Forum Syd has been present in East Africa since the 1990s. But it was not until 2008 that the office in Nairobi was formally established and served as the focal point Forum Syd operations in the East Africa region. The office later transformed and operated as the Kenya Country Office between 2012 and 2016.
Beginning January 2017, the “Going Glocal” restructuring process led to the transformation of Forum Syd Kenya from a Country Office-Kenya into a regional Hub for Eastern and Southern Africa region (ESA), with the mandate to provide and administer sub-grants, as well as to develop new innovative programmes, new partnerships and engagement with donors in the region.
The Hub, which is also central to the continuous contextual analysis and partners’ capacity strengthening, covers 27 countries in the region namely; Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Most of the Hub ESA interventions are mainly centred on civil society strengthening and deepening democracy and human rights through the fulfilment of rights, equal gender participation and sustainable use of natural resources. To effectively achieve this, Forum Syd Hub ESA works with a broad range of partners and stakeholders, both local and international, within the different spheres of its work.
Currently, Hub ESA implements the two innovative programmes; the Wajibu Wetu Programme and the Inclusive Growth project. Wajibu Wetu Programme uniquely supports the new frontier of media, arts, cultural and gender-focused civil society organisations using innovative approaches to strengthen democratic culture, accountability and gender equality.
The Inclusive Growth Through Decent work in the Great Rift Valley Project which uses the Public-Private Development Programme (PPDP) approach with the overarching objective to reduce poverty and improve living conditions through decent work and access to rights-based services among the rural population in the Great Rift Valley.
Forum Syd Hub ESA is also a partnership with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education RFSU to offer support in local presence, contextual analysis, programmatic and administrative issues.
Previously, Forum Syd had implemented two governance projects, the Tushirikishe Jamii and Jua Jimbo projects, in 19 sub-counties in Kenya with the support of European Union and Department for International Development (DFID).
The diversity and success of Forum Syd Hub ESA has been on multiple levels including increased confidence and increased dialogue between duty bearers and rights holders, enhanced female voices in decision-making processes, enhanced synergies between civil society organisations and their increased role in development processes and more importantly, empowering the marginalized groups to have a voice in decision-making processes.