The Raising Her Voice global programme
Oxfam’s Raising Her Voice (RHV) programme is predicated on the alarming inequalities women systemically face around the world. On average, women earn less than half of men, while women account for roughly two-thirds of those who cannot read or write globally. Seeking to address these inequalities and empower women, RHV focuses on long-term and collaborative processes to attain social transformation.
This case study examines the programme as a whole, explaining the feminist theory of change underpinning RHV as including three broad spheres: personal, political, and social, all of which influence women’s opportunities to participate in governance. These areas, once identified and understood, can then be changed in order to strengthen women’s voices. The RHV programme itself focuses on four main areas: enabling poor and marginalised women activists to network and advocate; working with public institutions, including traditional structures; empowering civil society organisations to achieve poor women’s rights as citizens; and disseminating lessons and good practice.
The various aspects involved in these areas are discussed, before wider lessons on the potential benefits of a global programme approach are presented in the conclusion. These include: more effective and manageable disbursement of funds; the potential for ‘cross-fertilisation’ of ideas and lessons; enhanced motivation via being part of a global project; and more direct links between global advisers and local country staff. There are also disadvantages though, one of which is that the common denominator, in this particular case Oxfam, can take away some of the focus that should possibly be aimed at being context specific and understated.