EASSI endeavors to increase the capacity of its members, staff and board in the following priority areas:-
- Organizational development
- Resource mobilization
- Networking and communication
- Leadership, Lobbying and advocacy skills
- Monitoring and Evaluation
EAC Gender Equality and Development (GED) Barometer
The East African Community (EAC) Partner States have ratified various instruments on gender and women’s rights at both the regional and international levels. Individual States have also created an enabling legal and policy environment to concretize the regional and international commitments. However, these efforts have not been matched with actionable commitments and have largely remained on paper, limiting tangible achievements, though with variations across the member States.
In order to harmonise country–specific gender equality commitments into one biding piece of legislation, EASSI and her Partners supported the institution of the EAC Gender Equality and Development Law guided by the following objectives:
- Harmonise the national laws of the EAC Member States with regional and International standards of promotion of gender equality and women’s human rights;
- Enhance the level of Implementation of women’s rights instruments through incorporation of emerging development issues and gender concerns;
- Promote non- discrimination and gender equality in the processes of governance for strengthened regional integration and sustainable development of the community;
- Provide a participatory framework for strengthening monitoring and evaluating the level of adherence to regional and international standards on gender equality and equity;
- Promote equal participation of women and men in regional trade by entrenching enabling policies and macro-economic frameworks that are gender sensitive and responsive.
The EAC GED draws on other key ratified global and regional instruments such as: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); The 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); The 1985 Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies and the Platform for Action (1993); The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UN SCR) 1325; The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995); The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda; The African Union’s (AU) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 2000; The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance 2007 and The Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in 2004.
EASSI with support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) in partnership with her National Focal points in the five member countries initiated the EAC Gender Equality Barometer, as a participatory measurement tool intended to support and track the implementation gender responsiveness by member states. In 2007, EASSI published the pilot GED Barometer as a starting point. The GED barometer will be used by the EAC States to periodically monitor, measure and document the progress of gender equality in key result areas in order to facilitate a regional conversation on strategies for enhancement of substantive gender equality and sustainable development. It will act as tool for meaningful comparison to be made for different policy areas across partner states. The measurement helps to assess how the EAC governments are utilizing their mandate to promote gender equality and equitable development processes. The survey for this pilot GED barometer was conducted at the time when the EAC GED was still a bill. The EAC GED Bill has since been passed into law. The campaign which started in 2008, with the tabling of the bill as private members Bill, specifically championed by Hon. Nancy Abisai, bore fruit 10 years later when on March 8 2017, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed the bill into the EAC Gender ACT. The Act now awaits assent by the EAC Heads of State.
Read the Pilot EAC Gender Barometer. Download the PDF Version here.
Citizen Voice and Agency emphasizes community development practices such as participation, inclusion, ownership and sustainability. This can only be achieved through clear advocacy strategies which integrates, information, voice, dialogue and accountability. EASSI advocates for women’s rights and Gender Equality in East and the Horn Africa. It strives to ensure that gender dimensions are included in Key Policies and frameworks.
In 2017, one of EASSI's Advocacy towards the enactment of the East African Community (EAC) Gender and Development Bill yielded results when after 10 years, the East African Legislative Assembly passed it into law. After this great achievement, EASSI is now directing her advocacy towards;
- The EAC Partner states to fast track the assent and later implementation of the Act.
- Civil Society to embrace the Act and create mass awareness among the EAC Citizenry to demand for implementation of the Act.
Besides the EAC Gender Bill, EASSI is also advocating for the Engendering of the East African Non-Tariff Barriers Act.
Campaign for the Gender Responsiveness of the EAC Non-Tariff Barriers Act (NTBs Act) 2015
EASSI in partnership with DIAKONIA is implementing a 5 year project; Promoting Women’s Economic Justice in the East African community. The philosophy behind this project is that achieving women’s economic justice in the EAC is possible if stakeholders enhance the credibility of their advocacy with evidence on gaps that are periodically assessed and documented. This will also be possible if a deliberate effort is made to invest in strengthening the capacity of civil society to engage, influence and demand for the implementation, review, and formulation of gender responsive trade policies, laws and regulations at national and regional level. The overall goal of this project is to contribute to women's economic justice in the East African Community. The project focuses at achieving 2 broad areas: EAC and partner states enact and implement the EAC Gender Bill by 2020; and EAC and Partner states implement the EAC Elimination of Non –Tariff Barriers Act (2015) in a gender responsive manner by 2020. Under this project, EASSI made the following achievements.
