Embracing the Challenge: Changing Social Norms for Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso
TrustAfrica prioritizes women’s rights as a cross cutting thematic. We support gendered analysis of social and economic policies and prioritize funding women-led organizations at the grassroots level. One of our strategic aim under our democratic governance program is to advocate from the grassroots to the regional level for the rights of the girl child and to end gender-based violence.
Since 2018, our partner supports us in our Women’s Right Program with a project entitled: “Embracing the Challenge: Changing Social Norms for Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso” which aims to contribute to changing social norms for gender equality. More specifically, the project aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Increased community knowledge of women’s human rights and anchoring of gender justice as a part of community social practice
- Strengthening the capacity of cultural leaders to promote women’s human rights within the traditional justice system
- Improved advocacy for policy and legislative reform and implementation
- Increased availability of research and analysis on GBV in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali
- Increased capacity of women’s organizations and feminist activists to respond to the challenges of GBV
The project focuses in four areas of intervention, namely: change of social norms, research, technical assistance, and capacity building. Putting the change of social norms at the core through legal literacy, awareness raising, community dialogues and direct engagement of the custodians of customs (i.e. cultural, and religious leaders) is one means of guaranteeing that Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Mali are on track to ensuring de facto and de jure equality – a prerequisite for inclusive development.
Grantmaking: at the core of the project work is grant making – 12 grants averaging $10,000 – $30,000 per organization in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso
Research : The project started with a scoping study to understand the landscape for women’s rights work in each of the three focus countries. Research are conducted throughout the life of the project, on the extent and nature of the different discriminatory social institutions and how they impact gender equality.
Community outreach and dialogues : The project targeted the community to improve their ability to promote fairer gender relations through facilitated dialogues between both men and women; to shape advocacy strategy by partner organisations in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Coalition building to advance the women’s rights movement: TrustAfrica mobilized key feminist leaders in the focus countries, paying particular attention to rural women and women cultural leaders, to coordinate approaches on how to tackle these challenges in their communities.
Mobilizing Cultural Institutions : TrustAfrica through strategic collaborations partnered with the different cultural institutions in the target areas of the project.
- A total of $ 300,243.00 distributed to 19 organizations, including 7 initiatives amounting to $75000 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to prevent GBV during that special period; to amplify women voices, their resilience and encourage their involvement in the responses to the crisis so that they are not left behind and their special needs are being considered;
- Publication of 3 Scoping Studies on the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence in the focus countries;
- We strengthened the collaboration and consolidated different platforms for engagement, exchange and coordination of strategies for the women’s rights movement through 3 convenings on “The challenges of the women’s social movement in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso: Advancing actions for systemic change supporting women’s rights” to interrogate the feminist movement and what needs to be done to advance actions for a systemic change in favor of women’s rights;
- We produced a captivating documentary film about the state of violence against women in the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.
- Women Champions leaders are identified in the different platforms and trained in Data-Driven Advocacy. They gained skills and knowledge in five main areas: finding sources of data for Gender Based Violence (GBV) advocacy, the ability to assess the strength and weaknesses of GBV data, awareness of biases in GBV data, and an enhanced ability to read charts and graphs, and finally increased knowledge of various types of GBV data.
- The final evaluation of the project also informed TrustAfrica about the effectiveness of the project, and the produced effects, in terms of changes observed, knowledge gained, and lessons learnt for improvement in areas where challenges or shortcomings are raised.
“A victim of exclusion for allegation of witchcraft shown remarkable courage to witness during advocacy session about their situation in Burkina Faso. The implication of journalists on this issue has participated to raise awareness and amplify the voice of victims for more durable change. In Primpin village (Mali), excision practices are now prohibited resulting to a strong community engagement and collective agreement on excision and early marriage during the project implementation. In Mankacounda (Senegal), a grandmother leader, focal point of the project (they are more influent in that area than fathers), got to cancel an early marriage without any tensions between the two parties. Legal assistance was also provided in some cases to restore the rights of victims of harassment in the workplace and blackmail. A woman who participated in a training provided by a partner who got now more confident was able to convince the husband to start income-generating activities. A disabled person used training information provided to claim his rights after the death of his father when the community organized the partition of the family patrimony without him because of his physical situation.”