This project is motivated to address the following problems:
Lack of Human Rights education for effective political participation and social change:
This project seeks to address the weak state of cross movement and multi-sectoral collaboration for advocacy for delicate (controversial) Sexual Reproductive Rights issues, especially Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression (SOGIE) issues. It also seeks to build capacities of young activists on intersectionality of rights and to connect cyber activismto policy corridors lobbying and street demonstrations, rallies and campaigns. Graduates of Connecting the Dots will form a network of activists who will provide the missing buffer for frontline sexual rights defenders; lending their voices and providing a critical mass for broad range sexual rights advocacy. For instance, the absence of a network exacerbates the lack of voices and faces from various sectors and movements teaming up to condemn the ongoing impunity especially concerning discrimination and abuse of human rights of sexual minorities. Multisectoral engagement will constitute a support network for the litigation team challenging the constitutionality of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act(SSMPA), the frequent police raid, sexual abuse and extortion of sex workers and other sexual minorities.
Poor representation of women, youths, and other sexual minorities in Politics and insufficient attention to their issues:
There has been recent outcries concerning political participation of young adults and women. This has led to the formation of all kinds of coalitions and networks. There is widespread call for more youth involvement in party politics leading to the passage of the Not-too-young-to run Actin May 2018.However, women’s rights activists observing how the effort to operationalize the Affirmative Action has nose-dived and are also mobilising furiously. Thus, the challenge is that most of the young peer influencers who run blogs and have huge twitter followership and women have not been prepared with the right education and skills to engage in the political arena and influence or cause change to happen especially in those areas that constitute the litmus test. The questions that arise are: how are the weakest – women, girls, sexual minorities, persons with disabilities – of our society treated? How is the environment treated or valued? Are there laws and policies that protect them? Is there political will to address issues of concern regarding these? Are resources being allocated and used adequately to address their issues? What is the representation of the minorities in decision making spaces? There is need for capacity building for women, youths, persons with disabilities, LGBTQIs and other minorities if they are to engage meaningfully and give credit to the call resonating from every quarter for their involvement. They need to have knowledge on the issues and skills to influence policies leadership and governance both from outside and within. Women and youths, and other sexual minorities mustbe prepared to engage within political spaces with positive and measurable gains.
Disappearing face to face advocacy and physical awareness and mobilisation campaigns:
Also, most young activists and upcoming leaders in population, health and development, seem to have migrated to cyber activism namely, blogs, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This is having adverse impact on movement building and short changing corridor face-to-face lobbying, rallies and demonstrations. Feminist in the United States of America realised how weak cyber activism was making the movement. They called for a face-to-face meeting tagged “Me Too” that served as a platform to energize the movement and put physical presence to activism.
There are a number of examples that show that these spaces (cyber, streets and corridors), have a mutually complimentary strength and can have a much greater impact than when used in isolation one of the other. For sensitisation and awareness creation cyber activism has proven to be effective, but for advocacy, not as a standalone strategy.