Where we work
| Our Work
SIHA has two offices in Sudan, one office in Khartoum and one in North Darfur – Al Fashir city. SIHA has been working in Khartoum since 2002, Darfur region since 2004 and Eastern Sudan and Southern Kourdofan since 2007. SIHA’s Regional Secretariat Office was based in Sudan from 2002 to 2008, though it had to move to Kampala, Uganda in 2009 due to insecurity. SIHA sustains long-standing and extensive expertise on the country and its relevant issues. As of 2010, SIHA has been focusing on working with grassroots women in urban poor areas across the country, including displaced and migrant women and girls, while establishing and countrywide networks, solidarity for advocacy, and protection as well as effective response strategies.
SIHA has supported the formation of over 30 women street vendors’ cooperatives in addition to local women’s associations and five gender equality networks and networks of women human rights defenders and leaders across Sudan.
SIHA supports the women’s movements in Sudan through provision of capacity building activities sub-granting and facilitating the participation of women in different spaces. SIHA and its members and affiliates address gaps in legislation, raise awareness about SGBV, the criminalization of women by the Sudanese legal system, and challenge the narratives about women’s rights in the country. SIHA has well-established relationships with universities, local and national government departments, and UN agencies in Sudan.
SIHA is well-known for its research and publications relating to gender issues in Sudan. These publications examine a variety of issues such as gender equality, women’s movements, women’s access to justice, and sociopolitical contexts of the country including within conflict areas. Many of these publications can be found at different Sudan-based universities including the University of Khartoum’s public library and the library of the Faculty of Law and Ahfad university libraries.
SIHA continued working throughout the transition of the Sudanese Revolution, which, in April 2019, toppled Omar Al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) after 30 years of oppressive dictatorship. Bashir’s removal was the result of massive protests coordinated across the country beginning in December 2018, known as the December Revolution. Women’s role in the uprising was central, not only as participants, but as active organizers, facilitators, speakers, and motivators. Yet, women are still confronted daily with discriminatory laws and practices, extreme sexual violence and harassment, unequal access to resources and services, and few opportunities for effective engagement in decision-making.
SIHA has been a strong proponent of Sudan’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); Sudan is one of only two countries in Africawhich has not ratified the convention. SIHA’s policy work also consists of pressure for Sudan to adopt UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
In all of its engagements in Sudan, SIHA seeks to confront patriarchy, religious dogma and promote normative shifts in society toward gender equality.
Wau-Western Bahr El Ghazal State
Juba-Central Equatoria State
Bentiu- Unity State
Date of Establishment
9 staff (6 female and 3 male)
19 (7 Wau and 12 Juba).
United Nations Population Fund, The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada.
Tel; +211 (0) 921 624 810.
In South Sudan SIHA works in partnership with, and collaborates with women rights organisations, human rights activists and defenders, women and girls, cultural and religious leaders, women in politics, and government to implement several projects aimed at advancing gender equality and women empowerment.
Currently the following projects are being implemented in South Sudan:
We cannot Wait Project
The “We Cannot Wait: Towards an Inclusive and Diverse Women’s Movement in the Greater Horn of Africa (WCW)” project, aimed at enhancing the capacity of women in the Greater Horn of Africa to lead and define the political, socio-cultural and economic agenda through a gender lens at all levels.
Focused on the geographical locations of Juba, Wau and Bentiu, it is expected that by the end of the project:
- WRA/Os are advocating for law, policy and social reforms
- WRA/Os are able to propose legal and policy reforms.
- WRA/Os form an inclusive and diverse coalition with shared agendas.
Preventing and Responding to Gender Based Violence and harmful Practices Project
The “Increased multi-sectorial capacity to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and harmful practices, including child marriage” Project, aimed at increasing access to GBV response and prevention of child marriage.
Targeting Wau region, it is expected that by the end of the project the following will be achieved:
- Strengthen state and Community Level response of GBV and harmful practices including child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
- Increased access to GBV Services in the state.
Women Reclaiming Agency in Peacemaking
The “Women Reclaiming their agency in Peacemaking” Project is aimed at supporting the creation of stable and inclusive decision-making and democratic processes in the region by ensuring that women are able to influence peace processes and conflict prevention, turning pledges and commitments into actions and by enhancing public support for women’s engagement and participation
Targeting Juba and Wau regions, it expected that by the end of the project the following will have been achieved:
- Increased engagement by women peace and security activists with national, regional and global platforms and decision-making bodies related to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
- Strengthened capacity of women peace and security activists.
