This publication presents an overview and brief analysis of the first round of grants issued
by the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in partnership with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Both organizations are engaged in advancing gender equality and democratic governance around the world. The following pages probe, in a concise fashion, what was achieved through seven grants to improve women’s political participation in a diverse set of countries and regions.
A series of project profiles, drawn from reports and independent evaluations, summarizes objectives and activities, results, challenges, lessons and ideas for future work. Collectively and individually, the profiles shed light on effective strategies in implementing gender and governance programmes. This information may be useful for people carrying out or funding similar initiatives, or for gender advocates, governance specialists and researchers interested in a concise overview of recent experiences illustrating advancements in women’s political participation.
Since 2006, UNDEF has provided grants to strengthen democratic governance in over 100 countries. UNIFEM works with about 10 percent of UNDEF projects to inject its long-standing expertise in gender equality and governance. While all UNDEF projects contribute to realizing gender equality goals, UNIFEM puts deliberate emphasis on ensuring that women have an equal voice in all aspects of governance, peace and security and public decision-making. Globally, progress towards a gender balance in politics is being made, but the pace of change is slow, and the number of women in political offices remains low.
In 2006, the first round of UNDEF proposals awarded $36 million to 125 projects. Grant awards ranged from $50,000 to $500,000. UNIFEM assisted 10 projects in Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Haiti, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania participated in a Great Lakes regional project, while Inter Press Service International implemented an Africa regional project in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Swaziland.