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International Cooperation

RollUp IZFor over 20 years, international cooperation has been an essential component of the commitment of TERRE DES FEMMES. We currently maintain partnerships with ten women’s initiatives and grassroots organizations all over the world.

Joining forces for a life free of violence

Supporting our partner organizations and developing common projects aim at breaking down misogynistic social structures, and strengthening women’s rights. We fight against women’s rights violations, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), early and forced marriage, trafficking in women and forced prostitution, and all (other) forms of gender-specific violence. The goal of our work is women’s equal and self-determined participation in society – in every part of the world. Our international cooperation work mirrors our efforts in Germany, where we advocate for the same issues.  

Transparency and cooperation based on equality are the principles of our partnerships, which are characterized by regular exchange, personal contact and annual visits to the partner organizations. Through the close and tailor-made collaboration we ensure the success and sustainability of the projects.

Gender equality and sustainable development

Gender inequality as a structural cause of poverty and violence is largely unrecognized, and as such is hardly considered by development policies and debates. This also holds true for debates on the Agenda 2030, a catalogue of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015 by the General Assembly of the United Nations and applicable in all 193 member states. The declaration (especially Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) urges the member states to fight for gender equality and combat violence against girls and women. However, good intentions must be followed by concrete actions if the objectives are to be achieved.

In the view of TDF, current development strategies promoting global equality should focus more on the strengthening of women’s rights, the improvement of women’s access to resources, and the promotion of social participation of women. It is imperative that e.g. local grassroots organizations run by women for women are supported by a model of self-help oriented collaboration.

Gender equality is a basic condition for sustainable development.

Human rights are women’s rights – worldwide!

All over the world, women are exposed to discriminatory structures and the full enjoyment of basic human rights remains out of their reach. Due to patriarchal societies, gender discriminatory religious rules and traditionally rooted concepts, women struggle for the free development of their abilities, education and their very existence. Violence against women continues to be a problem of global dimensions. In 2013, Margaret Chan, General Director of the World Health Organization, declared it a “global health problem of epidemic proportions”.

TDF’s international cooperation is committed to improve this situation, so that women have equal opportunities to participate in civil society, and can lead a self-determined life. Side by side with our partner organizations we fight for the implementation of the internationally chartered women’s rights.    

Our work and commitment

TERRE DES FEMMES has fought for women’s rights at national and international level since its founding in 1981. Building on the voluntary work and long-standing contacts of the TDF members, the Department for International Cooperation was established in September 2012 in the TDF headquarters in Berlin. Up till now, members of TDF actively shape the cooperation with our partner organizations as voluntary project coordinators. In collaboration with the Department for International Cooperation, the main working areas are project development, public relations, fundraising and funding acquisition in Germany. Close contact with our partner organizations allows us to jointly evaluate and further develop sustainable project work. In addition to the funding of ongoing activities of our partners, these are some of our long-term projects:

  • Protection from Female Genital Mutilation: A Safe House for Girls in Sierra Leone
  • Education for Girls: Construction of a Girls’ School in North Cameroon
  • Protection and Advice for Women Affected by Violence: A Women’s Shelter in North Mali

The coming together of different political opinions, governmental actors, grassroots and civil forces, as well as feminist activists from the Global North and the Global South constantly give rise to new and exciting challenges and opportunities. In the view of TERRE DES FEMMES, networking with other women’s rights organizations and activists all over the world is essential for sustainably achieving equal rights and a life free of violence for all women.

TERRES DES FEMMES demands the following:

  • Increased commitment of governmental and international development cooperation actors to ensure that more resources are assigned to the implementation of concrete measures to support women’s projects and organizations.
  • In all bilateral negotiations of German development cooperation, gender equality must be addressed and the efforts to fight women’s rights violations must be increased. Financial commitments should be tied to concrete measures to improve women’s rights.
  • The implementation of existing regulations as CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) and similar resolutions of the UN, e.g. the Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation of 2012, must be reinforced.
  • A renewed and serious commitment of governmental and international actors to the achievement of the SDGs set forth in the Agenda 2030, especially Goal 5.