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South Africa is sometimes known as “the gay heaven” of Africa, where same-sex marriage is legal and human rights for all are enshrined in the post-Apartheid Constitution. But there is a gulf between the legal framework and the LGBTI community’s lived experience. Discrimination and brutal hate crimes continue, especially in rural areas. ZwaKala is an EU-funded programme implemented by Iranti-org which builds local capacity to document and report on hate crimes and human rights violations.
From gender-based violence to social exclusion, there is still a long way to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowering of women and girls.
Having managed to slip away briefly from her household chores, Joyce Mtenje sits at a wooden desk in a district resource centre in Malawi, flipping through the pages of “The Nation” newspaper. She's taking advantage of an EU-funded centre that's about to transform to a Malawian institution.
Given the complex nature of gender inequality, factors that render women most liable to discrimination are not always easily identifiable. How can humanitarian and development actors get a clearer picture using intersectional analysis?
A second update of the European Union’s Plan of Action for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development 2010-2015 was presented to the European Council in December, and shows that while progress has been made, important challenges persist. Jean Louis Ville, Head of Unit at EuropeAid’s Governance, Democracy, Gender and Human Rights, and Marina Marchetti, EuropeAid's Head of Sector for Gender and Non-Discrimination, provide their viewpoints on the results.
Technical assistance plays a key part in projects backed by the European Development Fund (EDF). However, translating the needs of a beneficiary government can be challenging. We hear from Ram-Maria Ouedraogo who has experience of working on both sides of the aid partnership.
Thanks in part to awareness campaigns like She is We, gender equality has become a key issue for the development community. This is particularly evident among the national development agencies, as many of them have adopted new rules and behaviours to mainstream gender in their everyday work.
A refuge for women in Kenya’s Langas slum in Eldoret decided it needed to provide more than shelter and healthcare for victims of sexual and other violence. So SlovakAid helped set up the St Vincent de Paul vocational training centre for single mothers. They studied hairdressing and dressmaking, as well as basic computer skills to allow them to type up their CVs and search for jobs on the Internet. 
Women in Nigeria
In Nigeria, addressing the question of gender equality and gender issues requires long-term structured engagement. A sense of ownership of the process to implementers and beneficiaries can help drive this process and create a sustainable culture shift.
Nicaraguan girl smiling
Women in Nicaragua face high rates of gender-based violence, with 80% of all reported acts of sexual violence being committed against girls. Tackling the problems of gender, from violence to economic exclusion, must start with the acknowledgement of fundamental human rights.

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