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Enhancing urban safety for women and girls in the East Africa through local government capacity building
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Project description

In Africa, local authorities and urban planners may be aware of violence against women in both the public and private spheres, but do often not appreciate the role they themselves can play in tackling the issue. Local governments in eastern Africa have a vital role and responsibility in engaging women and men as equals in municipal decision-making. Working with a gender and social equity perspective provides new opportunities for democratization of municipal governance and reducing poverty through provision of quality, relevant and effective services and opportunities for both women and men. With local authorities adopting an integrated approach to development, tackling health, education, planning, environment, social services and in partnership with the police, civil society organizations and the private sector then major strides can be made in preventing violence against women, making the streets and public spaces safer for everyone. The urban poor are more exposed to violence than the rich, and since women make up the majority of the urban poor in Eastern Africa they are more exposed to risk. Of the 1.2 billion people in the world living in poverty, it is estimated that 70% are women.
Location: Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya
- Gender Mainstreaming
Partner: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UNIFEM, Huairou Commission and Women in Cities International
- Gender
Budget: USD 595,000
Received/Pledged: 2013

Focus Area(s)

- FA1: Effective advocacy, monitoring and partnerships


Towns and cities are growing rapidly, and today more than half of the world’s population is living in urban areas. It is the cities and towns in Africa which are growing the fastest (3.3% per year).  Different people use public spaces differently, depending on factors such as gender, age, background, socio-demographics. Today many women and girls live with feeling insecure at certain times of the day and night and in certain places. Violence and fear of crime hinders women and girl’s ability to participate fully in urban life and to achieve a basic quality of life, creating feelings of insecurity, discomfort, anxiety and helplessness which can: (a) reduce women and girl’s mobility in the city, (b) contribute to social isolation, (c) prevent women ad girl’s full participation in urban life, (d) impact on how members of communities interact, and finally (e) inhibit the creation of communities where people feel safe, respected, supported and valued. In the design, planning, management and governance of neighborhoods, public spaces and transport initiatives, the gender specificity is often ignored and the failure to address this has created major impediments to gender equality and human settlements development. Sustainable urbanization involves creating cities that are safe and friendlier for everyone. Safety from violence is more than a policing issue. Local authorities and urban planning has a key role to play. Traditionally, concerns about violence against women focused on domestic/family violence in the private realm. But, it is increasingly being recognized internationally that there is a great need to address violence in public spaces and the interface between the private and the public realm, taking a gendered approach and to understand the role design, planning and management can play in minimizing risks.


Develop Local Government capacity to enhance urban safety for women in girls and develop a culture of prevention in the East African region.

Target Group

Women and girls in Eastern Africa.



If you may be interested in funding this project, please contact us: info.rmu@unhabitat.org
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