Respect, to our warriors in Malawi!

11 Feb

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My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. A few weeks back we stood in solidarity with the warriors in Malawi, who decided to take a stand against gender-based violence. I reached out to the organizers to see how as a Pan African feminists we could show solidarity and try and help create awareness for the amazing work that they are doing.
I was led to a powerful young force, named Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo. Ulemu, meaning ‘Respect’ is a 22-year-old feminist, she is the founder and president of the Young Feminists Network, a network which serves as a platform for young feminists to engage in dialogue and activism for social justice. The Network currently has 66 members with chapters in 3 cities; Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Zomba. With such a powerful name, she can only receive the respect she deserves as she works on being the change that is needed in the world.

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Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo

Through our work as activists, we are all faced with many challenges, regarding our safety, which is governed by policies and laws, that have been set out according to patriarchal principles. In Malawi, the situation is no different, as feminists, particularly the young feminists, one of the major challenges they face is the misconceptions about feminism. As Ulemu stated, ‘a lot of people seem to misunderstand what feminism is and what it seeks to achieve, some because they lack access to information and others because they don’t agree with feminism and deliberately misrepresent it at any given chance. Such misconceptions include the fact that feminism is a movement that seeks to get rid of men or to make women more dominant than men. This ignores the basic premise of feminism which recognizes the oppression women have faced since time immemorial and seeks to deconstruct the patriarchy which upholds this marginalization of women’.

She went on to say that, ‘people believe feminism is unAfrikan. However, this is also a misconception. Although the theories and conceptualizations of feminism may have originated in the West, acts of resistance to the patriarchy have existed in Afrika for centuries. Therefore, it isn’t anything new. ‘

Within the activism space, whether you are based in Africa or the USA, funding is always an issue, and of course in Malawi, it is no different. A lot of funding opportunities apply to registered organizations only, which makes it hard for informal feminist movements to get funding for their operations.

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The Malawi women in March 2020.

On 1st February 2020, the Young Feminists Network in collaboration with PEPETA (an online community of young female SRHR activists from DRC, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) and over 20 other organizations and individuals organized the “Take It To The Streets” march against VAWG (violence against women) in Malawi. When we go up against the patriarchy, we are always met with resistance, in their case they were denied police protection from the relevant authorities and this was a major obstacle because this effectively meant the march couldn’t take place. Like, true warriors, they did not let this minor obstacle stop them from pushing ahead, they could not hold an official march so they were able to mobilize large numbers and in Blantyre they held a rally, in Lilongwe and Mzuzu they managed to march regardless.
Despite all the deliberate hiccups, in the end, they still managed to achieve their goal of raising awareness on the issues and calling for action from various stakeholders.

The PanAfrican warriors from Zambia, Kenya, and SA, showed solidarity with them through social media and various press. This also brought attention to a sexual assault case, in Blantyre. They were able to set up a time and visited a warrior, Vanessa Chilanga. Vanessa is a woman who was sexually assaulted by a gang of men in Blantyre. She was visited and they are currently creating platforms and strategies to help and support her and other survivors.

What can we do?
We need solidarity with our warriors from across the world, particularly on our continent. To assist the Young Feminists Network or the feminist movement in Malawi in general, please continue to follow their work and stand in solidarity with them and help amplify their voices by sharing what is happening.
As we know International women’s day is approaching so strategic collaboration would also be great and essential. Do you have any platforms, events or stages that we could collaborate on?
Let us get the conversation started. We can start small, with our feminists in the SADC region, we are all in the same time zones, so what is stopping us?

How to get in contact with The Young Feminist Network in Malawi-
Instagram @yfn265
Twitter @yfn265

Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo- @ulemuhk

Rosie Motene @rosiemotene

In solidarity,​ we stand!!!!

