Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan

Alliances for Change – Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices in Central Asia

Brief description

Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. The impact of violence for women and girls ranges from immediate to long term physical, sexual and mental health consequences. It has immense personal, societal and economic costs all around the globe: from greater health care and legal expenses to productivity losses. Gender equality and empowerment of women is central for the achievement of full human potential and sustainable development—with the elimination of violence against women being a crucial component.

Spotlight Initiative is the world’s largest dedicated effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. It is implemented as a global multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations. Today Spotlight Initiative is 25 country and regional programmes across the globe. Each programme is built around 6 pillars which define a unified holistic framework to eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (EVAWG). This approach includes addressing legislative and policy gaps, strengthening institutions, promoting gender-equitable attitudes, providing quality services for survivors, producing disaggregated data and empowering women’s movements.

The cornerstone “leave no one behind” principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development guides implementation of these programmes.

Spotlight Initiative regional programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan - Alliances for Change – Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practice in Central Asia – focuses on creation of Central Asia-wide mechanism engaging governments, civil society, activists, survivors, youth, men, and faith based leaders prevention, response and provision of services to women and girls subjected to violence, close the data gap on SGBV and ensure grassroots women's engagement in the elimination of violence against women and girls.

The programme is implemented by three UN Agencies – UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women under overall coordination of the UN Resident Coordinator. The project team is based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

Link to SDGs:

The SI for Central Asia supports the region’s advancement towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The eradication of SGBV and harmful practices, which relate to SDG 5 and  two important targets (5.2 and 5.3), has an impact on other SDGs. The act of guaranteeing that women and girls exercise their right to live a life free of violence is closely related to the goals and targets regarding the right to a healthy life (SDG 3), the reduction of inequalities (SDG 10, targets 10.2 and 10.3), inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities (SDG 11, targets 11.2 and 11.7), and the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16, target 16.1 and 16.2). Under the Regional programme, key partnerships will also be developed for the achievements of the 2030 Agenda (SDG 17). The implementation of SI in Central Asia and Afghanistan constitutes a substantive opportunity to support regional efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, and to promote their development at a local scale.

Programme activities:

Research and publications, networking, development of knowledge products, exchange of experience, dissemination of best practices,  regional convenings, digital challenge, grants to NGOs

Programme details:

Donor: European Union


Other partners: Governments, Civil Society, Activists, Survivors, Youth, Men and Faith-based Leaders from five CA countries and Afghanistan.

Phase I duration: July 2020 – January 2023

Total Phase I budget:     $4,432,461
Contribution of EU:        $4,248,584
Contribution of RUNOs: $ 183,877

Contribution from Government of RK: $50,000

Implementation modality: DIM

Status: on-going

Project office: Almaty, Kazakhstan