Movement building

Our Movement Building Programme works with community leaders to empower them to create change through social movement. We initiate the establishment of various movements, including Tusimame Wanawake, which supports women migrants and refugees by providing support groups and education about South African culture, finances and budgeting, and even computer literacy. Another movement we have set in motion with is MARs, which stands for Migrants, Asylum seekers, and Refugees. MARs helps individuals in their process of gaining legal documentation and building a sense of identity in their communities.

Additional initiatives Africa Unite has undertaken include the Southern Africa Migration Network (SAMIN) and Africa Youth Assembly (AYA). These are both networks designed to allow individuals and organizations with similar missions and visions to connect, collaborate, and coordinate when taking action in their communities.

Tusimame Wanawake

Tusimame Wanawake is a movement of immigrant women based in South Africa, dedicated to empowering women and creating spaces for them to thrive. The name “Tusimame Wanawake” translates to “Let’s rise up women!” in Swahili, reflecting our mission to uplift and empower immigrant women in South Africa.

Mission: Our mission is to create spaces through building voices, accessing information, enhancing skills, and promoting integration for greater independence and social cohesion among immigrant women in South Africa.

There have five commissions in the movement:

  1. Leadership Commission: Focused on developing leadership skills and promoting good governance among immigrant women.
  2. Social Support Commission: Provides extensive social support, including mental health support, healing from past trauma, building self-confidence and self-esteem, and developing a strong support system.
  3. Lobbying and Advocacy Commission: Engages in lobbying and advocacy efforts to promote the rights and interests of immigrant women.
  4. Economic Support Commission: Works to provide economic support and opportunities for immigrant women to become active members of sustainable support systems.
  5. Social Media Commission: Manages social media platforms to raise awareness and amplify the voices of immigrant women.

And Tusimame Wanawake has multiple initiatives within the movement:

  • Migrant Women’s Peer Support Group: A support group focused on improving mental health, increasing knowledge and access to legal, human, and gender rights, and promoting self-reliance among immigrant women.
  • Migrant Women’s Farming Initiative: An initiative aimed at empowering immigrant women through entrepreneurship opportunities, access to vegetables, growth opportunities for female farmers, and increased access to capital through joint efforts, enabling self-reliance in the face of economic restrictions.
  • Migrant Women’s Creche Initiative: A sustainable project aimed at providing childcare solutions for migrant women who often cannot afford formal childcare due to informal employment, enabling them to participate in economic activities and personal growth opportunities.

MARs Youth Movement

The MARs Youth Movement is a dynamic initiative led by young migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees aged 15-25 in South Africa. Our movement is dedicated to empowering MARs by educating them about their rights, raising awareness about the challenges they face, and collaborating with other organizations to effect positive change.

Mission: We aim to educate migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees about their human rights while promoting social cohesion and developing young leaders. Through our various initiatives and programs, we strive to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for MARs in South Africa.

Vision: Our vision is to enhance the quality of lives of MARs in communities and beyond, fostering a society where their rights are respected, and their potential is recognized.

MARs has four commissions that address various challenges that young people face and develop innovative solutions to these problems. These are:

  1. ART/CULTURE/DRAMA COMMISSION: This commission focuses on showcasing the artistic talents of MARs through participation in events like the Zabalaza festival, providing a platform for them to express themselves and celebrate their culture.
  2. MEDIA/COMMUNICATION COMMISSION: Through various media channels, this commission raises awareness about human rights issues affecting MARs and educates communities on migrant laws, promoting understanding and empathy.
  3. RESOURCE MOBILIZATION COMMISSION: By organizing events like the International Day of Sports for Development & Peace and Africa Day celebration, this commission mobilizes resources to support MARs and their communities.
  4. TERTIARY AND DOCUMENTATION COMMISSION: This commission provides information and support to MARs regarding tertiary education opportunities and documentation issues, empowering them to access education and essential services.

Additionally, the movement provides training programs in public speaking, podcasting, mobile journalism, and leadership. These initiatives empower MARs members to advocate for their rights and effect positive change in their communities and beyond.

Southern Africa Migration Network

Discover SAMIN, a network dedicated to advocating for the rights of refugees and migrants across Southern Africa. Migration, a hotly debated topic in the region, often ignites violence and poses challenges to peace. Despite SADC’s objectives to foster security and harmony, many countries view migration as a threat rather than an opportunity, often scapegoating migrants for societal issues.

Formed in 2019 by Civil Society Organizations and migrant advocates, SAMIN operates with a small secretariat and steering committee to strategize on migration-related issues. Through research collaborations with academia, SAMIN aims to document migration trends and challenges, advocating for equal treatment of migrants and citizens while addressing the root causes of forced migration.

SAMIN engages in lobbying, disseminating information, and fostering networking opportunities to enhance migration policies and practices in the SADC region. From open letters to government officials to hosting webinars and conferences, SAMIN actively influences policy and promotes dialogue on pressing issues such as Islamic extremism and refugee rights.

The objectives of this network are to:

  1. Conduct research and document the state of migration and challenges in free cross-border migration;
  2. Lobby and advocate for equal recognition and treatment of migrants and citizens of host countries, and elimination of root causes of forced migration;
  3. Disseminate information about migration to various levels of society, including migration officials, security agencies, and stakeholders; and
  4. Share good practices and foster networking to address capacity and improve migration in the SADC region.

Recently, SAMIN has expanded its reach, partnering with organizations across the region and conducting capacity-building programmes to empower members. From hosting refugee lectures to issuing joint press statements, SAMIN continues to amplify the voices of refugees and migrants, striving for a more inclusive and just migration system in Southern Africa. To learn more about SAMIN, please check out the website here.

Africa Youth Assembly

Discover AYA, an initiative by Africa Unite that aims to empower youth across Africa. Through the Human Rights for Social Cohesion Programme, AYA extends AU’s vision to the Sub-Saharan region, building a movement of young people advocating for human rights, conflict resolution, and social cohesion.

AYA has launched initiatives like the Africa Youth Human Rights Exchange Programme, which amplifies the voice and participation of young people in developing youth-centered solutions for human rights education, conflict prevention, mediation, and socio-economic development. The programme creates a network of partner organizations collaborating to address challenges faced by young people and implement projects benefiting their communities.

The objectives of this initiative are to:

  1. Equip youth with human rights and conflict resolution knowledge and skills to act as human rights peer educators;
  2. Strengthen youth capacity to engage in policy formulation and implementation for youth development and empowerment;
  3. Foster regional collaboration and develop a strong network of connected youth organizations;
  4. Create platforms for youth to engage with duty bearers, policy makers, and government officials on youth challenges and decision-making; and
  5. Build capacity for AU staff to manage the Human Rights for Social Cohesion Programme effectively.

Despite challenges, including the impact of COVID-19 on travel and fundraising, AYA remains dedicated to equipping youth with necessary skills and knowledge. Its objectives include strengthening youth capacity for policy engagement, fostering regional collaboration, and creating platforms for youth to engage with decision-makers. Through AYA, Africa Unite aims to strengthen youth networks and drive positive change across Africa.