Last year saw the conclusion of phase two of the Global Equality Project, a programme funded by the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and delivered jointly by Kaleidoscope Trust and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). The project focused on fighting discrimination against women and girls, LGBT+ people and other intersectionally disadvantaged groups in a range of countries.
As the Global Equality Project concludes, we celebrate three years of successful collaboration between Kaleidoscope Trust and WFD. The partnership between the two organisations began in 2020 stemming from the vision of a Commonwealth based on fairness of opportunity and equality before the law, where women, girls, LGBTI+ people and other disadvantaged groups are included in political and societal decision-making processes, particularly around issues that impact their rights. This was the basis for the inception of the Commonwealth Equality Project, the first of a series of joint programmes, which focused on advancing human rights in 13 Commonwealth countries retaining laws and policies that discriminated against women and girls and LGBTI+ people.
The partnership continued through two consecutive phases of the Global Equality Project, which built on prior work to ensure that the momentum to amend and repeal discriminatory laws and policies, defend human rights, and promote gender equality was continued at a larger scale than our original programme, expanding beyond the Commonwealth.
Westminster Foundation for Democracy is the UK’s leading democracy support organisation. For more than 30 years they have helped democracies to grow stronger so that freedom and prosperity can flourish. Kaleidoscope Trust is the UK’s leading organisation working on global LGBTI+ rights issues. By combining the expertise and connections of the two organisations, we have been able to support progress on LGBTI+ and women and girls’ rights around the world.
Over the last three years we’ve jointly worked with lawmakers, civil society and a range of key stakeholders to push for progress. In that time, we’ve seen five Commonwealth countries overturn laws which criminalised sex between people of the same gender. Other countries, such as Mauritius and Nigeria, have implemented or improved laws to offer protection from discrimination and gender-based violence.
Juan Miguel Sánchez Marin, Head of Programmes at Kaleidoscope Trust, said:
“We are very grateful to Westminster Foundation for Democracy for these three years of productive and impactful joint work. WFD has brought into this partnership very valuable expertise on democratic participation and inclusion, and their vast network of contacts with parliaments and political actors the world over.
“Combining these powerful assets with Kaleidoscope Trust’s expertise on LGBTI+ rights and our signature approach to intersectional work with grassroots civil society organisations has enabled both organisations to learn from each other whilst delivering effective and impactful programmes in over 20 different countries benefiting women and girls, LGBTI+ people and other vulnerable groups which continue to face discrimination and exclusion.
“Achievements of which I am particularly proud from our three years of partnership include building the capacities of intersectional alliances in Eastern Caribbean, Mauritius and Tonga to engage more effectively with law-makers to ensure that decision-making processes are inclusive of LGBTI+ people, and that has materialised in important legislative gains for the community. Also, the adaptation of WFD’s post-legislative scrutiny methodologies into a toolkit for LGBTI+ civil society organisations, which has been since rolled out by us in countries such as Kenya, Mauritius or Namibia to support critical legal reforms efforts undertaken by our partners.”
Charlotte Egan, Director of the Global Equality Project for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy said:
“We are so proud of having worked with Kaleidoscope Trust to deliver programmes in countries and territories across the world as well as to contribute to the body of global research, data, and evidence to support greater equality for women, girls and LGBT+ people.
“We have delivered impact that exceeded our expectations given the short three-years of programming. I am particularly proud of our work to bring together women, girls, LGBT+ people and other marginalised groups with political decision-makers at the highest levels.
“We helped create neutral, safe spaces for dialogue, sometimes for the very first time, so that people can reach consensus on critical issues. Our contribution toward this relationship-building and to providing impartial robust evidence and data, including on lived experiences, is critical to ensuring the sustainability of our work and to safeguarding and realising the human rights of all people. We look forward to building on our work, to continuing to learn and engage with KT, and to applying and sharing learning in other contexts in the future.”
Kaleidoscope Trust and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy would like to thank the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for their support for our joint programmes.