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Promising practices: Empowering women, empowering communities

Neither women nor men can flourish without one another and there is no sustainable path to development, poverty reduction and eradication of hunger without gender equality.

Gender equality is not a ‘women’s issue’ but affects both women and men, as it is rooted in the relationship between the two. Both women and men have to change their ways of working, attitudes and social norms, to ensure both are equal, empowered and dignified.

Working together with the UK government through its UK Aid Match programme, and with partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi and Rwanda, we’ve been working to challenge and change unequal power relations, giving women an equal voice, rights, and opportunities, throughout their lives.

The programme, which ran from 2015 – 2018, targeted the poorest and most excluded groups in society, such as women, the elderly, and people living with disabilities and with HIV and AIDS.

Rooted in the concept of equality within the family and community, we helped families to improve their food and income security. The focus on gender equality enabled women to form more equal relationships with men, and have greater control over their resources and assets, with equal participation and joint decision-making.

As you will see throughout this publication, the results of the programme were significant and evidence the difference a gender equality approach can make, not only to individual lives but to whole communities.