Canada’s contributions to advancing gender equality and protecting human rights


Beyond the Elsie Initiative, the Government of Canada is contributing more than $16 million toward projects that will advance gender equality and protect human rights, including those of women and girls; address gender-based violence; support women’s engagement in peace processes; and support the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.

Women’s engagement in South Sudan peace process

Implementing partner: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
Funding: $625,000
Time frame: 2018-2019

The project supports women’s engagement in the revitalization and full implementation of South Sudan’s peace process through grants and technical support to South Sudanese women’s organizations and networks, and the placement of a gender adviser to support the office of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Envoy.

Sexual violence prevention program

Implementing partner: Ujamaa Africa
Funding: $1.8 million
Time frame: 2018-2019

Through this project, 25,000 girls and boys in schools, community-based organizations, churches and mosques in Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan will receive the Empowerment Transformation Training (ETT), a successful and rigorously tested rape-prevention approach.

Young women and girls will receive 12 hours of interactive empowerment instruction through the Girls’ Empowerment and Self Defense (GESD) program. They will also benefit from a minimum of six hours of hands-on practice mastering key skills, including boundary-setting and diffusion tactics, verbal assertiveness and negotiation, and physical self-defence skills.

Additionally, the ETT intervention will target male attitudes and behaviors with the help of an initiative called ”My Deciding Moment” (MDM), through which boys’ harmful beliefs around gender and sexuality will be reshaped as they learn about seeking consent for sex and become encouraged to intervene on behalf of girls and women when they encounter possible instances of violence against them.

Small grants initiative in Asia

Implementing partner: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Funding: $400,000
Time frame: 2018-2019

Through this initiative, the United Nations Development Programme provides small grants to civil society organizations from the seven participating N-Peace countries (Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka) to help implement the women, peace and security agenda. N-Peace is a network that supports women’s leadership for conflict prevention, resolution and peace building.

Increased human security through respect for human rights, diversity and inclusive governance

Implementing partner: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Funding: $2,721,000
Time frame: 2017-2019

This project will support efforts to foster the inclusion of youth in governance in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. It will also equip organizations in these regions’ security sectors with mechanisms to ensure their programs respect gender equality and human rights.

Digital security support for human rights defenders and peace activists

Implementing partner: AccessNow
Funding: $712,000
Time frame: 2018 to 2019

Human rights defenders are facing increasing threats as a result of their use of social media and other online digital platforms, once considered a relatively safe space. This project will support AccessNow to enhance online safety and security of human rights defenders in fragile and conflict-affected states and their organizations through training and technical assistance, including the establishment of a 24/7 digital security hotline.

Empowering and protecting human rights defenders

Implementing partner: International Service for Human Rights
Funding: $610,000
Time frame: 2017-2019

In many countries, human rights defenders face a range of threats and challenges to their efforts to promote and protect internationally recognized human rights. This project will address these challenges through a range of advocacy and legislative support activities in Mali, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the establishment of an e-learning platform. This project will also provide training on effectively engaging within the UN’s human rights framework, and will include targeted training for women human rights defenders.

Building inclusive communities through virtual exchange

Implementing partner: Soliya
Funding: $585,000
Time frame: 2018-2019

Political and religious radicalization continues to be a serious threat throughout the Middle East, including within higher education institutions. Students are often targeted by extremist elements, coming under threat or recruitment pressure. This project will help address this situation by providing secure online platforms for safe and meaningful discussions as well as opportunities for students to participate in decision-making.

Building inclusive and resilient societies by combating hate speech

Implementing partner: Article 19
Funding: $725,000
Time frame: 2017-2019

This project seeks to contribute to the advancement of inclusive, peaceful and pluralistic societies through efforts to support the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which commits states to upholding these rights by addressing religious or belief-motivated causes of violence and discrimination. The efforts carried out in this project aim to address this implementation gap internationally, and specifically at the national level in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Tunisia, where particular support is needed.

Securing civil society organizations against digital risks

Implementing partner:
Funding: $927,000
Time frame: 2017-2019

While civil society faces digital threats globally, digital security breaches can have an even worse impact in fragile and conflict-affected states where risks facing these actors are already high. This project aims to respond to the digital risks faced by civil society, human rights organizations, independent media and online activists globally by equipping them with tools, techniques and knowledge which help to deter, protect from and address cyber attacks. The project also carries out country-specific activities in Colombia and Ukraine.

Digital defenders partnership

Implementing partner: Stichting Hivos
Funding: $799,000
Time frame: 2017-2019

Open and inclusive environments where individuals or interest groups can advocate for their interests without fear of retribution lead to more stable societies. The aim of this project is to contribute to a safer environment for bloggers, journalists, cyber activists, human rights defenders and other civil society activists through provision of emergency technical and legal assistance, as well as research and technical support to improve security for networks and other digital platforms.

Strengthening accountability through timely investigations of atrocities

Implementing partner: Justice Rapid Response (JRR)
Funding: $3,097,000
Time frame: 2018-2019

This project contributes to investigations into alleged human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including investigations into sexual and gender-based violence and monitoring and investigating conflict-related violations involving children, through the provision of professional experts. JRR is providing experts for work in many countries, including recent deployments focused on Myanmar, Iraq and Syria.

Rapid deployment of gender experts to secure accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes

Implementing partner: UN Women
Funding: $550,000
Time frame: 2017-2018

Among the challenges to securing accountability for sexual and gender-based violence crimes has been finding qualified experts with the skills to interview victims and witnesses of sexual violence without detriment to their safety and dignity. This project will help gender experts to rapidly and effectively investigate, document and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence crimes.

Syria accountability mechanism

Implementing partner: International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM)
Funding: $1,000,000
Time frame: 2017-2019

Canada is committed to justice and accountability for Syrians. This project is supporting the establishment and preliminary activities of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, which will investigate and help prosecute the most serious crimes in violation of international law committed in Syria, including war crimes.

Enhanced respect, promotion and protection of human rights in the post-accord period in Colombia

Implementing partner: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Colombia)
Funding: $1,000,000
Time frame: 2018-2019

This project is supporting a robust UN human rights presence in Colombia that complements the peace and security work of the UN’s political mission, which is tasked with monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. It will also support the work of Colombian governmental institutions and civil society groups that work for the promotion and protection of human rights.

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