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Project ID:00119124Description:Africa Regional Programme
Spotlight Initiative Fund
Start Date *: 23 Jul 2020
End Date*: 31 Dec 2022
Country: United Nations Project Status: On Going
  Participating Organization:   Multiple

Spotlight Africa Regional Programme


Programme Description

The Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme prioritises strengthening existing strategies and initiatives on eliminating violence against women and girls, such as the Africa Union (AU) Gender Strategy 2017-2027, Agenda 2030, Agenda 2063, the Maputo Plan of Action on the Operationalization of the Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2016-2030), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Union Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend, the African Youth Charter (2006) and the Common Position on Ending Child Marriage in Africa (2015), among others. 

The Africa Regional Programme is fully aligned with the Spotlight Initiative Africa Investment Plan, with common objectives, pillars, Theories of Change and results frameworks, as well as with continental priorities. The Programme also adopts a strategy of harnessing the respective strengths of multi-sectoral, multi-level partnerships, which will support the acceleration of transformative change. Along with government partners, the Programme will work with the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (via the AU), the Pan-African Women Organization (PAWO) and individual member states at national-level (under Stream II).

Stream I will be supporting the overall regional response to addressing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Harmful Practices (HP) as well as Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

Stream II will be supporting regional prevention of harmful practices, focusing specifically on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriage. Stream II responds to the priority that the African Union has placed on ending Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) across the continent by supporting the African Union’s Initiatives on these two issues. The total number of countries covered through the Stream II FGM component is 18, while the Stream II Child Marriage component covers 13 countries.

A number of elements have been built into the Regional Programme design to ensure efficiency and coherence between the two streams. Both Streams will work under Pillars 1, 5 and 6 of the Spotlight Initiative’s Theory of Change.


Number of beneficiaries: 16,100,302 (direct) | 67,957,938 (indirect)

Recipient UN Organizations (RUNOs): UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF

Spotlight Regional Programme Focal Point

Miranda Tabifor; Email:



The total Phase I investment from the EU for Streams I and II is USD 25,620,000 and is distributed according to the following:

Policies and Legislation (Outcome 1):

 Stream I

  • Support regional evidenced-based assessment of the status of enforcement of laws and policies and related advocacy, as well as capacity development of the African Union Commission (AUC) and other institutions, to accelerate the ratification, domestication and enforcement of regional instruments on Violence against Women and Girls and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
  • Support regional human rights institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs) in drafting and submitting a situational report on the rights of women and girls in Africa
  • Support the AUC and regional CSOs to implement the African Union Africa-Wide Initiative on Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Africa and support the rollout of an evidence-based Regional Action Plan and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) framework
  • Support the AU in establishing systems/protocols to support and protect the rights of women’s rights defenders and violence against women and girls-related extra-judicial executions and prosecutions.

Stream II Child Marriage

  • Provide support to and build capacity of the AUC and other regional bodies to advocate for and support new and/or existing initiatives to end child marriage
  • Strengthen accountability of member states, systematically monitor national-level actions and make progress on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.3.1 in the African context, with a sexual and reproductive health rights focus
  • Support advocacy for ending child marriage at the global and regional level to ensure legal and policy frameworks are enabling, evidence-based and in line with human rights standards, with a view to ensuring that the interests of vulnerable women and girls are addressed

Stream II Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

  • Get FGM on the political agenda of regional and sub-regional political institutions by supporting the AU and other regional political bodies
  • Strengthen accountability of Member States to regional frameworks and global human rights treaties, set up model laws and establish a functional peer review mechanism to systematically monitor national-level actions and progress in the elimination of FGM
  • Engage high-level political champions to galvanize and amplify regional and national-level commitments and movements towards the elimination of FGM


Data (Outcome 5):

