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United Nations Women and African Union report uncovers first-hand experiences from African countries on eliminating gender-based violence

UN Women - Africa

The report “Lessons Learned, Promising Practices,&Challenges to Overcome” provides first-hand experiences from the eight African countries implementing the Spotlight Initiative in ending violence against women and girls.  

Under the Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Program (SIARP), the UN Women Liaison Office to the AU and the African Union Commission, Women, Gender and Youth Directorate (WGYD) launched the report “Lessons Learned, Promising Practices,&Challenges to Overcome” with key stories and actionable recommendations from the eight African countries implementing the Spotlight Initiative, on fighting gender-based violence.

The report focuses on promising practices, lessons learnt, challenges and mitigation strategies as well as relevant recommendations from Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Across these countries, health, cultural, socio-economic, and political dimensions of violence against women must be addressed through social behavior change at individual, community, and societal levels.

Lessons learned from countries:

  • Nigeria, Mozambique, and Liberia Spotlight Initiative programs pursued collaborative efforts with state actors, civil society, and community in delivering the program. The success of the Initiative in these countries share similar promising practices including elevating the role of capacity building, social media, educational awareness, multistakeholder and community engagement;

  • Malawi, Niger, and Mali Spotlight Initiative programs adopted civil society engagement to effectively execute their activities. The success of the program in these countries lies in the ability to articulate messages as tangible actions across diverse communities. Several generalized lessons can be drawn such as how to craft curated advocacy messages, and nurture civic engagement for wider reach;

  • Uganda and Zimbabwe Spotlight Initiative programs exhibit similar innovative partnerships and creative engagements with governments and local authorities in tackling legal frameworks and policy reforms; Several generalized lessons can be drawn such as how to leverage and nurture judicial partnerships, and the implementation of relevant policies.

In the eight African countries, where the Spotlight Initiative is implemented, tremendous results towards ending VAWG have been recorded. Further innovative collaborations, promising practices, lessons learned and opportunities to strengthen synergies between national and regional programs, can be found here.

The “Lessons Learned, Promising Practices,&Challenges to Overcome” report was launch following the Annual Continental Coordination Platform that took place in June 2021. The report documents the lessons taken from the Platform, where the eight countries implementing the Spotlight Initiative shared and learn from good practices, identified emerging trends, operational challenges, and strategies that can be implemented for future programming.

Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme (SIARP)

To eliminate sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and harmful practices and address their links to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights (SRH&RR), the SIARP was implemented in 2020. The programme was implemented in 8 countries namely – Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The Spotlight Initiative is an investment case for SDG 5 with an overall allocation of EUR250 million, while the African Regional Programme is supporting the 8 Spotlight country programmes with a substantive allocation of EUR30 million by focusing on three pillars: legislation and policies; quality and reliable data; and strengthening women’s movements and relevant civil society organizations.

For more information on the Spotlight Initiative:

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.


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