Latin America and the Caribbean
After almost five decades of armed conflict, women are among the strongest forces for peace in Colombia. UNDEF supports an initiative for women´s participation in democracy as a means to peace and development. Implemented by the CorporaciónCentro de Apoyo Popular, the project works in the impoverished community of Soacha, which was at the centre of a deep controversy over alleged extrajudicial executions in 2008. By engaging women in public policy at the municipal level, the project helps address the area&rsquos social and humanitarian problems originating from armed conflict.
Even 20 years after the end of its traumatic 12-year civil war, El Salvador remains highly polarized. UNDEF funds a project to train women political leaders -- both as a means of correcting gender imbalance and as an entry-point to building greater unity in the country. Implemented by the Association of Salvadoran Women Parliamentarians, the project brings together women from all six political parties represented in the Legislative Assembly, including FMLN and Arena. Graduates have gone on to become parliamentarians, mayors and municipal officials. As important, the training builds dialogue across party lines -- a new experience for most of the participants.
Fifteen years after the peace accords, Guatemala is now grappling with daunting challenges in governance as a result of massive drug-related violence. An UNDEFfunded initiative continues to operate in the northern Guatemala province of Alta Verapaz, even after the government declared a state of siege there in December 2010. The project works to offer alternatives to young people in the face of growing domination by drug gangs. Implemented by the Asociación de Amigos del Desarrollo y la Paz, the initiative trains young people in community leadership, rule of law, local governance, and effective dialogue.
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Asia and Pacific
In the world’s largest democracy, elected women still face multiple obstacles to full and active participation. UNDEF funds an initiative in India’s largest state, Rajasthan, to increase women's participation in local electoral
processes. Implemented by the Hunger Project India, the initiative strengthens the leadership of women elected to Gram Panchayats, or village councils; advocates policies enabling more women to participate; and engages with media for positive coverage of elected women's work.
How to engage young people in one of the world's youngest democracies? In Bhutan, an UNDEF-funded initiative trains students to use film to tell stories of social and political change. It enables them to produce documentaries on topics ranging from poverty and climate change to the life of migrant workers. The training is part of a project implemented by the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy to strengthen media and civic education as a means to consolidate democratic processes.View More >>
UNDEF funds a project for more active civic engagement among the Bangladeshi poor, and better local government capacity for accountable and effective governance. The initiative is implemented by BRAC, some of whose beneficiaries are shown here with UNDEF Executive Head Roland Rich. It addresses both the demand and supply sides of governance, develops information-sharing practices, and targets local bureaucratic and political culture to make it more responsive towards the poor.View More >>
One of several UNDEF-funded projects in Afghanistan is an initiative on human rights within the context of Islam. The initiative, implemented by Equal Access Afghanistan, includes a 100-episode radio drama, women’s and girls’ listening circles and human rights leadership training. The radio series raises issues such as forced marriage,
violence against women, and access to education, employment and health care, often using humour as a tool to encourage audiences.
In the occupied Palestinian territory, movement restrictions and closures severely limit access to information and interaction with decision-makers. UNDEF funds a project using social media and broadcasting to bridge this communication gap between officials and the public. Implemented by AMIN Media Network, the initiative advances the use of citizen journalism and blogs for interaction between communities and the Palestinian Authority. It trains civil society in producing community radio talk shows and national TV
debates on good governance, development and democracy -- tackling issues that affect Palestinian society as a whole.
Lebanon is undergoing a critical period in its efforts to build governance, the rule of law and participatory democracy. To prepare young people to play a fuller part, UNDEF funds 'Citizenship Is My Right', a project for youth in local governance and community life in South Lebanon, Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. The overall goal is to build the skills required to create youth municipal councils and projects of collective interest. The project is implemented by Mouvement Social, a secular association working for
development throughout Lebanon for the past 40 years.
Ensuring women's participation will be crucial building a democratic and well-governed Egypt. An UNDEF-funded initiative works to strengthen women's role, including in the coming elections. Implemented by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, the project has established a watchdog to monitor women's political and institutional
access, while training women leaders to effectively take part in electoral campaigns.
Community radio plays a key role in upholding the rights of all groups as established in Ghana's 1992 Constitution. UNDEF funds an initiative to ensure that marginalized groups in rural Ghana have the radio frequencies they need to fully exercise their
constitutional right to communicate, and to make radio more participatory. The project, implemented by the Ghana Community Radio Network, includes a wide range of listening circles such as this one.
People of the Menja minority are scattered geographically throughout southwest Ethiopia, making them more vulnerable to social exclusion. UNDEF funds an initiative to integrate them into society, including through schools. Thanks to the project, implemented by Action Aid Ethiopia, Menja children in Telo District now interact fully with
others, where previously they were often not included in shared school materials,
benches or play space. Menja children have also been appointed as class monitors and student police, responsible for conflict resolution in the school compound.