Stream I

  • Strengthen the availability and use of quality and reliable data as well as the harmonization of data collection on sexual and gender-based violence/harmfulpractices/sexual and reproductive health and rights, in line with the AU Gender Strategy
  • Ensure that existing instruments, data and initiatives are made available to policymakers in order to inform policy advocacy and implementation, through supporting the AUC Regional Data and Research Unit, Africa Women’s Rights Observatory, and the Gender Scorecard
  • Support continental dialogue for sharing progress and challenges to end violence against women and girls, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices and to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights, informed by data and evidence from AU Member States implementing national Spotlight Programmes

Stream II Child Marriage

  • Support the engagement of regional bodies in global advocacy efforts with relevant partners to advocate for the establishment of a global reporting, accountability and visibility mechanism for tracking and analyzing a comprehensive and prioritized set of progress measures on child marriage
  • Strengthen the capacity of national statistical institutions to collect, track and analyse macro-level data (SDG 5.3) on child marriage
  • Strengthening capacity to integrate child marriage related data (e.g. on social change measures) into national surveys such as Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys and Demographic and Health Surveys

 Stream II FGM

  • Operationalize the global framework on measurement of social norms change on FGM
  • Develop the capacity of national stakeholders on generation and use of data, evidence and best practices for better programme implementation and reporting on FGM


Women’s Movements and Civil Society (Outcome 6):

Stream I

  • Create knowledge-sharing digital platforms accessible for regional CSOs to enable the exchange of good practices and lessons learned
  • Support innovative, regional, youth-led initiatives and increase the engagement of youth, particularly young women and girls, in policy dialogue on sexual and gender-based violence/harmful practices and sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Support partnerships between the AUC and regional faith-based organisations and networks of traditional leaders, including regional men and boys’ networks, to strengthen their engagement in prevention and response to violence against women and girls, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices and in promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Strengthen institutional capacity of regional CSO networks to fast track, monitor and report on the implementation of regional AU instruments and for advocacy and lobbying

 Stream II Child Marriage

  • Support mobilisation of women’s rights groups, CSOs and their network of partners to collectively advocate for prevention and mitigation of harmful practices with a focus on child marriage 

 Stream II FGM

  • Coordinate a regional-level CSO movement for lobbying and advocating for the elimination of FGM 
  • Build capacity of women’s rights groups, youth movements and CSOs on social accountability to advocate and influence implementation of policy commitments and legal provisions in addressing FGM  
  • Support ‘building bridge’ initiatives linking civil society across different continents 



Programmatic Innovation: The Regional Programme will provide an innovative effort and opportunities to strengthen the linkage and synergy between the two streams of the Programme.

Some innovative interventions include:

  • Rolling out the AU’s system/protocol to protect the rights of women’s rights defenders
  • Rolling out by member states of interactive data platforms for reliable and timely data on VAWG/Harmful Practices (HPs) to be used by policymakers
  • Supporting innovative, regional, youth-led initiatives that will expand young women and girls’ engagement with the AU
  • Identifying and documenting ‘what does not work,’ including an innovative approach to translate the intersectionality between child marriage, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and SRHR into action
  • Establishing an innovation hub with the aim to identify and promote exemplary initiatives by Member States in addressing FGM from a policy and legal perspective to be delivered by the Recipient UN Organisations directly
  • Using technology to amplify the messages of FGM and child marriage abandonment and to identify the location of girls at risk

Shared Operations: One Africa Coordination Unit will be set up to support joint planning and implementation of activities across the two streams, ensuring coordination, technical coherence, synergies and complementarity. It will ensure both streams contribute to specific joint results in the region. This Unit is tasked with the goal of bringing together the 3 components of the work into a coherent programme.

The FGM and Child Marriage components of Stream II will develop a joint operational plan to ensure coordination and harmonisation in the process of undertaking initiatives common and relevant to both components. This effort will also help in avoiding possible duplication of efforts and ensure more efficient resource utilisation.

The FGM and Child Marriage components of Stream II will sign a joint agreement with regional level women’s rights organisations and CSOs to implement coordinated interventions addressing both FGM and child marriage instead of signing two different agreements. This will be an important step forward in streamlining operational procedures and processes while working with implementing partners.

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in United Nations or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

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