Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme: Civil Society Regional Reference Group Inaugurated
The Spotlight Initiative, is an ambitious, global multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.
At the heart of the Spotlight Initiative are women’s rights groups and civil society organisations, given their central role in the fight to end violence against women and girls globally, including in Africa.
In addition to the more traditional partnership of CSOs as implementing partners, and to further strengthen the role of civil society in the Spotlight Initiative, the Spotlight Initiative’s Africa Regional Program constituted the Civil Society Regional Reference Group in January 2022. The CSRRG was selected by a civil society expert committee, in collaboration with representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union and UN Women.
The members of the CSRRG will serve on an individual capacity and participation in the Group is not remunerated. The 15-member CSRRG is a Pan-African body of experts that will harness civil society expertise and inform implementation of the SIARP, both as advisors to the SIARP and as advocates and partners for the realization of its objectives. In so doing, the Group will contribute to national and continental efforts to address VAWG and HPs, including of vulnerable groups as defined in the programme, which is key to responding to Agenda 2030’s ‘leaving no one behind’ imperative.
The composition of the CSRRG takes into account geographic, language, gender and age representation; and includes representatives from faith leaders and traditional leaders as well.
During the inaugural meeting of the CSRRG in February 2022, Ms. Letty Chiwara, the UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, AU and ECA encouraged the CSRRG ‘to be bold in their efforts of ensuring that the SIARP delivers on the ground and makes a change in the lives of women and girls.’ The meeting was also graced by Ms. Cisse Mariama Mohamed, the Director of the AUC’s Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHSD) and Mr. Thomas Huyghebaert, Head of Policy and Cooperation, EU Delegation to the AU, both of whom congratulated the members and expressed their support to the CSRRG, highlighting that the CSRRG’s reach and position in their communities make them an important voice and partner in the efforts to address gender inequality and empower girls and women to realize their full potential for ‘the Africa we want’
The CSRRG is supported by Partners for Sexual Health (PSH), a civil society organisation based in South Africa, and one of the Spotlight Initiative’s CSO partners. The fifteen Civil Society Regional Reference Group Members of the SIARP are: Laetitia Tonye Loe (Cameroon), Dr Mildred T. Mushunje (Zimbabwe), Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki (Kenya), Abimbola Aladejare-Salako (Nigeria), Sylvester Balungwe (DRC), Nanahemaa Adjoa Awindor (Ghana), Hodan Ali (Somaliland), Adam Diaou (Mali), Mariama Johm (The Gambia), Lilian Olivia Orero (Kenya), John Ede (Nigeria), Upendo Chitinka (Tanzania), Litlhare Rabele (South Africa), Florence Sesay (CSRRG Co-chairperson) (Sierra Leone) and Nneoma Albert-Benson (CSRRG Chairperson) (Nigeria).
See biographies of the Civil Society Regional Reference Group Members HERE
Hamlet Johannes: Hamlet@psh.org.za
Aijamal Duishebaeva: firstname.lastname@example.org