SAYW Festival 2012

Alice Kanengoni's picture


The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Swaziland Young Women’s Network (SYWON), in collaboration with young women’s networks and formations in Southern Africa, are hosting a Southern African Young Women’s Festival (SAYWF) in Ezulwini, Swaziland from 17-19th October 2012 (travelling dates being the 16th  and 20th October 2012).

SAYWF is a space created to ignite the collective passion and energies of young women in fighting the systemic oppression of young women in all aspects of their lives including the social, political and economic spheres.

The Festival is designed to provide space for young women between 18 and 35 years of age, to come and dream together, share experiences, share strategies, energise each other and celebrate their youth, diversity and the potential they have to advocate for social justice in their respective communities. The festival is organised to respond to the dire need for a safe space for young women in the region to share their own experiences and learn from and encourage each other to engage in activism that transforms their lives. Youth-related spaces are often dominated by young men, and young women hardly have safe spaces and platforms on which to speak about issues that affect them specifically as young women. Yet with challenges such as increasing unemployment, HIV and AIDS and rising levels of poverty, gender based violence, young women are the worst affected.  This Festival will provide that much needed space for young women to engage on these and other issues.

Activities at the festival will include panels of inspirational speakers, dance, theatre, political analysis, talk shows, cultural exchange and cultivation of dreams and many other exciting activities. The platform will also make space for structured training sessions on various key skills including Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Political Consciousness, to equip young women with the practical skills they need for effective advocacy for women’s rights. The event is also designed to be a launching platform for the 2013 national young women’s campaigns driven by young women across the region.

Young women from Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are encouraged to apply to be part of this exciting event!  OSISA and partner will cover the full costs, including travel, accommodation, subsistence and training for all selected participants.

Eligibility criteria

  1. To qualify, candidates should be young women between 18 and 35 years,
  2. Applicants should be working in organisations/networks and formations committed to social justice,  especially women’s rights.
  3. University students who provide proof of interest in women’s rights issues will also be considered.
  4. Applicants should be current holders of their respective countries passports, with at least 3 unused pages at the time of travel to the festival.

To apply, fill out and send by email, the Application Form below together with a 2 page curriculum vitae (CV). Each submitted form should be accompanied by a motivation letter, expressing why you should be selected to participate in this event. In your motivation letter, kindly state your involvement in advocacy for women’s rights and social justice. The motivation letter should not be more than 1 page.

If you participated at SAYWF 2010 in Harare and SAYWF 2011 in Lusaka, your motivation letter should also state how you have used the skills, knowledge and information gained at these fora in a concrete transformative way.

The space is designed to be a safe space for young women of diverse backgrounds and experiences. To ensure this, all applicants willing to be part of this space should observe the following ethical principles:

  1. Embracing the diversity and achievements of individual young African women (i.e. acknowledging diversity in our geographical locations, differences in class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability/ability, sexual reproductive health rights and choices).
  2. Fostering learning and sharing among different generations and socio-economic communities.
  3. Taking the courage and claiming the freedom to imagine creative solutions.
  4. Being accountable to ourselves, our communities, each other and the SAYWF space.
  5. Celebrating individual and collective resistance to varying forms of women’s oppression.
  6. A spirit of solidarity and mutual respect based on frank, honest and open discussion of difference with each other.
  7. The practise of non-violence in any form it may manifest (physical, emotional, sexual, psychological).

Anyone who for whatever reason does not commit to these principles defined for purposes of ensuring that SAYWF is a safe and productive space for all therefore need not apply.


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