Grassroots women: game changers in the fight against corruption




14 Mar 2014

New York – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Huairou Commission, a global network of grassroots women’s organizations, convened a global dialogue to discuss how supporting women can further contribute to building transparent and effective governance, including the context of the Post-2015 development agenda.

The event also presented the UNDP’s and Huairou Commission’s e-Learning course on gender equality, women’s empowerment and anti-corruption.

“Increased emphasis has to be placed on how to empower, support and learn from women as a central strategy to fighting corruption. This strategy lies at the heart of our event today”, said Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director a.i. of UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy. “UNDP’s support for women’s participation and leadership in politics, public administrations and beyond, now also includes the field of anti-corruption from which women are too often excluded”, added Mr. Martínez-Solimán.

The dialogue took place in the margins of the 58th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW). Government representatives, grassroots women, civil society, academia and UN officials discussed the effectiveness of women’s led strategies to strengthen transparency and accountability and prevent corruption.

“Local to local dialogue strategy provides grassroots women a platform to articulate land issues affecting their communities. By approaching land offices collectively, we shift the power dynamics between grassroots women and public officials,” said Frances Birungi-Odong, from the Uganda Community Based Association for Child Welfare, who presented her experience on the land titling processes.

The participants agreed that more efforts are needed to expand women’s engagement in the fight against corruption, as well as connect the experiences of grassroots women to the efforts at the global and national levels to develop and implement anti-corruption policy and strategies.

Evidence has shown that empowered grassroots women help transform traditional gender and power relations during decision making processes.

Non-confrontational and collective approaches to corruption through grassroots women’s organizations have proven to increase trust between constituencies and government officials, resulting in higher degrees of transparency and accountability.

Since 2012, UNDP and the Huairou Commission have been working to support grassroots women’s organizations to implement anti-corruption strategies aimed at improving access to service delivery such as water, education and health. This work has mobilized more than 2,300 community members and trained over 500 people on social accountability strategies in Brazil, Nepal, Nicaragua and the Philippines.

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