As the 'voice of the voiceless', our advocacy work is carried out broadly through consortia which are: Gender, Children, ESHACO, Food Security and Livelihood, Human Rights and Governance, Media and the Elections Support Network
Consortia are the sub-thematic groups under the auspices of CANGO which aim to influence policy through principles of clarity of messages, maintaining independence, upholding ethical information-dissemination, human-rights based programming, equal participation and access to the right information.
Over the years, civil society, in particular NGOs have played an important role in promoting gender equality. The Coordinating Assembly of Non-governmental Organizations (CANGO), founded in 1983 originally as a network of Primary Healthcare NGOs, has grown to encompass a diverse grouping of NGOs, FBOs, and CBOs working on different issues. CANGO has a number of Consortia along thematic lines. These include the Gender Consortium, whose members have been active in promoting gender equality in various ways.
Issues addressed by these organizations include education; health; food insecurity; gender-based violence; women’s rights and children’s rights; social needs; access to justice; access to water and sanitation. Programming is implemented from grassroots to national levels through research, advocacy, education, capacity-building; humanitarian and emergency relief; social behaviour change communication; empowerment; life-skills training; mentoring; and service provision (including youth-focused services).
Promoting gender equality within the challenging socio-economic cultural and political context such as eSwatini requires collective effort and opportunities exist for the Gender Consortium to make a difference.
- A country that respects human rights and provides equal opportunities for all.
- A Gender Consortium that is well coordinated and resourced to advocate and promote Gender equality and equity through innovative approaches.
- Accountability: We manage responsibly and account to all stakeholders
- Transparency: Clear mode of operation
- Integrity: We are ethical in our conduct
- Mutual respect: We value members’ contribution to Consortium affairs
- Impartial: Non discriminatory
A civil society coordination network, advocating for national HIV response and policy reforms towards strengthened quality service delivery in communities.
- Openness and transparency in all our operations
- Respect for human rights of beneficiaries
- Integrity and ethical behavior among ESHACO members and Secretariat
- To strengthen coordination, collaboration and partnerships among ESHACO members, Secretariat and partners by 2023;
- To mobilize financial and materials resources for ESHACO activities to be effectively delivered by 2023;
- To strengthen technical capacities of ESHACO members and Secretariat to effectively carry out its obligations.
- To strengthen the voice of ESHACO in influencing policy transformation, respect for human rights, elimination of stigma and discrimination and resource allocation for HIV prevention;
- To enhance technical capacity for ESHACO members in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the five pillars of prevention as outlined in the NSF 2019-2023, social protection of structural vulnerabilities and mainstreaming GBV.
- To strengthen the capacity of ESHACO members and secretariat systems, policies and governance to improve creditability and effectiveness.
The Children’s Consortium is a network of child-focused civil society organizations that undertake collective actions at the national level for promotion and protection of children’s rights in Eswatini. The civil society environment has in recent years provided opportunities for child focused organizations to organise themselves and mobilize resources, and increase their influence on both national and supra-national institutions. The consortium member organisations adhere to the best interests of the child approach to all activities.
The enactment of the Children Act, 2012 was a major milestone in the provision of the necessary legal framework for the promotion and protection of children rights and welfare. It domesticated and incorporated the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) taking cognizance of other human rights instruments that relate to children. The establishment of the National Children’s Department in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office in 2016 promises to provide a guided action for our children.
Creating a strong legacy of child rights in Eswatini.
Building partnerships and alliances for the protection of children.
- Child participation: We promote the participation of children in decisions that may affect them.
- Lasting impact: We strive to achieve significant and lasting impact on the lives of children and young people, and to secure equality for girls. We challenge ourselves to be bold, courageous, responsive, focused and innovative.
- Partnerships: We succeed by working effectively with others, inside and outside the Consortium, including our donors’ stakeholders, regional partners and communities.
- Openness and accountability: We create a climate of trust inside and outside the Consortium by being open, honest and transparent. We hold ourselves and others to account for the decisions we make and for our impact on others, while doing what we say we will do.
The Human rights and Governance Consortium, under the auspice of CANGO, promotes principles of good governance and seeks to increase the integration of human rights responsive programming and development. The rationale for establishing a governance consortium is in response to the knowledge gap that exists amongst civil society on issues of democratic governance and promotion of a human rights based approach in development.
The Chapter on Human Rights in the national Constitution confers rights to citizens including women, people with disability and children. It is worth noting that lack of knowledge or awareness on the constitution and the bill of rights enshrined therein threatens the realisation of these rights by citizens.
The consortium has been specifically established to provide a forum for likeminded organizations to analyse, research, promote and advocate for good governance and human rights within organisations and in the country; coordinate, collaborate and collectively tackle governance and human rights challenges affecting the constituency served by the CSOs; strengthen the technical capacity of members to base their work on human rights, good governance principles and values and lastly facilitate coordinated resource mobilisation.
To advance the fuller integration of international human rights and governance standards in legislation, institutions, policies and culture, in collaboration with all elements of Swazi society.
The CANGO Human Rights and Governance Consortium is an international-standard -level platform of collective NGO action for ongoing research, citizen learning, strategic advocacy and inclusive engagement on human rights and governance in Swaziland.
