Advocacy and Empowerment at Work

Advocacy and Empowerment at Work

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In 1998, CARE worked with 25 institutions in Peru to help pass a law that promoted universal basic education for girls. The law helped to address gender discrimination as well as ensuring that more resources for education reached rural areas of the country. By working with local civic groups, CARE helped to ignite a national movement to broaden girls’ access to basic education.

In Niger, CARE works with women’s savings groups that pool resources to finance individual small businesses. Together, the women act as venture capitalists and loan officers for one another. For many of the women, these savings groups represent the first economic freedom they’ve ever experienced. As a result, more women are speaking out openly about inheritance and land rights and women’s participation in local elections is on the rise.

Until recently in Sierra Leone, there was no minimum age for marriage under customary law and, as a result, early and forced marriages are still common; one in four girls is married by age 15; and 62 percent by age 18. Through radio programs and counseling groups, CARE facilitates community dialogue on child marriage and its negative effects among community members and families. Subsequently, a larger number of youth report that they now can talk to their parents about postponing marriage.

CARE supports Roma communities in the Balkans so they can find their way from the edges to the center of society. One way CARE is working to end discrimination against the Roma is by helping Roma girls get their education. But the children have to be healthy so they can go to school. So CARE, with funding from the European Commission, helped bring clean drinking water and medical care to Roma villages. To engage and empower women, we set up theatre groups, where Roma girls and young women could discuss topics that are usually taboo, from AIDS prevention to pregnancy to the roles of men and women in Roma society. Through acting, the girls and young women gain confidence and self-respect to acquire a place in society on their own.

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, discrimination, violence and poverty. This is especially true for women and girls from Roma groups, who continue to face significant negative attitudes and discrimination throughout the region.