For nearly two decades, SIHA has been actively engaged in the production of knowledge – through research, documentation of human rights violations, production of films and radio shows, and political analysis. The dissemination of this knowledge, grounded in strong political analysis, is the foundation of SIHA’s advocacy work with state and non-state actors. Documenting the harsh realities faced by women in the Horn, as well as the remarkable actions of women human rights defenders in response, has proven invaluable over the years. Within the oppressive regimes present in so many countries in the Horn, having the courage and savvy to be a whistle-blower remains critical – especially in countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, and the two Sudans where SIHA is one of very few with this capacity. SIHA is well experienced at walking the line between security and advocacy – preserving its space to manoeuvre alongside uncompromising messages on women’s human rights. SIHA will continue to exercise this ‘soft’ influence, using strategic entry-points and allying with local government officials. Where advocacy potentially compromises SIHA’s ability to operate in highly scrutinized countries, SIHA will collaborate with international human rights advocates and organizations, which are less at-risk of fallout.
SIHA intends to place as much emphasis on dissemination of advocacy products as on production. Research and advocacy messages will be disseminated in multiple formats targeting strategic key audiences. SIHA will engage more effectively in social media advocacy and campaigns, where possible and without compromising security or operational space. In the coming years, SIHA will produce more visual testimony alongside reports and articles, such as short documentary films and stories, striving to be flexible to shift between forms and formats based on the context. This will require more extensive media training, as well as clear guidelines for appropriate and safe external communication for SIHA staff and members. When SIHA launches significant publications, such as the annual Women in Islam journal, SIHA will work with local media to draw press attention in countries where it is safe to do so. SIHA will continue its engagement with regional platforms, including its observer status at the ACHPR, which has proved extremely useful for raising key human rights issues.