Women and girls suffer violence and discrimination in every corner of the globe. Donor Direct Action partners with organizations and activists working in the following countries to end gender-based abuse and exploitation.
Donor Direct Action partners with frontline activists to strengthen women's rights around the world.Support DDA
Afghanistan is the home of the Taliban and the country faces challenges that include political instability, weak rule of law, poverty, and deep-rooted discrimination against women and girls. Afghan women and girls are routinely subjected to various brutal and often deadly forms of violence, the selling or buying of girls and women for the purpose sexual exploitation, forced self-immolation, and the traditional practice of ba’ad which requires the giving away of a woman or a girl to settle a dispute. Perpetrators violate women with impunity, and with so little hope for justice, some women burn themselves to death in desperation to escape the violent oppression in their lives.
For more than twenty years, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been at war, leaving nearly six million dead. Both soldiers and armed rebels wield rape as a weapon, and recent studies find an increase in rapes by civilians in the new, commonplace prevalence of sexual assault. A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Public Health reported 1,100 rapes daily; more than 400,000 women and girls age 15 to 49 were raped during one 12-month period in 2006-2007—revealing sexual violence against women to be 26 times more common than UN reports had shown for the DRC. Rape in the Congo is an ongoing, seemingly endless epidemic, destroying the lives of girls and women on a daily basis.
El Salvador has a long history of violence. The 13-year civil war that ended in 1992 has been replaced by gang warfare. Continuing high rates of poverty, inequality and crime have given the country the dubious honor of having the highest murder rate in the world. Violence against women is endemic and femicide – the deliberate killing of women because they are women – is so common that it has been made a special criminal category. During 2015, a woman was murdered every 15 hours and in October - the most violent month for women - nearly three women were killed every day. Crimes against women remain underreported in a climate of fear and impunity, with 75% of femicide cases ending up never being prosecuted.
In 2001, Kenya’s Parliament passed the Children’s Act banning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for girls under 18. A second set of laws passed in 2011 made it illegal to promote or to facilitate FGM, and stiffened penalties. But despite these laws, FGM is still an all too painful reality for generations of Kenyan women and girls. In 2009, a public health survey found that 27% of women had been subject to FGM with even higher numbers among the Somali (98%), Kisii (96%) and Maasai (73%) communities. No one knows how many girls die from FGM – from hemorrhage, infection, or later in life during childbirth. The practice of FGM is deeply entwined with the cultural traditions. Many families see it as a necessary rite of passage for a girl to become a woman, and as a social prerequisite of marriage.
Latvia is both a source and destination country for human trafficking. Latvian women are forced into prostitution in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Women are also victimized by sex trafficking within the country. The Government of Latvia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so - in part thanks to the efforts of Marta Resource Center for Women.
Libya is suffering from increasing turmoil and lawlessness, inflamed by a multitude of competing, heavily armed groups and a broadening political crisis. United Nations reports depict tremendous suffering among the population, and more specifically among children, with many unable to attend school and others killed or maimed at home or during attacks on schools and hospitals. Numerous witnesses also describe daily violence against women, including threats, attacks and killings of female human rights defenders, politicians and other women in public positions. Against such a backdrop, the international community calls for bolstering State institutions, urges accountability for human rights violations and support for the ongoing political dialogue. In that context, the need to support women and civil society and to ensure the inclusion of women in the peace-building process is critical to create a culture of democracy.
Nepali women and girls are subjected to discrimination and violence in various forms. Nepali society, institutions and communities continue to impede local women's ability to enjoy public life and to limit their ability to negotiate their position according to their own interests and needs. The female literacy rate still remains low and women's access to health services in Nepal is inadequate. Gender-based violence is a severe problem, and women often find themselves subjected to domestic violence, rape, and human trafficking. Women and girls in Nepal are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, with thousands of girls trafficked internally from rural areas to Kathmandu for commercial sexual exploitation.
In 2014, nearly 300 school girls were abducted in Nigeria by the terrorist organization Boko Haram. More than a year later, as the world still waits and hopes for their safe return, the human rights of Nigerian women and girls continue to be violated every day throughout the country. In the South, widows are disinherited and left with nothing to survive, while in the North, early and forced marriages are customary. Domestic violence and sexual harassment cut across regional divides as well as reproductive health violations and the absence of education and employment opportunities for women and girls.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994 with limited authority over the Palestinian population living in the Israeli Occupied Territory, which includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Continued political unrest and ongoing armed conflict, combined with restrictions on freedom of movement, the inability of most PA courts to enforce decisions, and a slow process of new legislation, make it extremely difficult for Palestinian women to advocate for women's rights in the face of continuing violence and poverty. As a result, Palestinian women suffer from insufficient legal protections and inconsistent enforcement of laws. Women are discriminated against in laws governing marriage, divorce, custody of children, inheritance, and violence against women.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still widely performed in Somalia, and health crises accompanying the practice are common. Primary education enrollment is low; girls' dropout rates are high. So are illiteracy rates among women—who have been excluded from educational, political, and economic participation, trapped in early marriages and household roles. The few education and employment opportunities that previously existed for women have been destroyed, like the land itself, by protracted civil war.
South Africa ranks among the 10 countries in Africa where human trafficking is worst, with 100,000 people reportedly being trafficked in the country annually - and experts believe this number is not a true reflection of the crime as legislative shortcomings hinder prosecutions. South Africa is also characterized by devastating levels of violence against women and children– rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and domestic violence – in a context of high HIV/AIDS prevalence and economic inequality.
Brutal war is raging in Syria, and women's participation in state-building and decision-making is more than ever challenged in a country described as already lagging behind other Arab countries due to the strictness of Assad's regime in implementing discriminatory laws. Moreover, the conflict is increasingly marked by rape and sexual violence employed as a weapon of war. The Syrian Women's Forum for Peace is calling for a democratic Syrian state with just institutions, to be brought about through peaceful means and a political solution to achieve peace for Syria.