Introduce yourself (Name, organization, and how long you have been involved in activism)
Hala Alkarib, an activist and feminist, civil society worker and research practitioner. I am a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I was born and raised in Sudan and later lived in Canada, Egypt, and Kenya; currently, I’m living and working in Uganda.
I have been working in Sudan and South Sudan regions and Eastern and the Horn of Africa for over 20 years.
Hala is the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa-SIHA Network and the Editorial head of the Journal: Women in Islam in the Horn of Africa (Arabic &English), published by SIHA Network.
Describe the work that you have been doing as a women rights activist/defender in your country
My work specifically focuses on women and girl rights and activism for social justice and human rights. I’ve worked extensively with refugees, displaced persons, and minority communities across the region. Recently, my work has been focused on the impact of religious dogma and political repression on the women and girls wellbeing across the region.
What do you think are the most important women’s rights issues in your country and why?
1) Women movements in the region/Horn and Eastern Africa are losing their collective power to advocate for their rights based on lived reallities. We are mainly losing our capacity to define our agenda without the influence of northern funding agencies. We need to recapture our spirit of voluntarism and solidarity and to solidify our ability to exercise activism.
2) The depoliticization of the women movement in Africa is a serious challenge. Women organizations became passive spaces and turn their back to the political struggle for their rights as citizens.
Do you feel protected in the work that you do? (If YES or NO, please provide reasons)
I don’t feel protected as an activist. I live with the risk of being sabotaged, judged and character assassinated. We are working for women’s liberation, equality and solidarity, and justice- these are not popular agenda at the moment.
Activism is a choice, a way of life and a matter of principles. I am very privileged that my activism is a large part of my work.
Over the tenure of your activism, do you feel like you have been rewarded or recognized for the work that you do? (If YES or NO, please provide reasons)
I am always recognized and appreciated by the grassroots women and men that I work with. They are intelligent and politically aware and they do recognize their allies.
What do you envision is the landscape for women human rights defenders in the region?
We have to fight very seriously as women activists for our values beyond the NGOs. We should define ourselves, and not be defined by other perceptions and imagination if we really want to influence activism for change.
What keeps you motivated to keep doing this work?
The grassroots women and girls across the region, SIHA team, my friends, our comradely, friendship solidarity, and shared values lighten the road for me.
Ø Editorial head- Women in Islam Journal
Ø A paper on the good practices and setbacks of women organizations advocacy strategies against violence against women in the Horn of Africa “Walking through Forest of Thorns”.
Ø Published Several Articles in; Sudan Tribune, All Africa.com, Open Democracy, and the Pambazuka in addition to other international journals