Serepudi-A Queer Photography and Experimental Art Exhibition

3 Feb

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On 11 June 2019, Botswana announced that they will decriminalize the same-sex act, through a unanimous ruling by the High Court of Botswana.
During the month of February, the first queer exhibition will be held in Gaborone.
The exhibition titled, Serepudi is a new pre-Valentine’s Day queer photography exhibition and be hosted by Queer Pride BW on February 13, 2020. The exhibition will showcase Queer Photography by experimental artist Sade Shoalane and photographer Raymond Geofrey. It will also debut the trailer of actor Donald Molosi’s new critically-acclaimed British queer film called 2064.

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The Serepudi exhibition will run from February 13 to February 15, 2020. It will be held at the Culture Art Café in Molapo Crossing, Gaborone. The exhibition co-organizer Letlhogonolo Moremi says of Serepudi, “As Queer Pride BW we wanted to have an exhibition that includes photography, 3D items, and a film trailer, an exhibition is across media. That is to capture the breadth of possibilities in telling stories about ourselves as Queer bodies.”
One of the special features at the February 13 opening will be the artist-talks with both Shoalane and Geofrey about their work. The artist talks will be moderated by PR and Branding Strategist and LGBTQ Activist EminentGrey. Poet Phodiso Modirwa will also recite her spell-binding poetry.

Speaking about the new exhibition, Co-Founder of Queer Pride BW, actor, and writer Donald Molosi says, “Serepudi is Setswana for a stoop that one stands on in front of the house. It is a platform, and this exhibition wants to be that platform for inclusivity in Botswana arts. We are the generation that wants everyone to be represented in daily life and that is why we are standing on the serepudi of our shared dignity as human beings and queering Valentine’s Day this year through this exhibition. Serepudi is necessary decolonization of our ideas about sexuality. You don’t have to be queer to believe inequality. You just have to have an understanding.”

According to co-organizer Letlhogonolo Moremi, “a harrowing onslaught of homophobia has been meted to the Botswana Queer community in response to the June 11, 2019 decriminalization of same-sex relationships by the Botswana High Court. With this fresh wave of continued relegation of queer humanity to political talking points and spectacularization dressed as “social discourse,” it is obvious that the non-queer community does not intend on seeing queer people as fully human beings who are not defined by made-up “deviation.” Our collective house, as Batswana, is on fire! Who shall stand at the serepudi and announce that this is our home, too? What images shall stand on the serepudi and remind us of the full humanity of Queer People?”

Queer Pride BW believes that the most transformative way to stand on the proverbial serepudi and counter-violence is to highlight our shared humanity and to make a bold statement by queer bodies directly confronting queerphobia and its guardians. Therefore, in Serepudi, both Raymond Geofrey and Sade Shoalane explore queerness in ways that are not policed and not apologetic social convention. It is upon these images that Queer Pride BW seeks to stand and speak to a house on fire, confronting prejudice with boldness to embarrass patriarchy and hatred.

Sade Shoalane is an experimental artist who will be exhibiting her art at Serepudi. She says, “My work in Serepudi is very specific to the queer Afrikan narrative. I will even say the narrative of the black, queer womxn –much dismissed narrative even in supposed ‘safe queer black spaces’… it is this dismissal that I seek to turn on its head so that I may return the favor of poking, prodding, and questioning. I will mostly use the medium of fabric to conduct this interrogation.” She, laments the lack of art exhibitions in Gaborone. In her words, “there are very few regular and substantial art exhibitions in Gaborone. I think it is due to the usual culprits – the gatekeepers. Often the people who have been entrusted to run these art and culture institutions are quite clueless about the sector they represent. They tend to suppress art that redefines the culture of the country. I am deeply grateful for private institutions like Culture Art café that continue to support more radical art and artists alike.”
Serepudi comes the day before Valentine’s Day and co-organizer actor Donald Molosi says that this is deliberate. “Valentine’s Day is usually yet another celebration of heteronormativity, of being heterosexual. What about the queer people? Can they also participate visibly in these festivities of love? Serepudi is here to say that, yes they can and yes, they shall. We humanists are tired of such calendar days being triggers for the queer community because it reminds them that they are excluded. With Serepudi, a new generation of Batswana is unapologetically and fearlessly putting queerness at the center of Valentine’s Day 2020. We want to embarrass patriarchy.” Molosi asserts.

