The Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund [MDG-F] was established in 2007 when an agreement was made between the Spanish government and the United Nations. The deal revolved around accelerating the MDG’s to commit to eradicating poverty, increasing equality and changing peoples lives across the globe (MDG Fund, 2013). Nearly 9 million people have benefitted directly from this programme, with a focus on advancing gender equality for women and girls. The programme is working in 50 countries, with 130 projects across the globe. (MDG Fund, 2013). The three gender related aspects of the programme are; freedom from violence, improved capabilities and resources and increased participation in decision-making.
There are many types of violence that women across the world face on a daily basis such as partner violence, conflict violence, trafficking and traditional violent practices (UN Women, 2013). The MDG-F has put forward various ways of tackling violence against women, such as legal policy frameworks and services to eliminate gender based violence. Survivors of gender-based violence often need access to shelter, medical and psychological support (UN Women, 2013). In 2009 the Batha Centre for women was opened in Morocco. This is a locally run establishment that provides support for women who have faced gender violence. The centre is multi-functional providing facilities such as shelter, counselling and clinical services. The idea of this centre is to empower the women enabling them to be the main actors for their economic development. The importance of this centre is evident for women; it allows them to empower themselves and create a better future in a safe environment.
The second focus is based around improving capabilities and resources for women. Economically empowering women is critical to raise self-awareness of women’s rights and achieving the broader millennium development goals. However women still face social and legal barriers hindering their development (UN Women, 2013). Sen (1999) states that development requires the removal of barriers such as social deprivation. Empowering women will allow economic and social development across the world. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a programme based around technical training and start up equipment reached 627 women (UN Women, 2013). This allowed them to initiate income-generating activities, empowering them to create their own personal development. Furthermore, the programme held 43 land-cession contracts to secure land tenure of 3,124 households, 1,643 were headed by women (UN Women, 2013). Land is one of the keys to building better lives and equality for women in the developing world. However women are frequently blocked by their husband, even if the land legally belongs to them (IFAD, 2013). The importance of this programme is significant to empowering women to create their own economic development; by creating the correct ownership of land this secures women’s food security and future.
The low numbers of women in public decision-making, from parliaments to local councils must be changed to ensure that women feature in democratic institutions (UN Women, 2013). If you leave out women and girls you exclude 50% of the states brain power, creative genius and economic drivers (UNESCO, 2012). The involvement of women in decision-making is crucial to a country’s development. In Panama, women’s participations in administrative boards that manage rural aqueducts have been identified as a key to the sustainability of MDG-F interventions (UN Women, 2013). This is because women migrate less and hence maintain a greater permanence in the community (UN Women, 2013). However, governments and local councils need to create economic plans to address gender gaps. This is called gender-responsive budgeting; it seeks to ensure that there is an allocation of public services that contribute to the advancement of gender equality (UN Women, 2013). In Nicaragua, there are 15 pilot municipalities that effectively mainstreamed gender considerations into their development plans and budgets. Furthermore, nine national government commissions and seven local government have institutionalized gender units (UN Women, 2013). To decrease gender inequality, women need to be in positions where they are able to participate in decision-making; these programmes allow women to do that.
To conclude, the MDG-F provides crucial help to accelerate the progress of the MDG’s especially focused on gender advancement. The programmes are based worldwide, which allows global advancement in gender equality. These programmes support women on a range of different issues; this allows them to become more empowered economically and socially. Therefore this shows the importance of the MDG-F programmes for women.
International Fund for Agricultural Development [IFAD]. (2013). Women’s Land Rights project: Opportunities and challenges. Retrieved from IFAD on 2nd October 2013: http://www.ifad.org/english/land/women_land/
MDG Fund. (2013). MDG-F: About Us. Retrieved from Millennium Development Goals Fund on 2nd October 2013: http://www.mdgfund.org/aboutus
Sen, A. (1999). Development As Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
UNESCO. (2012). From access to equality: empowering girls and women through literacy and secondary education. Paris: UNESCO.
UN Women. (2013). Advancing Gender Equality: Promising Practices. http://www.unwomen.org/mdgf/downloads/MDG-F_Case-Studies.pdf