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Deacon Elineide Ferreira de Oliveira, coordinator of the Casa Noeli dos Santos safe house, is on the frontline of the fight against gender-based violence in Brazil.

Addressing gender discrimination

Gender inequality is keeping people trapped in poverty and stopping them from living full and free lives. Our gender work runs through everything we do.

We were influential in bringing about a standalone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on gender equality and supported the setup of Side by Side, a global faith movement for gender justice.

Ensuring inclusion

Increasingly, we recognise the need to tackle discrimination at all levels; on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and freedom, as well as ethnicity and disability. Since 1993, there have been at least 500 cases of murder and assault against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in El Salvador. Our partner FESPAD is supporting people like Karla Avelar, a courageous transgender activist who risks her life to campaign for her rights. As a result, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission passed a resolution calling on the Salvadoran state to prosecute hate crimes against the LGBTI community.

Our learning from the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme in India has been that where a person experiences more than one form of inequality – for example, being a Dalit, disabled and a woman; the result is increased risk and reduced voice and power.

Empowering women in El Salvador

In El Salvador, women in some of the most marginalised communities face the threat of violence every day.

June 2015: Liudimila de Villa Mariena, left, alongside her friend Ana Jeannette Mejia.

If women are better educated about the laws, they can either take care of themselves or get the proper counsel. Women are able to be more empowered.

Liudimila

FESPAD is supporting women like Liudimila and Ana who are part of a 27-woman-strong committee that reaches out to 300 female victims of violence in their community. It’s a cause that’s close to Ana’s personal experience. At the time she started this work, she was facing violence at the hands of her husband.

We’re encouraging women to stand up for themselves, helping them understand the existing laws and equipping them to gain access to the rights to which they are entitled through legal advice.

This work is not without its challenges. Gang members have threatened to kill Ana’s husband as a result of her work and have asked the committee to leave certain areas where they’ve hosted workshops.

However, these women will not give up and neither will our partners.

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