The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women
In March 2010, Avon and the Avon Foundation partnered with Vital Voices and the U.S. Department of State to launch the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women. The project created public-private partnerships to reduce violence against women through delegations in 15 countries around the world. Since the launch, delegations continue to accelerate their critical work to overcome challenging cultural realities that have been barriers to progress.
Avon, Vital Voices Global Partnership and AEquitas Launch the Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence in Mexico
In Guadalajara Mexico, Avon, Vital Voices Global Partnership and AEquitas launched the second of four Justice Institutes on Gender-Based Violence funded by the Avon Foundation for Women. The Justice Institute improves victim protection efforts and the criminal justice response to domestic abuse by facilitating a holistic approach to addressing violence against women and ensuring collaboration between allied professionals across several disciplines. Over four days, the Institute provided innovative, interactive and multi-disciplinary training courses and technical assistance to more than 60 judges, prosecutors, members of law enforcement, government officials and NGO advocates from across Mexico. Too often, domestic violence laws do exist but are not commonly well-known, understood or effectively implemented. These Institutes introduce cross-sector efforts to go further to protect victims of violence and secure justice for them.
The newest Institute in Mexico was introduced at a breakfast that included the First Lady of the State of Jalisco and President of the DIF System in Jalisco, Lorena Jassibe Ariaga de Sandoval, United States Consul General Susan Abeyta and other high level government dignitaries.
2014: Ensuring Services and Justice for Victims
On March 20, 2014, The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women launched a new initiative: the Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative.
The Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative is a first-of-its-kind global program dedicated to assisting victims of extreme forms of gender-based violence around the world. The Initiative takes comprehensive steps to eradicate gender based violence by providing critical support to survivors. By providing short-term emergency grants to cover medical care, emergency shelter, legal assistance, and other related costs, the program allows victims in urgent situations to access life-saving services. .
The new Initiative not only provides victims with the critical services they need, but also with the justice they deserve. The Initiative takes a holistic approach to addressing these crimes by creating a global gender-based violence training program for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, government officials, and NGO advocates – The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence. Too often, laws do exist, but they are not commonly well-known, understood or effectively implemented. These Institutes will introduce cross-sector efforts to go further to protect victims of violence and secure justice for them. Over the next two years, the program will work with criminal justice professionals and service providers in India, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa and other countries to develop and provide training that promotes a victim-centered approach to holding offenders accountable for their crimes.
Right: U.S. State Department Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Uzra Zeya, Vital Voices President and CEO Alyse Nelson, Avon Foundation Global Ambassador Fergie, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and Avon Products, Inc. CEO Sheri McCoy at the U.S. State Department on March 20, where they announced the Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence, a new initiative to support and protect victims of gender violence.
2012: Empowering Women Around the World
Mujeres en Igualded (M.E.I.) continues work on two of their current projects, "Let's Prevent Dating Violence!" and "The Digital Generation Against GBV>" Monique Thiteux Altschul reports using distribution tools such as YouTube, a blog, and digital workshops, as well as magazines and postcards. Pictured to the right is one of the postcards, "Violence Never: Click here, Love Should Not Hurt" Check out their blog.
Mercedes Assorati from Fundacion El Otro continues to strengthen the Zero Slavery media project to raise awareness on issues of trafficking and VAW, and further develop RATT, a virtual study room and tutorship program to reach their network of over 400 NGOs throughout Argentina.
Maria Hoch from Voces Vitales Argentina undertook a media campaign called "Gender Violence Affects Us All. Let's End It Together." For two months, 60 billboards like this one were posted throughout Buenos Aires train stations, with the campaign name and captions saying, "I'm your sister, I'm your friend, I'm your daughter."
On Nov. 28 in Brasilia, Brazil, the Avon Foundation for Women, Brazil’s Instituto Avon, and Vital Voices launched the second global summit of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women, one of the foremost initiatives utilizing multi-disciplinary, international alliances to address violence against women.
The event took place at the start of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence and included two days of Global Partnership delegate panels and deliberations, plus a public day that brought together a multi-disciplinary group of experts from around the world to exchange perspectives and experiences on building practical, sustainable solutions to ending violence against women.
In her remarks at the opening forum, Avon Products, Inc. CEO Sheri McCoy stated, “As the company for women, Avon is committed to ending the epidemic of violence against women and girls around the world. I am confident that this second global summit will give participants innovative and compelling insights to further their work to break the cycle of violence for future generations.”
McCoy, who was the first person to sign the Brazilian Minister of Women’s Policy’s corporate commitment to ending violence against women, announced that the Avon Foundation will award a total of US$100,000 to the most innovative project ideas that emerge from the summit’s deliberations. She also introduced the Avon Foundation-funded Communications X-Change, an innovative new global digital library for sharing and finding information about ending violence against women.
Other speakers at the opening forum included U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon, Brazilian Minister of Women’s Policy Eleonora Menicucci, CEO of Vital Voices Alyse Nelson, and Avon Institute Ambassador Luiza Brunet.
