Sexual & Reproductive Rights Programme: Capacity Building

Sexual & Reproductive Rights Programme: Capacity Building 

YWL project convenes a regional workshop in Cape Town [7-9 March 2014]

More than 40 students and lecturers from the Universities of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique, Wits University and the University of Cape Town recently gathered at a three-day workshop hosted by the African Gender Institute’s Young Women’s Leadership Project. The workshop’s aim was to build capacity in the areas of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) education, action research and feminist leadership.

During the workshop, more than 30 women students, some of whom have participated in the Young Women’s Leadership Project for over three years, workshopped gender and sexuality, the basics of SRHR, and feminist leadership and strategising on campuses that are not always hospitable to research on sexuality. Students work on the project as peer educators, sexual health advocates and researchers, and imparting the necessary skills for sustaining their work is crucial for continuing their action research at their home campuses.

Lecturers additionally conducted workshops on the ethics of conducting sexuality research with students and negotiating the national and campus climates at their respective home institutions. The workshop was part of ongoing programming and capacity building initiatives by the Young Women’s Leadership Project, which has been coordinated by the African Gender Institute and funded by the Ford Foundation since 2010 [VIEW PROGRAMME]

AGI Head, A/Prof. Jane Bennett, Prof. Sylvia Tamale (Makerere University) & Dr Divine Fuh (Anthropology, UCT) teach in CODESRIA 3 week Gender Symposium  [Dakar, Senegal/ 17 June - 6 July 2013]

The head of the AGI and Director of the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics at UCT, Associate Professor Jane Bennett was in Dakar, Senegal where she convened the 2013 CODESRIA Gender Institute. The Institute whose theme was ‘African Sexualities: Theories, Politics and Action’ ran from the 17th of June to the 6th of July 2013.

*In 2012, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Gender Institute ran a highly successful programme on African Sexualities, which explored introductory theories concerning the relationship between gender and sexualities, questions of the media and sexuality, and debates on law, gender and sexuality. Given the success of the 2012 Institute, the 2013 Institute also focused on research on sexualities. In 2013, this focus was explored through an interest on connections between (1) gender identities (masculinities and femininities), sexuality and democracy; (2) legal and political change which works with questions of sexualities; (3) organizational activism which draws on ideas about rights, equalities, and sexualities within a framework of socio-economic theory on African independence and self-sustainability.

Every year since 1994, CODESRIA has organized a Gender Institute which brings together between 12 and 15 researchers for 3 weeks of concentrated debate, experience-sharing and knowledge-building. Initially aimed at promoting widespread awareness of the concept of gender in the social science research community, the institute has subsequently been organized around specific themes designed to strengthen the integration of gender analysis into social science research in Africa and encourage the emergence of a community of researchers versed in the field of gender studies.

*Additional information about the Institute was sourced from the CODESRIA website.

Summer School Short Course convened by the AGI (School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, UCT); Dept Africana Studies and Barnard Centre for Research on Women (Barnard College); Young Women’s Leadership (Rutgers University) [Cape Town/ 22 July -2 August 2013]

The course was designed to cover ten full days of engagement with textual and visual material, lectures, participant-based input, interaction with a wide range of sites (such as art galleries, activist NGOs), and with students based at the University of Cape Town. A typical day included traveling to at least one site of interest, formal input by the course lecturers and/or a guest lecturer, visual material, intensive discussion, and an opportunity for personal reflection and exploration. Students were asked to create their own digital narrative of their experience, and time was given during the course for students to develop the technical skills needed in order to transform personal records (visual, oral, textual) into digital forms that were screened and shared with others. [VIEW PROGRAMME]

Sexual & Reproductive Rights Programme: Capacity Building - 2012

AGI Head, A/Prof. Jane Bennett trains on gender mainstreaming and gender responsive budgeting with OSSREA [17-21 September 2012]

Associate Professor Jane Bennett, the Director of the AGI was in Dar Es Salaam from 17 – 21 September 2012 training on gender mainstreaming and gender responsive budgeting with the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA). The AGI entered into a formal partnership with OSSREA for this training. The training was for people in leadership positions in East and Southern African universities. In 2011, OSSREA ran a similar training in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which was attended by 30 participants selected from 110 applicants from countries in eastern and southern Africa.

AGI Head, A/Prof. Jane Bennett & Prof. Sylvia Tamale (Makerere University) teach in the CODESRIA Gender Symposium - Dakar, Senegal [4-8 June 2012] [VIEW VIDEO]

The Head of the African Gender Institute, Associate Professor Jane Bennett was in Dakar, Senegal from the 4th to the 8th of June 2012 where she was teaching with Professor Sylvia Tamale from Makerere University in the CODESRIA Gender Symposium. The theme was African Sexualities and the specific objectives of the 2012 edition of the Gender Symposium were:

  • To critically review the legal and judicial constructions of sexuality and identify how it interacts with gender and other power structures ;
  • To deepen the understanding of gender policy and sexual diversity within the universality of human rights, legal pluralism and cultural relativism;
  • To make a gendered analysis of African responses to the AIDS pandemic.

At the end of the symposium, participants were expected to have acquired analytical tools that would enable them to critically analyse the legal standards and concepts that are apparently universal and objective, neutral in terms of gender. They were also expected to be able to perceive and understand the subtle ways in which law, culture and society have always perpetuated gender discriminations.