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Interview: Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe
'Beauty', a short story by Mamle Kabu
'I'm glad I'm a girl!', a poem by Poetra Asantewa
International Women's Day Event
AWLN at the 57th CSW
CSW Special Links
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Issue: 22
Picture of Theo Sowa
Theo Sowa

 

 

Dear ,  

 

Welcome to a special International Women's Day (IWD) edition of the AWDF newsletter.

 

Every year, people around the world commemorate International Women's Day. Often IWD is used to highlight issues and remember the challenges that blight the lives of women globally. Yet, it should be also a time when we celebrate the strengths, the achievements and the changes women are bringing to some of the particularly difficult problems facing our world.

 

This year, AWDF is celebrating African women writers on IWD. We will be hosting an event in partnership with the Alliance Fran´┐Żaise, Accra (AFA), called 'Women of the World: Talking about a Revolution' where women authors, poets, artists will give readings of their work - interspersed with great music from and about African women. On the evening before the event, there will be an interactive 'Meet the Writers' session between four of the featured authors, and a self invited audience, giving aspiring young writers the opportunity to explore the excitement, challenges and fun that is involved in raising your voice through the power of the pen - or computer!

 

These events featuring the work of African women writers (Boakyewaa Glover, Famia Nkansa, Franka Andoh, Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe, Mama C, Mamle Kabu, Monica Arac de Nyeko, Nana Akosua Hanson, Nana Nyarko Boateng and Poetra Asantewa) is another example of how we hope to work through the Arts to make sure that messages about women's rights, equity and social change reach as wide an audience as possible - including and yet beyond our usual audiences of dedicated social activists. Also, by featuring these writers, we hope to raise the profiles, voices and views of African women. These are two key elements that we hope to promote as part of our wider Arts, Culture and Sports grantmaking thematic strand.

 

In that vein, AWDF is working towards a celebration that lasts for more than one or two days. Again, in partnership with AFA, in late February we hosted a workshop for amateur women photographers to enhance their abilities to tell meaningful stories through pictures. The workshop was led by the inspirational Malian photographer, Fatoumata Diabate.  

 

This current newsletter showcases the work of three of the exciting women participating in our IWD celebration. There is a poem by the always provocative Poetra and a lovely short story by Burt Award prize winner, Mamle Kabu, plus a fascinating interview with prize winning essayist and blogger extraordinaire, Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe, conducted by AWDF's Communications Specialist, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah. There is also news and links to some of the work being carried out by fellow activists at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. For those of our readers who are based in the UK, please note the information and join us for the AWDF/AFF (African Feminist Forum) panel that will be part of the Women of the World event in London from 8-10th March.

 

I really hope that the samples of writing in this newsletter will encourage you to look out for more of the work of our featured African women writers... and that of the many others on the continent who are not featured this time round. We have a wealth of talented women writers in Africa - let's celebrate them!

 

Warm Regards,

Theo Sowa

Chief Executive Officer

AWDF

 

 

 

Interview: Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe
Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe
Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe describes herself as a memoirist, essayist, and writer of social commentary. 
She is the author of several essays and prose poems. Some of her essays have been anthologized in: African Women Writing Resistance (UW Press), Becoming Bi: Bisexual Voices from Around the World (BRC), and Inside Your Ear (Oakland Public Library Press). Her essay, "The Audacity to Remain Single: Single Black Women in the Black Church," won the Marcella Althaus-Reid Award for best "Queer Essay," and is anthologized in Queer Religion II (Praeger Publishers). 

N.S: How did your journey as a writer start?

 

K.D.Y: I started scribbling on pieces of paper at around age 8 or 9 after my abuse. I think it was a way to deal with the chaos in my head and body. I continued with designing large sheets of drawing paper as magazine and newsletter layouts. At around 15, I began scribbling in the pages of a daily planner. I received my first "real" journal at age 16 and I've kept a journal since; I currently have every single one of them (I am 36) in a bin in my mother's storage unit. Three years ago I was accepted into a Writing residency; that's when I started calling myself a "real" writer. The journey continues...

 

N.S: Do you have any writing rituals?

 

K.D.Y: I usually just write. I prefer to feel the pen scratching the surface of the paper. What I consider to be more of a ritual actually has to do with my writing tools. I court my journals and my pens...

 

Continue to read 'Interview with Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe' 

 

'Beauty', a short story by Mamle Kabu
Mamle Kabu
Mamle Kabu

Beauty.

 

It's in the eye of the beholder.  

 

It's only skin-deep. 

 

It lies within.

 

There must be dozens of these, Christie thought to herself. Counting as many as she could remember might be one way to pass the remaining hour bumping back to Parakuo. Travel could be so tedious when you were under work pressure. All that time just staring out of the window when you could be catching up with deadlines. Not that she didn't enjoy scenery but up here it could stay the same for hours. Shea nut trees, scrubby bush, rocky outcrops, typical savannah landscape. An Abyssinian roller interrupted her tally of clichés.

 

Now, there's beauty...


Continue to read 'Beauty' by Mamle Kabu
'I'm glad I'm a girl!', a poem by Poetra Asantewa  


Poetra Asantewa
Poetra Asantewa

 

I'm glad I'm a girl

That's for sure!
I can have my hair done in 58
different styles and still have
room for 43 more... 

 

Continue to read 'I'm glad I'm a Girl!' 

Join the African Women's Development Fund and Alliance Francaise (Accra) to celebrate International Women's Day in Ghana
AWDF and AF's International Women's Day flyer


The African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning (AWLN) at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
Some members of AWLN at the 2012 annual review in Kenya, Nairobi
A number of AWLN members at the 2012 annual review held in Nairobi, Kenya

From March 4th to 15th the fifty-seventh sessionof the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 4th to 15th March 2013. Representatives from Member States, UN entities, and NGOs in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from all regions of the world will attend the session. The African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning will be represented by 3 of its Members - Ms. Jane Kiragu, Ms. Prudence Mabele and Madame Fatimata Deme. Ms Mabele has been appointed as the Advisor to the South African Government on VAW at the CSW.

 

The 3 Members who are Members of their respective Country delegations are strategically placed to influence the Country Statements to ensure that the Country Statements make firm commitments to tackle the issue of sexual violence against women. AWLN also expects these 3 Members to participate actively in side events, Africa caucus meetings and other scheduled sessions at the meeting.

 

CSW Special Links

Statement to the 57th Session of the CSW on 'Violence against women and information and communications technology' by the

Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Please click to read full Statement by APC to 57th CSW and click to read Executive Statement by APC to 57th CSW  

 

African Women's Caucus at the 57th CSW  

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The African Women's Development Fund

(AWDF) is a grant-making foundation which supports local, national and regional organisations in Africa working towards women's empowerment. AWDF through institutional capacity building and programme development seeks to build a culture of learning and partnerships within the African women's movement.

 

The vision of AWDF is for African women to live in a world in which there is social justice, equality and respect for women's human rights.  To this end, our mission is to mobilise financial resources to support local, national and regional initiatives led by women, which will lead to the achievement of this vision.  AWDF funds women's groups across Africa working in the areas of Women's Human Rights, Governance, Peace and Security, Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods, Health and Reproductive Rights, HIV/AIDS and Arts, Culture and Sport.

 

AWDF has funded over 1014 women's organisations in 42 African countries. AWDF's grants range from U$1,000- U$50,000, and multi-year grants of up to $120,000 can be made to grantees engaged in strategic work.