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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Political Participation Programs

S/GWI programs aimed at increasing women’s understanding and application of their legal rights (organized by region)


 Africa  East Asia and Pacific  Europe
 Near East and North Africa  South and Central Asia  Western Hemisphere



Women Leaders Making the Connections, Benin (Small Grants Initiative)
This project addresses the lack of women leaders in Benin’s democratic process by empowering more women to become candidates in the Parliamentary elections of March 2011. The goal of the project is to increase the number of women candidates in Benin’s March 2011 general elections and to improve the communication and management skills of the women contenders and newly elected parliamentarians. The project will raise awareness of political parties, community leaders and the public about the importance of having more women leaders in Parliament. Women candidates will be trained to be more prepared and better speakers during the election campaign. Finally, all the newly elected women parliamentarians will be trained on their role and responsibilities to be effective representatives in Benin’s Parliament.

Mauritanian Women Speak, Mauritania (Small Grants Initiative)
Mauritanian Women Speak is a program conceived as an awareness campaign to promote women’s empowerment and active participation in the social development of Mauritania. At the program’s core, it will highlight 20 of the most successful Mauritanian women from all four ethnic groups and bring them forth as role models to younger girls and women. In addition, the program will also produce radio programs to inform women of their rights and encourage and show them how to best participate in civil society. These materials will be written by reliable women journalists from around the country who will gather stories, interviews, and record songs. Print materials, radio and TV programs will highlight the challenges and victories of each woman. Training workshops will be organized regionally and educational materials will be used at these workshops as well as distributed to schools, women NGOs and throughout the Ministry of Women.

Improving Women’s Inheritance Rights, Tanzania (Small Grants Initiative)
To address the issues of widow’s inheritance rights in Tanzania, this project proposes to increase awareness and knowledge of women’s inheritance rights, improve women’s access to legal aid, and encourage Tanzanians to draft wills.

East Asia and Pacific

Building Chinese Rural Women’s Capacity to Enhance Political Participation, China (Small Grants Initiative)
This project consists of three activities to enhance political empowerment of women village leaders to ensure that local women have a voice in the political process from advocacy to negotiations about village law. A four-day national forum on grassroots advocacy for 100 female village leaders from all over China was held in the fall of 2010. Representatives from the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), other government agencies and the media were invited in order to develop strong relationships with these organizations. A follow-up governance workshop for village leaders – both women and men - guarantees further promotion of the inclusion of rural women’s interests in grassroots politics and improves the political environment in which female village leaders operate. The workshop intends to enhance their ability to address community affairs in a more democratic way that includes women as well as men. The project seeks to revise regulations and customary law that hinder women’s access to equal political, economic and cultural rights in 20 villages.

Promoting the Protection of Rural Women’s Land Rights, China(Small Grants Initiative)
This project aims to address issues related to women's land rights at three levels of government: country, city, and provincial. Through initiatives targeted to each level of government, including workshops, gender awareness training, publicity campaigns, and revision of legal provisions, the project promotes the reform of local and provincial rules and regulations regarding land rights for women as well as raises awareness among local women of their rights under the law.

Women’s Access to Justice in Hubei Province, China (Small Grants Initiative)
This project intends to build the capacity of local women in Hubei to participate in court proceedings of local and intermediate courts addressing women’s rights issues around the province. Information on past cases in which local women have already participated is collected, and then key lessons and best practices are synthesized into a training session for the local women. Workshops led by judges and women’s rights practitioners, the publication of a training manual, and “train the trainer” sessions ensure the skills and knowledge gained are widely disseminated.

Advancing and Empowering Women’s Participation through Political Education, Malaysia (Small Grants Initiative)
This project prepares a cadre of young politically informed candidates for political office for the coming general elections in 2012. These women become part of a supportive political network and are therefore better able to negotiate the world of male-dominated political processes. This group of young women receives training and mentoring in order to support and develop their political aspirations, and ensure that they are sound candidates in the elections.

