On the 18th of August, 2016 SADC women had a successful side event, “Engaging with SADC Civil Society Organisations” during the SADC people’s summit on the socio-economic and political issues affecting women in the region; ahead of the 36th Summit of SADC Head of States which will be held in Swaziland this month of August 2016. The event was held in Manzini at Bosco skills centre.
This event was organised by Women and Law in Southern Africa – Swaziland (WLSA), the Swaziland Rural Women’s Assembly (SWRA) and the Swaziland Domestic Workers Union in partnership with the One Billion Rising Revolution campaign. Civil Society in the region to engaged on the different socio-economic and political issues that affect women in the SADC Region. The four organisations provided a forum for engaging with issues from a historic and future looking perspective against a backdrop of commitments hitherto made by SADC as a region towards improvement of the lot of women also making linkages with the African Union (AU), and international level (UN). The objective was not just to hammer on the cracks through which women have fallen over the decades but to jointly chart a meaningful advocacy path with the women who are part of these constituencies themselves.
The women come from the following countries:
Swaziland, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi
The following recommendations came from the Women’s commission:
- The women of SADC have resolved to join the One Billion Rising Campaign to eliminate Gender-Based Violence and strengthen partnerships and solidarity across the region.
- All SADC countries should enact laws protecting women against sexual, domestic and gender-based violence, particularly Lesotho and Swaziland.
- All SADC countries should enact laws and policies and strategies to develop and empower women, and this should not be subject to availability of resources.
- All SADC countries should ensure full participation of women in decision-making processes and structures and in accordance with its own treaties and protocols.
- No laws or cultures in SADC should be adhered to if they are discriminatory or violate women’s rights in any manner whatsoever. In particular, women shall be allowed to own land in their own name, and without any hindrances and encumbrances.
- Governments should channel money and resources for the development of women in all spheres and with particular emphasis on agriculture and the informal sector.
- Governments should eliminate the monopoly of Multinational Corporations in providing seeds and allow for the promotion and free trade of indigenous seeds in each country and across the region.
- Governments should establish and promote seed banks at local and national levels.
- Of the 10% commitment in the agricultural budgets in terms of the Maputo Protocol, Governments should allocate 50% of this to women, particularly small-scale farmers.
- Women and girls should be provided with quality health services including sanitary pads.
- Governments should ensure that care workers are paid for their essential services.
A petition will be delivered to the Heads of State summit which will be held in Swaziland this month.