- Respect for the rights of citizens in particular the vulnerable groups
- Transparency and accountability in all the Consortium business as a collective and individually
- Gender equality and equity
- Non-discrimination based on gender, social class, education, sex orientation
- Participation and involvement of targeted groups in Consortium decision making processes
- Treat all members equally
- Partnership with government and all key stakeholders
- Mutual respect
The Food Security and Livelihoods Consortium, under the auspice of CANGO was established primarily to provide a coordination platform for non-governmental and humanitarian organizations, development partners and government responding to food crises in the country. Since its inception, the consortium sought to work to address the food needs of the most vulnerable households and individuals in food insecure areas affected by drought and the impact of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic.
- Technical Coordination
- Advocacy and Policy
- Information Sharing
The Media Consortium, under the auspice of the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) was formulated within the first quarter of 2017. Its purpose is to unify fragmented media voices and to embark on media-led advocacy.
The consortium has eight founding organised members within the media sector who have partnered with CANGO.
CANGO, the secretariat facilitated the formation of the media consortium late in 2016 which was finally launched in June 2017.
The Media consortium convenes constituencies of the media sector for purposes of advocating for the rights to freedom of expression, the rights of media workers, protection and promotion of media freedom and access to information, in line with the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression among other laws and international instruments.
A cohesive, vibrant and dynamic media that fosters freedom of expression through pluralism which is a cornerstone of a democratic society
We are a coordinated platform and a catalyst for protecting the rights to freedom of expression and media in an inclusive society
- Institutional strengthening
- Partnerships and linkages
- Media literacy
Eswatini is affected by a double burden of disease similar to other developing countries in the World; the combination of long established infectious diseases, with a rapidly growing new epidemic of chronic NCDs. Until recently, risk factors such as raised blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, excess alcohol consumption, obesity, and the diseases linked to them were associated with developed countries.
It is less well recognized that non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancers, injuries and their risk factors are important contributors to mortality and morbidity in the country, but all along NCDs have not received the attention they deserve in terms of resource allocation and prioritisation.
Purpose and Objective of the Consortium
The purpose of the network is to provide a platform for all NGOs to engage on issues of Non communicable disease in Eswatini.
The objectives of the Media Consortium are as follows:
- To discuss and agree on the best practices in relation to NCDs and align NGO activities with SDGs.
- Provide a platform for NGO NCD practitioners and stakeholders to share knowledge and best practices on NCDs and development in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
- To drive the demand for more NCD programmes at the grassroots in Eswatini.
- To network and build partnerships amongst NCDs practitioners and stakeholders in Africa.
Milestones achieved in Eswatini:
- Advocacy for political support – NCDs is now prioritized in the Ministry.
- Strategic Plan Developed – Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiovascular Diseases, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, Malignancies, Epilepsy, Prevention of Blindness.
- Baseline Data collected using the STEPWISE approach.
- School based Screening to test children for obesity, blood pressure, elevated blood sugars, tobacco consumption and dietary intake – 2400 children tested.
- Work Based and Community screening – 5000 people screened.
- Decentralization of diabetes mellitus to the Primary Health Care – in process.
- Guidelines and protocols on the treatment of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases conducted.
- Walk In screening unit established to enable the at risk population of the general public to test themselves for diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and overweight, sight, and healthy lifestyle including intake of alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical activity.
- NCD Centre of Excellence – a one stop diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative centre for NCDs – a work in progress.
- Awareness has been developed to the general population on NCDs using International Awareness Days through mass media.
- Support Groups for people living with NCDs have been formed – Cancer Association, Swaziland Breast Cancer Network, Swaziland Epilepsy Organization, Swaziland Diabetes Association.
In the Kingdom of Eswatini, the youth make up a significant share of the population. four out of five EmaSwati are younger than 35 years old. One in three are between the ages of 15 and 35. This makes about 79% of the population being young people aged 35 and below which is close to 800,000 young people.
Young people in the Kingdom of Eswatini have specific vulnerabilities including HIV and AIDS, poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, and access to quality education. HIV prevalence is estimated at 26% among adults which exhibits a serious threat to development overall. SHIES states that 64.1% of those aged between 15 – 24 years and 54.1% of all those aged between 15 – 35years are living below the poverty line. Furthermore, Gender Based Violence is a social ill which affects the whole of society.
Adolescents Girls and Young Women (AGYW) are disadvantaged in various spheres including political, cultural, economic and legal. It should be noted that there is a constitutional provision which guarantees gender equality. However, gender inequality is exacerbated by unequal power relations between men and women which manifests itself through limited decision-making power, unemployment and limited access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) information and services. The country has made positive strides. These include the country’s ‘Vision 2022’ as reflected in the National Development Strategy (NDS) which serves as the country’s roadmap to reaching a level of development that would ensure that “by the Year 2022,
the Kingdom of Eswatini is counted among the top 10% of the medium human development group of countries founded on sustainable economic development, social justice and political stability”. It should also be noted that due to the adverse effects of COVID 19, the NDS timeline of 2022 has been revised.
A number of NGOs in the country work with and target the youth. To this end, a need to establish a Youth Consortium under the auspice of CANGO was identified as critical. Furthermore, the Consortium brings young people in their diversity to have a space to advocate and deliberate on issues affecting them.
A nation in which all young people are empowered, influential, independent, impactful, having equal opportunities and fully engaged in their own development.
We are a Youth Consortium that is diverse, informed, coordinated, and accountable and advocates for rights of all young people in the Kingdom of Eswatini.