Note: For old projects – we shall propose an Archive
Somalia is a patriarchal society which is based around kinship, and characterized by a rigid customary division of labor. However, the civil war which led to the destruction of social institutions and infrastructure, and increased participation of women in the economic arena, particularly in informal, small-scale trading. This shift in workforce participation has contributed to shifting attitudes toward greater respect for women’s workload and the constraints they face, however many gender-dsicriminatory norms, practice, and beliefs remain commonplace.
Nearly 80 percent of Somalis live below the international poverty line. Fewer women have access to education and social norms constrain their access to jobs and economic opportunities. Most private sector enterprises in the country are run by men, who have easier access to trade, and loans from local and international financial service providers. Hence, women are generally far poorer than men as wealth is unevenly distributed in the household as well as across the country as a whole.
Maternal mortality is very high in Somalia almost 4 out of every 10 women die during childbirth. Qualified doctors and health facilities are few and under-equipped and they tend to be concentrated in urban areas, often leaving women in rural areas unable to access the care and services they need.
Somali women are not involved or represented in traditional male-dominated decision-making structures which have sought to keep women out of politics and decision-making. Even though the 30% parliamentary gender quota was seen as a significant and important step toward women’s equal political representation, women still have very little influence over political decision-making in the country.
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is prevalent in Somalia, however these abuses are often unreported and resolved between families, with perpetrators typically paying compensation or marrying the survivor. Women, especially single women, with no support network are particularly vulnerable and may be subjected to destitution. The economic and political empowerment of women is a necessary condition for gender equality in Somalia.
This year (2021) SIHA, in collaboration with Somali women human rights defenders (WHRDs),conducted several forum debates including panel discussions and community dialogue consultations on enhancing and monitoring the 30% quota for women’s representation in political office ahead of the upcoming elections. These efforts targeted participants including women aspirants, clan elders, religious leaders, women’s groups and CSOs in Mogadishu toward the increased participation of women in leadership and decision-making in Somalia.
SIHA together with its partner, Somali Women and Child Care Association (SWCCA), provided capacity building and awareness raising skills to vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls to enhance their skills for employability, thus improving their livelihoods and promoting sustainability and equal rights.
In response to the prevasive levels of VAWG in Somalia, SIHA organized a campaign in the name of Hamdi Mohamed, who was brutally gang raped and murdered in Mogadishu in September 2020. The campaign has advocated for holding Hamdi’s murderers accountable and for ensuring accountability and justice in all GBV crimes to end the culture of impunity and widespread normalization of VAWG in Somalia.
SIHA has conducted trainings on physical safety and security management, personal protection, legal rights and policy frameworks for a coalition of WHRDs to support the their safety in the face of the increasing security situation including increased gendered attacks and killings in Mogadishu.
In Uganda, sexual harrassmet and violence against women in the informal sector is prevalent yet not usually talked about.Physical, sexual, and economic violence are prevalent in markets due to the normalization of violence against women and survivor silence as well as weak enforcement of the limited legislation to protect women from gendered violence and harassment. In this context, female market vendors usually pay cash for protection if they can afford it, however, many women market vendors who might wish to pursue legal action can not afford the police and court fees.
In consultation with women in the informal sector, SIHA Network, developed a women market vendor’s manifesto that addresses six key priority issues and demands, including the need for gender desks be put in the various markets and council policy improvements.
SIHA’s work in Uganda also focuses on building the capacity of women in the informal sector through trainings on advocacy, local governance, and coalition building. In Uganda, women have been excluded from key decision-making arenas. SIHA works to address this by influencing change in policies, and supporting women market vendors to access platforms and meetings with different authorities to provide an avenue to share their challenges and strategize ways of addressing these issues with relevant stakeholders.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda, SIHA Network provided eight small grants to women’s cooperatives to boost their businesses. Many women became the sole providers for big families with little income
SIHA Network has trained 30 first responders in Uganda on SGBV referral pathways, these included legal aid service providers, police, health workers, social workers, psychosocial support service providers, among other first responders within the community like local chairpersons and market leaders. These are institutions and individuals who are often on the front lines of receiving survivors, and thus require the capacity to responsibly and effectively support survivors to receive all services and support they require.
In Uganda, grassroots women often feel alienated by the women’s movement, believing it to be only for elites and national organizations. This has left a large gap in organizing and advocacy by smaller women’s groups and cooperatives on issues that affect women and girls in their areas.As part of its efforts to build inclusive women’s movements, SIHA has supported the formation of a coalition of women’s rights organizations in Arua district in Uganda. The coalition is mainly composed of groups of women from both informal and formal sectors, who meet to discuss strategies for addressing issues of women and girls.
