our partner, Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI).

Changes at CAL

Since 2021 CAL has experienced a series of changes in the composition of the secretariat. The mass resignations of key programmes staff and most recently Botho Maruatona, the Community and Campaigns officer, have posed significant threats to our political work. Furthermore, it has weakened possibilities of new funding opportunities, intensified the uncertainties and instilled anxieties within the organization. These resignations also meant that the remaining staff are working under incredible pressure to fill in the gaps of the work that needs to be effected and, these determinations mean that staff experiences burnouts more frequently. CAL remains resilient in ensuring that it continues its mandate to advance women’s rights, using the resources we have as well as employing other non-monetary efforts to maintain existing relationships, current staff members and strive for more transparent and accountable mechanisms to improve the organisations health and status.
More information pertaining these changes and other relevant information will shared in due course through our communication channels, the quarterly members’ update and the General Assembly scheduled for this year, 2022. We thank you for your continued support and encouragement during this transitional period.
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