The Summit was the first to take place in Brazil, a country that stands out in its determination to fight domestic violence, led by its first female President, Dilma Rousseff, and Minister Menicucci. Instituto Avon, which coordinates Avon’s social actions in Brazil, has been an active partner in the anti-violence movement in Brazil, and in distributing information and surveys among Avon Representatives.
“We found Representatives who are experiencing this drama, and who now begin to understand they can transform their lives and help other women break the circle of violence”, said Lírio Cipriani, Instituto Avon’s Executive Director. “This meeting in Brazil is a welcome boost to a movement that is bringing in new partners and spreading out more and more.”
In addition, Vera Vieira at the Brazilian Peacewoman Association continues work on "Redefining Peace (UN 1325): Developing a Popular Education Methodology to Work with Women and Men Against Domestic Violence." Latest events have included exhibits in three of Brazil's regions, "1000 Peace Women Across the Globe", with an accompanying panel "Women and Men for Peace and Against Domestic Violence," as pictured.
During a Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF) organized workshop called "Understanding Human Trafficking for Media," 90 participants were trained. This workshop worked to raise awareness of human trafficking through various media outlets and public forums.
Qunfang Wu from The Maple Center continues to work on her grant project, "Education on the Prevention of Girl Sexual Abuse" by providing pilot courses to local schools.
ProFem continues to develop research on the "Economic Costs of Domestic Violence in the Czech Republic," and Katerina recently presented an analysis from her 2011 grant to a conference devoted to the issue of the economic impact of domestic violence on society.
Ravi Kant of Shakti Vahini was quoted in a New York Times article on April 4, 2012, in response to the rescue of an underage girl employed as a domestic servant. Underfed and abused, the discovery elicited a public outcry, though the girl's situation is one happening throughout India. In Kant's words, "There is a huge, huge demand. The demand is so huge that the government is tending toward regulation rather than saying our children should not work but should be in school."
Sunitha Krishnan and K. Sujatha from Prajwala organized a survivor-led conference on anti-trafficking policies, where Judge Swati Chauhan met one-on-one with victims. Sujatha also continues to manage the growth of Prajwala's newest facility in Amangan, India, for trafficking survivors.
Nadia Bushnaq at the Family Guidance and Awareness Center (FGAC) began her project to establish a Family Justice Center in Zarqa, Jordan. Along with the opening of the center, FGAC also reports increased cooperation and partnership with the judiciary.
Karim Riveres Lares at the Centro de los Derechos Humanos de la Mujeres (CEDEHM) has increased the number of workshops on legal procedures and domestic violence, has increased the number of psychotherapy sessions to victims and staff, and has begun to offer gender-sensitizing courses to various government agencies. CEDEHM has also started to offer emotional support groups and alternative forms of therapy to their staff, incorporating staff retention into their organization's goals.
Anastasia Ermolaeva at the Nizhny Novgorod Women Crisis Center continues to use her grant to enhance the collaboration between local government and local organizations, addressing the issue of domestic violence in the Nizhny Novgorod region in Russia. Among other activities, they have hosted seminars for the youth in their community involving 240 participants.
2011: Expanding Global Efforts
With renewed Avon Foundation support, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women expanded its efforts in 2011. It created a mentorship program that brought NGO leaders from ten partnership delegations to the U.S. for a comprehensive program, including meetings with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Lynn Rosenthal, members of the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez of the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and other domestic violence leaders.
In 2011, the Global Partnership also made grant awards for delegation projects, and presented a regional sexual violence institute in South Africa that trained participants to identify, evaluate, and overcome obstacles to the successful investigation and prosecution of sexual violence cases.
2010: Launching the Global Partnership
In 2010, in recognition of International Women’s Day, the Avon Foundation for Women, Vital Voices, and the U.S. State Department hosted a three-day launch of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women in Washington, D.C. This innovative public-private partnership fosters cross-sector collaborations with the goal of reducing violence against women.
To facilitate the global partnership, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women donated $1.2 million to Vital Voices to convene leaders from 15 countries in a global forum to share insights, collaborate, and seek ways to overcome challenging cultural realities that have been barriers to progress.
The Global Partnership:
- Supported regional events in India and Argentina in fall 2010
- Created a campaign toolkit of advocacy, awareness, and education programs that NGOs can use to reduce violence against women in any country
- Supported the documentary play Seven, which tells seven women’s stories of triumph over physical and mental abuse, oppression, and adversity
Avon Global Ambassador Reese Witherspoon, First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Avon's Andrea Jung attended the 2010 Women of Courage Awards at the U.S. State Department, where the Avon Foundation announced a $500,000 contribution to the Secretary of State’s Fund for Global Women's Leadership. The funds were used to:
- Create the Avon Awards for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence
- Fund ten NGOs in eight countries around the world that work on domestic and gender violence issues