The exhibition will run from February 13 to February 15, 2020. It will be held at the Culture Art Café in Molapo Crossing, Gaborone. The opening reception will be on February 13 only and tickets can be pre-booked by calling +267 73410039.

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FARUG- Freedom and Roam Uganda

30 Jan

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Lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women in Uganda are not considered a “key population” in national health programming.

On a recent visit to Uganda, I met up with the forces behind Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG). As my three passions in life are women, Africa, and the arts, I need to share information, with the hope of creating awareness and possible Pan African synergies, to help our warriours in east Africa.

Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), was established in 2003. It is a Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) diverse persons and womyn’s rights organization based in Uganda. This feminist organization reinforces feminist culture and principles, equality of womyn as stipulated in human rights and international instruments.
They challenge male chauvinism, patriarchy, and cultures that aim at oppressing womyn. They also create womyn autonomous spaces, challenge heteronomativity and forge sisterhood and solidarity.

FARUG is also the oldest sorely Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer womyn organization that has been actively leading and organizing on sexual orientation and gender identity through lobbying, dialogue to create and facilitate greater visibility and voice.
Their vision is to create a society in which the rights, freedom, and equality of LBQ womyn are guaranteed and there is no discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity.
Their mission is to empower LBQ womyn in Uganda and jointly advocate for the respect, protection, and fulfillment of their rights.
Their main goals include creating and sustaining a healthy and vibrant LBQ community that is respected, well informed, competent, and committed to individual and community development.

The NGO is structured with strong values and objective:
VALUES
* Commitment
* Transparency and accountability
* Openness
* Responsiveness
* Teamwork
* Mentoring

OBJECTIVES
* To advocate for an environment in which the rights of LBQ Womyn are respected and protected.
* To promote and advocate for equal access to friendly, non-discriminative & inclusive services to LBQ womyn.
* To promote Socio-economic rights and empowerment of LBQ womyn in Uganda.
* To strengthen FARUG’s institutional capacity to be a more accountable and effective organization.

Contact details:
Email: faruginfo@gmail.com
Telephone: +256392176977

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The Bayethe Development Institute

29 Jan

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In November 2019, I attended an LGBTQI business summit hosted by The Other foundation. On arrival, the first person that I met was Zoe Kamangira from Zimbabwe and we began to discuss the amazing work that she does both in SA and Zimbabwe, through The Bayethe Development Institute.
I felt I needed to share their work and see if we could create strong pan African synergies.

Zoe Kamangira

Zoe Kamangira

The Bayethe Development Institute is a Zimbabwe and South Africa registered non-profit organization that empowers marginalized communities with life skills to strengthen their inclusion and participation in all development processes including humanitarian interventions.

Bayethe Development Institute’s work is anchored on five thematic areas targeting primarily youth and key populations:

1. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

2. Economic Empowerment.

3. Arts, Culture and Heritage.

4. Peace Building.

5. Environment and Climate Change

Their vision is to create an inclusive society conducive to sustainable development. Their mission is to equip marginalized communities with knowledge, skills and practical ongoing support for youth-driven positive social change anchored by an environment of hard work, shared values, cooperation, and mutual understanding.

They offer two key programs:

* The Creative Factory Hub.
* The Pink Economy Initiative
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights promotion through awareness-raising, facilitating access to services and advocacy with relevant duty bearers.

THE CREATIVE FACTORY HUB

The Creative factory hub goal is to provide facilities for the promotion and development of the youth LGBTIAQ start-up entrepreneurs and youth-led Creative Arts Associations/Networks/Unions/Guilds through providing an accessible and affordable space for a range of businesses, dialogue, and networking platforms. Its driving force is the need to stimulate diversity, create jobs, developmental programs, and opportunities for LGBTQ/Creative Arts entrepreneurs to be mainstreamed and contribute to the Zimbabwe Social and Economic Transformation.

