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Faith James

Master of Science in Social Studies of Gender



Faith's story

I graduated from the Graduate School’s Social Studies of Gender program in the summer of 2019. After taking some time to visit family and friends, I found a position with a local women’s rights NGO in the capital city of Uganda. The entire team at the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA - has been incredibly welcoming to me. Already it has become particularly apparent to me that at SIHA everyone follows through with the feminist ideals we are committed to, not only in serving beneficiaries, but also in creating a healthy and compassionate environment for staff. 

In just under three months, I have organized focus group research, edited articles for publication, written a press release, and gained practice in proposal writing and advocacy work. I feel very fortunate to be working alongside a group of people who are especially intelligent, knowledgeable, experienced, brave, compassionate, and committed. I am already learning so much from them. Moreover, it is particularly rewarding to work for causes that I am passionate about with others who share that passion. 

SIHA is a network of civil society organizations from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Somali-land, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Uganda. SIHA was established in 1995 by a coalition of women’s rights activists with the aim of strengthening learning within civil society organizations that address and challenge women’s subordination and violence against women and girls in the Horn of Africa. SIHA’s mission is for all women and girls in the Horn of Africa to live in a peaceful, just environment, in which they are able to exercise their equal rights as human beings.

SIHA aims to contribute to unlocking the massive potential of the women’s rights movement in the Horn of Africa, by strengthening the learning of civil society organizations to build a strong collective that advocates for systemic change. SIHA also works to build the capacity of women and youth as activists on inclusive women’s movements, solidarity, and the importance of working together irrespective of religion, ethnicity, tribe, clan, and/or class are the values that are mobilized through SIHA’s work. This work is focused into five strategic areas which cover a wide range of the issues that women and girls in the Horn of Africa face:

  • Reducing violence against women and girls 
  • Strengthening women’s access to justice and transforming negative and harmful religious and cultural dogma
  • Empowering women to realize their economic, social, and cultural rights and potential  
  • Addressing the impact of trafficking and supporting migrant and displaced women and girls from/across the Horn of Africa
  • Building inclusive women’s movements

I will soon be going to another city in Uganda to take part in a week-long resource mobilization and financial sustainability training which will further develop my ability to contribute to proposal writing and strategic planning activities. I am very optimistic about the work this organization will continue to do moving forward, and I feel grateful to be included in this work.