The East Africa Women Human Rights Defenders Network (hereafter: Network) is pleased to announce the launch of the call for applications for women human rights defenders from Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi, and Djibouti to join as members of the Network.

The Network was established in 2017 with the support of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights-East Africa Regional Office and has its secretariat currently hosted by DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project). The mission of the Network is to promote and protect women human rights defenders (WHRDs), women’s human rights and gender equality in East Africa. The Network supports the sustainability of WHRDs’ work by sharing experiences, challenges, ideas, best practices and lessons learned on how WHRDs can securely advocate and defend, individually and collectively, the human rights of women in particular and marginalized groups in general.

The main objective of the Network is to strengthen the capacities of women human rights defenders in the region to effectively engage on specific gender issues and to advocate for the advancement of women’s human rights and gender equality at the local, national and regional levels and in different contexts.

At the moment, the Network is composed of members from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti. In 2022, the Network would like to expand its membership to more countries in the region.


Eligibility of applicants: Who may apply?

  • Women and girls working on any human rights issue, and people of all genders who work to promote women’s rights and rights related to gender equality[1];
  • Be operational within Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi, or Djibouti. Exiled WHRDs from Eritrea working on issues affecting women in Eritrea are invited to apply; and
  • Applications can be made as an individual WHRD or organisation.


How to apply and the procedures to follow

All interested WHRDs are asked to send in a bio (max 1 page) and declare any affiliations (conflict of interests), if any, and to respond to the 4 questions below (max one page).

  1. Please describe why you are interested in joining the East Africa WHRDs Network. (as an individual WHRD or as an organisation)
  2. Please describe what areas and issues you have worked on. Which part of Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi, or Djibouti do you cover in your work? Who are the beneficiaries of your work? For Eritrean WHRDs, kindly specify whether you are operating in the country or in exile.
  3. What do you view as the biggest challenges to achieving gender equality and the realisation of women’s rights in your country?
  4. Please include a recommendation from professional references and/or other references of the area in which you are based or operate. This requirement may be overlooked depending on the applicant’s context.


  • Persons with disabilities can contact the secretariat of the network for necessary facilitation in the application process; and
  • If representing an organisation, evidence of full authority to commit the organisation in decision-making is required.


All applications must be made in English and submitted by e-mail to the following address:

[email protected]


Tentative dates

23rd September 2022: Deadline for submission of applications.

17th October 2022: Notification of the decision of the Network’s steering committee.