The Creative Factory Hub responds to and addresses the following parameters: A shared resource that allows entrepreneurs to access:

Desk and Chair.
Broadband Internet.
Tea, Coffee, Water.
Business administration support services.
Business Address.
Advertising Space.
Business Meetings Space.
Networking Opportunities.
Promotion of their business on the Bayethe Development Institute Platforms.
Entrepreneurship Support.
Participation in Entrepreneurship Linking & Learning Events.
Resource center

The Creative Factory Hub provides the LGBTQ/Creative Arts entrepreneurs with working space and access to relevant reference material in their fields of work. The Creative Factory Hub is stocked with reference material, one relating to business, management finance and markets.

To date, The Creative Factory Hub an operational capacity of:

30 Dedicated workstations in-house.
10 Meeting spots for a group of 6-8.
Two outdoor conference zones (Max 100 delegates).
Optional outdoor workstations.
Premium secure working environment.

THE PINK ECONOMY
The Pink Economy initiative is an entrepreneurship development and support project focusing on the youth LGBTQIA community in Zimbabwe. The Pink Economy provides an opportunity for the youth LGBTQIA community to become leaders in their lives and within their communities, and to equip them with skills that foster economic growth through entrepreneurship and advocacy for inclusion into the mainstream economy.

The Pink Economy Objectives are as follows:

To empower young LGBTQIA persons with entrepreneurship skills.
To create a safe space for business dialogue, networking and entrepreneurship support system.
To inspire confidence and provide a platform for the development of leadership skills.
To provide participants with access to business information.

INTIMATE STORE

Intimate Store is a physical and online store licensed to trade in adult sex toys, accessories and provide complementary sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services in Zimbabwe. The motivation for an online store instead of a physical shop is to protect our valued clients by providing a discreet and efficient service from the comfort of their preferences. Intimate Store is inspired by the need to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights through facilitating the discreet purchase of sex toys, sexuality wellness, rights and pleasure information inquiry and psychosocial support on matters of sex and sexuality. For corporate social responsibility, Intimate Store ensures that for everyone Adult product purchased, ONE sanitary pad shall be donated for periodic distribution to girls from marginalized communities. Intimate Store will work closely with Foundations/Trusts & NGOs to campaign, collect and distribute sanitary wear in marginalized communities in Zimbabwe. – http://www.intimate-desire.com

To make contact​ with Zoe:
zoe@bayethe.org
+263 8677 186824

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The Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC)

20 Jan

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My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. In 2019, I attended the Ugandan Feminist forum where I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of Uganda’s powerful warriors who are advocating for change. One lady was Ms Kyomya Macklean, the executive director for the Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC). She is also a social Worker & Champion of the sex worker Movement in Uganda

The Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC) is a network of grassroots female sex worker led-organizations in Uganda. The NGO was established in 2015 by the champions of the female sex worker movement to promote meaningful involvement and collective organizing of rural & peri-urban Female Sex Workers (FSWs), especially those operating in hard to reach areas such as slum areas, landing sites, transit routes. It was established to enable rural & peri-urban based grassroots FSWs to live free from human rights abuse to live healthy and productive lives in Uganda.

AWAC Core Values:
* Mutual Respect and Integrity.
* Empowerment and Meaningfully involvement
* Transparency and Accountability
* Evidence-based programming and human rights-based approach
* Innovation and Excellence

AWAC’s Objectives
* To promote and raise awareness on the welfare needs of sex workers and also advocate for policies that further the health and values of sex workers; These rights include the right to health and a safe working environment free from abuse, violence, and discrimination in Uganda.
* Strengthening a vibrant national and sustainable sex workers’ movement in Uganda.
* Mobilizing and organizing sex workers for policy advocacy and facilitative opportunities for the voices of sex workers​ to be heard in relevant forums both at a national and international level.
* Developing and sustaining linkages between service providers, sex worker organizations and relevant stakeholders to provide practical information and opportunities for quality services and information sharing among sex worker organizations and projects which provide services to sex workers.
* To economically empower grassroots rural and peri-urban FSWs to diversify their income and improve their social-economic well-being in Uganda.
* To provide social protection, psychosocial support, and mental health needs to children of FSWs engaged in sex work in Uganda.
* To undertake research and document human rights abuses experienced by grassroots FSWs engaged in sex work for evidence-based programming, advocacy and policy change in Uganda.

