Fifteen female arts leaders from Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have said there is need to strengthen advocacy in order to bring out issues affecting women in the creative sector.
The diverse group of women agreed that in order to develop the creative industry, the sector should have broader representation and have a mandate that will serve the interests of the entire sector. They said this is reliant on effective advocacy.
Maxim Murungweni, the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children Programmes Manager, encouraged the women in arts leadership to improve their advocacy strategies.
“Advocacy is a structured process, it’s different from campaigning and activism. Women in arts are raising genuine issues but if they do not know who to direct their concerns to they won’t get desired solutions,” said Murungweni.
He emphasised that arts leaders should not waste their time on people that do not have the power to influence decisions.
The female leaders in arts and culture were also enlightened on the importance of advocacy communication and the importance of improving the visibility of their organisations.
Nokholo Mhluzani, the Senior Communications and Visibility Officer at NANGO, informed the female leaders on the importance of matching advocacy strategies to communication tactics.
“There is a lot of advocacy out there and creators need to establish how they add to the landscape. There is need to figure out how communication of those in the creative industry adds value,” she said.
Mhluzani reminded the female leaders that women already receive very low print and broadcast media coverage so they need to embrace cyber space and use it to grow their brands.
Florence Mukanga-Majachani, an artist and independent researcher, said “In developing women in the arts there is need to consult them. If development goes ahead of culture it will fail, disregarding women is counterproductive.”
Mukanga-Majachani further went to quote the Agenda 2063 which calls for “An Africa where development is people driven, unleashing the potential of women and youth.”
She highlighted how the Agenda 2063 calls on African countries to value the input of women and youth.
Zimbabwe Arterial Network hosted the three-day intensive workshop targeting emerging and established arts leaders within non-profit cultural organisations and private enterprises at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).
The female artists were trained under the Non-State Actors Alliance (NSAA) which has a mandate of downstream training of non-state actors and NANGO members. NANGO has an arts and culture sector and envisions a time when the government and other stakeholders will recognise arts and culture as positive and effective vehicles for national development.
Maxim Murungweni presenting on advocacy