Nos Voix Comptent: Ensuring the voices of Francophone African women and girls are heard at the Generation Equality Forum
1 July 2020
The Batonga Foundation, in partnership with the XOESE Fund for Francophone Women, is launching “Nos Voix Comptent” (Our Voices Count), an initiativethat aims to ensure that the voices of women and girls from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa heard at the 2021 Equality Generation Forum.
Forgotten no more: Women and girls from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa
Initially scheduled to take place this week in Paris, the Equality Generation Forum (co-organized by UN Women and the governments of Mexico and France) was delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of women and girls to violence, discrimination and gender inequality, it has also once again demonstrated the leadership of African girls and women at the community, national, and regional level. In this context, the Generation Equality Forum is proving to be even more important. It is more necessary than ever to take stock of the progress made since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action 25 years ago, and to set new strategic priorities for the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality globally.
The voices of women and girls from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa have traditionally been forgotten or marginalized in international spaces or processes like the Generation Equality Forum. Women and girls as well as women’s rights organizations, networks and movements from the region have limited access to information and documents, or to coordination and decision-making spaces. The dominance of English in pan-African and global women’s rights spaces is rooted in colonial and post-colonial history and remains a reality to this day.
About Nos Voix Comptent
To overcome this challenge, Generation Equality Forum Multi-Stakeholders Steering Committee members the Batonga Foundation and the XOESE Fund for Francophone Women are launching the Nos Voix Comptent project.
Using the additional preparation period made possible by the postponement of the Generation Equality Forum as an opportunity, this project aims to ensure that women’s rights organizations, networks and movements in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa have access to the information that will enable them to participate in discussions and decisions related to the Generation Equality Forum; to listen to them, and to make their messages, priorities and demands heard before, during and after the Equality Generation Forum. Additionally, the Global Fund for Women, also a member of the Steering Committee, will offer technical support and expertise around this exciting and vital initiative.
The Nos Voix Comptent project will mobilize women’s rights organizations, networks and movements in 22 French-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The project will start with a series of webinars in French to inform Francophone African organizations about opportunities for participation and influence in connection with the Equality Generation Forum. A large-scale online consultation will then be undertaken with the aim to hear directly from girls and women’s from Francophone sub-Saharan Africa about their priorities and needs. Building on the consultation, a major advocacy campaign will be led ahead of, and during the Generation Equality Forum (using the hashtag #NosVoixComptent).
In 2020, it is imperative that international processes and fora such as the Generation Equality Forum be inclusive and representative of all voices, especially those of the people and groups that are traditionally excluded from them. It is high time to rethink political, technical and financial support for gender equality in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa, and to relaunch processes led by and implemented by women’s and girls’ organizations. This project will enable them to speak up, be heard and say, “Nos Voix Comptent”.
 Namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, and Togo.
Françoise Moudouthe, Advocacy Consultant at the Batonga Foundation: