We are providing our Services for African Women in the Following ways.
Child marriage — formally or informally — is a marriage or similar union that is entered into by a child or youth, who is below a specific age, usually 18. Child marriage is a prevalent societal problem in Africa, which violates the rights of the African girl child and has widespread, long-term consequences, both for the child bride and even the groom.
Child marriage, writes World Bank, will cost countries in Africa tens of billions of dollars that will be in terms of lost earnings as well as human capital. Each year, over 3 million (or one-third of) girls in the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) region enter into marriage before they clock 18.
Today, SSA has the highest prevalence of child marriage incidence globally. The African child bride is much more likely to drop out of school and could complete fewer years of education in comparison with her mates that get married at later years. Also, she is more likely to bear children at a young age — affecting her health, in addition to the education and health of her children. Though several countries in Africa have realized gender parity in primary education, the same assertion cannot be made at the secondary level as girls lag behind boys. In SSA, seven out of ten girls complete primary education; sadly, only four out of ten are able to complete lower secondary school.
Women that have acquired a secondary education, on average, are more likely to work and will earn twice as much as those that have no education. Measuring the impact of child marriage on African girls’ education,World Bank says that the problem is costing the continent $63 billion in lost earnings, in human capital wealth. A range of factors promote and reinforce child marriage — according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). These include poverty and economic survival strategies; tradition and culture; gender inequality; insecurity (especially during famine, war, or epidemics); sealing land/property deals or settling disputes; control over sexuality; and protecting family honor. Another factor is family ties, where marriage is used to consolidate powerful relations between families, thus resulting in commodification of African girls.
Rapid child population growth in African countries has made it increasingly urgent that countries and non-governmental organizations in Africa expedite their efforts to tackle the menace of child marriage. Putting an end to child marriage will allow millions of adolescent girls in Africa to realize their full potential and also improve their maternal and child health.
Against this backdrop, the African Women Foundation is committed to the campaign to abolish child marriage in Africa. To realize this objective, we are working with the following integrated strategies:
- Promoting community dialogue & encouraging social mobilization to ensure households show positive attitudes & behaviors towards investing in and supporting adolescent African girls.
- Supporting adolescent girls of African descent, who are at risk of — or who are affected by — child marriage to remain in their schools through the lower secondary cycle and develop life skills, which will allow them to make choices, to exercise their fundamental rights.
- Advocating education, health, and other relevant systems that seek to deliver quality, cost-effective services, which cater to the needs of adolescent African girls.
- Supporting the creation, implementation, and enforcement of national laws, policy frameworks & mechanisms that promote and safeguard adolescent African girls’ rights.
“There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free, and educated woman.” — Angelina Jolie
All TAWF’s programs start with an individual girl in rural areas of Africa. We view the world from her perspective and partner with communities to get rid of the barriers to her education. Our programs and projects are aimed at defending the rights of the African Woman and making her become empowered —culturally, economically, and socially.
We strive to promote African women’s wellbeing by bringing an end to poverty and social inequality, by tackling sexual harassment, violence, and stigma, and by clamoring for gender equality. The TAWF advances rights of African women and girls as we believe that everyone wins when women and girls, men and boys in African societies are given equal treatment. The African Woman Foundation amplifies and celebrates African women’s voices and their achievements. We promote and support African women as active change agents.
Out of the over 34 million HIV-positive people worldwide, more than 70% live in Africa. 59 per cent of HIV-positive people in Africa are women, and most children diagnosed with the virus contract it from their mothers.
Clearly and without equivocation, the African Girl and Woman have a lot of grave challenges to contend with.HIV/AIDS toll on households in Africa can be very severe, and African women and girls, along with the poorest in the region, are most vulnerable. AIDS, in many cases, causes the household to dissolve because parents die & children get sent to relatives for care as well as upbringing.Almost invariably, the burden of coping rests on the shoulders of African girls and women. The role of these women as carers, as income-earners & housekeepers, is stepped up when a family member becomes ill. African women are often forced to step into roles, which are also outside their homes.Interventions are urgently needed to help reduce high-risk African girl’s and women’s exposure to HIV and AIDS and also promote development in affected children. The African Woman Foundation aims to provide tools that can benefit the poorest women and children of African descent, reduce persistent inequalities in this region, and reduce mortality rates among neglected families of these women and children.
A part of our strategy is empowerment through knowledge since prevention is better than cure. We partner with different state & local departments of health and groups to reach out to the community and educate the African people on the fundamentals of HIV/AIDS.A pregnant woman that is not treated with the proper drugs, has a 20–45 per cent possibility of getting her infant infected with the virus from pregnancy. As earlier stated, 59 per cent of the African people with HIV are women, and most children diagnosed with this virus contract it from their mothers.Antiretroviral drug treatments can bring about a drastic reduction in the number of HIV-related deaths as it delays the virus progression and enables people to lead a relatively healthy and normal life.
Hence, TAWF organizes screening, outreach programs, and health seminars within various communities in African countries, with emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Reproductive health is critically important to societal development, and this has been acknowledged at the highest level.World leaders have recognized that without guaranteeing universal access to reproductive health, it would be impossible to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These Goals include eradicating extreme poverty, improving children’s and women’s health, promoting gender equality, bringing an end to the HIV scourge, and ensuring environmental sustainability.
There is no doubt that educating the African girl and woman on reproductive health lies at the heart of achieving these MDGs. Poor sexual & reproductive health is a leading killer in today’s Africa, and African girls and women feel the consequence of this menace most. Against this background, The African Women Foundation’s goal is to save lives and to protect the right to health. We lend our voice to change, stating that no African woman should die giving life.
In African communities, unplanned pregnancies are mainly addressed within a framework, which puts the blame on girls and women. Youth sexuality, especially female sexuality, is seen as a source of moral panic; for this reason, girls and unmarried women of African descent that “fall pregnant” are often stigmatized. However, the African boys or men that are responsible for pregnancies are let off the hook.The AWF seeks to sensitize the African public about the need to eradicate this gender-biased perspective. We educate African girls and women on their rights and the resources available to them to defend against sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender oppression. We seek to empower them to become socially and economically independent.
African women’s leadership and political participation, from the local to the federal level, are restricted.
For too long, women in African countries have been excluded, discriminated, under-represented, and marginalized in government policies and programs. This is, partly, a reflection of the common cultural stereotypes, which undermine women’s role in African politics.This factor, along with other barriers such as religious beliefs, lack of finance, violence, and weak internal party democracy, has held African women back for many years. The implication of this is that African men have kept on dominating the political scene as presidents, governors, lawmakers, and so on.This is not right and has to stop. Women in Africa, according to UN estimates, constitute more than half of the 1.3 billion-plus population of the region.
Recognizing the existing gap, the African Woman Foundation seeks the greater inclusion of women in politics. We are trying to turn the tide in favor of women and get more women into elective positions in African countries.Towards realizing this objective, we organize training for women political candidates in a bid to help develop their capacities. We also provide voter & civic education and sensitization campaigns on gender equality and support gender equality advocates in urging political parties, policymakers, governments, and others to contribute their quota in empowering African women.