These 14 short case study summaries were written by Orlanda Siow of UCL. They focus on development programs that aim to be both politically informed and gender aware. See From Silos to Synergy for a synthesis of the lessons that emerge.
Case study 1 – CARE Australia: Tackling poverty and gender inequality
CARE Australia operates across 23 countries in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. It is involved in issues including gender equality, education, health, poverty, and crisis response. Its diverse activities include the provision of training in vocational and life skills, health services and understanding of reproductive health, HIV prevention and maternal care, discussions on gender roles, access to income-earning assets like livestock and microfinance, education for women about their legal rights and working with employers to ensure women’s rights are respected.
Case study 2 – MAMPU: Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Despite significant reforms, public services in Indonesia do not always reflect the needs of poor women, nor are they accessible to them. Now in its sixth year, the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (MAMPU) is working to address these issues. Since 2012, MAMPU has worked to strengthen broad-based coalitions, led by civil society organisations, to influence government policies, empower poor women and improve their access to essential services.
Case study 3 – Pacific Leadership Program: Advocacy for CEDAW in Tonga
This case study focuses on the work of the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) with Tonga’s Women in Leadership Coalition. In 2015, the PLP began supporting a coalition of women’s organisations advocating the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Tonga. At that time, the coalition faced strong public opposition to its campaign, including large anti-CEDAW demonstrations in the country’s capital. The PLP provided the Civil Society Forum of Tonga with adaptive leadership training, a retreat for reflection and strategy development and research and analysis. This enabled the coalition to take an increasingly politically informed approach, build bridges with opponents, and address the specific gendered challenges it faces.
Case study 4 – Peace Leadership Programme: Women’s leadership in Myanmar
This case study concerns a DFAT-funded cohort of female peace leaders in Myanmar – part of a range of programs working with peace leaders throughout the region. Since 2014, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies has identified and trained a select group of women to contribute to Myanmar’s peacebuilding efforts. In addition to empowering individual women and ensuring gender-inclusive peacebuilding, the program also aims to contribute to a sustainable settlement and economic growth.
Case study 5 – Gender and climate change research in Bangladesh
This case study focuses on lessons from research by the Oxfam-Monash partnership into the gendered impacts of climate change in Bangladesh. The team collected qualitative and quantitative data from three regions of Bangladesh between 2011 and 2013. The research found that the effects of climate change result in significant gendered differences in food and water security, livelihood strategies, education access, health, child marriage and violence. For example, violence against women has increased as a direct result of climate disasters.
Case study 6 – UN Women: Empowerment in the Asia Pacific
UN Women Asia Pacific works in 22 countries, administering competitive grants through UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. The fund aims to strengthen women’s organisations 'as catalysers of change and as critical players to achieve gender equality and the sustainable development agenda'. It focuses on women’s economic and political empowerment, and on 'ending violence against women, addressing harmful practices based on gender stereotypes and advancing peace and security'. Activities include the creation and amendment of legislation; supporting female political candidates and representatives; recruiting male champions for gender equality; improving access to public services; and research, analysis and awareness campaigns.
Case study 7 – Voices for Change: Women’s empowerment in Nigeria
Voices for Change (V4C) has operated across Nigeria since 2012. Its mission is to “inspire a generation of new voices to ‘speak up and speak out’, empowering adolescent girls and young women to achieve their real and full potential”. Its activities include providing communications and messaging at scale, allied with targeted transformational gender leadership and gender awareness at post-secondary institutions. It provides virtual and physical safe spaces and events, and engages young people through its Purple social media platform and brand. The program has been working with influential religious and traditional leaders and the media to increase their awareness of gender inequality and to challenge harmful gender norms. At the federal level, the program has revived the Gender Technical Unit in the National Assembly, and has worked with several ministries to secure gender aware budgeting and legislation.
Case study 8 – We Can: Campaign on violence against women
We Can has been a successful viral campaign to change attitudes and beliefs about gender and violence against women (VAW). The campaign has been led by hundreds of organisations across sixteen countries. It has used a ‘change maker’ approach, encouraging participants to make “a pledge to reflect on one’s own practice, end VAW in one’s own life and to talk to 10 others about it”. While the first phase of the campaign focused on recruiting change makers, the second phase aimed to support them in deepening change. By 2011, the program had signed up approximately 3.9 million change makers (of which about half were men), and 7.4 million people had participated in related activities.
Case study 9 – Women in Leadership Support Program: Political representation in the Pacific
This case study outlines lessons from research into the conditions for improving the electoral chances of Pacific women, and shows how subsequent programming has drawn on the findings.
Case study 10 – Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition in Pakistan
This five-year program operates across the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan. EVA focuses on enhancing communities’ ability to hold local government to account in providing reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services. It does this by facilitating groups of volunteers who take citizens’ concerns to district and provincial level government. More broadly, the program “seeks to create a culture of accountability within Pakistan’s health sector by institutionalising mechanisms that provide opportunities for citizens and the state to monitor and engage duty-bearers at multiple levels of governance.”
Case study 11 – Mobilising for Development: Accountability for better services in Nigeria
Mobilising for Development (M4D) is a governance program in northern Nigeria that aims to support improved equitable access to quality basic services and accountability at the local level. The program engages with stakeholders in nine local government areas across Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa states. It focuses on education, health, water and sanitation and livelihoods. The program’s activities include working with community organisations to strengthen engagement with local government, and “strengthening the capacity of local and state service providers and policy makers for more inclusive practices, clearer standards and improved responsiveness”. M4D promotes the inclusion of girls and people living with disabilities by supporting life skills clubs, forums, and community organisations.
Case study 12 – Sudokkho: Skills and employment in Bangladesh
The Bangladesh Skills and Employment Program, ‘Sudokkho’, has operated since 2014. It works in the ready-made garment and construction sectors, aiming to empower women and disadvantaged groups by providing skills training and better employment opportunities. To achieve this, Suddokho works in partnership with private training providers, an industry-led skills fund, and industry skills councils. The program’s gender and social inclusion strategy focuses on fostering companies’ and training providers’ understanding of the benefits of investing in women and men from disadvantaged groups.
Case study 13 – The Enabling State Programme, Nepal
The Enabling State Programme (ESP) operated in Nepal for over a decade before ending in 2014. The program targeted female, poor and marginalised citizens from remote rural areas. Its achievements included helping government to deliver more effective and inclusive policies and programs, empowering historically excluded groups to participate in Nepali social and political life, and pushing gender-based violence up the national agenda, as well as contributing to improved government transparency and strengthening democratic processes.
Case study 14 – The State Accountability and Voice Initiative in Nigeria
The State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) is a demand-side governance program that has operated across ten states in Nigeria since 2008, working alongside SPARC, a supply side governance program. In 2016, the program evolved into the Engaged Citizens Pillar (ECP), part of a larger governance reform program, PERL, which incorporates both demand and supply side elements. SAVI/ECP has focused on supporting citizens, civil society, media houses and elected state politicians to become “informed, credible and effective agents of citizen voice and accountability”. SAVI/ECP aims to improve service delivery from state government; citizens’ access to, use of and satisfaction with these services; and to ensure that citizens are empowered to influence and hold the state government to account.