The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) is a network of civil society organizations from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda, and, most recently, the coastal area of Kenya. Established in 1995 by a coalition of women’s rights activists with the aim of strengthening the capacities of women’s rights organizations and addressing women’s subordination and violence against women and girls in the Horn of Africa, SIHA has grown substantially and is now comprised of close to 75 member organizations.
SIHA aims to contribute to unlocking the massive potential of women’s rights movements in the HoA, by improving the capacity of local organizations in the HoA and to build a strong network of grassroots civil society members that are able to interact and support one another in advocating for effective change. SIHA’s orientation as a civil society membership organization is especially important in the HoA owing the absence of an inter-governmental body that brings together civil society. Inadequate integration of violence against women and gender equality into state-level legislation, policies and entities is a common characteristic in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea. Through direct engagement on project implementation, we seek to better connect our members and work with them see the common themes that exist in their work. In this way, SIHA works through and in support of its local grassroots members in campaigning and advocacy for women rights to enhance the capacity of grassroots women rights activists and community leaders.
All women and girls in the Horn of Africa have the right to live in a peaceful, just environment and that they are able to exercise their equal rights as human beings.
Strategic Themes of Focus 2017 – 2020:
- Reducing Violence against Women and Girls
- Strengthening women’s access to justice and transforming negative and harmful religious and cultural dogma
- Empowering women economically toward realization of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR)
- Combating trafficking of women and girls from the Horn
- Building inclusive women’s movements
SIHA envisions women and girls in the HoA with the right to live in a peaceful, just environment and the ability to exercise their equal rights as human beings. As a sub-regional network of women’s human rights and gender equality activists, SIHA is in a unique position to move this vision forward as one of very few indigenous coalitions born and nurtured inside the Horn. Strong ties and connections with women and their communities drive SIHA’s work across the region. After more than 20 years of working to advance women’s human rights in highly patriarchal contexts frequently characterized by insecurity, SIHA’s expertise is rooted in its familiarity with the sociopolitical situations around the Horn and the grassroots work of its members. SIHA’s membership continues to grow steadily, evidencing SIHA’s enduring relevance and effectiveness, and the ongoing urgency of advancing women’s human rights in the region.