By Francesca Rhodes
GADN, a network of 70 of the UK’s leading development NGOs and gender experts, effectively lobby and provide expert advice to government and international bodies on gender and development issues. This goes alongside our continuing work to build the capacity and knowledge of our members. In the past year we have been working to influence key areas of policy such as the post-2015 framework, violence against women and sexual and reproductive health rights. We have another exciting time ahead, and look forward to working with colleagues across and outside of the network.
Highlights of 2012-2013 and plans for the coming year include:
• Engaging with the UK Department for International Development (DFID): GADN was recently invited to co-host a keynote speech by Rt. Hon Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development, on putting girls and women at the heart of development. We plan to follow this up with discussions on the department’s strategic framework, political participation, violence against women and girls (VAW/G), post-2015 and economic empowerment. You can watch the speech on DFID’s website.
• Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: As the last WIDE+ newsletter reported, GADN and the UK SRHR Network met with Rt Hon. Andrew Mitchell (MP) in 2012 to discuss concerns that had been raised in the run up to the Family Planning Summit. GADN also produced a briefing on embedding women’s rights into the agenda.
• Violence against women and girls: GADN co-hosted an event in the UK Parliament titled ‘Saving lives: preventing & responding to violence against women and girls in emergencies’ in November. The event saw the launch of a new DFID fund for research and innovation on VAWG, and featured the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for International Development, as keynote speaker.
• Influencing the post-2015 framework: GADN has promoted the need for a standalone goal on gender equality and mainstreaming throughout the framework through various forums and consultations. In January, we released the report, ‘Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Post-2015 Framework’. The Rt. Hon Justine Greening and the Prime Ministers’ Special Envoy on the High Level Panel have both confirmed their support for our proposals. The report, and our previous briefing paper, have been cited by a wide range of actors as an important contribution to the process.
• The Gender Mainstreaming Working Group contributed to the creation of a special issue of the Gender & Development Journal: “Beyond Gender Mainstreaming.” The articles bring together gender and development policymakers, practitioners, and feminist activists to debate the progress of gender mainstreaming in development institutions and the state. The group will continue to provide a valuable source of shared learning for practitioners in the sector.
• Women’s Rights Campaigners: GADN and Womankind Worldwide held a training day for 20 individuals involved in campaigns, fundraising and communications departments at UK INGOs in 2012. The aim of the day was to help everyone get to grips with these issues and discuss the challenges people face in putting women’s rights at the heart of their campaigning. The group will continue to provide support for campaigners in the coming year.
• Feminist Alternatives to Development: In December, GADN held an online discussion on feminist alternatives to development, bringing together researchers, feminist activists, gender and development advocates, programme staff and community workers, from the Global South and North. This was as the first step in what will become a long-term project aimed at bridging the gap between current donor thinking and ways of developing policy and programmes on the one hand, and feminist visions of transformative change on the other.
• New research: Economic empowerment (including unpaid care) and the impact on women and girls of the privatisation of aid are new areas of work planned for the coming year.
• A new working group on Girls’ Education in International Development became hosted by GADN this year. The group is comprised of UK-based experts on gender and education from NGOs and academia who aim to share, develop and promote knowledge and learning on programming and policy for girls’ education rights in international development contexts. The group is planning to hold a fringe event at the UKFIET conference in September.
Francesca Rhodes, GADN Coordinator, WIDE+ platform
For more information about GADN: http://www.gadnetwork.org.uk/