COFEM is predominantly a volunteer-run network – and yet, this doesn’t stop us from collectively identifying, convening and organizing key initiatives and actions linked to COFEM’s core objectives.
Initiatives & Events
Upcoming COFEM Initiatives and Events
Watch this page for updates on upcoming initiatives and events!
Here is a spotlight on a couple of recent events by COFEM members who are out in the world doing inspirational advocacy:
- Feminist Movement Building: Rewriting the Rules in the Arab Region and Beyond
Co-hosted and organized by: Arab Institute for Women, Global Women’s Institute, and VOICE
Date: May 28, 2020
The session focused on the lived experiences of women activists who have been playing an active role in the fight for women’s equality and inclusion in their respective regions. COFEM members spoke about their activism as well as discussed the key role that feminist movements are playing in achieving meaningful change in their communities, countries and beyond, and what we can do to support their efforts now. You can watch a recording of the main session below.
- The Other Pandemic: Adapting GBV Work During COVID-19
Hosted by: Society of Gender Professionals
Date: May 19th, 2020
COFEM was invited by the Society of Gender Professionals to participate and lead discussions in this virtual Gender Cafe, which highlighted the work of COFEM. Speakers shared their experiences adapting GBV tools and mechanisms to assure accountability to women and girls during COVID-19. Following the brief presentations, participants joined breakout rooms designed for connection, discussion, mutual support and activism to advance feminist, women-centered strategies for promoting the rights of, and ending violence against, women and girls. You can find more details here and watch a recording of the main session here.
- Regional Learning Feminist Pocketbook Workshop in Nigeria
Date: February 12, 2020
The workshop unpacked the Feminist Pocketbook to foster learning on implementing a feminist perspective in work to end VAWG, and was attended by researchers, activists and practitioners working on VAWG in Nigeria. This was the first of COFEM’s member-led events in 2020 to enhance and promote connections, as well as reflect on shared challenges, discuss the need for accountability to women and girls in programming, research, and activism.
- Pre-conference Workshop, Statement of Solidarity with South African Women, Four Minute Presentation and Side Event at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative in Cape Town from
Date: October 21 – October 25, 2019
COFEM participated in a number of activities at the SVRI Conference in Cape Town, and had an exhibition booth in the main hall, where visitors were able to find COFEM resources, such as our informational brochure and translated versions of the Feminist Pocketbook.Our pre-conference workshop on Feminist Approaches to Building Evidence and Knowledge on VAWG: Experiences and Reflections, was co-facilitated with the Global Women’s Institute.COFEM was invited to read our statement of solidarity with South African feminist activists at the SVRI Opening Ceremony. In light of the ongoing protests across Cape Town and beyond, COFEM members from South Africa and others come together to write this statement, which recognizes all of the brave women seeking gender equality and an end to femicide and other forms of violence against women and girls across South Africa. This statement was co-signed by our friends and partners at the Global Women’s Institute, Raising Voices, and VOICE, and you can find the statement on our blog.
Our “Four Minute Presentation”, “Promoting a feminist analysis to ensure appropriate attention to specific dynamics of violence against women and girls”, gave a concise overview of how we promote a feminist analysis to ensure appropriate attention to specific dynamics of VAWG, while acknowledging the importance of thoughtful collaboration with actors working to address different forms of violence.
On the final day, along with representatives from MenEngage Alliance, the Equality Institute, Raising Voices and SVRI, we co-facilitated a dialogue with participants to discuss accountable practices in engaging men and boys for gender equality.
- Interactive Discussion at the Women Deliver Conference
“Beyond the #hashtag: Power and women’s movements in the era of #MeToo.”
Date: June 4, 2019
Moufeeda Haidar participated on behalf of COFEM to discuss how the #MeToo movement can create lasting change and an end to violence against girls and women. Thinking beyond the hashtag, this session explored the roles of INGOs, donors, and the UN system, together with survivors, in leveraging the power of the movement to transform national systems and get to a world where no one needs to say #MeToo anymore.
- Panel and Pre-conference Workshop at the ‘Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Donor Conference’ Oslo
Date: May 23, 2019
Pre-conference Workshop: Technical Session for Women Leaders from Local Partner Organisations – providing advocacy and networking support.
Panel presentation: Good in Theory, Harder in Practice: Are Efforts to Engage Men as Allies Helping or Harming Women? COFEM member, Zainab Sulaiman participated on panel using tips from the Feminist Pocketbook and distributed copies of the FPB. Co-organized with Raising Voices, UNFPA and ABAAD Mena.
- Side Event to the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women:
“Feminist Perspectives: Challenging Gender-Based Violence and Structural Inequality in the Arab Region and Beyond”
Date: March 15, 2019
COFEM co-hosted this event alongside the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University, the Global Women’s Institute, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and VOICE, at the LAU New York Academic Center. Mendy Marsh, co-founder and Executive Director of VOICE: Amplifying Women and Girls in Crises, and women’s rights activist Kaneez Fatima Saeed, led a powerful panel discussion about violence against women and girls and how to implement feminist-informed approaches that can help establish change. Examples from the Feminist Pocketbook and the Arab region illustrated the challenges, resistance, and entry points to achieving meaningful change for women and girls, and resulted in an engaging conversation among panelists and attendees alike.The event was moderated by Dr. Lina Abirafeh, Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University.
- Panel at the ‘Stockholm Gender Equal Forum’
“Applying feminist approaches in humanitarian response”
Date: April 16, 2018
Using examples from the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Europe, the Rohingya humanitarian emergency in Myanmar and Bangladesh, humanitarian emergencies in South Sudan, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other places, this panel looked at the problem with a “gender neutral” approach, the need for more programming centering on the women and girls in humanitarian emergencies, why “competing victimhood” is undermining years of best practice, and how the international community can support GBV survivors in humanitarian emergencies.
To read a summary of key takeaways and discussion from the panel session, please click here
- MenEngage on the spot: An Accountability Dialogue on the work of the Alliance, past, present and future, after 10 years of existence
Date: March 16, 2018
For more information on COFEM’s involvement and the event, please click here.
Past COFEM Initiatives and Events
|During the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum in October 2019, COFEM members recorded their personal experiences applying the knowledge found in their favorite Tip Sheets. We launched the video series in July 2020 to spotlight member reflections on how the guidance shared in the Feminist Pocketbook has helped members effectively articulate and implement feminist-informed approaches to addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in their work. You can watch all of the member reflections on individual Tip Sheets here.|
To honor the theme of the 2019 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we asked members to share any brief stories or reflections on the ways in which women are affected by everyday sexism and sexual harassment in their professional lives. Read their reflections and suggestions on how to raise awareness on all forms of sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace here.
As part of the global 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign in 2018, we hosted a series of online learning events known as the COFEM Knowledge Summit. This was an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in engaging with leading GBV experts to share ideas about how we can better meet the many challenges we face in our work. For more information about the Knowledge Summit and watch recordings of online sessions, please click here.