Happy (almost) New Year from all of us at DSW! It is an understatement to say that 2020 brought with it many unexpected challenges and new situations to navigate. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened existing obstacles for women and girls across the four East African countries where we work, disrupting health service supply chains and decreasing possibilities for outreach activities as communities were locked down to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Our offices in Hannover, Berlin, Brussels, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Arusha weathered these changes individually, shifting to home office and to communicating via online channels. It was a time of internal change for DSW as we bid farewell to our executive director of 25 years, Renate Bähr, and welcomed Jan Kreutzberg to the position. All the while, DSW continued to fight for the right of women and girls to self-determined lives.

Many are eager to put 2020 behind them, and we can’t blame them. But before we do, let’s look back, as we did in 2019, over the past year – to do this, we turn to Twitter for a neat, 240-character distillation of the highlights of this turbulent year.

Check out our ten most popular tweets of 2020 below.

1. We stood #RightByHer in the fights for equal rights on January 29:

2. On February 27, we highlighted the contribution of #ScienceSHEroes ahead of International Women’s Day.

3. We celebrated all women on International Women’s Day, March 8:

4. Menstrual poverty and its impact on all who menstruate took centre stage on Menstrual Hygiene Day, May 28:

5. On June 23, we announced our podcast, ‘African Research Excellence: DSW in Conversation’. Did you listen to all of our episodes? Catch up here!

6. On July 30, we shared sobering new statistics from the Guttmacher Institute on the unmet need for modern contraception across the globe.

7. On August 12, International Youth Day, we celebrated the hard work of four youth champions based in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. Read about their commitment to SRHR here!

8. On September 9, we were lucky enough to wish Renate Bähr well at a distanced but in-person celebration of her years of leadership at DSW, as she handed the mantle to Jan Kreutzberg.

9. We shared an important message about wearing masks from two youth champions from Meru County, Kenya on October 15.

10. On November 3, we looked to the future of the EU-Africa strategy as we celebrated EU Girls’ Week. 

We wish all of our readers a restful holiday and good health as the new year begins. DSW remains committed to working towards achieving zero unmet need for SRHR and by empowering the largest youth generation in history. We look forward to taking those steps with you in 2021!