Information for Activists in South Africa
Open Letter to Activists in South Africa | Application period for free AWID Forum registrations EXTENDED! | July Newsletter for Activists in South Africa
September 11, 2008
Dear AWID Members and Forum registrants in South Africa:
We look forward to seeing you soon in Cape Town for AWID’s 11th International Forum! We are in the final planning phases for this incredibly exciting event—an agenda with over 180 sessions, over 1500 women from all over the world sharing their experiences and strategies, pushing us all to new thinking and practice around The Power of Movements.
Every Forum presents us with great opportunities for learning and no doubt the Cape Town Forum will be no different. In recent weeks, we heard that some groups in South Africa, primarily in Cape Town, have concerns around a few different aspects of the Forum. Unfortunately, there has been much misinformation and miscommunication. We wanted to share with you all the steps that AWID has been taking to address these concerns and to invite your input and feedback. We are committed to making the Forum as inclusive and accessible as possible, and hope that all of our members and colleagues can help us make this a reality.
Cost of Registration
AWID aims to make the Forum as accessible as possible. We fundraise for an "Access Fund" that pays for travel and accommodation of forum presenters who do not have the means to fund their own participation. AWID is also in contact with many international, national and regional funders to request that they set aside monies for forum participants in their regions. We offer $100 volunteer and student registrations, and discounted registrations for presenters.
For participants living in South Africa, AWID has set aside 200 complimentary registrations. The application deadline for applying for free registrations was recently extended to October 3. How will decisions around who receives the free registrations be made? Like all other major Forum decisions, members of our International Planning Committee will review applications and make the final selection. We will also be including at least two other South African activists in this selection committee, in response to the request we received from some Cape Town-based groups. The criteria that will guide the decisions of the selection committee include: balanced representation from various regions in South Africa; a diverse array of sectors/issues/ constituencies (LGBTI activists, sex workers, HIV positive activists, women with disabilities, women organizing in rural areas around land/food rights, etc), particularly those often underrepresented in these spaces; and a preference for activists with limited financial resources or fundraising possibilities.
We have done our best at AWID to identify service providers that can adequately meet the needs of a group the size and diversity of Forum participants. Over a year ago, we began inviting applications and meeting with event planners, groups providing transport, interpretation and other services. Women-led businesses play an important role in the Forum and you will see a diverse range of groups providing services. We continue to look for local women’s groups that might be interested in accessing Forum marketplace spaces to sell their products, feminist tour operators, women’s collectives running Bed & Breakfasts, and women's bookstores. We welcome any suggestions or contacts that you might be able to share.
We hope this information gives you a sense of how AWID has been trying to respond to the concerns raised. Should you have any questions or further suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 10, 2008
AWID has extended the deadline for applying for the 200 free Forum* registrations to *October 3, 2008*. These free registrations are offered to participants in South Africa in order to make the Forum accessible to activists in the host country. We have received over 220 applications so far; however, many activists have also expressed a need for more time to further disseminate this information and to ensure that a diverse array of groups are able to apply.
Please help us by sharing this announcement with other networks, organizations and individuals in South Africa that might be interested in the 2008 AWID forum.
To apply for a free registration, send an email to email@example.com or fax us at +1 416 594 0330 with your name, city where you live, and answers to the questions below.
1. Why do you require financial assistance?
* The AWID International Forum on Women's Rights and Development is both a conference and a call to action. The largest recurring event of its kind, the AWID Forum brings together over 1500 women's rights leaders and activists from around the world every three years to strategize, network, celebrate, and learn in a highly charged atmosphere that fosters deep discussions and sustained personal and professional growth. The 2008 forum will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, November 14-17 under the theme: “The Power of Movements”. For more information, visit www.awid.org/forum08
July 29, 2008
Background: Why this newsletter?
This newsletter comes out of AWID’s meetings with women’s rights groups in South Africa in February, where we discussed the upcoming forum in Cape Town, what women’s groups could expect from the forum, and also how they could use the forum to further their own work locally and nationally. We held these meetings because, as guests in your country, we wanted to be sure that as many women’s groups as possible had information about the forum, and were clear on the processes used to plan this huge event. Additionally, we wanted the forum to reach as large an audience as possible, and hoped that by sharing forum details with you, you would be able to share these details with your colleagues.
Following from these meetings, we decided to develop this newsletter, as a way to continue sharing new and ongoing information with you about the forum. If you have questions that are not answered by this newsletter or on our forum website (www.awid.org/forum08), please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can include information about your question in upcoming newsletters. Our aim is to have a newsletter every 4-6 weeks.
The 2008 AWID Forum: The Power of Movements
The International Forum on Women's Rights and Development is both a conference and a call to action. The largest recurring event of its kind, the AWID Forum brings together women's rights leaders and activists from around the world every three years to strategize, network, celebrate, and learn in a highly charged atmosphere that fosters deep discussions and sustained personal and professional growth.
The theme of the 2008 forum is “The Power of Movements”- a subject that South Africans know very well. The goals of the forum include the following:
1. Contribute to a greater understanding of movement building
The major decisions for the forum are made by the International Planning Committee (IPC), a diverse group of women’s rights advocates from around the world. There are 3 South African women’s rights advocates on the current Forum IPC. Please visit our website for information about the IPC and bios of individual IPC members (www.awid.org/forum08/forum_planning_committee.html ).
Opportunities for South African Engagement at the Forum
200 Free Registrations for South African Women’s Rights Advocates
In recognition of South Africa’s generous hospitality, AWID is offering 200 free registrations for South Africans who apply to attend our Cape Town forum. We normally allocate 100 free registrations for the forum host country; this time around, however, in recognition of tremendous interest in the forum by activists in South Africa, we have decided to double the number. In order to qualify for one of these free spots, activists in South Africans are encouraged to send us an email or fax which briefly answers the following three questions:
1. Why do you require financial assistance?
2. What impact will your participation in the forum have in your community/region? *Include a description of your organization or activism and how you plan to share your forum learning’s with other individuals and groups.
3. AWID strives to host a diversity of participants from groups, sectors and locations that have historically been marginalized by and within women’s movements. Is there anything you want to tell us about yourself, your work, your organization, or your session that will allow us to evaluate how your participation will make the forum a more diverse and inclusive space?
Responses must be sent to email@example.com or by fax to +1 416 594 0330 by August 30, 2008 [Note: the application deadline has been extended to October 3rd!]. Please be sure to include Application for free South African Registration in the subject line.
The 200 successful applicants will be selected by a Sub-Committee of members of our International Planning Committee and contacted in early September.
Arts and Cultural Activities
In addition to celebrating the Power of Movements at our November Forum, AWID would also like to use the meeting space to host numerous Arts and Cultural Activities. A sub-committee of our IPC is currently seeking ideas and suggestions for these activities from both South African and international groups. While we recognize the importance of hosting events that celebrate Africa in general and South Africa in particular, we do recognize that as an international forum, it is important that we include cultural activities that also celebrate the global community. If you or your colleagues know of any Arts or Cultural Activities that we should consider for the forum, please be in touch with the name, contact information and short description of the group we should contact.
Additionally, if you are interested in organizing activities during the forum that give visibility to key issues surrounding women’s rights in South Africa, (i.e. The 1 in 9 Campaign has proposed to organize a street demonstration), please be in touch with us as soon as possible.
Details should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret that due to the anticipated large volume of suggestions, we will be unable to respond to each request individually. However, please be assured that all proposals will be considered.
Visits to Local Organizations
In November, more than 1500 women’s rights activists from all over the world will travel to South Africa, and we want to ensure all participants have the opportunity to learn more about the women’s rights work that is going on in your country.
In order to help facilitate this sharing, AWID will be allocating a section of the forum website for those organizations in Cape Town who are interested in hosting other organizations working on similar issues – in the spirit of peer sharing and learning – to put information about their organization online, so that others can get in touch directly and make plans.
If you are interested in participating in this, please send us an email (to email@example.com) with the information requested below. We will put this information up on our website, on a “field trips” page that we will be setting up for this purpose.
Visit name/ destination:
Get the Word Out!
Please forward this email to any contacts you have in South Africa who might be interested in the forum. If you have any questions, please direct them to Jessica Bokhout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more Information: www.awid.org/forum08
Please note that our South Africa-based office is not in charge of organizing the forum. So, please address all your questions or comments to the email provided above. Thanks!