Oxfam commits to deliver Phase II of the Raising Her Voice program. Through this program, Oxfam is advocating women's political participation and leadership across 17 countries, as well as campaigning across Africa to implement the 'Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa'.
Oxfam GB will implement the commitment by supporting Civil Society Organizations deliver four key pillars of work:
- Support women activists to advocate for their rights and hold decision-makers to account e.g, rights awareness/power analysis training, guidance in carrying out social audits on key issues such as FGM prevalence/maternity health service standards;
- Work with public institutions and decision-makers, including traditional structures, to improve services and to strengthen legal frameworks and the access and delivery of justice; e.g. gender budgeting and women's empowerment training for local government officials, collaborate with key ministries and public prosecutors to share legislative best practice and support the drafting of new bills;
- Empower civil society organizations to promote and protect poor women's rights e.g. support for spaces for women's community activism and the coordination of national level policy engagement;
- Challenge harmful attitudes and disseminate learning through innovative media and communications e.g. cartoons and 'edutainment' to simplify and popularise key women's rights legislation; use of SMS to lobby MPs to vote positively in key Parliamentary debates;
Oxfam GB will contribute to the commitment by drawing on its extensive experience of managing global active citizenship programs and on it's expertise in both gender and development theory.
The program will also support partners to capitalize on windows of opportunity, including the development of election promises and lobbying opportunities created by the hosting of high-level summits, in order to catalyze change.
Oxfam will continue to develop an innovative partnership with a global network of women lawyers to provide pro bono technical assistance, twinning and fundraising support.
Year 1: Implementation plans, budgets and monitoring mechanisms developed - September 2013
Year 1, 2 &3: Country implementation plans will naturally evolve in response to changing contexts - including election windows and natural disasters. However, a core program of work to deliver Raising Her Voice's overarching goal is based on the following activities. These activities aim to support a maturing, increasingly effective activism and leadership over 3 years, based on learning from Phase I and on ongoing exchange of experiences.
- Strengthening community activism: rights awareness, skills/confidence training, peer support;
- Strengthening partnerships and coalitions: capacity building, power analysis, peer exchange, technical assistance, coalition development;
- Increasing women's participation in formal decision-making spaces: skills/confidence training, peer support, political party engagement, electoral reform lobbying and 'Vote for a Woman' campaigns;
- Increasing women's participation in decision-making processes: simplification of laws, community consultations, policy/legal reform submissions; development of women's manifestos;
- Engagement with decision-makers to strengthen legal frameworks, policies, community development plans;
- Holding decision-makers to account: casework, social audits, gender budgeting, public campaigns and media collaborations;
- Preparation and presentation of 2test cases in African courts;
- Program reviews and peer exchange - February annually
Year 3: Final evaluation - April 2016
- Community advocacy groups of 140,000 women activists formed/existing structures strengthened in 17 countries.
- Each supported by active and effective coalitions;
- Increased participation of women in elected decision-making spaces (in 10 countries) and processes (in 17);
- Stronger women's rights frameworks: 51 sub-national and 24 national/regional legislative or policy reforms;
- Improved implementation of laws and policies (10 countries);
- Successful women's rights outcomes in 2 test cases;
- Partner and activist participation in peer exchange and learning and materials shared through Raising Her Voice and partner web sites and networks;
- Independent program evaluation report.
Worldwide just 19.3 percent of elected Parliamentary representatives and just 16 of 188 national leaders are women. This is indicative of women's under-representation in all levels of decision-making, and highlights the difficulty women experience in ensuring their voices are heard. Women who reach positions where they can contribute to decision-making continue to face barriers to their full and equal participation. For poor and marginalized women this exclusion is even greater.
'We were largely invisible because we could not speak our mind. We could not speak because we were never encouraged to by our family and society. We have realized now that it is not as difficult as we thought to break this barrier.' Raising Her Voice participant, Nepal
Similarly, whilst there has been significant progress on legal reform in favor of women's rights in the past 30 years (globally 139 constitutions now include gender equality guarantees and women have equal property ownership rights in 115 countries) in many contexts legal frameworks remain fundamentally biased. The UN Women's In Pursuit of Justice Report notes that 'In some cases, laws discriminate against women, affording them fewer or lesser rights than men. In many others, laws are based on a male standard of justice that assumes that women and men confront the law on an equal footing, which they rarely do.'
Oxfam's Raising Her Voice program was established to address these structural barriers to women's rights, recognizing that women's access to political leadership and participation is critical to achieving gender equality and sustainable development. Since 2008 our 45 partners and 400 coalition members in 17 countries have been delivering a range of truly transformative initiatives to make women's voices count.
The first phase of Raising Her Voice benefitted substantially from funding and technical assistance from women lawyers and politicians for whom the program holds particular personal and professional resonance. This is in line with growing recognition of the importance of women's participation and leadership for achieving broader gender equality and sustainable development goals. The program's second phase aims to build on this further.
Financial support: Raising her Voice is seeking philanthropists to support Raising Her Voice programs. Each country's costs are in the region of $150,000 per year. We are looking to fund country programs including Armenia, Bolivia, Cambodia, the Gambia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Nigeria, Nepal, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Media Support: Raising Her Voice is looking to collaborate with a media organization to report on case studies and disseminate these across a range of media.
Partnership: Raising Her Voice is looking for coordination support for its new legal empowerment pro bono partnerships. Secondly, the program is seeking to collaborate with existing initiatives to develop women's political leadership through mentoring and peer exchange for aspiring and newly appointed women leaders. As part of this, it is also seeking support for the coordination of new skills transfer initiatives.
Secured funding: Raising Her Voice has secured $9.1 million of funding for Phase I of the program which ends in the first quarter of 2013. Nearly $1 million has been secured so far for Phase II.
Brand Identify: The program has a well-developed brand and logo, and high quality learning materials. Raising Her Voice partners, coordinators - and, crucially, the women activists and beneficiaries it works with - have produced a wealth of videos, case studies and reflection papers documenting their experiences, and learning about what makes truly transformative change happen.
Expertise: The program benefits from Oxfam's efficient program management systems, expert staff and strong partnership principles - all grounded in the organization's well respected development practice and active commitment to gender equality.
Local Implementing Partners: Oxfam has developed effective partnerships with local organizations in each of the 17 countries, each providing programmatic expertise in support of active citizenship, legal reform and women's leadership.