African Union & Regional Economic Communities

MenEngage Africa

Sonke, on behalf of MenEngage Africa, has since 2012 been working on a Regional Bodies Policy Advocacy project and undertaken a range of activities to engage the African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa, particularly the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC).

Importance of regional policies

Regional policies are central to the goal of increasing the scale and impact of work with men and boys to address gender inequalities. They compel Member States to take a series of actions at the national level, usually across multiple government departments, and offer the possibility of achieving substantial impact on a significant scale. Therefore, it is essential to build a shared policy agenda on engaging men and boys among regional bodies, in addition to civil society, national policymakers and international bodies.

Regional bodies in Africa

While the AU is a union comprising of 54 African states, RECs such as SADC and EAC are often described as the ‘building blocks’ of the AU. They are intergovernmental organizations working on issues such as trade, the environment and agriculture, and they facilitate and monitor the implementation of Member State commitments in each area, develop policies, tools and processes to support activities, and provide technical assistance. Human rights-related matters play a vital role within the RECs legal framework as the majority have implemented certain provisions in their mandate that have an impact on human rights and good governance.

Regional Parliamentary Structures

In order to support efforts by CSOs to engage with parliamentary structures linked to RECs, participate in their processes, and initiate collaborative activities with these structures, Sonke on behalf of MenEngage Africa has developed a report which provides a description of the workings of these structures.

The RPAs described in this report include those of the African Union (AU); the Southern African Development Community (SADC); the East African Community (EAC); and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Download the Regional Parliamentary Structures Report

Media Advocacy

Sonke’s Hanna Jansson, Bafana Khumalo and Tim Shand write in Genderlinks that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) must engage men for gender equality. Read more here.

Regional Bodies Policy Reports

As part of the Regional Bodies Policy Advocacy project, Sonke on behalf of MenEngage Africa is currently drafting three policy reports for the AU, SADC and EAC. These reports will look at the extent to which the policies of each of the regional bodies articulate the need to engage with men and boys for the promotion of gender equality. They will identify key strengths and gaps in selected policies related to gender, HIV/AIDS, GBV, SRHR, and provide recommendations for strengthening such policies.

The aim for these reports is to be used as policy advocacy and programming tools in order to strengthen a focus on engaging men for gender equality within regional policies. Their key audiences will be national and regional civil society, policymakers and decision-makers.

Watch this space for the launch of the policy reports!