From industrialized cities to rural indigenous settlements, women and girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people are subjected to a panoply of discriminatory practices and human rights abuses due to their gender, gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. To amplify these struggles and begin to alleviate them, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience hosted a global workshop in September 2021, entitled “Challenging Bias Against Women, Girls and the LGBTI Community.”
Subsequently, to build upon conversations and lessons learned during the workshop – and provide members with practical skills to implement change in their communities – the Coalition awarded eight members financial and programmatic support to develop digital advocacy campaigns to highlight commonly held biases about women or the LGBTI community in their context.
These community engagement grants – collectively titled, “Virtual Advocacy in Support of Women, Girls and the LGBTI Community” – equipped each selected member with the funds and skills to launch low-cost, high-impact local advocacy campaigns that shed light on this discrimination, and increase understanding and new levels of social cohesion for these groups.
Below are the eight community engagement grants awarded.
Respect and Dignity for Everyone
Asociación Caminos de la Memoria, Perú
This project aims to sensitize the general public about the everyday challenges and dangers faced by the LGBTI community in Perú, as well as celebrate the community’s courage and advocacy efforts by highlighting their achievements, rights and dignity as human beings.
Advocating for Women's Empowerment and Equality
Center for Memory and Reparations, Sierra Leone
According to USAID, women account for 52 percent of the total population in Sierra Leone but occupy less than 20 percent of elected positions. This project attempts to change this by raising awareness, particularly among young people – and especially young women – of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment bill in Sierra Leone, which would support increased representation of women in government. The project aims to inspire young people to know the importance of the bill and advocate for its passage.
Fighting Bias Against Teenage Mothers
Forum pour la Mémoire Vigilante, Rwanda
Teenage pregnancies are increasingly common in Rwanda, where access to sexual reproductive health information is limited. To support young mothers, who are sometimes pejoratively called “mother daughters” and often lose access to education, this campaign seeks to provide this vulnerable community – particularly those in refugee communities – with resources to overcome societal prejudice and build hope about a better future for themselves and their children.
Women and the Media are Partners
Future Partners Foundation of Development, Yemen
This campaign sheds light on the many forms of bias against women in Yemen, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing war in the country. By calling attention to the flagrant violations women and girls are subjected to, particularly during displacement from their country or to other Yemeni cities, the advocacy campaign de-stigmatizes these women among the general public and assures affected women that they are not alone.
Promotion of the Trans Memory Archive
Museo Internacional para la Democracia y los Derechos Humanos, Argentina
This campaign publicizes the existence and objectives of the Travestite Trans Memory Archive of the Santa Fe Province in Argentina (Archivo de la Memoria Travesti Trans de la Provincia de Santa Fe), which provides resources and support for transgendered people, and promotes understanding, appreciation, respect, and support for their full rights among the general public.
Protecting Women During COVID-19
Organisation Africaine du Développement Durable
et de l’Environnement – OADDE, Guinea
This campaign highlights mistakes made by the Guinean government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on their effect on the lives of women and girls across the capital city of Conakry. Additionally, OADDE advocated directly to authorities, emphasizing the importance of public policies on vulnerable populations. The campaign was conducted via radio and television broadcasts, allowing OADDE to reach a large target group.
Women, Land and Housing Rights
Single Mothers Association of Kenya, Kenya
This project highlights the challenges and needs facing Female-Headed Households in Kenya, particularly in relation to the discrimination women face in owning property and inheriting land. The campaign has relied heavily on social media and messaging channels like WhatsApp to advocate to both communities at large as well as target influential stakeholders and change-makers.
Women of the Blast
The Socio-Economic Justice Initiative – MAAN, Lebanon
This project commemorates the women victims of the Beirut Blast that occurred on August 4, 2020, as well as raises awareness about accountability, solidarity, and the challenges faced by survivors. The project seeks to create change and foster compassion for this community by breaking social norms based on bias and injustice.