The Middle East and North Africa are ranked as the regions in the world farthest away from equality between the sexes, and the absence of equality is regarded as being a key barrier to human and economic development in the region. This is why equality has been a focus area of DAPP since 2003, and continues to feature in the new programme period for 2017-21.
Ever since the beginning of DAPP, KVINFO has raised the equality issue in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen. The current equality programme in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt has four objectives:
• To promote reform of legislation to recognise equality between men and women, including equal access to economic resources
• To promote sexual and reproductive health and rights
• To improve equal political participation of men and women
• To prevent gender-based violence, and to support its victims
KVINFO’s work in the MENA region
KVINFO always works in partnership with Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian and Jordanian organisations, as well as Danish organisations such as the Women’s Council in Denmark, the Danish Family Planning Association, Danner, and the Danish National Organisation for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBT Denmark). This new DAPP equality programme helps Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian and Jordanian women to gain equal access to justice, and the programme helps protect women who are victims of violence and to prevent violence. It also helps to strengthen women’s competences and give them the means to exercise influence on political decision-making processes, and to promote sexual and reproductive rights and public health.
The equality programme is based on experience from earlier phases
As a strategic partner in DAPP, and a key player within equality nationally and internationally, KVINFO has worked with partner organisations in the Middle East, North Africa and Denmark since 2006 on a wide range of projects and regional programmes in the region. The 2017-21 equality programme is based on the results and acquired knowledge from the fields of legislative reform, equal access to justice, political participation, sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence, violence against women, documentation and gender research and dialogue on values based on equality between the sexes (gender, sexuality, religion etc.).
Projects have included:
- Political strengthening of women through advocacy for equality in election law and the training of female political candidates in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
- Regional exchanges of experience and learning across the Middle East and North Africa on equality in constitutions, from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan and Yemen.
- Implementation of family legislation in Morocco, i.e. training lawyers in arbitration, and training court personnel to counsel victims of violence in the home and in gender-based awareness in contact with the public. The recommendations from a survey conducted under this project were incorporated into the national strategy for combatting violence against women.
- Stronger female leadership and entrepreneurial skills in large businesses in the private sector of Jordan; in Moroccan and Tunisian networks for female artists; and in Moroccan trade unions through establishment of an inter-union network for female activists and elected employee representatives.
- Combatting and prevention of child marriages in Morocco and Jordan through data-gathering, awareness and advocacy.
KVINFO compiled five reports from its work in the Middle East and North Africa in a book entitled ‘Sharaaka’ (partnership) in 2016.