– Amplifying the voice of feminist movements in West africa
Equipop believes that fair and sustainable development for all can only be achieved through the fight for women’s rights. For example, it saw an obvious need for collaboration with West Africa’s feminist activists, so Equipop began a fruitful partnership in 2018 with representatives from West African women’s movements.
Young west african feminists: key actors
Every day in West Africa, feminist activists, groups, and committed movements work in their communities through social networks and national organizations to promote gender equality, fight gender-based violence, defend the right of women and girls to freely dispose of their bodies, and encourage young girls to demand their rights. Collaborating with these committed feminists and supporting them at different levels fits naturally with Equipop’s approach, one that supports local initiatives and focuses on women’s and young people’s civic and political participation.
“It’s an opportunity to meet other feminist women, to learn from their experiences, and, especially, to jointly think about strategies that we can put in place to make our voices heard.” Irmine Ayinhouton
Creating discussion spaces for these activists
Equipop wanted to bring together several feminist activists from Francophone West Africa because the organization recognizes the importance of strengthening relation–ships and solidarity between activists who face similar issues even though they live in dif–ferent places with different capabilities and situations. Therefore, Equipop held a meeting and workshop in Ouagadougou from Novem-ber 27-30, 2018; it was attended by 28 feminist activists who hailed from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. During the meeting, these young people shared their experiences and commitments; they also organized into a larger group. The workshop enabled the activists to agree on the main messages that they would con–vey at the international level and in their countries. Attendees also participated in an Equipop Lab in order to design innovative and participatory mobilization actions, par–ticularly around the 2019 G7.
Influencing g7 political representatives
Putting the voice of young feminists at the heart of decision making
Including feminist voices in public-policy design and making political commitments at local, regional, and international levels drives political and social transformation. These people’s voices, especially those from West Africa, are rarely taken into account and they are seldom invited to speak, even when the decisions made affect them.
“My voice counts and the voice of my sisters counts. Listen to us, we have something to say about policies that affect us.” Néné Fatou Maricou
One of Equipop’s priorities centers on restor–ing the ability of West Africa’s young feminists to speak about their experiences, needs, and demands during decision-making meetings and negotiations. During 2019, members of this group were able to speak at high-level events many times, such as during the Women 7 Summit in Paris in May 2019. They also met with key political figures; for instance, one member met with the G7 Sherpas in Febru–ary. At each meeting, the young feminists conveyed messages for the group and spoke with one voice.