ABIDJAN — Women Deliver launched its latest advocacy campaign, Deliver for Good, in three countries Wednesday as its latest push to highlight the central role of girls in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“I haven't seen any campaign like it, where all partners go in for the common good and are focusing on a specific population group without going into their own specific issue.”— Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver
The Deliver for Good campaign launched globally in 2016, but will now take off at the local level in three targeted countries — India, Senegal, and Kenya. Each country will focus on specific objectives based on the campaign’s 12 strategic investment areas, ranging from comprehensive health services and economic empowerment to sexual health and rights and equitable, quality education.
“Perhaps ‘campaign’ is a misnomer because this is really a sustained push … We are at this as long as it takes, with a focus on the SDGs, gender equality, and development at large,” Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen told Devex from the campaign launch in Kenya.
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Iversen said she sees the campaign as unique compared to others in the development landscape. “I haven't seen any campaign like it, where all partners go in for the common good and are focusing on a specific population group without going into their own specific issue,” she argued, describing Deliver for Good as a collaborative, multisectoral, and multigenerational effort.
The idea came from conversations with industry players on how to ensure the inclusion of gender equality in the SDGs. As Women Deliver began to compile facts, figures, case studies, analysis, and images, the organization realized the need for collaboration instead of competition “and for getting together around the whole girl and the whole woman, not just her health needs or her education needs,” Iversen explained.
Deliver for Good became the structure for this push, and operates on the ground using local coalitions. To date, more than 400 organizations across the globe have joined the cause. The campaign is largely financed by the Canadian and Danish governments.
The three countries were selected for local campaigns by an advisory group, following a thorough analysis of intersecting factors, including the burden of gender inequality, the country’s approach to the SDGs, the political climate, desire and demand for such a project, and past initiatives supporting women and girls.
In Kenya, progressive country-based efforts on issues affecting women and girls date back beyond 2001, when the government passed the Children’s Act, prohibiting child marriage. Currently, the government promises at least 30 percent of its budget for women, youth, and people living with disabilities. However, local Deliver for Good coalition members say they plan to ensure its enforcement.
“We stand ready to tackle the challenges that are disturbing the country now,” Teresa Omondi-Adeitan, campaign lead and executive director at the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya, told Devex.
Omondi-Adeitan believes that working in coalition with a united voice will help advance their concerns among decision-makers. “As we work together, we may be able to challenge government [representatives], officials who are making the decision and explain how we are regressing [on the issue of women and girls],” she said.
More than 20 organizations are participating in the Kenya campaign, and are committed to four priorities for collective action around economic empowerment, health, land rights, and political leadership. Within that, Deliver for Good Kenya will focus on improving access to adolescent, reproductive, and maternal health services, as well as increasing the availability of sex education.
The coalition will also be pushing for the replenishment of the government’s Biashara Kenya Fund, which provides low-interest rate loans to women business owners and allows women to participate in government procurement processes. Supporters are also pushing for the enforcement of the two-thirds gender principle, a constitutional law which states that no more than two-thirds of elected public bodies can be of the same gender — a rule that has been largely ignored and is up for an amendment vote on Wednesday.
‘A learning campaign’
Iversen described Deliver for Good as a “learning campaign,” explaining that experience in one country can be brought to bear as they launch elsewhere. Lessons from Kenya about how partners are brought together, how to leverage member expertise, and how to engage youth more closely are just some areas that have transformed efforts in Senegal, Iversen told Devex.
“We are building proof of concept as we go, because what we’re doing is so new, we want to learn from it and do it well,” she explained.
Evidence gathered for the campaign by coalition partners is available as open source information so as to “benefit everyone,” Iversen said.
“I'm absolutely convinced personally and professionally that this formula works, and seeing how coalition partners are coming together here — across what some would call divides — leaves me hopeful that this model can produce good outcomes,” she said.