Credit Photo: RFLD participation to UN Women West and Central Africa Program Partners

RFLD (Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement) is a regional organization based in West Africa that works with over 60 women-led member organizations to promote and protect the rights of youth and women and ensure their participation in decision-making spheres. Operating throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, RFLD boasts an extensive network of CSOs, government partners, and regional networks that allows us to influence the enabling environment for women’s rights.

Expertise and Focus Areas

RFLD’s expertise lies in specific approaches, including:

  • Inclusive development: Applying rights-based approaches to gender mainstreaming to foster inclusive and equitable societies.
  • Civic space and human rights: Promoting and protecting fundamental rights and freedoms, fostering a vibrant and active civil society.
  • Gender equality: Advocating for equal opportunities and access to resources for women and girls across all spheres of life.
  • Climate change: Addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and communities, advocating for sustainable and equitable solutions.
  • Sexual health rights: Empowering individuals and communities to make informed choices about their sexual health and reproductive rights.
  • Institutional building and empowerment: Strengthening the capacity of women’s rights organizations to advocate effectively for change.
  • Policy development expertise: Shaping policies that advance women’s and girls’ rights across various sectors
  • Fight against harmful practices: Eradicating harmful traditional practices that violate human dignity and rights.


Unique Contributions

RFLD offers a unique and valuable contribution to the advancement of women’s rights and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Here are some key areas where we excel:

  • Civil society building and civic space advocacy: We empower local, national, and regional alliances of CSOs and activists to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the region. We protect and safeguard civic space, particularly by enhancing access for marginalized groups and local actors to decision-making processes.
  • Safety and protection of women/human rights defenders (W/HRDs): We protect the work of W/HRDs and other activists, reducing their vulnerability to persecution and enhancing their capacity to defend human rights through advocacy, legal actions, public campaigns, and protection support.
  • Integration of gender and social inclusion: We utilize an intersectional approach in all our interventions, ensuring that sub-grantees practice a gender-transformative and inclusive approach that reaches the most marginalized and discriminated groups.
  • Media development and protecting/expanding media freedoms: We strengthen free, independent, and inclusive journalism, particularly by under-represented groups such as female journalists. We foster alliances, knowledge exchange, media literacy initiatives, and collaboration between community media, larger media houses, alternative media, content creators, advocacy groups, and international reporting networks.
  • Tech, innovation, and digital activism advancements: We work on the cutting edge of technology, arts, digital media, activism, and innovation. We support and incubate young content creators, artists, and activists who use digital platforms for truth-telling, open spaces for free expression, and amplify counter-narratives.
  • Inter-state and regional collaboration: We leverage local and national insights, opportunities, and advocacy efforts to make impactful regional contributions. We work together to tackle large-scale challenges that require collective action and collaboration.


Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)

RFLD’s theory of change for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in Sub-Saharan Africa emphasizes the importance of tackling both structural and individual barriers to achieve lasting progress. We aim to raise awareness about GESI principles within institutions, promoting greater tolerance and inclusion across society. Additionally, we encourage individuals working on the frontlines to develop a deeper sensitivity towards GESI issues, which encompass gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and other factors that contribute to social inequalities. By fostering a collective desire for transformation and addressing these interconnected aspects simultaneously, RFLD strives to create a holistic environment conducive to achieving lasting GESI goals in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Meetings, dialogue, training, consultation for social change

Long-term support to grassroots organizations

Research-based knowledge management

Engagement with policy makers

Campaigns for Gender Equality

Support to survivors

Networking and Documentation

Advocacy and Alliance-building

RFLD's Strategies for Empowering Civil Society and Media

Empowering Diverse Voices:

RFLD works towards its goals through six interconnected pathways of change:

  • Building Capabilities: Through initiatives like long-term capacity development, peer network support, and responsive blended learning, RFLD equips civil society and media actors with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively advocate for change.
  • Fostering Collaboration: RFLD facilitates the creation of strong networks among diverse stakeholders, promoting collaboration and knowledge exchange between civil society and media.
  • Ensuring Safety and Protection: RFLD recognizes the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for activists, particularly those facing threats or marginalization.
  • Enhancing Sustainability: RFLD supports women’s rights organizations and other stakeholders in developing sustainable strategies for funding, resource management, and long-term impact.
  • Shifting Narratives: RFLD works to counter harmful narratives and promote positive perspectives on social justice issues, particularly those affecting women and marginalized groups.
  • Protecting Civic Freedoms: RFLD advocates for and defends the fundamental rights and freedoms essential to a vibrant and active civil society.
RFLD Economic Justice Fund - Documentary of our Beneficiairies in West and Central Africa