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Call for proposals: 16 days of young women's voices campaign, 2010
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA)

Deadline for submission: 30 September 2010 (close of business)

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As part of its Young Women's Voices Campaign 2010, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is inviting young women's networks, organisations and initiatives in Southern Africa to submit proposals for campaigns and activities during the 2010 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women.

OSISA has always supported the 16 Days of Activism against "No Violence Against Women", a global Campaign which runs from 25 November to 10 December every year. The 2010 theme is Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence against Women and OSISA seeks to support young women's initiatives to speak about and put on the national agendas how the ideology of militarism affects them as young women.

Militaristic values and attitudes have perpetuated armed conflicts in our region, especially in parts of Angola and eastern parts of the DRC, and not-so-armed conflicts and crises in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. There is generally an increased tendency to use force, coercion and violence to enforce and protect economic and political interests, with negative repercussions especially on young women, who are doubly made vulnerable by their gender and age. In many countries rape of women and girls has been one of the obvious manifestations of militaristic attitudes, especially in contexts of conflict and war.

While the majority of Southern African countries are not directly engaged in armed conflict - except for parts of a few - militaristic beliefs and influences abound, and do affect young women in the relatively peaceful countries, as their governments often prioritise defence and purchase and sell of weapons, over social services and employment creation for young women and other populations. For instance, it is true that most countries in Southern Africa - as elsewhere on the continent - invariably commit more resources on their national budgets to defence and related portfolios, at the expense of health and HIV and AIDS, education, employment creation, (issues that are of most concern to young people generally, and young women in particular). In addition, militaristic beliefs have also driven governments to even commit resources to send troops, produce arms and weapons, and invest in the militaries of neighbouring and foreign nations; all in the name of solidarity and protecting regional or continental peace. This is a serious concern for young people who, as a result, lose their future, as opportunities for them to gain a meaningful education, protection from HIV and AIDS, economic and job security are seriously compromised.

OSISA seeks to support young women in Southern Africa to take advantage of the 16 Days Global Campaign to raise their voices and speak-out about these (and other violations of young women's rights) in their respective countries and at regional levels. Support will be given to organisations/networks and initiatives led by young women, or initiatives that focus on young women's issues, and provide them with a platform to make their voices heard.

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