Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, DAWN – Nigeria

Linked with Noeleen Heyzer – USA, with Human Rights as Education for Peace, and with Globalization and the Eradication of Poverty.
DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES WITH WOMEN FOR A NEW ERA is a network of women scholars and activists from the economic South who engage in feminist research and analysis of the global environment and are committed to working for economic justice, gender justice and democracy. DAWN works globally and regionally in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific on the themes of the Political Economy of Globalization; Political Restructuring and Social Transformation; Sustainable Livelihoods; and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, in partnership with other global NGOs and networks.

DAWN began in 1984, on the eve of the international conferences marking the end of the UN Decade for Women, when a group of feminists from the South with similar visions prepared a platform document for that event and held a number of workshops at the NGO Forum in Nairobi. DAWN’s platform document, Development, Crises and Alternative Visions: Third World Women’s Perspectives (Monthly Review Press 1987), written by Gita Sen and Caren Grown was a South feminist critique of three decades of development. It highlighted the impacts of four inter-linked and systemic global crises – famine, debt, militarism and fundamentalism – on poor women of the South and offered alternative visions.

The document made a significant impact at Nairobi, and for the first time put macro-economic issues firmly on the agenda of the women’s movement. Since then DAWN has continued to influence global debates on development by offering holistic analyses from a South feminist perspective that is both grounded in women’s experience and inspired by women’s collective strategies and visions. The DAWN network today covers Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

DAWN work at the regional level connects with the priorities of women’s and civil society organisations in each region, and helps strengthen capacity to deal with issues arising from the impacts of globalisation. Much of DAWN’s global advocacy work involves working in partnership with other organisations and networks to reform international institutions, ensure that governments live up to the commitments they made in the conferences, and mainstream gender in NGO advocacy initiatives.

DAWN also works in partnership with a number of developmental networks and organisations at both regional and global level. For more information on how DAWN has developed: Beyond the Theory-Practice-Activism Divide`Tensions in Activism: navigating in global spaces at the intersections of state/civil society & gender/economic Justice ‘,Workshop on Gender & Globalisation in Asia and the Pacific: Feminist Revisions of the International, by Claire Slatter General Co-ordinator, DAWN (Canberra, November 2001). DAWN work is supported by Ford Foundation, HIVOS (Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and United Nations Development Programme.

HOW WE ARE ORGANISED: DAWN’s governing council is its Steering Committee which is made up of the present and immediate past General Coordinators, Regional Coordinators (currently 7) and Research Coordinators (3). The Steering Committee meets once a year.

Research Coordinators are responsible for coordinating research, analysis and advocacy work on DAWN’s chosen themes and work closely with one another. They also work closely with Regional Coordinators, who are their vital links with issues, developments, people and networks in the different regions. Regional Coordinators serve as catalysts for programmes of research, communications and advocacy that reflect regional priorities and are linked to DAWN’s global research themes. DAWN also has a number of Regional and Research Focal Points, who are scholars and activists whose expertise and knowledge can be drawn upon to inform DAWN’s work and assist its research and regional work agendas.

THE DAWN SECRETARIAT: DAWN’s Secretariat was first located at the Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) in Bangalore, India, with Devaki Jain as the first General Coordinator. In 1986 the Secretariat relocated to the Instituto Universitario de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ) in Brazil, when Neuma Aguiar became General Coordinator. In 1990, the Secretariat moved to the Women and Development Unit (WAND) at the University of the West Indies in Barbados when Peggy Antrobus assumed the General Coordinator’s position. In 1998, it shifted to Fiji, at the University of the South Pacific, with Claire Slatter as General Coordinator. In 2004 the Secretariat moved to Nigeria and is located at Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), Cross River State, Nigeria with Bene Madunagu as the present General Coordinator. (Read much more on above link).

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