MenEngage(MEA), Sonke Gender Justice, and MenEngage Rwanda hosted the 2023 MEA Annual General Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, virtually from June 1st to 2nd, 2023, as part of MenEngage Africa’s (MEA) governance requirements, with MEA delegates from 24 countries in attendance. This year’s meeting was an elective AGM, with a new regional steering committee elected. Countries such as Togo, Liberia, Swaziland, Cameroon, Zambia, Zambia, and Rwanda were elected by the AGM.
The meeting focused on taking stock of key activities and events carried out by members at the national, regional, and international levels as well as changes in policy. Participants at the AGM reaffirmed their commitment to achieving gender transformation while remaining accountable to the women’s movement, as well as to the MEA principles that guide the network.
While delivering her opening remarks, SIDA Global’s senior programme specialist for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Sandra Åslund expressed her appreciation for the attendees’ presence and commended them for their dedication and commitment. She acknowledged the agility and adaptability demonstrated by all the members in the last-minute shift of the meeting from Addis to Kigali and their ability to regroup and adjust.
MEA members went on to report on a number of achievements such as the quantitative growth in regional and country networks and members’ capacity to implement gender transformative programmes, organisational development offered through the Secretariat’s technical support, which is provided through sub-grants, strengthened governance structures, increased regional visibility of MEA and improved capacity for resource mobilisation.
The AGM addressed a range of topics, one of which was migrants’ access to sexual and reproductive rights. Facilitators also spoke about the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 that was passed by the Ugandan parliament, that restricts freedom of speech on LGBTQI civil rights and introduces harsher penalties for certain homosexual acts, the consequences of the Bill in Uganda, the broader region and For MenEngage.
The AGM made recommendations to amend the MEA memorandum of understanding which will improve the network’s functioning.