Futher still, EASSI is also keen on mobilizing women to hold governments accountable on various issues particularly those around the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action and the EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill. These are: Gender Based Violence, the Media, Education, Health, Power and Decision making, Economic Empowerment, Agriculture and food security, land rights, trade, Peace and Security, Environmental Management, and Marginalized groups. Through research, EASSI uses evidence based information to sensitise the women/communities to hold their government accountable in regard to the earlier mentioned areas.
EASSI also trains organizations and women leaders in advocacy for the advancement of women.
EASSI@20:Celebrating 20 years of advocating for women’s rights and gender equality in Eastern Africa and the Horn
In 2016, EASSI marked its 20th Anniversary with pomp and colour. A series of activities were organized to mark the event and among them were; Launch of EASSI house and Training Center and the Ist Eastern African Sub-regional Women's Colloquium on SDGs.
Launch of EASSI House and Training Center
To mark, its 20th Anniversary, EASSI held anniversary celebrations at its secretariat in Kampala, Uganda. It used the occasion to launch its House and Training Center.
The House was launched by the Ugandan State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi. The second floor of the house is now complete. The house will have four floors and a basement. EASSI house is a hub for women empowerment that once fully complete will only be equaled to a five star facility. It will have rooms for accommodation, conference rooms, office space to let and a resource center for young women. Currently, the organization has opened up its ground and second floor for hire to those in need of rooms for conferences/meetings and office space. It is anticipated that completion of the EASSI house will open up more opportunities for the organization. Currently, it acts as the venue for most of EASSI events. The House has a fast speed wires internet connection and a constant supply of power. It has rooms that can accommodate both small and big meetings and conferences.
Support Women's Empowerment, get your office space at EASSI house or host a meeting/conference here!
1st Eastern African Sub-region Women's Colloquium on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
EASSI in partnership with UN Women held the first ever women’s colloquium on SDGs as another major activity to mark its 20 year anniversary. The Colloquium was held to take stock of the achievements of the women in Eastern Africa and the Horn in line with gender equality. 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. Participants were drawn from Uganda. Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Monitoring the Beijing and African Platforms for Action
Over the years, EASSI has been documenting and monitoring post-Beijing progress within the eight countries of the sub-region. Reviews on the progress of member countries on the 12 critical areas of concern were done at Beijing +10, +15 and more recently +20 and reports published. You can find some of these reports under “Publications” on the website (https//www.eassi.org ).
Communication and Networking
Communication is a backbone of any successful change process and the key to establishment of acceptable public trust, building public image and partnerships. This is why EASSI uses strategic communication to ensure that the work we do with women and girls, boys and men is shared and communicated to the different stakeholders and their feedback received where necessary. EASSI uses cutting edge communication tools, strategies and platforms to contribute to the body of knowledge on women’s rights and gender equality. Priority areas include:
- Strengthening the capacity of women and girls as well as their associations and groups to access information and manage knowledge.
- Creating and managing platforms to share information, ideas, strategies and experiences for cross-learning and implementation. This includes; social media platforms, websites, list serves and e-gender databases among others.
- Media campaigns aimed at fixing attention on issues relating to gender equality, driving debate and encouraging action-oriented solutions until commitments to gender equality in the EAC are met.
IEC Materials -EASSI develops and disseminates Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on the status of implementation gender equality instruments, progress and calling for accelerated implementation where needed. It also collects success stories and lessons learnt which are shared inform women and duty holders. Examples of such materials are newsletter, documentaries, and policy briefs, annual and quarterly reports among others.
Women's Economic Empowerment
EASSI has been working to support women’s economic empowerment through building skills of women and girls to manage their own businesses and generate income for their families. To date, over 20,000 women and girls have developed knowledge and skills to ably influence decisions on their economic self-reliance. They have been trained in life skills, in cottage industries such as tie and dye, candle making, baking and catering, poultry keeping and agriculture, among others. The have also been connected to markets.
Gender and Trade.
The integration of the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania saw the customs union and common market protocols coming into force as the main documents guiding the economic integration process. The two protocols provides opportunities for traders within the region which are not applicable to goods/traders outside the region. Some of the opportunities include the simplified trade regime including the rules of origin and freedom of movement.
Unfortunately, women traders who are the majority in the small scale cross border trade are not aware of the opportunities existing within the regional integration that they can take advantage of and reduce transactional cost hence increase their trade. This has led to a continued use of informal routes by women traders along the East African border points.
EASSI has therefore been engaging with over 7,500 women traders cumulatively from the borders of Katuna (Rwanda/Uganda), Mutukula (Tanzania/Uganda), Busia(Uganda/Kenya), Malaba (Uganda/Kenya), Namanga (Kenya/Tanzania) and Taveta (Kenya/Tanzania) equipping them with information on the opportunities within the EAC integration process; linking them to different border agencies to ensure that the fear of border officials is removed hence creating a conducive environment for women to trade in; linking them to other traders within the region hence creating market opportunities and most importantly- Establishing information and resource centers at the six named border points which serve as information hubs for women traders.
