In 2008, Southern Africa governments signed and adopted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, which integrates and mainstreams gender issues in the region. The Protocol is now under review.
Gender Links will enable civil society organisations from eight Southern Africa countries to work with the SADC Gender Unit and governments on drafting a revised Protocol on Gender and Development, and to follow up on its implementation. This will include gathering case studies on gender equality from civil society, local and national government in the region, and using the Citizens Score Card to gather citizen perspectives on progress made by their governments towards gender equality.
It is expected that by the end of the project, a new Protocol with civil society input will have been adopted by the Southern Africa Development Community. Civil society will also have acquired the necessary tools to track progress towards achieving gender equality in line with the new Post-2015 development framework.
Gender Links, South Africa
Gender Links works with partners at local, national and regional level to: produce evidence based research on gender gaps and progress in the SADC region and use it in advocacy efforts; promote gender equality in all areas of governance; foster a gender movement through coalition building; and, build capacity of civil society to engage in processes that advance gender equality and justice. Gender links coordinates an alliance of 15 national networks, comprising 40 organisations, and nine regional networks. Organisations from the alliance based in the eight target countries will be involved in country activities such as in the delivery of workshops, collation of a matrix of indicators and case studies.
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The need to improve the legislation that covers mental ill health in Commonwealth countries is growing more and more pressing as the prevalence of mental ill health increases worldwide.
The Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF) is updating mental health legislation in Botswana and Seychelles to bring them in line with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability. Botswana and Seychelles will be the first Commonwealth countries to see their mental health laws brought in line with the UN Convention, and will see the CNMF work to establish the support structures that will build thorough and inclusive mental health provisions.
The two implementation countries were selected due to the existing strong base of networks in place, upon which the CNF will be able to build and develop their work. The project will either support an existing national mental health advocacy group – or establish a new one, if necessary – bringing together people with mental ill health, carers, medical health professionals and policy officials, to pool their experience and collectively develop solutions.
These groups will provide valuable forums to make sure that legislation is formed from the right information and the right people. The Commonwealth Nurses Federation will oversee the project, providing technical support to the groups and working to ensure the sustainability of the positive outcomes produced by the project.
With mental ill health predicted to be the world’s greatest health burden by 2030, this project is supporting the efforts to drive down the stigma, discrimination and marginalisation suffered by people with mental ill health and make treatment and care accessible to all.
Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation
The Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF), founded in 1973, is a federation of national nursing and midwifery associations in Commonwealth countries.
The CNMF has regular and constructive contact with major Commonwealth bodies in London including the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation. The CNMF is an accredited Commonwealth body, which allows involvement in annual Health Ministers’ meetings, the biennial Commonwealth Peoples Forum held prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and other Commonwealth meetings such as the civil society consultations.