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Local-level action can transform the global landscape of gender equality

Creating meaningful progress toward gender equality cannot be achieved without addressing the needs of the communities most affected by inequities and where grassroots change is most dynamic and effective.

With its ambitious five-year plan, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) has signaled its firm intention to drive concrete and transformative gender equality actions that meet the needs of women and girls from all walks of life across the globe. The Forum’s actions and commitments bring together a range of stakeholders, from governments and women-led organizations to international organizations and private sector actors, to drive meaningful change.

The GEF plan that was launched in 2021 includes hundreds of policy, program, and financial commitments – representing $40 billion in value – that aim to increase the pace of progress and turn the tide on inequalities.

In Africa, action at the local level is essential for transforming the prospects of women and girls as they continue to face various barriers to their full socio-economic participation. As our founder, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, reminded us in this EJS Center report, the development of our continent depends on ensuring that no one is left behind in our quest to achieve gender equity and on ensuring that “everyone’s voice has the possibility of being heard.”

To assess the impact of GEF’s plan halfway through its implementation period, the Feminist Accountability Framework conducted a survey to identify and track commitment needs and gaps at the grassroots and local level, and measure whether meaningful and measurable progress is taking place.

Their report, published by the Global Fund for Women, gathered feedback from over 700 grassroots feminist organizations in eight countries across three regions – including Kenya and Burkina Faso in Africa. The results offered a glimpse into the relevance, transparency, and accessibility of the GEF commitments in these countries, and the extent to which they are aligned with the needs of women and girls in local communities.

In Africa, 40 percent of respondents noted that mechanisms for accessing and tracking funds are often too complex for community actors – despite an increase in funding for specific areas such as sexual and reproductive health and rights. Some also expressed concern that gender equality actions led by movements and advocates at the community level are being overlooked.

GEF’s bold commitments and the assessment conducted by the Feminist Accountability Framework are important affirmations of the crucial role of funding and accountability in making women’s voices heard across communities in Africa and beyond. 

Transforming the global landscape of gender equality starts by reaching out to the women and girls in small local communities and offering them the means to break down gender barriers and embark on their leadership journeys. It is through tailored local actions like these that transformations at the national and global level can be achieved.

Discover GEF’s Global Accelerated Plan here.

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