ISDAO at the NGO CSW68 forum

Two west african feminists hugging

This March, for the second time, ISDAO is taking part in the NGO Forum of the Commission on the Status of Women (NGO CSW), hosting two parallel sessions - a virtual session and an in-person session. The NGO Forum of the Commission on the Status of Women (NGO CSW) is the civil society arm of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Why is ISDAO taking part in the NGO CSW Forum?

The NGO CSW is a unique space for learning, sharing experiences and information, and networking on issues of gender equality and rights. It is one of the leading spaces for civil society organizations from around the world engaged in gender justice issues. Historically, CSW has provided platforms for conversations around a range of issues that resonate closely with our work, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender-based and sexual violence, and economic opportunity. 

As a feminist fund, our work is aligned with its objectives, especially as we support the leadership and organization of activists seeking to advance gender justice in West Africa. The discussions that take place at UN CSW, the agreements that result, and the advocacy engagement that takes place at both UN CSW and the CSW NGO Forum are relevant - and have a potential impact on the work of ISDAO and the work of our partners.

We want to strengthen our learning about the space, focusing on the mechanisms, workings, and prospects for engagement and participation in the UN CSW, not just the NGO CSW. We are also participating to highlight the work of our partners and amplify their voices, network, and identify opportunities for connection and solidarity with other struggles within the feminist movement.

Our sessions

Session #1 (Virtual)

Reclaiming African Values: Deconstructing false narratives about feminism, SRHR, LBTQ Women and Intersex Persons' rights and their non-alignment with "African values".

The idea of universal “African values'' is used by many anti-gender actors to resist, restrict, and deny the inclusion and promotion of the rights of LBTQ women and intersex people, including their rights to sexual and reproductive health services and rights. Even within the feminist movement and human rights defenders' space, some stakeholders call for human rights and SRHR programs to align with and respect “African values” in their design and implementation. But what are these “African values”? Who defines them, and what contradictions do they bring up when we look at feminist principles and SRHR? In a conversation bringing together diverse feminist activists and academics, ISDAO wishes to deconstruct this fallacious narrative around African values and create space for co-learning and sharing.

Date: Friday, March 15, 2024
Time: 2:30 PM GMT (Accra); 3:30 PM GMT+1 (Nigeria); 10:30 AM EST (New York)
Venue: Zoom
Registration link:

Session #2 (In person)

Maputo Protocol @ 20: Making the case for African LBTQ women

The Maputo Protocol remains a crucial instrument for recognizing, promoting, and safeguarding the fundamental rights of women and girls in Africa. It has played a decisive role in promoting the rights of LBTQ and intersex people, notably in the context of African Commission resolutions 275 and 552. Despite the progress made, the ratification, interpretation, and application of the Convention to LBTQ women present certain limitations, and efforts to address them struggle to find their place in a context of expanding anti-gender and other fundamentalist movements and limited spaces for engagement. This session will address these issues and explore the possibilities of using the Protocol in advocacy for African women in all their diversity.

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Time: 8:30 am EDT (New York)
Venue: DREW Room, Church Center of the United Nations (CCUN

How can you take part in the NGO CSW and ISDAO’s sessions?
  • Register to attend our parallel virtual event on March 15 using this link
  • Will you be in New York for NGO CSW and/or UN CSW? You can attend our in-person session on March 20 at 8:30 am, New York time (CCUN, Drew Room).
  • Sign up on the NGO CSW portal to see all the events and attend sessions that interest you