EASSI has further organized the women into border associations, which after full registration formed the National associations bringing together representatives from the different countries in a given country and finally, formed a regional association of women cross border traders. The associations give the women traders a stronger voice when lobbying for issues at the border points.
EASSI fully engages with border agencies and the good relationship has seen some of the EASSI resource centers being entrusted with issuing the certificate of origin to the small scale women traders. At other borders, EASSI has been granted space to put up the women’s desk within the One stop border points.
The Young Women’s Leadership Training Institute and Volunteer Programme
Over 10 years of mentoring and nurturing young women who are passionate about women and gender, EASSI through its volunteer and young women’s leadership programme has contributed to over 80 young women who have stepped out to mentor others and occupy positions of leadership. The programme targets young women between the ages of 25-35 years. The training has transformed the lives of young women and has equipped them with knowledge, skills and expertise to become transformative leaders within their communities and the region at large.
The objectives of the leadership program include: Equipping young women with knowledge and skills in leadership, gender analysis as well as in the formulation and implementation of gender responsive projects and programmes; initiating a forum for young women to meet and build alliances for individual and professional support, sensitizing and empowering young women on gender issues so as to improve the quality of gender analysis and research in the Sub-Region; strengthening existing national and regional networks through net-working and solidarity and to build and sustain links and empower the young women living in fundamentally patriarchal communities with self-development and life skills.
EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill/ACT
FINALLY, THE EAC GENDER EQUALITY AND DEVELOPMENT ACT WAS PASSED ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, 2017 AS THE BEST GIFT TO EAC CITIZENS!
The Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) cordially thanks the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) for their demonstrated commitment to gender equality by passing THE EAST AFRICAN GENDER EQUALITY AND DEVELOPMENT ACT on International Women’s Day, 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Since 2008, EASSI in partnership with women rights’ alliances in the 5 Partners states has been campaigning for an East African Gender Equality Protocol. This later changed into a bill which was tabled at East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) as a Private Members Bill by Hon. Nancy Abisai. The overall purpose of the EAC Gender and Development Act is to advance Gender Equality across the 5 EAC Partner states in the economic, political, social and cultural spheres, for the benefit of women and men by consolidating into one legally binding document, the various human rights instruments to which the EAC partner states are party or signatory at the continental and International levels. (The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, CEDAW, the protocol to the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women in Africa and the Recent Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 1 and 5)
This campaign was inspired by a similar campaign in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) waged by the women’s movement in Southern Africa for a SADC Gender
The EAC Gender Act harmonizes national laws of the EAC Member States with regional and international standards of protection and promotion of gender and human rights, promote non-discrimination and gender equality in the processes of good governance for strengthened regional integration and sustainable development of the Community.
The EAC Gender Equality and Development Act focuses on these 13 critical areas;
- Legal and State Obligations to Protect Human Rights.
- Power and Decision Making.
- Agriculture and Food Security
- Land Rights.
- Peace and Security.
- Climate Change and Environmental Management.
- Extractive Industries.
- Marginalized Groups
The EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill now awaits assent by the EAC Heads of State. To fast track implementation of the EAC Gender Act, EASSI has already produced a pilot EAC Gender Barometer, based on the 13 articles of the Gender bill and will include Citizens Perceptions. Having a Gender Barometer is a critical tool for not only enhancing citizen’s participation in governance processes through critical information but also a tool for holding governments accountable to their gender commitments.
Information and Marketing Centers
EASSI has set up and operates several resource centres at the border points across East Africa. The resource centres act as a linkage point between women groups, traders and other stakeholders. Besides being information hubs, the resource centres also capture women’s experiences in trade and refer those who need help to relevant authorities and in some cases intervene when traders are faced with challenges. Currently, EASSI operates eight (9) at Luweero District Uganda and 8 at the border points of Malaba (Kenya/Uganda), Busia (Kenya/Uganda), Mutukula (Tanzania/Uganda), Katuna (Rwanda/Uganda), Holili/Taveta (Kenya/Tanzania), Namanga (Kenya/Tanzania and Kabanga/Kobero (Burundi/Tanzania) border. Through the resource center, EASSI disseminates up to date market information to women traders on different products across the region. This has enabled the women make informed choices on where to buy or sell their goods. The Resource centers are equipped with computers, photocopiers, mobile internet and skilled staff. The resource centers continue to act as a hub for trade and market information, meeting and resting place for women traders.