AWAC is governed by a Female only board of five members. They have wide experience in corporate governance. They have various professional backgrounds ranging from human rights, medicine, financial management, gender and HIV programming, and a sex worker community representative with a wealth of lived experiences in grassroots advocacy. The organisation​ is headed by the Executive Director and directly supported by five marshalled​ and indigenous staff including Advocacy and communication Manager, Research and knowledge management Manager, Programs Manager, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) and Business Development Manager and the Finance and Administrative Manager. The above staff have impeccable experience in leadership, resource mobilization, strategic planning, policy and advocacy, collaboration, networking, and partnerships building, economic empowerment, mental health management (counseling and psychotherapy), OVC case management/ child protection), Gender-Based Violence prevention and management, HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights programming, documentation, research, and learning.

The core business of AWAC is to improve the health and socio-economic well-being of vulnerable women especially female sex workers including those facing multiple forms of vulnerabilities such as those living with disabilities. Additionally, WAC targets children of female sex workers living in destitute conditions and adolescent young girls engaged in sex work. They work to mobilize and multi-skill them through mentorship/coaching, functional adult literacy, safe space dialogues to increase their self-esteem and improve health-seeking behavior, raise financial literacy and improve livelihood and overall socio-economic well-being through a variety of income-generating activities such as hair salons, retail shops, shoemaking, catering, craft making, tailoring, theatre for development among others. They also advocate​ for the protection of rights and equitable access to services for vulnerable women. They work with various organizations that serve as referral points for services that it does not directly offer. These include health units, social welfare departments of government, law enforcement officers, non-governmental organizations and other donor-funded projects.

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Contact details:

Located: Mulago; Kampala Uganda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/awacuganda
Twitter: http://twitter.com/awacuganda
Skype: kyomya.macklean
Phone: +256414664730, +256701603754
Email: awacuganda@gmail.com, kmacklean@gmail.com

Queer Wellness Centre

15 Jan

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Our health is different and the same.

To create an environment where the LGBTQI community is respected, acknowledged and not just tolerated, we need trustworthy allies, who can assist in their capacity with understanding and respect. I met Claudia Do Vale on two occasions in 2018, after the second encounter I knew I had to find out more about her new project of opening a queer wellness centre.
Claudia is a Nephrologist, so you might ask what does a nephrologist do? A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specialises in kidney care and treating diseases of the kidneys. Nephrologists are also called kidney doctors and are educated on all aspects of kidney disease including transplantation and dialysis.

I went on a site visit to the centre and then sat down and had a cup of coffee with her to understand, why she and her husband decided to put up the finance for such a clinic and why it is so necessary.
Through conversations that she had with her queer friends, she was horrified to hear that there is a lot of misinformation regarding certain treatments, particular for Trans-people. Then through in-depth discussions, she soon realised that people are not always given all their health care options and that there is incorrect information documented for medical practitioners to share. This is also heightened by the stigma and discrimination that queer people receive when trying to access medical care. Last year I became aware of the fact that there is a large number of queer, particularly trans people who get violently ill and often die of minor illnesses, purely because they were rejected at our hospitals and clinics and if they received treatment, were not given the correct treatment,
So as we try and work at changing those stigmas, we need to create safe spaces that prevent more deaths and illnesses.

