You are here

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 15 March 2022 – COVID-19 has delayed efforts to end gender-based violence in Africa and these must now be accelerated in response, the Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Steering Committee announced at its second meeting to take stock of progress.

The meeting brought together members of the steering committee, including Civil Society Regional Reference Group representatives and over 40 participants from the African Union Commission (AUC), European Union, United Nations Development Coordination Office for Africa (UNDCO), and the Spotlight Initiative recipient United Nations agencies, including UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP and UN Women.

The Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme (SIARP) made significant progress in 2021. A continental strategy on ending gender-based violence was developed, and accountability was strengthened on eliminating harmful practices. The programme promoted dialogue and exchange of information, data and evidence to strengthen policy actions, and advocacy to advance the elimination of violence against women and girls and harmful practices agenda in Africa.

In her reflection, Commissioner Minata Samate Cessouma said, “Time is now to make the SIARP partnership work for girls and women on the continent, particularly within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on the lives of the most vulnerable populations in Africa, and across the world – including children, girls, and women.”

Yacoub Ali El-Hillo, UNDCO Regional Director, stated in his welcoming remarks that, “The steering committee was convening within a time when the world and Africa are contending the impact of the triple crisis of conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the meeting, the steering committee members agreed to reinforce the acceleration plan and move forward to programme implementation, and strengthen coordination across the SIARP implementation framework.

Note to Editors

The Spotlight Initiative is a global partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Spotlight Initiative is working with governments, civil society organizations, the media, and other partners to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme (SIARP)

The Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme in Africa provides a regional response to addressing sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in eight African countries (Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe). The programme puts a special focus on empowering women's movements in Africa by providing dedicated funds to civil society organizations, including through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

For further information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Daisy Leoncio, Regional Communications Adviser, UNFPA East and Southern Africa
+1 347 4919154 /