Women’s Voice and Leadership – Kenya, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire

International Women’s Day march in South Sudan, joined by CARE and partners. CARE South Sudan

Project snapshot:

  • Project: Women’s Voice and Leadership
  • Goal: Increasing the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls and advancing gender equality
  • Target group(s): Women’s rights organizations and women’s local movements
  • Where: Kenya, South Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire
  • Duration: 2019-2024 (5 years)

The situation

Women’s rights organizations in Kenya and South Sudan fight against the worst human rights abuses faced by Eastern African girls and women, such as rape, violence, femicide, child marriage, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. In a context where girls and women who speak out against abuse can be married off to their rapists or jailed for defamation, women’s rights organizations have an important role to speak out on their behalf. These organizations play the triple role of:

  1. Raising awareness at the community-level for women’s rights;
  2. Advocating for policy change and enforcement; and
  3. Providing those services not currently covered by the government.

However, women’s rights organizations often struggle because they lack a supportive and enabling environment in which to work. They are restricted by an unpredictable funding base and are dealing with a general shrinking of civil society spaces and a civil society that is relatively blind to gender issues. This leads to inadequate funding, the need for capacity building, competition, division, lack of strong and strategic structures, and lack of forums for collaboration. Furthermore, COVID-19 is putting the hard-won gains that the women’s movement has made on gender equality at risk and is creating challenges for women’s rights organizations to operate and conduct their activities. In short, if women’s rights organizations are to realize their full potential as effective agents of change that help strengthen the rights of women and girls, they must have greater support in terms of funding, capacity and solidarity.

What we are doing

Women’s Voice and Leadership’s goals are:

  1. To improve the governance, management, programming and sustainability of women’s rights organizations in Kenya, South Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire;
  2. To enhance their ability to deliver quality services; and
  3. To increase the effectiveness of women’s local movements

Women’s Voice and Leadership differs from traditional development projects, and so does the role of CARE in this program. Women’s rights organizations identify their own issues and their own methods of solving these issues. They determine the roles of allies (like CARE) in supporting their struggles and driving their agendas forward. Women’s rights organizations are in the driver’s seat; they are the ones who define project activities and goals. CARE’s role is around accompanying, facilitating, catalyzing and linking women’s rights organizations together to support one another and the overall women’s movement.

Project targets

  • Provide multi-year grants to approximately 66 women’s rights organizations to implement their own programming.
  • Provide fast and timely grants to approximately 110 women’s rights organizations to respond quickly to urgent women’s rights issues and unforeseen events (including COVID-19).
  • Deliver institutional capacity building to the 66 women’s rights organizations supported under the multi-year funding component above.
  • Support 10 networks that work on women’s rights to campaign, raise awareness, change policies, and support governments and others to support women’s rights.
In partnership with the Government of Canada logo
UAF Africa
Uraia Trust


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