1st EASTERN AFRICAN SUB-REGIONAL WOMEN’S COLLOQUIUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)
The first ever Eastern African sub-regional women’s colloquium on Sustainable Development Goals was hosted by the Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) in partnership with UNWOMEN on 27th and 28th November 2016. It was held under the theme "Prioritizing Investment in Women and Girls in the Eastern African Sub-region and Ensuring that nobody is left behind". EASSI, a sub-regional women’s rights organization, was founded in 1996 with mandate to monitor the implementation of the African and Beijing Platforms for Action.
The Beijing Platforms for Action (BPFAs) remain one of the most important international frameworks that highlight the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment and encourage governments to adopt the necessary measures to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. That is why, EASSI is moving the Beijing Agenda alongside the SDGs. The event brought together United Nations Agencies; the Academia; Medical health practitioners, regional gender machineries in the East and horn of Africa, the media, and Civil society organizations working on gender equality and women’s empowerment issues, including, among others, youth organizations, rural women’s organizations, women with disabilities, academia, among others.
The overall objective of the Colloquium was to bring together national and international policy experts, women’s organizations, academia, and other key bodies to identify innovative ways of promoting the achievement of the SDGs and raise awareness on the Agenda 2030.
Specifically, the Colloquium aimed to:
In tackling the objectives, specific areas formed the object of focus both during the plenary and break-out sessions notably: Gender, governance and democracy; Banishing the hand held hoe to the museum by 2025 and increasing Women’s access to productive resources; Women’s participation in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction; Women/Girls in Science and Technology; Women’s participation in trade and entrepreneurship; Investing in women’s reproductive health and reducing maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS transmission and women’s cancers; Combating violence against women; Gender, climate change and development; Women’s status in the work place; and Impact of taxation on women’s development.
Following an in-depth review of the BPfAs and the strategic actions for engendering the SDGs implementation, the Colloquium resulted into fresh commitments by development partners and civil society organisations in their lobby and advocacy efforts that target women and girls’ empowerment. It was also an opportunity for EASSI to gain new information and knowledge to guide its focus and mandate, twenty one years after the Beijing declaration. The outstanding outcome of the Colloquium was the Communique titled Kampala Declaration on Women and the Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa and the Horn. This calls out; proactive policy advocacy, awareness raising, mobilisation, gender responsive media engagement, economic empowerment, capacity enhancement and evidence building as the overall key actions for all stakeholders in the move towards gender equality.
KAMPALA DECLARATION ON WOMEN AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA , OCTOBER 2016
Key message: Prioritise Investment in Women and Girls in the Eastern African Sub-Region and Ensure that “Nobody is left Behind”
Women’s participation in formal politics and inclusion has been compromised by patronage and their effectiveness is being questioned. Much as political spaces have been opened up for women’s political activism, patriarchy and ‘masculi nist’, power and authority has remained intact.
Although women are highly entrepreneurial and economically active in the agricultural sector, they have very minimal access to, and control over critical productive resources including land, technology, education, extension and financial services hence imposing heavy costs on the agricultural sector and the broader economies of the region.
Eastern Africa has been devastated by armed conflicts leading to heavy loss of life, atrocities against unarmed civilians and acts of sexual violence targeting particularly women and girls. The dynamic nature of conflicts, the rise of non-state actors, as well as the increased threat of terrorism and organized crime poses new threats for the protection of women and children especially girls.
Socialization and traditional roles assigned to the girls at birth and during their upbringing have resulted in low of participation in technology and science education or related activities. This is worsened by the stereo types in most education systems in Eastern Africa where women are perceived to assume the caring roles as opposed to venturing into more challenging disciplines of science and technology
Women still experience barriers to trade differently from men and gender-sensitive policies can help ensure that female importers and exporters reap the same benefits from improved trade logistics as their male counterparts.
In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls account for 60 percent of all HIV infected persons. The inability to negotiate the use of condoms, multiple and concurrent partnerships, age disparate and transactional sex, as well as the incidence of gender-based violence, all of which have a gender component, are propelling the epidemic in the region. Majority of young women lack comprehensive knowledge of HIV transmission and in most cases are unable to access antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).
There is a strong relationship between climate change and environment-based livelihoods, which, in turn, are closely linked to gender. Women, more than men, are exposed to environment-linked risks, among them is the risk to hunger and the risk of shortage of water for domestic use. Po=Z or women’s predominant role in agriculture and environment-related jobs heightens their risk; many are engaged in the informal sector, without the protection of formal labour market regulation.
Although women are the majority of the population in East and Horn of Africa, there are still significant gender gaps in labor markets constraining their contribution to measured economy activity and growth. Despite progress toward gender equality there are still gaps in respect to their participation in the labor force, earnings, and the limited number of women in senior management positions.
Economic empowerment and capacity building
 151 representatives from Uganda; 6 from Kenya, 4 from Burundi, 3 representatives from Rwanda; 6 representatives from Tanzania, one from Eritrea