On the 15th of November, UNESCO celebrated the 50th anniversary of the oldest African women's organisations with Ms Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, as the guest of honour at the event.

A brief history of PAWO

The Pan African Women's Organisation (PAWO) is a women's organization that was founded in 1962 (in Tanzania), a year before the founding of the Organization of African Unity (this means that PAWO is one year older that the AU) to bring together African women’s organizations in a single platform for sharing good practices and for joint action to promote human rights and gender equality. PAWO has enabled substantial progress to be made concerning women’s rights and recognition of their role in society, working with other international women’s organizations.

After independence of African countries, despite the artificial barriers of languages, political opinions, prevailing all contradictions, African Women decided to unite, to form one association to better get to know each other in order to share their experiences, combine their effort for the emancipation of African Women in view of their integration in the future of the African continent. Mrs. Assetou Koite is the current Present of the Pan African Women's Organisation





The total liberation of the African continent, the elimination of apartheid, and the institution of a joint justice as human beings became their priority. Thus, on the 31st July 1962, the Conference of African Women (CAF) was created at Dar es Salaam in Tanganyika now known as Tanzania, the first African Women Organization which became "Pan - African Women's Organization" (PAWO) after the congress of Dakar (Senegal) in July 1974 where the 31st July was designated African Women Day. The Constitutive congress comprises 14 independent countries, and 10 national liberation movements.


PAWO is based since 2008 in Pretoria, South Africa. At its founding, PAWO was given an observer status in the African Union. The organisation receives material support and resources from the African Union and in turn supports programs undertaken by the AU.

Anthen of the Pan African Women Organisation:

"Mothers and women of Africa hand in hand let's unite around the Pan-African Women's Organization our sole organ of struggle. Let's lift up our flag so high seen by the whole world let's ensure to our future generation a new, free and prosperous Africa Competency and dignity should be from now on our motto because we have a holy duty holy duty like that of men".




Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,  at UNESCO Headquarters on 15 November 2012 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Pan-African Women's Organization


Aims and objectives of PAWO


The aim of the Pan African Women's Organisation is to Unite all African women's organizations to allow an exchange of points of view and to undertake joint action; promote human rights with a view to eliminating any form of discrimination, irrespective of birth, race, religion or sex; support political, economic and social liberation of the African Continent in order to contribute to the progress of its peoples through a conscious, real and constant action; ensure full integration of women in economic and social development, so as to accelerate the promotion of African women so they can achieve full development; promote through friendship, understanding and cooperation an effective unity between African states; establish lasting relations of friendship and cooperation between women in Africa and throughout the world; fight against poverty and disease, especially HIV/AIDS.


At its founding the objectives of PAWO were defined as:

  • To prosecute the struggle for recognition and application of the right of African women to participate in decision making in the fields of political, economic, cultural and social life, both at national and international levels and particularly, to be able to express their opinion in bills envisaging the welfare of women and children before debated in parliament.
  • To follow up the evolution and to contribute to the improvement of the situation of African women by collecting that on the economic, political and socio-cultural aspects, on women and children in member countries and disseminate the results of research undertaken in these fields by PAWO or by member countries through documents and through the existing media;
  • Support action taken at national and international levels aimed at eliminating flagrant violation of human rights; * To support governments in the protection of Africa in all aspects;
  • To promote the effective unity among African states through friendship and co-operation;
  • To establish continuous relations of friendship and co-operation between Africa and women all over the world; and * To support the internal co-operation and participate in all action for disarmament and reinforcement of peace worldwide." With various issues affecting women throughout the African continent, the organization aims to solve political, economic, social and cultural problems of women in Africa.


1. PAWO's Activities


- Organizing PAWO meetings,
- Congress every 5 years,
- Council in between two congress
- Executive Secretariat meeting every year
- Regional Executive Secretariat every year
- Publications of PAWO bulletins
- Visit of refugee camps
- Participation and Contribution in national activities
- Implication of rural women

2. PAWO participation in other activities


- Regional meetings
  * Africa (AU and its Organs)
  * Europe
  * America
  * Asia
  * United Nations and its System
  * Other NGOs and CSO


Through PAWO, there have been some notable achievements and/or successes in the following areas:

  • A significant rise in the awareness of women in the area of positive contribution to the struggle for national liberation and in national development;
  • In May 1958, the Congress of the International Democratic Federation took place in Vienna in Austria where all the continents of the world where represented in in this meeting.
  • Considering the large number of participants, the organizers then created continental group divisions.
  • The African group named Conference of African Women (CAW) was designated to the association and it was decided that the consultative general assembly in Dar es Salaam from 27th to 31st July 1962.
  • In the constitution of the AWC in 1962 the first acting General Secretariat comprised Mrs. Jeanne Martin Cisse of Guinea who became 1rst Secretary General and Mrs. Diallo Virginie Camara who was the Treasurer General









Pan African Women's Organisation
Giovanetti Street
San Marino No. 19
New Mucleneuk


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