The 16 Days of Activism is an international campaign initiated by the UN in 2015 to galvanise action from governments, NGOs and the individual, on violence against women and girls (VAWG). FORWARD is a diaspora led NGO that has championed the rights of African women and girls for over 30 years, influencing policy and pioneering work to end female genital mutilation in the UK and Africa.

In response to the recent exposure of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, FORWARD have focused our 16 Days of Activism campaign on the way in which agency and power is held by women.  Movements such as #MeToo have brought media attention to the issue of VAWG and the realities of appalling jibes and assaults women experience on a daily basis. Our campaign is timely and very much needed. As a diaspora organisation, we recognise that conversations and experiences relating to Black women’s bodies do not exist in a vacuum; they exist at the intersection of race, feminism, religion and sexuality. As a result our lived experiences are heavily marginalised, misunderstood or dismissed altogether.

Through our international programme TuWezeshe we have been working with our partners in Tanzania, Uganda and Wales and to run activities and raise awareness of the importance of ending VAWG and empowering women and girls.

In England

From our office in London FORWARD ran the “My Body My Power” campaign, a 16 part photo series celebrating Black women’s agency, and the importance of reclaiming Black women’s bodies as spaces of power.

Our photos reached thousands of people with messages from the women involved shared with each image…

In Tanzania

Our partners Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) ran their own photo campaign with the TuWezeshe fellows creating these great pictures…

In Uganda

In Uganda, our partners Akina Mama wa Africa have been invovled in a number of activities to mark the 16 Days of Activism. They hosted a live chat on Twitter to discuss the question, ‘Are you man enough to stop gender-based violence?’, they put a Zumba class on at Makerere University and they also captured quotes and pictures from the TuWezeshe fellows…

In Wales

In Wales our partners the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel hosted a film screening of ‘Women with Open Eyes’ and also took part in a protest march against gender-based violence…