United Nations (UN) Report on Women and the African Union Reveals First-Hand Experiences of African Countries on Ending Gender-Based Violence

The Lessons Learned, Promising Practices and Challenges Ahead report provides first-hand experiences from eight African countries implementing the Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls.

Under the Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Program (SIARP), the UN Women Liaison Office to the AU and the African Union Commission, the Women, Gender and Youth Directorate (WGYD) launched the “Lessons Learned, Promising Practices and Challenges Ahead” report with stories and practical recommendations from eight African countries implementing the Spotlight Initiative, on addressing gender-based violence.

The report focuses on promising practices, lessons learned, challenges and mitigation strategies along with relevant recommendations from Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In these countries, the health, cultural, socio-economic and political dimensions of violence against women need to be addressed through social behavior change at the individual, community and societal levels.

Lessons learned from countries

  • Spotlight Initiative programs in Nigeria, Mozambique and Liberia continued their efforts to collaborate with state actors, civil society and the community in program implementation. The success of the Initiative in these countries shares similar promising practices, including elevating the role of capacity building, social media, educational outreach, multi-stakeholder and community engagement;
  • The Spotlight Initiative programs in Malawi, Niger and Mali have embraced civil society engagement to effectively implement their activities. The success of the program in these countries lies in the ability to articulate messages into tangible actions in diverse communities. Several general lessons can be learned, such as how to craft organized advocacy messages and nurture civic engagement for broader reach;
  • The Uganda and Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative programs feature similar innovative partnerships and creative engagements with governments and local authorities in tackling legal frameworks and policy reforms; Several general lessons can be drawn, such as how to leverage and nurture judicial partnerships, and how to implement relevant policies.

In the eight African countries where the Spotlight Initiative is implemented, considerable results in ending VAWG have been recorded. Other innovative collaborations, promising practices, lessons learned and opportunities to strengthen synergies between national and regional programs can be found here.

The “Lessons Learned, Promising Practices and Challenges Ahead” report was launched following the annual continental coordination platform that took place in June 2021. The report documents lessons learned from the platform, where eight countries implementing the Spotlight Initiative shared and learned good practices, identified emerging trends, operational challenges and strategies that can be implemented for future programming.

Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Program (SIARP)

To eliminate sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and harmful practices and address their links to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights (SRH&RR), SIARP was implemented in 2020. The program was implemented in 8 countries namely – Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The Spotlight initiative is an investment case for SDG 5 with an overall allocation of €250 million, while the Africa regional program supports the 8 national Spotlight programs with a substantial allocation of €30 million by focusing focusing on three pillars: legislation and policies; reliable and quality data; and the strengthening of women’s movements and relevant civil society organizations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.

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