With the reality that our health care system has left a whole community behind and with members of the community not being treated holistically as their sexual and reproductive issues, medication, and life history are overlooked. Looking at Queer health and what is available our health care is about three decades too late. An example of this is Anal Pap smears. Very few people are screened for anal cancer, which can be done through a simple anal Pap smear similar to the Pap smear women go for annually. This is done widely overseas yet is not available to the public in South Africa.
With this information and not being able to receive any assistance in South Africa, Claudia boarded a flight to San Fransisco and went through a specialised course, HRA ( High-Resolution Anoscopy). HRA is a procedure that examines and evaluates the anal canal. It is performed on patients with an abnormal anal Pap test. The procedure is used in the treatment and surveillance of anal dysplasia and the prevention of anal cancer.

With receiving the additional learning, she could begin to see where the health system has failed us and with assistance from the LGBTQI community, she began to map out a plan of the primary needs. Claudia is well aware that the clinic might not cater to everyone but it is a start and through additional partners, the clinic has plans to grow and reach other areas of the country and community.

Through the site visit, I was taken through the rooms at their Johannesburg location. The location is off the main road, close to the bus and taxi route for commuters and the operating hours will be from morning to 20h00, to accommodate those who only finish work at 17h00.


They will offer the following procedures:
* The anal health clinic, this will cater to all-round anal health issues including the anal Pap smear. The clinic offers private individual consultations.
* The STI clinic, this will include the HIV and STI testing, anal and throat STI testing, urine testing for over ten different STI’s.
* Screening for across the board, for example, breast cancer screening for Trans men even if top surgery has been done, often doctors never do and then cancer is diagnosed at a very late stage. An interesting fact is that most regular doctors, do not do screenings for cervical cancer as there is the assumption that they have never had sex with men.
* Mental health space. This is a dedicated space and will have an in-house psychologist and psychiatrist. They aim to have a child psychologist in the future so that parents and families could get adequate knowledge and support should their entire family need it.

They will have sub-specialists

* Kidney specialist so as to handle the correct usage and dosage of ARV’s and PrEP.
* Endocrinologist: Particularly for trans and intersex people. Endocrinologists are very important for sexual reproductive care. Many doctors do not acknowledge that everybody is different and needs specific care.
* Urologist: specialist in bottom surgery but also can assist those with erectile dysfunction as well as prostate issues.
* Paediatricians, we need to acknowledge trans, intersex and gay children. It is important for parents to know the consequences of making decisions at an early age in intersex babies.

Additional feature includes:

* Neutral bathroom facilities
* Space for support groups for members of the community
* Drip clinic- for the heavy partygoers, who need a boost after a crazy night out.
* There will be an in-house pharmacy that will stock all necessary medication.
* The walls will host artwork from artists from LGBTQI community.
The most important feature of all is discretion.

So as they embark on this powerful journey, Claudia and her team are seeking additional advice, partnerships and synergies, so to make the space as accessible to all.

If you wish to learn more and partner with the Queer Health centre, please contact them-
claudia@qwc.health
Twitter and Instagram @qwchealth.

#WomensMarchLusaka2020

9 Jan

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My three passions in life are Womxn, Africa, and the arts.
On a recent visit to Lusaka, Zambia I met up with one of the countries warriors, Anita Kay Holland a.ka. The Feminist Witch. I had been following her on social media for a few years as we first crossed paths after she asked me to be a curator on her feminist platform.
Whenever I travel to an African country, it is my mandate to meet at least one feminist and see how we could assist each other through lucrative synergies with the hope of creating awareness on our feminism, activism, and work. Anita is one of the organisers of the Women’s March that will be held in Lusaka on 18 January 2020.

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Background.
The Women’s March is a worldwide Feminist March. It is a womxn-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through training, outreach programs, and events. The Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.

