To achieve Oxfam's vision - that millions more women will gain power over their lives and overcome the barriers that keep them in poverty - we need to challenge often deeply entrenched beliefs that women are of fundamentally less social, economic and political value than men. We also need to transform the unequal power relations between men and women which result from these beliefs.
What is Raising Her Voice?
Launched in August 2008 and running until 2013, Raising Her Voice (RHV) aims to promote the rights and capacity of poor women to engage effectively in governance at all levels. The programme also seeks to draw out important lessons from our experiences at country level, to strengthen Oxfam's wider governance work, and to feed back into our grassroots projects.
RHV is a collection of projects in 17 countries, each with its own priorities and approaches that take into account local realities and opportunities. However, all RHV projects focus on four broad areas of work:
Enabling poor women activists to network, campaign, and advocate.
Working with public institutions and decision-making forums, including traditional structures.
Empowering civil-society organizations to achieve poor women's rights as citizens, through awareness raising, capacity building, and training.
Disseminating lessons and good practice through innovative media and communications work.
Raising Her Voice, by region
Gambia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda
Our partners in Africa have decided to make the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa the focus of the RHV programme, ensuring that its provisions are reflected in national legal frameworks and that these are implemented effectively to ensure concrete improvements to policies, budget allocation and access to services for women.
At the pan-Africa level, RHV support for the Solidarity for African Women's Rights Coalition focuses on lobbying for countries to sign, ratify, and 'domesticate' the protocol.
Nepal, Indonesia - projects in Papua and Aceh - and Pakistan
Oxfam is working with partners to encourage rural women to contribute to local decision-making structures - such as Forest User Groups and Village Development Committees - and to national-level advocacy and campaigning on women's rights, using popular communication media such as local radio.
Our projects are also building strong relationships between grassroots groups and women entering political processes, so that women elected to office adopt positions that highlight and address women's specific needs as part of decision-making on all poverty related issues.
Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile
Oxfam's country-level projects work with women's groups and movements to build the leadership capacity of poor women, develop their ability to influence decision-makers, address the barriers to women's participation, and encourage different groups of women to work together for positive social change.
There is a region-wide project based in Chile, which focuses on migrant women workers as a particularly excluded group.
Albania and Armenia
RHV projects in Eastern Europe focus on fostering local public-private partnerships for rural development projects, investment. In Albania, RHV advocacy for improved services is carried out by Local Action Groups.
In Armenia, RHV partners are ensuring effective service delivery for children and young people with disabilities, and promoting the active and informed engagement of poor women in local government decision-making.
Raising Her Voice is mainly funded by UK aid through the Department for International Development's (DFID) Governance and Transparency Fund. Through this fund DFID supports global initiatives to help civil society, the media and other stakeholders to promote accountable and transparent governance and governments at all levels.
Our series of case studies on strengthening governance programming through tackling VAWG: