What We Do

“Fahamu is a ‘social-justice improving organization.’ They help us advance the struggle for social justice.  They don’t tell us what to do.  They’re flexible.” Gacheke Gachihi, Bunge la Mwananchi

alternate textFahamu fellows, Blessol(middle) and Masese(right) having a discussion with Sharon Amadi(left) during the East African placement at the United African Community Centre


From the very beginning Fahamu’s work has been guided by the priorities of those working for social justice in Africa.  In our first decade, Fahamu supported the movement for social justice with a focus on civil society broadly.  While we have been particularly successful at creating networks, platforms and providing learning to these actors, as we move into our second decade, we have rooted ourselves more deeply in the continent, and remain attuned and attentive to the social movements whose goals we continue to serve.  Addressing these needs, we have organically found ourselves more directly supporting movements that address the needs of economically oppressed communities as well as the most vulnerable and marginalized segments of society, and finding our value added in supporting autonomous formations of these movement, not at the exclusion of other actors, but, in the spirit of people-centered change.

Fahamu seeks to strengthen and nurture the movement for social justice by:

  1. generating knowledge to serve activism, bridging the gap between theory and practice - Tuliwaza (translates to we think or reflect)

  2. creating learning for, by and across movements – Adilisha (translates to teach or promote justice);

  3. amplifying Africa-centred voices, perspectives and solutions in policy and decision making at all levels – Utetezi (translates to advocacy);

  4. creating platforms for analysis and debate – Pambazuka(translates to awaken).

Fahamu is distinctively placed as a pan-African organisation supporting and working collaboratively with social movements over the long term. Rather than imposing generic solutions to address the needs of and to strengthen movements, Fahamu is committed to ensuring that our interventions are relevant, timely and significant to the movements we serve. Our approach respects the collective leadership, self-determination and self-sustainability of our partners.  Further, Fahamu seeks to provide diverse and innovative approaches, tactics and resources to the social movements that we work with.  With our expertise, access to information and networks, we seek to enhance the access of transformative social movements to each other as well as to the processes, knowledge, skills, experience and platforms to strengthen their work.

"What makes Fahamu different is that it creates a space for the voiceless, and it is African." Bukeni Waruzi, WITNESS

Fahamu’s work is driven by an understanding of the shared history and common destiny of African peoples globally.  Without minimising the specificity of particular community and national contexts, nor the potential for solidarity globally, Fahamu’s work seeks to enhance pan-African ties, understanding and unity.  Further, Fahamu is committed to addressing the key role that gender inequalities, lack of women’s empowerment and the patriarchal and sexist character of institutions, norms and governing values play in Africa’s democratic regression.  As such, feminist values are at the core of our work and enshrined in the design and implementation of all our programs. Gender equality and non-discrimination are mainstreamed throughout, and are prime objectives of, our work, including in our internal structures.  Lastly, our people-centred approach places people and communities at the core of our objectives and activities and seeks to ensure that they remain determinative actors. This value informs our approach as well as our objectives.

“Fahamu is unique in that it’s an open-minded, progressive organization, especially among the thousands of NGOs working in Africa.  At the same time, Fahamu is respected.  They could approach various stakeholders and propose workshops on sensitive topics like transexualism and intersexuality, whereas that’s too risky for those of us on front-line.” Audrey Mbugua, Gender Education Advocacy Program