Informal women’s networks often organise into self-aware groups. These can then become political tools as civil society disintegrates and decision-making processes exclude women. Diverse aims are a strength, but women’s groups are weakened by a lack of resources and communication channels, vital for unity with each other and Northern groups. Abantu, a women’s trainers network, can draw strength from the North, because its African members are based in the West. Abantu aims to empower women by persuading Northern NGOs and donors to take Southern women’s views into account, and by persuading its own Governments to include gender in development policies.
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