The 2020 March.
Everyone will be marching under the key statement “no womxn left behind” various forms of discrimination leave different womxn behind and so the march aims to have a position for any womxn who feels discriminated to bring out what they are marching for. However, for the march to be successful, it needs core objective and it is for this purpose the main goals this year are to address:

1. Ending period poverty:
This will be done by petitioning parliament for tax-free pads.
The plan is to petition for tax-free pads to ensure that people who have menstrual cycles don’t have to feel the burden for buying expensive pads and that a period shouldn’t hinder them from reaching their full potential

2. Rape and Rape Culture:
In a recent article, the First Lady of this country made very
disheartening remarks regarding rape. She stated that women’s clothing is to blame for how they are raped. This idea has been an old favorite​ in Zambian culture and the ripple effect is, it has gone into our police system since culturally we have been conditioned to believe that one’s style of dress is the main contributing factor of rape.
This idea takes the blame away from the rapist who should be taught not to rape in the first place and pushes it on the victim while the rapist gets coddled by society because “it’s not his fault she made him do it with her clothes” The march will educate people with strategic posters and women dressed in strategic clothing such as miniskirts to show that our dress code is not a reason for rape.

3. Inclusive Education:
Zambia is a country that uses its identification as a Christian nation to normalize and put out a lot of bigotry and hate speech. Many groups are freely discriminated against and are made to feel afraid for their lives every single day. The LGBTQI have for years been discriminated against in this country and many people from the international community at large have seen how rife the hate for these specific groups. There is a need for the whole country to also call out the homophobic, transphobic and the whole blanket of discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. The march will provide a platform for this by allowing members of the LGBTQI and allies of the community to march in solidarity. Knowing the nature and sensitivity of this country and in a bid to provide safety for the LGBTQI marchers, posters will have enigmatic messages for example just the words “pride” or the signature rainbow flag.

4. Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights:
For many years the reproductive health right of womxn, Gender non-conforming persons, Trans Men and the Intersex community have been sidelined. Issues such as fibroids, cysts, endometriosis,
dysmenorrhea, Breast cancer, and cervical cancer are all issues that are not paid attention to. On the sexual health rights side, the Zambia healthcare system has a law that states only women above 25 must be allowed to have contraception, if they are younger, they must be married. Although there are claims that this was abolished, it still happens. Many younger people are made to feel guilty and are bullied by medical care officials for going to seek sexual health rights instead of making sure they are safe. This deters young people from accessing these rights and hikes up the disease and pregnancy rates amongst young people. This year’s march will highlight sexual and reproductive health rights and make sure discrimination and ageism in the medical field stops. Discrimination also falls into the issues of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Women should be given the right to choose and therefore it must be free and safe for them to have an abortion regardless of their reason.

5. Health Care for all:
Healthcare isn’t easily accessible. Medication for conditions like breast cancer usually runs out and can be quite costly. The key
theme is no womxn left behind and so healthcare discrimination will be tackled to ensure that womxn in hard to reach areas and vulnerable groups of womxn can have access to healthcare. It should be our aim to ensure that healthcare products don’t run out.
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6. Sex Worker’s Rights:
Sex work has been around for centuries. It is not a recent development but in Zambia, it continues to be treated as a taboo. Therefore, sex
workers are usually subject to discrimination at healthcare facilities, their safety isn’t protected if they are beaten, raped or assaulted because of their line of work, they aren’t able to afford and aren’t given adequate access to condoms and contraception and so they are at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infections such as HIV/
AIDS and they are also at risk of pregnancy. This year’s march will call for the protection of sex workers and will ensure that their rights to healthcare, safety, and protection are highlighted.

7. Disabled Womxn:
Disability is a topic that is not always spoken about and is surrounded by heavy discrimination and stigma. Many buildings and facilities aren’t accessible to disabled persons and that hinders them from doing a lot of things like getting an education, a job or even doing their grocery shopping by themselves. Our ministry of health also doesn’t make sure that disabled persons are provided with aids for their disabilities like wheelchairs, hearing aids and so on. Sign
language is rarely taught in school curriculums and as a result, disabled persons aren’t able to have what is needed for them to live a quality life and reach their full potential.
This year’s march will highlight the discrimination disabled persons are subject to and will make sure they represented at the march.

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In solidarity.

To stand in solidarity with our warriors, let us create awareness as well as the issue that they face n their country.

The Twitter handles:
@DonCorleAnn
@Sistahsistahfo1

For more information on sponsors, volunteering or media inquiries, please contact annkay1@gmail.com

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