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GEP II builds on the first phase of the Global Equality Project (GEP I), which ran from August 2021 to March 2022, as well as WFD’s and Kaleidoscope Trust’s programme on equality in the Commonwealth which was delivered between October 2020 and March 2021.

These former programmes worked in partnership with political, community and civil society leaders in 18 countries and territories in Africa, the Eastern Caribbean, Asia, and the Pacific to:

  • Develop tools that help civil society organisations engage in oversight of political decisions, monitoring and assessing the impact of government initiatives
  • Shift decision-making processes towards more inclusive practices and address the policy failures that emerge from exclusion
  • Strengthen the links and relationships among civil society, thought-leaders and decision-makers to make it easier for them to work together towards equality

GEP II will carry forward this momentum to help make sure progress towards equality and inclusion for everyone is sustainable.

Operating in at least 20 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, GEP II will work towards a world in which women, girls, LGBT+ people and other people facing multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion are equally and more meaningfully included in decision-making. To this end, activities will focus on three areas:

  • Demonstrating the social and economic costs of discriminatory regulations and practices to government actors and parliaments through research and evidence. This type of analysis puts a number on exclusion so that everyone understands what is lost when people are left out or left behind.
  • Strengthening collaborative relationships between civil society organisations and political decision-makers and anchoring these in evidence-based research that supports better-informed discussions on policy. This helps leaders who have to make a decision that affects the whole of society understand that issue beyond their own experience and beliefs which, while important, are rarely the whole picture.
  • Deepening civil society’s policy development and policy advocacy capacities so that their issue expertise can more effectively deliver positive change in laws, policies, and their implementation, as well as shifts in social norms.

Speaking of the new programme, Shannon O’Connell, Director of Policy and Programmes at WFD said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to implement the second phase of the GEP programme. Through GEP, WFD and KT have the privilege of working with local leaders to make decision-making processes more inclusive. Policies and practices that are built on a better understanding of the needs of everyone within society are more efficient, more sustainable and deliver better results – not just for a select few, but for everyone. When decision-making is inclusive, people live longer and spend more of their lives in better health; water is cleaner; children are happier; roads are safer. Prioritising equality and inclusion is a smart choice for all societies that value stability and the type of sustainable economic growth that comes from making sure everyone has a fair shot at life’s opportunities. In partnership with local experts, CEP and the first phase of GEP have made some important gains. It’s our expectation that GEP II will not only help sustain these, but amplify and build on them.”

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director at KT also added: “In these uncertain and trying times for civil society everywhere, it is an absolute privilege for Kaleidoscope Trust to be able to continue the work we initiated under the Global Equality Project, and the Commonwealth Equality Project before it. To ensure that inclusion truly permeates all levels of decision-making and that those in positions of power take positive action, it is crucial that we continue supporting grassroots intersectional civil society organisations and alliances in the quest for meaningful change that centres on the realities of women, girls, LGBT+ people and other disadvantaged groups. Under this second phase of the Global Equality Project, and in close partnership with WFD, we vow to continue creating the space and opportunity they require to connect and engage positively with law- and decision-makers in the pursuit for equality and equity.”

The GEP is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).