Strengthening Rural Women’s Political Leadership and Advocacy Capacity, Mongolia (Small Grants Initiative)
The goal of this project is to strengthen rural women's leadership and advocacy capacity to ensure stronger, more effective, better coordinated and more self-confident participation of local women in the 2012 parliamentary and local elections as candidates, campaign managers, women's rights advocates and voters. To achieve this goal, the project intends to develop an innovative and participatory training content, methodology and materials in addition to undertaking a series of capacity-building workshops in eight provinces. The project also seeks to work with experienced female leaders (NGO activists and women holding public office) as well as young women committed to promoting women's rights and gender-sensitive voter education.


Promoting Women’s Initiative in Akhalkalaki, Georgia (Small Grants Initiative)
This project seeks to support the integration of minority women within the Georgian community. It provides mixed groups of Armenian, Russian and Georgian women living in Akhalkalaki and nearby villages with education on women's rights and leadership, arts and crafts, Georgian and English language, and computer skills. The project brings together women of diverse ethnic backgrounds and creates a core networking group of women. Within the project activities, women have the ability not only to cooperate effectively with each other but also to organize enterprises of their own.

Democracy and Political Empowerment: Space of Change, Ukraine (Small Grants Initiative)
This project aims to empower young female leaders to create positive change and democratic reforms in Ukraine by supporting successful young leaders and rewarding their achievements in local communities. Young leaders benefit from training programs that enable them to further develop their leadership skills, as well as allow them to build networks, exchange ideas and develop joint initiatives. The program teaches them how to stimulate public interest in their activities and how to empower other women, creating a community of women leaders who have the skills and experience to empower other women and provide peer-to peer support.

Women in Advocacy: Local Government Monitoring Project, Georgia (Small Grants Initiative)
This project is a local government monitoring program which focuses on training internally displaced women to be actively involved in monitoring of local government activities. With the assistance of advocacy and communications training, women are empowered to become participants in monitoring the aid and influencing the decisions regarding the development of their communities. Women are introduced to people working at local government structures, particularly female government workers who are typically underrepresented in city councils. By demonstrating the interest that women have in local issues, city councils will be more accountable to women voters.

Near East and North Africa

Advancing Women Villagers’ Political and Economic Rights, Egypt (Small Grants Initiative)
This project addresses the obvious vulnerability of Egyptian women's social, economic, and political rights. It aims to empower Egyptian woman and young girls on these issues by targeting the following entities: the board of management of the five partner Community Development Associations (CDAs), the executive offices of the woman club of each selected CDA, members of the Women’s Advocacy Groups, political and religious leaders in the involved communities, young girls, and women and men in the community at large. This creates a partnership between the umbrella NGOs and the partner CDAs and encourages the WAGs to play a more active role in their communities.

Leading Women Program, Palestinian Territory (Small Grants Initiative)
The Leading Women Program (LWP) takes 80 women activists and leaders from 24 marginalized communities in the Ramallah and Salfeet governorates and builds their leadership and management skills in order to make them active and effective community leaders. The program develops their technical knowledge and practical skills so that they can mobilize others to take action and address issues affecting their communities. The LWP intends to train these women in managing organizational resources, designing specific projects, and building coalitions. It seeks to build a strong network of local women's groups that will provide mutual support in their advocacy and lobbying efforts.

South and Central Asia

Bringing Together Women Representative and Community Leaders to Combat GBV, India (Small Grants Initiative)
This project brings together elected women representatives and community leaders to play a major role in combating gender-based violence. The first program of its kind in the state, the coalition of female representatives and community leaders press for curbing gender-based violence and monitoring schemes for women at district and grassroots level (through gender based budgeting). Along with policy level advocacy measures, this effort seeks to motivate female leaders, to ensure community participation, and to strengthen family reconciliation support for victims of GBV.

Western Hemisphere

Promotion and Defense of Women’s Civil Rights, Nicaragua (Small Grants Initiative)
Given the current deterioration of democracy institutions in Nicaragua, this project focuses on strengthening the civic and political rights of women, and the Nicaraguan public in general, by increasing people's ability to defend their rights. The project is based on developing public spaces for dialogue and political debate, and fostering public opinion capable of critically analyzing the situation that leads to civic activism. In raising public awareness of the deterioration of Nicaragua's democracy, key actors will commit to strengthen the country's democratic institutions and governance. These public fora for debate will provide the public and civil society an arena from which to affect public policy. The project includes a communication campaign, including radio, television, and social media. It will also facilitate coordination among the various actors at the local and national level.


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