Over the past two years, the Campaign has adopted a revised strategic direction that seeks to strengthen connections between country-level action, regional influencing, and global mobilization. As part of this process, Campaign partners in in Kenya (Center for Rights Education and Awareness, CREAW) and Senegal (Reseau Siggil Jigeen and Energy 4 Impact) expressed a deep desire to engage in peer-to-peer learning and build stronger cross-country ties.
What was first envisioned as a one-off peer-to-peer sharing opportunity via videoconference became understood as a vital, first-of-its kind Continental Conversation to bridge divides — some of which had never been crossed. In creating a space for meaningful dialogue between the Campaign’s country partners, together, we were able to identify commonalities and share experiences, lessons, challenges, and successes in advancing gender equality across the SDGs in countries and regions with distinct economic, social, and political landscapes.
The result? By coming together as a Campaign, we not only traversed language barriers, borders, and contextual divides with surprising ease, we also laid the groundwork for a cross-regional peer-to-peer learning model with the power to accelerate progress on girls’ and women’s health and rights — in Kenya, in Senegal, and around the world. And we learned a lot.
Below, we’d like to share our top five takeaways about the power and crucial importance of cross-country, cross-regional dialogue in achieving our shared global goal: a gender-equal future.
1. Bringing advocates together across continents breaks down silos and leads to opportunities for partners to collectively advance and deliver concrete gains.
While DfG Senegal and DfG Kenya are working on different gender equality issues, by recognizing and centering the intersectionality of girls’ and women’s lives, and their ripple effects, we were able to devise joint advocacy ideas to address a wide range of challenging, systemic issues including gender-based violence, SRHR, and women’s leadership as it relates to renewable energy, economic justice and rights, and political participation.
Our first Continental Conversation as a Campaign served as a vital moment for learning about different advocacy approaches across and within regions. It also expanded our understanding of how gender equality issues manifest across the continent.
“Together, we have a clearer idea of how to leverage each other’s strengths to scale up our advocacy, legitimize our campaigns, and merge with others such as the All for Maputo campaigns or Beijing Platform for Action.” — Isabella Mwangi of the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), Convener of Deliver for Good Kenya
“If the two coalitions work in synergy, a more structured approach will emerge that will allow each country’s strategies to be improved by learning from the others best practices.” — Djibril Ousmane Ndong of Reseau Siggil Jigeen (RSJ), Co-convener of Deliver for Good Senegal
2. Co-creation — from day one — is crucial to the success of spaces that facilitate peer-to-peer learning.
What’s become clear to us is intuitive yet often forgotten: all aspects of peer-to-peer learning spaces — from the goals and objectives of the space, to programming and follow-up plans post-meeting — must be in the hands of the people who are participating in the conversation. The process and development of spaces for cross-country and cross-regional connection is as important as the spaces themselves, contributing both to the overall outcome of the conversation and success of the advocacy for gender equality that follows.
“The collaboration and participatory process enabled the agenda to be precise.” — Isabella Mwangi of the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), Convener of Deliver for Good Kenya
“The positive communication we’ve built between [Deliver for Good Senegal and Kenya] will lead to a strong tripartite relationship as part of these [continental] conversations. Next we’ll formalize our ways of working and be clear about goals and objectives for how we continue these conversations.” — Djibril Ousmane Ndong of Reseau Siggil Jigeen (RSJ), Co-convener of Deliver for Good Senegal
3. Bridging contexts and facilitating multilingual conversations fosters solidarity and innovative advocacy approaches.
In bringing organizations and advocates from different contexts together, we were able to learn from one another, identify commonalities, generate new ideas, inspire new approaches, and foster solidarity. Though Senegal and Kenya are two countries on different parts of the African continent, operating in two different languages, and with different sub-regional political mechanisms (the Economic Community of West African States and the East African Community, respectively) we learned that both DfG Country Campaigns have valuable insights to offer one another: in Senegal, we’re eager to adapt Kenya’s citizen journalist activities and empower our community of stakeholders to better communicate about issues of gender equality. In Kenya, we’re looking forward to more meaningfully integrating youth advocates and organizations into our Campaign with Senegal’s advice. The innovations and insight we shared during our first Continental Conversation have the potential to help us overcome existing barriers to advocacy for gender equality in our respective countries.
“The transversal communication between the different stakeholders of the Campaign will be a lever that everyone will use to co-create approaches, strategies, programmatic contents, and collective messages. The abundance of allies across the continent is beneficial, especially when it comes to advocacy on an issue as important as gender equality. [Deliver for Good Senegal and Kenya] will have a comparative advantage with our languages (English and French) if we are to engage in advocacy with the African Union, for example.” — Djibril Ousmane Ndong of Reseau Siggil Jigeen (RSJ), Co-convener of Deliver for Good Senegal
4. More spaces that facilitate peer-to-peer learning among gender equality advocates are needed — and need to be resourced.
Organizations and advocates leading advocacy on gender equality in their countries could benefit from spaces that advance peer-to-peer learning, enable knowledge- and lessons-sharing, stimulate collaboration, and support collective problem-solving. In creating more of these spaces, we would contribute greatly to the shared global movement toward increasing political, financial, and programmatic investments in the health and rights of girls and women in order to achieve gender equality.
As the development sector evolves, shifting power structures by actively creating pathways for country-level advocates and organizations to engage in peer-to-peer learning will not only facilitate more equitable relationships, but will also drive more effective programming.
“By resourcing these conversations, it provides us leverage and positions us in a more advantageous point to amplify our Campaigns and form a strong network, rooted in the continent, to continue work beyond [our current funding period]” — Isabella Mwangi of the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), Convener of Deliver for Good Kenya
“This method of working in a participatory and synergistic way allows a better consideration of the current challenges and enables us to face them in a concerted manner.” — Djibril Ousmane Ndong of Reseau Siggil Jigeen (RSJ), Co-convener of Deliver for Good Senegal
5. Continental Conversations must be ongoing and are vital to strengthening our global movement toward gender equality.
Continental Conversations provide a meaningful space for learning, communicating, and thinking, and for building bridges between advocates at country, regional, and global levels who otherwise wouldn’t collaborate. Gender equality is our shared global goal, and a goal that we can only hope to achieve by working together. Coming together in this new way exceeded our expectations and we are eager to keep these conversations going — to strengthen cross-regional ties, broaden our reach, and contribute more to the global movement toward gender equality.
“As the saying goes, “there is strength in numbers.” The conversation is a space for sharing and exchange between the two coalitions. The first edition was a complete success in that it brought the two sister coalitions together.” — Djibril Ousmane Ndong of Reseau Siggil Jigeen (RSJ), Co-convener of Deliver for Good Senegal