The Spotlight Initiative’s work is rooted in research that amplifies the belief that the leadership and deep engagement of civil society is at the core of transformative and sustainable change in the elimination of violence against women and girls. Civil society, in particular women’s rights and feminist activists and movements, is therefore a central and paramount partner of the Spotlight Initiative. This includes those representing groups facing intersecting forms of discrimination.
Spotlight Initiative’s partnership with civil society is guided by:
- A human-rights based approach
- The “Leaving No One Behind” principle, and
- National ownership
Civil Society Reference Groups
“To be a part of this group has been an important space of learning and has enabled us to strengthen our links and relationships.” - National Reference Group member, Argentina
Civil society is systematically engaged at national, regional and global levels through the partnership with Civil Society Reference Groups. The Reference Groups represent civil society at the governance and decision-making bodies of the Initiative and aims to advise the Initiative, to advocate for the realization of its objectives and to hold the Initiative accountable for its commitments.
At the Global level, the Civil Society Reference Group is comprised of 20 diverse members, selected by a civil society-led selection committee in April 2020.
Toolbox: Reference Group members can find relevant resources, templates and guidelines here.
Community of Practice: Members are welcome to join the Community of Practice on Facebook, here.
At the Global level, the Civil Society Reference Group is comprised of 20 diverse members, selected by a civil society-led selection committee in April 2020. Please find the biographies of the Global Reference Group members below, and the biographies of the National and Regional Reference Groups here.
Investing in civil society
As one of Spotlight Initiative’s most critical partners, ensuring meaningful investments for civil society is a key priority for the Initiative. In line with Spotlight Initiative’s commitments, women’s organizations at national and local levels are the main partners of Spotlight Initiative across all outcome areas.
Spotlight Initiative has budgeted 50 per cent (USD 124 MIllion) of 2019 approved Spotlight Initiative programmatic funds (Phase 1) for civil society organizations.*
Approximately 82 per cent of the funds committed to civil society organizations in 2019 were invested in national, local and grassroots organizations, of which 88 per cent were women-led or women’s rights/feminist organizations.
Through its partnership with the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, the Initiative has awarded USD 24 million in direct grants to civil society organizations, of which 93 per cent has been awarded to women-led and/or women’s rights organizations.
In response to COVID-19, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence and Spotlight Initiative reallocated USD 9.1 million to core institutional support for 44 existing grantees in Sub-Saharan Africa and to establish a knowledge hub (under development).
Through its partnership with the Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund, the Initiative has awarded USD 4.4 million to 31 grantees in Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda and the DRC. Additional grants are underway in Malawi, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan.
*excl. ASEAN Safe & Fair and programmes approved after December 2019.
Sign up for Email Updates
To sign up for Spotlight Initiative’s quarterly civil society updates, please submit your email address here.