On the 28th April 2009, to mark WILPF’s 94th Anniversary, UK WILPF delivered the Voices of African Women declaration to the UK Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. The declaration highlights many of the issues that grassroots women activists in Africa face in their work for peace, justice and development. The declaration was accompanied by 500 names supporting the declaration, and a letter asking the UK government to provide more support to women’s rights in Africa and Women’s Organisations to ensure that the issues raised in the petition were adequately addressed.
The date of WILPF’s birthday was chosen to deliver the declaration because since 1915, women’s non-violent action has been critical for social change.
Although grassroots women activists have the capacity to overcome the obstacles outlined in the declaration, they need more support. A 2007 report by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development analysing present trends of aid showed that women’s organisations are grossly under-resourced. The report, ‘Where is the Money for Women’s Rights’, concludes that women’s NGOs are in a state of “survival and resistance”. All together, 729 organisations raised a total annual budget of just 77.5 million US dollars, which is nothing at all considering the mammoth task of gender equality.
Today WILPF calls on the UK government to provide more support for African women’s organisations so that they can continue to make change in their countries.
African women’s organisations are capable of making change, they just need our support.