Background and History

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 00:00 EASSI
Print PDF

The Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women is sub-regional Civil Society Organization made up of committed individuals, NGOs, coalitions and networks driven to transform gender relations and especially in the Eastern Africa sub-region. The main international agreement that frames our work is the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) resulting from the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The BPFA has been in turn affirmed by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015, combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and gender equality, and gender inequality, and building partnerships for development.

EASSI owes its genesis to the women's movement in Eastern Africa. It all started before Beijing. In 1992, a process was initiated which culminated into the hosting of the East African Women's conference hosted by Uganda in 1993. The process that led to this meeting had given birth to two women's advocacy and networking Organisations namely; The Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) and the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP). Thereafter, the processes that led to the 1995 Fourth World Conference (FWCW) on Women in Beijing, formed a bigger block of the Eastern African region to include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi to the three East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. This was because it was felt that the eight countries shared common concerns relating to poverty and the marginalisation of women.
EASSI was formed in 1996 as a mechanism to facilitate systematic follow up of the implementation of the platforms for action emanating from the Fourth World Conference on women held in Beijing China in 1995. The development of the BPFA was preceded by the African Platfom for action which was developed in Dakar, Senegal in 1994. EASSI is a collaboration between individuals, NGOs, coalitions and networks in the Eastern Africa sub region committed to the advancement of women. EASSI covers eight countries of: Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. EASSI prioritized the 12 critical areas of concern for women of the Beijing and African (PFAs). The founding principle of EASSI was to stimulate activism at national, regional and international levels and to make concrete and meaningful change for the women of the sub-region. It was expected EASSI would enhance national and regional processes. This principle continues to guide the direction of EASSI's networking, research, advocacy and capacity building towards enhancing gender equity and social justice.


  • To advocate for effective sub-regional mechanisms for the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality
  • To promote transparency in the budgetary process with regards to resource mobilisation, allocation and utilization for reproductive health and sexual rights.
  • To increase the participation of women in challenging systemic causes of conflict and providing alternative paradigms to peace building and conflict resolution


In our work, we aim for a society where;

  • Women enjoy equal political, civil, economic, social right including sexual and reproductive rights with men;
  • Women have access to power and there is equal participation of women and men in decision making;
  • Governments are accountable and promote, protect and respect human rights for all


Our unique identity lies in:

  • Our sub-regional membership and networking NGO;
  • Monitoring the implementation of the African and Beijing Platform for Action within the Eastern African sub-region;
  • Our African feminist orientation and perspectives
  • Being better positioned to speak on the progress being made in promoting gender equality within Eastern Africa using the framework of the Platforms for Action;
  • Our diverse membership of individuals and organizations with varying experiences and competencies


  • Fairness, Equity and Justice
  • Integrity, Honesty, Transparency and Accountability
  • Respect for the rights of women
  • Collective Action


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 11:40