Women in Djibouti have a number of opportunities such as education, in the workforce both in the public and private sector, military and army, yet have low representation in the government compared to those of men. To improve the lives of women a number of international treaties and the works with foreign states. 1992 the constitution of the country was ratified and one of the key achievements was how people are equal under the law irrespective of their sex, race, religion, language. 26% quota is reserved of the unicameral parliament are held by women
Just like any other east African country GBV is yet another issue of women’s rights. With legal instruments such as article 333 of the Penal Code FGM/C is still common practice where in cases the service in a neighboring countries or remote villages in the country.
Individuals criticizing the government publicly or even privately can lead to retaliation from the government. The government monitors social networks, restricts access to the internet as means to prevent demonstrations against the state, although limited independent news is required to obtain license from the ministry of communication. The constitution grants freedom of peaceful assembly yet the government restricts this right and permits are required prior to any gatherings.
With the limited access to financing as the banking system is a mainly male dominated sector with more regulations and requirements discourage women from having substantial access, furthermore, government run bankable projects that includes women are limited for this they are more likely affected by extreme poverty as they are more in the informal system rather than the formal sector.
The legal aid was introduced on 2011 to enable people particularly those with low income level to have representation in the courts, yet incidents of violence and family issues are mainly addressed with the family and traditional system and only on rare cases reported to the courts as these prevailing social norms is to rather protect the clan affiliation than the individual rights as women are pressured by other family members to not complain or report.
Situation of women in Djibouti
With the quota in place 26% of the parliament are women, while out of the 16 ministers in the cabinet only one is female. Although limited women make up about 19% of the workforce while taking care of the household chores and bearing children.
Since its criminalization with jail time as well of fine, however just like many other African countries, FGM/C rooted to the traditional practices regardless of the type cases of FGM/C still happen both in the country particularly in remote villages as well as neighboring countries and this has disastrous effect on the mental, physical health.
The presence of, foreign military contractors, private security forces and military bases in Djibouti has said to be the leading factor on sexual exploitation of women and young girls due to poverty, and migration of unaccompanied minors, on the other hand, the weight of social pressure and traditions, restrictions on education that contribute to their lack of awareness of their rights, Djibouti women and girls whose rights are being violated.
With the adoption of UNSCR 1325 Djibouti has A National Action Plan to Impalement the WPS agenda since 2017. The WPS initiative seeks to reflect the importance of diversity to promote women’s meaningful participation in different aspects of development, employment and management. WPS national plan aims to collaborate with state partners for women’s meaningful participation as this ensures women and girls human rights are protected, feel safe and safe during and after conflict and wars.
Although it is not specific to women but HRDs are detained with their documents being confiscated there is room for criticizing the government, human right defenders are subject to different forms of harassment that in some cases leads unjustified arrests without any trail, from the international community there is a demand to reform to guarantee the protection of HRDs and the promotion of one’s enjoyment of her/is rights.
In the constitution it is allowed association by the community to form and register in which they obtain a permit from the ministry of interior. Nonetheless, there are cases where the ministry denies or even revokes permits from legally formed associations as means to intimidate and suppress human right groups and activists to suppress them.
Date of Establishment
Migrants and refugees communities in Sudan
Swiss Embassy, Khartoum
In Eritrea SIHA works in partnerships with and collaborates with women’s human rights activists and defenders to empower Eritrean girls on the move across borders. To this end SIHA has supported empowerment for Eritrean women and girls refugees in Sudan.
SIHA has implemented a project focusing on Eritrean women and girls living in Sudan
Literacy as a tool reintegration
The “Literacy as a Tool for Integration: Working to Improve the conditions for Eritrean Refugees in Sudan” projected, was aimed at challenging the conditions and systemic discrimination affecting refugee and migrant Eritrean women and girls in Sudan by improving their literacy and employment skills, increasing their access to protection, providing better economic and livelihoods opportunities, and providing overall support to the Eritrean community in greater Khartoum
Focused on the geographical locations of greater Khartoum, the project recorded the following outcomes:
- Improved access to information and awareness; and strengthened literacy skills for 200 Eritrean women and girls
- 75 young women were provided with vocational skilling, with apprenticeships at supportive places of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, guiding and supporting them as they break gender stereotypes and seek economic opportunities;
- 50 women and girls were able to access legal aid and sexual and reproductive health services while improving legal and health services referrals mechanism among the Eritrean refugee community
- Eritrean women cooperatives provided training on small business management in the 3 locations
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