Diary of a week of advocacy with Feminists in Action 

During the week of January 23, seven activists from various African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Chad, Togo, Tunisia) met in Paris at the invitation of the Feminists in Action team to make a common plea to French decision-makers. Back in pictures! 

Delegation in front of the National Assembly ©JDCarle

On Monday, a first working session allowed us to identify the objectives of the week and the key messages to convey to the decision-makers. It was also an opportunity to get to know each other better and to take an overview of the week’s agenda between meetings, events and media opportunities. 

Two trainers from Egae Group were also with us to give us keys and tips for successful public speaking!

The same day, part of the delegation met Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the Secretary of State in charge of development, Francophonie and international partnerships. Madam Minister is our first interlocutor for the sustainability of funds to women’s organizations. She had announced at the end of 2022 the renewal of the FSOF, the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations which finances the Feminists in Action Project.

The all Paris delegation ©JDCarle

On Tuesday morning, the whole delegation was received by the Minister Isabelle Rome, in charge of Equality between women and men, Diversity and Equal Opportunities in order to discuss the different issues that cross the feminist struggles in Africa and the difficulties encountered on the ground

This was the opportunity to ask for the support of the Minister to spread our messages to her fellow ministers during international meetings and to promote French feminist diplomacy.

Interview between the delegation and Isabelle Rome ©JDCarle

On Tuesday evening, an inter-associative meeting took place at the Cité Audacieuse, a resolutely committed place in the heart of Paris that makes it possible for feminist struggles to radiate. 

An evening that was held under the sign of sharing experiences and expertise organized in the form of mini round tables. Exchanges that provided all participants with the opportunity to highlight the similarities of the struggles and issues common to feminist movements in France and elsewhere

Typhaine D was among us and offered us a very touching interpretation of Barayé, an Iranian song that pays tribute to the wave of protests and uprisings in Iran and to all those mobilized to defend their rights and freedoms.

Typhaine D and Wendyam Micheline Kaboré at the Cité Audacieuse evening ©JDCarle

On Wednesday, the delegation was expected at the National Assembly to be heard by the Women’s Rights Delegation. The members of the delegation took the floor to express their realities and support the need to increase the amount of official development assistance. They also defended the need to ensure that grants reach women’s and feminist organizations on the ground. 

Discussing these issues specifically is crucial because the MPs have the prerogative to vote on the budget allocated to international cooperation. Civil society is also mobilizing to demand that France dedicate 0.7% of its national income (or GDP) to official development assistance.

Delegation group at the National Assembly ©JDCarle

On Thursday morning, the Feminists in Action team organized a breakfast with representatives of private foundations to discuss funding opportunities for the delegation and the organizations they represent. 

Diversifying its sources of funding is indeed essential to establish the financial stability of associations and allow them to carry out long-term activities in the field. The Raja Foundation, the Fondation de France and Focus 2030 were able to discover the work accomplished by the activists and better understand the realities they face.

Meeting between the delegation and foundation’s representatives ©JDCarle

At the end of the week, the delegation was received at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. First by the deputy director of the West Africa region and then by the legal affairs advisor of the Minister Catherine Colonna. 

These meetings allowed us to address the issue of protection and security of activists and members of associations who must carry out their actions in very difficult security contexts. Like human rights defenders, feminist activists must be able to benefit from special protection

The French Development Agency (AFD) also welcomed the delegation on two occasions, mainly to meet its Vice Director General, Marie-Hélène Loison. This was an opportunity to discuss with all the stakeholders the implementation of the Feminists in Action Project, its functioning and possible improvements. 

Delegation members at the Quai d’Orsay ©JDCarle

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