Browse by Theme: Gender Based Violence

Village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) have been a powerful tool for enabling millions of women to access loans, set up small businesses and improve their quality of life. But as an evaluation of a CARE VSLA programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shown, VSLAs can also be a platform for addressing the social norms that sustain gender inequality, and can therefore also contribute to the wider and more complex processes of women’s empowerment.

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20 years after the Beijing conference the incidence of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) remains outrageously high with one in three women in the world condemned to experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. Nevertheless we should recognise and celebrate the progress that has been made, and highlight initiatives that are making a difference.

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Over the past 20 years much has been done to ensure that responses to sexual violence in emergencies are put in place. Years of advocacy, lobbying and implementation on a shoe-string have ensured that gender-based and sexual violence is at least being talked about in the right places and at the right level (such as last year’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, led by William Hague and Angelina Jolie). But are we turning a blind eye to one of the biggest, and most silent, human rights violations of our time?

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One year on from the Global Summit in London on ending sexual violence in conflict, it is right to ask tough questions about its value and the benefit to survivors of violence in countries like the DRC. However, the Summit was never about finishing the job in one go, and numerous initiatives are taking forward the momentum generated last year.

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The APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health in collaboration with CARE International is holding a panel discussion in the House of Lords on 2 July on talking points and issues from a forthcoming CARE International paper on Child Marriage in Emergencies.

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When I arrived in Yasubi, a small and industrious village in the Okapa district of the Papua New Guinea highlands, I could see that most of the services we normally take for granted – like electricity, running water, accessible roads – were absent. Most of the hard-working, coffee-producing families live in traditional round huts, with smoke from a wood fire rising through the grass roof so that, from outside, the structure looks like some huge vegetable just pulled out of a pot of hot water.

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Goal 16 in the Sustainable Development Goals is one of the poor relations in the mix. Both more complex and contentious than many of the proposed 17, it seeks to secure peaceful and open societies as a global target, and is vital. However, to be truly transformational, and to have a chance of surviving the negotiations in 2015, gender has to be a core part of its formulation.

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