The programme supports local decision-makers and civil society actors as they progress towards a more equal and inclusive world in which women and girls, LGBT+ people, and other people with intersecting identities and experiences are included in political and societal decision-making processes.
Activities focus on three main avenues to inclusion: evidence and incentives, skills and tools, and links and relationships:
- The programme helps fill the gaps in research and evidence when it comes to better outcomes for women and girls, LGBT+ people, and society at large. This will bolster decision-makers’ incentives to act and support them to make the case for change over the coming months and beyond.
- It also work with civil society organisations that support and advocate for the rights of women and girls and LGBT+ people by ensuring they have the skills and tools they need to bring about change, including through tracking and assessing legislation.
- GEP works to strengthen the links and relationships between civil society, thought-leaders, and decision-makers to make it easier for them to work together for equality.
The programme is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Commonwealth Equality Project
CEP supported local decision-makers and civil society actors in 16 Commonwealth countries in Africa, the Eastern Caribbean, Asia, and the Pacific. The programme’s successes include:
- Developing the tools needed for CSOs to bring about positive change, such as a guide to monitoring and assessing the impact of government initiatives.
- Forming an informal network of LGBT+ CSOs and stakeholders and running a survey and gap analysis that examined a wide variety of Sri Lankan laws and policies on LGBT+ issues in the country.
- Developing a database that provides advocates of LBTI rights with information on how the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) perceives SOGIESC-based discrimination and what potential it presents for their national advocacy efforts.
- Strengthening dialogue and engagement between CSOs and government officials in Tonga and supporting the drafting of recommendations for amendment of the Criminal Offences Act 2015.
- Supporting civil society advocates in Mauritius as they campaigned for intersectional equality and better legal protection of women, children, and LGBT+ people from violence and other forms of discrimination
WFD, through the Commonwealth Equality Project (CEP), supported the Oyo State House of Assembly and the people of Oyo state to review and pass the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill into law.
Under the Commonwealth Equality Project (CEP), WFD engaged and worked with different stakeholders on an evidence-based approach to LGBT+ issues in Sri Lanka. WFD’s CEP programme provided two key areas of contribution during 2020/21. Firstly, the generation of evidence: a detailed public survey in all 25 districts of Sri Lanka was, for the very first time, conducted. The survey examined public knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of LGBT+ people. The second area of contribution was on outreach.
Building the case for inclusion reaches beyond making sure people understand hard cold facts about the ruinous costs of discrimination. Art and culture can be a positive transformative force, helping to build understanding and empathy. To help build awareness of the realities of LGBT+ peoples’ lives in Sri Lanka, WFD provided funding for a series of fictional short films, which premiered in the country in late 2021 and will go on tour around the country in 2022.