Affinity Groups

Musawah Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups are self-formed groups of individual Advocates or organisations who share a national, regional, thematic, or contextual focus, and who want to advance their advocacy by tapping into the solidarity and strength of collective thought and action. Examples include the Horn of Africa Affinity Group, the Nigeria Affinity Group, the Indonesian coalition of organisations called Alimat, the Young Women’s Caucus (YWC), and the Minorities North Affinity Group. Affinity Groups make autonomous decisions on their scope and focus and are considered part of Musawah as long as they agree with Musawah’s vision and principles and actively contribute to the achievement of Musawah’s strategic goals and objectives.

Advocates who decide to form an Affinity Group simply need to come together, declare themselves an Affinity Group, develop a plan, and communicate this back to the Musawah Secretariat. The Musawah Secretariat will sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Affinity Group regarding responsibility and autonomy in their mutual relationship, and will in turn help it become connected with others in the Musawah community. Activities carried out by Affinity Groups are, for the most part, sponsored through their own fundraising efforts. The Secretariat can provide letters of recommendation to support such activities. Certain Affinity Groups may receive Musawah funding support if their work is directly linked to the implementation of a project led by a Working Group in one of the Musawah key areas of work . 

Examples of Affinity Groups

Alimat (‘knowledgeable women’) was launched in Indonesia as a national Musawah Affinity Group in October 2009. It is comprised of nine member organisations (including mass-based ones) and 21 individual members (including academics from both Islamic and secular universities). Alimat and its members have been particularly active in research and advocacy on amendments to the family law and the introduction of the Hudud Law in Aceh. In August 2010, Alimat organised and hosted the first Musawah Outreach Meeting and an Asia Regional Strategy Meeting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The Young Women’s Caucus (YWC) was formed at the first Musawah Global Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is made up of approximately 30 Muslim women under the age of 35 who are interested in working on the issues of young Muslim women from within the context of Musawah. The YWC plans to create a space where young Muslim women’s voices, experiences and perspectives are amplified, and to enable young Muslim women to have access to gender-just resources on Islam and women’s human rights.

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