By Nuliat Nambaziira
After 10 years of waiting, the EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill was passed into Law by EALA on the International Women’s Day of 8th March 2017 in Kigali-Rwanda as a gift to women in particular and the EAC Citizens in general. After the enactment of the Bill, it now becomes the EAC Gender Equality and Development Act.
EASSI in partnership with the Women’s Movement in East Africa took the opportunity to cordially thank the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) for their demonstrated commitment to gender equality by passing the Bill into law. The Campaign for this Act had been on since 2008. The Act now awaits assent by the Heads of State of the EAC Partner States and implementation.
To celebrate the key milestone for the women’s movement in the EAC, EASSI called a press conference on Friday 10th March, 2017 at its secretariat in Kisasi- Kulambiro to recognize the first step towards recognition of Gender Equality in the East African Community.
Over 10 Media houses attended the press Briefing. It was also attended by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs in Uganda and partner organizations from the Women’s Movement such as the National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU), AMwA, SEATINI-Uganda, Women and Girl child Development Association among others.
EASSI used the opportunity to thank women rights’ alliances in the 5 Partners who have been coordinating the campaign for the Gender Bill. Among these are National Association of Women’s Organisation in Uganda (NAWOU)- Uganda, Women’s Rights Awareness Programme (WRAP)- Kenya, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Profemme Twese Hamwe (PROFEMME) -Rwanda, and Collectif des Associations et ONGs Feminines du Burundi (CAFOB) - Burundi. It also thanked its development partners namely; The Society for International Development (SID), SIDA, DIAKONIA, Trade Mark East Africa and the Common Wealth Foundation for their financial support during the 9 years of campaign for an EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill.
The EAC Gender Act is aligned to Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Instruments such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, CEDAW, the protocol to the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women in Africa and the Recent Sustainable Development Goals as well as the EAC Treaty.
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