The Sexuality Working Group (SWG) is one of the thematic working groups of the Women Reclaiming and Redefining Culture Programme (WRRC), which was implemented from November 2008 – June 2011.
The SWG had a rather slow start, but commenced a few months into the programme the SWG, with 9 members based in 8 countries in Asia and Africa:
- Ngozi Nwosu (first convenor), BAOBAB, in Nigeria
- SindiMedar-Gould, BAOBAB, in Nigeria
- Lin Chew, IWE, in HK
- Codou Bop, GREFFELS, in Senegal
- Sri Wiyanti Eddyono, SCN-CREST, in Indonesia
- Fahima Hashim, SALMMAH, in Sudan
- Isatou Touray, GAMCOTRAP, in the Gambia
- Ayesha Aziz, AKU, in Karachi
- Zara Saied (independent), in Teheran.
The objectives of the SWG were formulated as follows:
- Facilitate the process of developing the 30 month strategy and action plan for this component;
- Maintain the oversight on progress of the Sexuality component of the WRRC.
- Seize opportunities as well as respond to ‘risks” and crisis situations that might impact on work of the Sexuality Work within the WRRC project.
The Working Process
The general working process of the SWG was straightforward.
- After the scoping and planning process in June 2009 in London, SWG made a concrete work plan and budget which was then endorsed by the STF, in the framework of the overall work plan and budget of the WRRC.
- SWG members then autonomously implemented the workplan, making all the substantive decisions themselves as long as it did not fall outside the established work plan. SWG identified specific organizations which were doing interesting work which fell under the priorities of the working group and sent out a call for proposals to the identified organizations that were involved in work
- There was a process of selection from among the submitted proposals, based on the specific criteria formulated by SWG (SWG Procedure and Criteria for selection of proposals), and funds would be transferred to the selected organization. Contracts were issued by WLUML-ICO represented by the WRRC Programme Manager, financial administration was handled by WLUML-ICO and the working group took care of monitoring the progress and the final reporting of the projects.
By January 2010, half way through Year 2, the SWG had processed and contracted the implementation of 11 projects, on various issues that had been identified as the priorities for support during the SWG scoping and planning meeting in June 2009 in London.
For year 3, with limited funds and insufficient time for new projects to be started on the ground, it was decided not to invite proposals for new projects, but to call for continuation projects from the year 2 partners, so that work already initiated could be deepened or broadened. This was greatly welcomed by the partners.
Altogether, in Year 3, 5 partners from year 2 and one new partner submitted proposals which were honoured.
Based on the good experiences of the 2 SWG participants in CREA’s 4th SGRI, 2 women – one from Indonesia and 1 from Nigeria were supported to attend CREA’s 5th SGRI. This excellent capacity building opportunity is aimed at building up a group of “alumni” of the SGRI who will be able to contribute substantially to the future work on sexuality of the SWG network.
In this final year of the Programme, three face-to-face partner meetings were convened:
- SWG Workshop for Asian partners in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov 8-10 2010.
- SWG Workshop for African partners in Lagos, Nigeria, Dec 13-15 2010.
- SWG Evaluation meeting, where partners from both Asia and Africa participated, as part of the evaluation process of the SWG in Bangkok, 22-24 March 2011.
The 2 regional workshops – held separately in order to include more project members from each region, and to delve more deeply into the contextual issues of each region – had as a common goal, the sharing of knowledge, experiences and lessons learnt between the partners in the region. As it turned out, most of the partners in Asia were from Indonesia, and most of the partner in Africa were from Nigeria. This had the unexpected added value of the growth of 2 national “sexuality” networks, in Nigeria and Indonesia, which have the potential to become the cores from which broader, regional networks can develop.
The third convening was the second part of the evaluation process and had the positive effect of facilitating a sharing across regions, which was much appreciated by partners from both regions.
Although partners finally decided not to continue as the SWG in the present constellation, the desire was expressed to keep the channel of communication open and active, so that future collaboration, building on the present work but focused on specific contextual issues, would be facilitated.
The WRRC programme was formally scheduled to run for 3 years from 1 June 2008 to 30 June 2011; however, the large number of proposals submitted resulted in a longer processing time for the MDG3 Fund, with the consequence that the actual implementation time, after the release of funds, was reduced to approximately 2 ½ years.