Origins of the SAWID Forum

SAWID is an independent South African Women’s Platform committed to hearing the voice of every woman and to improving the status of women by engaging national government, the private sector, civil society, (including non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations and donors) in partnership to shape community, provincial and continental agendas. The SAWID forum is impartial and not-for-profit and is tied to no party-political interests.

South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID) was founded by a forum of around 1000 women, drawn from all sectors of South African society, who met at the University of Pretoria in July 2003. They had been convened by a Steering Committee of volunteers, facilitated by Mrs. Zanele Mbeki, spouse of the President of the Republic of South Africa.  The convenors had been inspired by the outcomes of a Peace and Reconciliation Dialogue wih women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which had taken place in March 2003. During three national conferences in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and a Youth Conference in Saldanha in December 2004, South African women, united in their diversity, came together to agree on a Plan of Action for the development of their communities and to find ways to engage with their sisters in South Africa and on the continent on similar issues. In addition to the Peace Dialogue with  women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo hosted in March 2003, a further Peace Dialogue took place in July 2004 with Women from Burundi.

SAWID takes place within the framework of the vision of the African Union and NEPAD for the development and regeneration of the African continent. 

SAWID honours the efforts of women in Africa and all other parts of the world who are organising themselves in their diversity to act together for a better future.