Southern Africa Region
Southern Africa Regional Caucus
Ellen Hagerman and Chibwe Salati of the Humanist Institute for Cooperation (Hivos) South Africa will lead the Southern Africa Regional Caucus. Learn more about them, their passion for advocacy, and what to expect at the caucus.
With more than two decades as a researcher, policy advisor and program director on a range of issues – including sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, human rights, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, governance and community engagement – Ellen Hagerman has done it all. While she currently works as a Project Manager and Technical Advisor for Hivos in South Africa, Ellen’s inspiration to be an advocate for women and girls began during her time as a young woman in the villages of rural Ghana and Indonesia. There, women worked hard on chores and to meet family needs, yet had little voice in decision making. While her work today involves building partnerships and engaging stakeholders at all levels – including high-level governments – she counts among her greatest accomplishments developing programs that specifically seek to ensure that the voices of the poorest and most marginalized are heard.
“From the time I was a young woman, I have wanted to help build women’s self confidence and help them find their voice. Now having worked in the field for more than 25 years, I have grown to appreciate the complexity of addressing challenges facing girls and women, including how to engage men. I remain inspired by the efforts of girls’ and women’s organizations to advocate for themselves, and the increasing efforts to find ways to involve boys and men as change makers.”
In her four years of professional experience in women’s health, Chibwe Salati has worked in both Zambia and South Africa as a coordinator, program officer and spokesperson for a range of organizations—including NGOs and a national youth council. Today, as she balances work with studies to complete a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Witwatersrand, Salati draws on her personal and professional experience to become a strong advocate for youth and women’s rights. She counts among her accomplishments participation in the revision of the 2013 National Youth Policy in Zambia, which brought together over 100 youths.
“Even though I have been privileged to have an education and job opportunities, at times I have felt unfairly treated and unable to exercise my rights. It dawned on me that it is my responsibility to speak out and address the needs of women and girls who don’t have a voice, to promote our common rights and be the link between the communities and decision makers to help advocate for women and girls across southern Africa.”
What to expect at the caucus:
The caucus will focus on action planning on a range of issues affecting women and girls across the region, particularly as they relate to the Sustainable Development Goals – including child marriage, safe abortion and gender-based violence. Participants will work together to produce and review a detailed advocacy strategy that participating organizations will commit to during the forum. The forum will also provide an opportunity to build relationships and share best practices among stakeholders working in the Southern Africa region.