African Women and Girls Shaping the Policy Discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic response

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Graça Machel Trust (GMT) has launched the Ilizwi (the voice): African Women and Children shaping policy discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The initiative is driven by a growing need to have context-specific responses in order to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic and to inform policymakers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the private sector on effective pathways to socio-economic recovery.

Through ilizwi (the voice), GMT will implement a communications push that collates and amplifies the shared experiences of women and children at the forefront of the discourse.

The initiative will in addition document the various government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, from which we will put forward our five (5) policy asks to state, regional institutions, and key stakeholders, to ensure that the immediate, short-term responses and re-investments, are responsive to the needs of women and children in the economy, and repositions for the advancement of gender equality and the contributions of women in economic development.

The activities under ilizwi (the voice) will build into GMT’s Expanding Equality Initiative, which is a platform to showcase and build momentum across Africa and across sectors over the next decade, so that every institution, every organization, and individual can play a part in building communities where everyone has the potential to thrive.

It is a platform geared to amplify and promote collective policy actions that tackle the root causes of inequality, drive women’s economic advancement and holistic development of girls in Africa.

The COVID-19 pandemic emboldens the ambitions of the Expanding Equality Initiative, and while the dominant responses promote social distancing as a key prevention strategy against the spread of the virus, the strategies undertaken magnifies the interconnectedness of global economies and policy responses required not only to fight the pandemic, but looking to the future, to meeting both continental and global developmental frameworks, i.e. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

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