IREX, Pact, and CSM-STAND consortium launch project to tackle technology-facilitated gender-based violence globally
In September, the Civil Society and Media - Strengthened Together and Advancing in New Directions (CSM-STAND) program, implemented by a consortium of global partners co-led by Pact and IREX, launched the Transform (Transform Digital Spaces to Reflect Feminist Democratic Principles) program. Transform is a three-year global pilot initiative funded by USAID, which will expand opportunities for women to safely exercise their civic voice and agency, both online and offline, by addressing Technology-Facilitated Gender Based Violence (TFGBV).
"Our team at IREX is so honored to partner with USAID, Pact, and other partners to implement this important program”, said IREX President and CEO Kristin Lord. “Intentional online harm perpetrated against people because of their sexual or gender identity stands in the way of all people having a voice and contributing to democracy. Through Transform, we look forward to joining global efforts to monitor, prevent, and mitigate."
TFGBV is a global phenomenon, wherein information and communication technologies are weaponized against individuals based on their gender. It is experienced disproportionately by women, girls, and LGBTQI+ persons. In addition to its toll on individuals’ well-being, TFGBV dampens civic engagement, negatively impacting institutions, communities, and societies.
Transform will build individuals’ resilience to TFGVB, strengthen institutions’ capacity and commitment to decreasing its prevalence, and support efforts to transform equity-focused social norms related to gender and digital citizenship to reduce the negative impact of TFGBV. The program will seek to address the root causes of TFGBV, increasing collaboration between diverse local actors who monitor and analyze as well as prevent, mitigate, and respond to it, and creating accountability mechanisms for those who enable and perpetrate TFGBV. Taken together, these efforts will help catalyze public demand and support for equity-focused gender and digital citizenship norms and policy reforms.
“It is crucial to combat increased digital misinformation and disinformation in all of its forms, especially when it leads to violence against marginalized populations whose voices must be heard in diverse and resilient societies,” says Caroline Anstey, Pact President & CEO. “I hope this project will support women to be safe and confident as they step into the public sphere and represent their communities."
Transform builds upon and extends IREX’s core areas of technical expertise and programming, including in gender equality and social inclusion, resilience to information manipulation, strengthening human potential and institutional capacity, wholistic safety and security initiatives, and working with local partners to improve enabling environments, including transforming norms and systems.
IREX will lead Transform, drawing upon decades of partnering with local organizations and government entities to support more resilient communities, institutions, and individuals. Pact will provide technical leadership to the program in strengthening the work of organizations delivering services to those impacted by TFGBV. Transform will also engage other international and regional partners, including Makaia, Sonke Gender Justice, and Moonshot to implement key program activities. Importantly, the program will empower local partners, including women’s rights organizations, civic tech groups, women’s public leadership associations, and TFGBV service providers, in three pilot countries to adapt and learn from Transform approaches/resources and to implement innovative solutions to improve tools to combat TFGBV in their communities.
CSM-STAND is a five-year, USAID funded Leader with Associates (LWA) award that aims to foster independent civic forces; enhance civic engagement; and build vibrant, resilient and self-reliant civil society and media sectors that cultivate more pluralistic, democratic societies. CSM-STAND is comprised of leading global, regional, and technical practitioners. It is led by Pact and IREX, who bring extensive practical experience and knowledge of fundamental principles, key issues, current practices and emerging trends in the democracy, rights and governance community.