Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa SIHA Network

SIHA has since then, grown over the years and is now comprised of about 35 member organizations. SIHA is advocating for social change and gender equality for men and women in the Horn of Africa and working specifically on: gender equality, eliminating violence against women and girls, promoting human rights, peace building and conflict transformation, enhancing women’s leadership and political participation and production and dissemination of knowledge … (about 1/2).

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Campaigns; Projects; Focal Points; Statements; News, Events; Gallery; Publications; Membership; Staff;
Addresses (1 of 2): , Plot 80 Semawata Road, P.O. Box 5, Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda;
Contact.

About 2/2: … SIHA’s biggest campaign is on Violence against Women (VAW); this program began in 2004 and will end in 2011.

SIHA’s other projects include: Women’s access to justice which works on mapping women in the Horn of Africa’s means of access to the justice system and developing strategies and advocacy plans with members across the sub region.

SIHA’s program on documentation and knowledge has seen research on the implications of customs and traditions on women’s rights as well as research on the advocacy strategies against violence against women in the Horn of Africa.

In Sudan SIHA works on women’s rights and civic education programs particularly within the community groups at the grassroots levels in; Blue Nile, Nuba mountains and South Sudan Bahr Al Ghazal and Juba area.

SIHA’s Darfur program tackles gender based violence and violence against women in the conflict torn region political participation.

Since its establishment SIHA has overcome many challenges and the main obstacle was identifying a country location in the Horn of Africa for the Network’s Secretariat, in an environment where political disputes and instability dominate the politics of the region.

However, during the period of 2003 to 2006 SIHA managed to gain the trust of many international donors and henceforth developed various programs and expanded its membership.

As an indigenous network SIHA is certainly on the right track. The lessons learnt from our past experiences are; to be highly consistent with our objectives and vision, not to compromise the values of integrity and accountability in the relationships with our partners and donors and to directly link our work to the communities across the sub region – which is why SIHA has been interested in working directly with groups who have constituencies on the ground (working with communities at a grassroots level):

  • Over 90% of women and girls in the Horn of Africa have been exposed to atleast one form of violence in their lifetime.
  • 80% of girls living in the horn of Africa are subjected to Female Genital Mutilation
  • 66% of girls living in the horn of Africa are raped before adulthood
  • 75% of girls living in the horn of Africa are forced into marriages without their consent
  • Women and girls are the main target of Sexual and Physical Violence during times of civil war
  • Female Genital Mutilation is still considered by most as just a harmful cultural practice rather than a crime against women and girls
  • More women die as a result of violent practices than from cancer, traffic accidents or malaria.

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