Sara Longwe

Member, Africa Prize Jury

Sara Longwe of Zambia is a grassroots mobilizer, critic and author of the "Longwe Framework for Gender Analysis." She is a pioneer of the use of international human rights laws in the fight for women's rights in domestic courts.

For six years, Ms. Longwe was the chair of FEMNET, the African Women's Development and Communications Network. Established in 1988, FEMNET aims to strengthen the role and contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focusing on women's development, equality and rights, and to provide an infrastructure for information and empowerment.

In 1984, Sara Longwe was a founding member of the Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD), which was instrumental in pushing the government to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

In 1992, she won a landmark high court battle against the Lusaka Intercontinental Hotel, which had refused to admit her because she was not accompanied by a man. Zambia's ratification of CEDAW formed the basis of the high court's ruling.

Ms. Longwe was also a prime force behind the Flame network, which is committed to strengthening the capacity of women through the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) to lobby, advocate and participate in the 1995 UN Beijing conference on women. She is also part of a network called Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment (GRACE), formed in 2006. A two-year pan African research project, GRACE will explore the question of how the lives of African women are being transformed by the use and appropriation of ICTs. Ms. Longwe believes that ICTs have popularized gender struggles; her own articles and gender framework rapidly circulated around the world after women began to use e-mail and websites for feminist activism.

In 2003, The Hunger Project awarded Ms. Longwe, along with Meaza Ashenafi, the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger.