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Raising Her Voice

Raising her voice. Copyright 2014 Cognitive

At a glance

Empowering poor women to engage effectively in governance. Visit the Raising Her Voice online community.


All around the world women's voices are absent from the many places and spaces in which the decisions that affect their everyday lives are made. Oxfam aims to change this by strengthening the way in which women's individual and collective voices influence decisions about services, investments, policies and legal frameworks so that worldwide, those in power, from village leaders to politicians and law-makers, become more accountable to them.

From 2008-2013, the global Raising Her Voice programme, supported projects in 17 countries to enable over 1 million women to take part in, shape and monitor the decisions that most affect their lives. Although formal funding for RHV ended in March 2013, we're continuing to work on women's political rights and empowerment worldwide. You can help us to  to continue to raise women's voices today.

Header image: © 2014 Cognitive.

What we learnt

The following points give just a flavour of Raising Her Voice's numerous combined achievements and impacts, and shares highlights from our summary evaluation.

Five reasons to do more to include women:

  1. More women in decision-making spaces leads to greater transparency and improved accountability
    By the end of the RHV project in Papua, Indonesia, village development planning meetings were held publicly and nearly half of participants were women, compared with five years ago when only men could take part. 

  2. When women get together great things are possible... and they're harder to ignore
    RHV has invested heavily in the growth and strengthening of women's collective action, across deeply embedded political, social and ethnic barriers. Our partners have established and supported 141 community activist groups and the coordination of 1,005 diverse coalition members. 

  3. Public money is better spent, leading to improved local services
    In Nepal, some 89,000 people benefited from £42,524 of additional funding, because in villages where RHV worked with women leaders, an impressive 42% were able to positively influence village and district development committees, compared to just 2% in non-RHV villages.

  4. Structural barriers to gender equality are tackled
    In Pakistan, members of our '50 Women Leaders Groups' secured identity cards for 116,000 marginalised women enabling them to vote, travel and access social assistance funds for the very first time.

  5. Gains in tackling violence against women and girls and gender-based violence
    RHV partners and coalitions contributed to the passing of 10 new laws and seven draft laws (including femicide, acid throwing, domestic and sexual violence, FGM, trafficking) and the creation of courts mandated specially to deal with gender-based violence cases in Bolivia. 

    And the number one strategy for combating violence against women is to build a strong feminist movement.

Country programmes and funding

Between 2008 and 2013 Raising Her Voice worked in 17 countries alongside 45 local partners, 141 community activists groups and over 1,005 coalition members. The programme was funded by the UK government's Governance and Transparency Fund.


Gambia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda

  • Our partners in Africa focused on ensuring that the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, is reflected in national legal frameworks and implemented effectively.
  • At the pan-Africa level, RHV support for the Solidarity for African Women's Rights Coalition focused on lobbying for countries to sign, ratify, and 'domesticate' the protocol.


Nepal, Indonesia and Pakistan

  • Our partners supported rural women to contribute to local decision-making, and to national-level advocacy and campaigning on women's rights, using popular media, such as local radio.
  • Our projects built 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.

Latin America

Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile

  • Oxfam's country-level projects worked with women's groups and movements to build the leadership capacity of poor women, address the barriers to women's participation, and encourage different groups of women to work together for positive social change.
  • A region-wide project based in Chile, focused on vulnerable migrant women workers.

Commonwealth of Independent States

Albania and Armenia

  • RHV projects focused on fostering local public-private partnerships for rural development.
  • In Albania local action groups carried out advocacy calling for improved public services.
  • In Armenia our partners advocated for effective service delivery for disabled children and young people, and promoted the involvement of poor women in local government decisions.

Further resources

• Case studies from Gambia and Honduras
• Videos from Honduras and Pakistan

From the Sector

Ever felt like nobody's listening?

Why women should have an equal say in decision making and how it can happen.

Raising Her Voice

Tika Darlami from Nepal tells her story, illustrating the life changing power of the Raising Her Voice programme - all in under 3 minutes.

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