The African Women’s Studies Centre recognizes that the experiences of African women have not been part of mainstream knowledge development and have often not been a source of public and “legitimate knowledge” that guides development on our continent. These experiences and knowledge have not been utilized to shape order and name our world.
Our focus is, therefore, to bring the African women’s knowledge to visibility, through academic and policy debates in our academic institutions and other fora at the national and regional levels. In addition, we take cognizance of the important linkage between women of Africa and those of African descent but living in other parts of the world.
The Centre also recognizes that, in our region, we continue to refer to and use theories and frameworks whose basic assumptions do not include African womenworldview. Theories of power, political and other, need to be interrogated from the African women experiences point-of-view.
Despite the remarkable growth of Gender and Women’s studies in Africa over the last 3 decades, and the intellectual importance of this work, it is still difficult to find works on African women in libraries and resource rooms. This situation makes it difficult to develop a sense of the historical, intellectual and creative ingenuity of the African woman’s ideas and analyses, the development of theories, and the manner in which they can influence our thinking. The African Women’s Studies Centre seeks to bring to the fore the views and perspectives of this category.
Our appreciation goes to the Vice Chancellor, Prof George A. O. Magoha for his tremendous support right from the beginning. We at the AWSC thank all those who have made the great idea of bringing the African Women’s experiences and knowledge to the centre of academic discourse and policy dialogue to become a reality.
Your response on this Service Charter will enable us improve on our service delivery.
Prof Wanjiku Mukabi Kabira
African Women Studies Centre
The African Women’s Studies Centre (AWSC) exists to promote research and policy change from the African women’s perspective, which is in addition to teaching, publication and dissemination of knowledge, and to engage with policy makers, women’s and civil society organizations in order to bring the African women’s perspectives into development processes. AWSC is a Virtual Centre that is linked to all Colleges at the University of Nairobi and is managed by a Board that consists of representatives from all these Colleges.
To be a Centre of excellence, committed to promoting African women’s experiences and worldview in scholarship, policy and institutional development.
To promote intellectual inquiry by and on the experiences of women of Africa and the Diaspora through research, teaching, publication and dissemination of knowledge, and to engage with policy makers, women’s organisations and civil society, in order to bring African women’s perspectives into development and scholarship in Kenya,Africa and globally.
The Centre is committed to promoting:
- Respect and appreciate African women’s perspectives and knowledge;
- Gender equity;
- Respect for human rights;
- Freedom of thought in academic enquiry;
- Good corporate governance;
- Team work;
- Respect for and conservation of the environment; and
- Community service.
- Academic Programmes and Research Division
The broad objective for this division is:
- To offer innovative quality academic Programmes at postgraduate levels.
- To create conducive environment for study and research on all significant issues affecting African women, taking their experiences and world view into account.
- To generate knowledge and disseminate research findings on African women in Africa and the Diaspora.
- To be a resource for organizational and institutional for policy-makers in their development and formulation of policies affecting women.
- To bring African women’s experiences and concerns into mainstream knowledge development.
1. Policy advocacy Division
The Centre works on advocacy for policy change. This is to ensure women’s views and perspectives find their way into policy formulation and institutional development.
The broad objective for this division is:
- To conduct evidence based policy advocacy.
- To ensure African women’s experiences and views influence national policy and programming.
- To conduct seminars, short-courses and workshops on specific issues affecting African women.
- To bring African women’s experiences and concerns into mainstream institutional development.
- To create a forum where African women may come together to share their experiences, worldview, and ideas.
- To provide capacity-building opportunities for women leaders and organizations.
2. Outreach, Linkages and Mentoring Division
The specific objectives for this division are:
- To consult and engage governmental and non-governmental organizations in the formulation and development of Programmes and policies affecting African women.
- To collaborate and link up with global institutions and organizations involved in women’s issues.
- To promote collaboration, links, and exchange Programmes with African scholars, organizations and institutions committed to the study and research on women’s issues in the African Diaspora.;
- To promote collaboration in areas of teaching, research and consultancy on Programmes targeting African women;
3. Publication and Documentation Division
The main objective for the Publication and Documentation Division is to document the activities of the Centre, publish research findings and any relevant information, collect publications regarding women issues and serve as a source of information on data pertinent to the Centre and women issues in general.
Structure and Governance
The Centre is managed by various organs as follows:
Board of Management
The Board of Management is the policy decision-making organ of the Centre and the members serve for a term of three (3) years renewable once. The powers of the Board of the AWSC are stipulated in the University of Nairobi Statutes Number XVIII.
The Board consists of the following members: The Director, Ministry for Higher Education, Science and Technology; Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Development; a representative of an active development partner, three women scholars – one from the African Diaspora versed in the Centre’s core business, one holding/has held an influential position in the public domain and one who has excelled in scholarship in the area of African Women Studies; a representative from the Academic Board of each College of the University of Nairobi; one academic member of staff of the Centre on an established position; Institute of Anthropology, Gender & African Studies; Population Studies and Research Institute; University Librarian; Faculty of Arts; School of Education; One Senate Representative; Department of Sociology & Social Work; Registrar Academic and the Centre’s Administrator/Secretary as stipulated in the Statute.
The Technical Committee is made up of 2 coordinators from each of the Colleges of the University. Their role is guiding the implementation of the
Centre’s programmes and providing technical assistance particularly relevant to the areas of interest of the respective coordinators’ Colleges and also helping the Centre to identify expertise needed for the implementation of its programmes. It is also the responsibility of the Technical Committee to work closely with the Centre to identify critical aspects of the Colleges that would need attention in terms of the mission of the Centre. The Technical Committee members (College Coordinators) are appointees of the Principals of their respective Colleges.
The Management Committee consists of nine members including the coordinators of the divisions/departments of the Centre. Their role involves overseeing with the Secretariat in ensuring the implementation of the programmes. The management committee is appointed in consultation with the technical committee.
The Director is appointed by the Vice Chancellor and is responsible for all the operation of the Centre. The Director is assisted by the coordinators and the Secretariat.
Principles of Service Delivery
In our service delivery we pledge to:
- Serve our clients with dignity, courtesy and respect;
- Provide efficient and effective service at all times;
- Adhere to ethical and equitable service provision;
- Uphold transparency and accountability at all times;
- Espouse the principles of natural justice at all times;
- Provide our services in a Professional manner;
- Commit ourselves to Patriotism;
- Discharge our duties with Passion; and
- Provide the services within specified Pace.
- Women’s organizations
- Policy makers
- Consultants from various colleges
- The general public.
- National government departments and Committees
- County governments
- Local and Worldwide Universities
- Research collaborators
- Training Institutions
- Linkage partners
- Industry partners
- Business partners
- Donors (Australian High Commission, Amkeni Wakenya, SUNY-Kenya)
- Professional Bodies
- Other stakeholders/partners.
The Centre has various support servicesto promote efficient management of its functions which are provided by:
- All the Colleges of the University of Nairobi
- Registrar’s Office
- Campus Libraries
- Bursar’s Office
- Procurement Office
- Internal Audit
- Campuses Health Services Clinics
- College and Campuses Information Communication and Technology (ICTC) support services
- Campuses Security
- Campuses Transport services
- University of Nairobi Enterprises and Services Ltd. (UNES)