Women’s Rights Programming

ActionAid Ireland has a long history women-led programming in the Global South and more recently in Ireland. Our programmes work with women and communities to prevent and respond to gender based violence (GBV), to generate income and to have to have an equal say in community level and national governance.

Women’s Rights Programme

We have a long-running partnership agreement with Irish Aid to run the Womens Rights Programme, ActionAid Irelands flagship development programme.

The Women’s Rights Programme have been running since 2012, with the overall goal of the programme being, increase the safety and security of women and girls and improve their economic wellbeing, by working with women, girls, boys, men and relevant system actors to build community capacity to prevent violence against women and girls and support women’s livelihoods in the three countries (Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal). 

The programme also aims to deepen the Irish public’s understanding and support for overseas development aid over the lifetime of the programme. To realise Women’s Rights outcomes of safety and economic security, ActionAid Ireland has since 2017 consistently applied an actor-based behaviour change model, building on recommendations made by the evaluation of the previous programme cycle.  

ActionAid Ireland and UCL Centre for Behaviour Change have been collaborating on the programme, which integrates the Behaviour Change Wheel framework (Michie et al, 2014) within an adaptive programming approach to create an innovative approach to programme implementation. You can read more about the approach in our Behaviour Change Manual, Using the Behaviour Change Wheel Framework within Gender-Focused International Development Programmes: A Field Guide, here. 

You can read also read a summary of the Behaviour Change Manual here.  

Case study

In Kenya, ActionAid worked with Lady Constance Ludi – the only lady chief from Taita Taveta county Kenya – through the Irish Aid funded women’s rights programme. Chief Lady Constance worked with local women and identified that the majority of the women in this region were unaware of their rights and in turn were holding back from reporting cases of gender-based violence. They also identified that there was no referral system in place in which patients were referred from the doctor to the hospital or social worker.

Working with ActionAid they organised online forums to educate local women on their rights. As a direct impact of this work, there was an increase in the reports of gender-based violence. In addition, because of the increased demand and emphasis on gender based violence services in the area, the county government made additional resources available for referral mechanisms.

Women-Led Solutions to Food Insecurity

We are working with ActionAid Bangladesh to deliver aflagship climate project on improving food security and access to livelihoods in rural Bangladesh.

The project aims to influence the effective implementation of climate resilient sustainable agriculture, along with improving women’s market access to address food insecurity and empowerment. We work in two climate affected areas in Bangladesh on climate resilient sustainable agriculture practices, particularly with women and young people at the community level in a way that builds women’s leadership and agency. We support women with tangible actions that would improve their capacity on climate resilient sustainable agriculture and access to local markets. The initiatives include training and support for women farmers on resilient farming technique (including soil conservation, crop diversity, seed banks and water management), animal husbandry, inclusive value chain for market access and awareness on climate change impact and participatory decision-making.

We also work at a policy level in that the project includes advocacy initiatives with the local level government offices (Agriculture Extension Office, Union Parishad/Council) to establish a linkage to increase support from the government level and at the national level.

Short-term programmes

Many of our programmes are long-term development programming but some are once-off critical need programmes that are delivered in communities with a clear immediate need. We are fortunate to have high-value supporters who support this work. See below a snapshot of some of our ongoing work:

In Haiti we are supporting two projects in response to the 2021 Earthquake. We are supporting women’s groups to lead a programme assisting women affected by a recent Earthquake to make concrete blocks as a means of disaster risk reduction and ensuring they have sustainable livelihoods. We are also supporting the reconstruction of a school in Carrefour Charles.

In Vietnam we are supporting students in Dak Nong province to have access to clean and safe water.

Work in Ireland

Amplify Our Voices

Amplify Our Voices is a programme and alliance of women who have lived or are living in Direct Provision. 

These women have come together with the support of ActionAid Ireland to communicate their perspective of what needs to be prioritised as the government brings an end to Direct Provision.  

The project has been developed in part due to the launch of the White Paper to End Direct Provision. The participants analyse from their own experience and that of other people with experience of direct provision what needs to happen as the state ends Direct Provision. 

So far, the project has delivered a conference on Privacy and Mental Health and has now started the “My Rights, My Privacy” campaign which focuses on the privacy of people living in Direct Provision.  


ActionAid Ireland continues to champion education surrounding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ireland. We are a member of the National Steering Committee on FGM. 

We have been delivering the Against FGM through Empowerment & Rejection (AFTER) project since 2016.  AFTER is a project that aims to prevent FGM through empowerment and awareness-raising activities using an ActionAid methodology, Reflection Action. The project is targeted at women living in Direct Provision who are predominately from FGM practicing countries. The project also works to educate people regarding the laws that relate to FGM in Ireland.  

In 2016 the AFTER project was first funded by Rights & Equality Commission of the European Union. The project was implemented in five countries: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Our most recent iteration of the AFTER project was funded by Rethink Ireland under their Social Innovation Fund. We are currently seeking other funding opportunities to continue this important work. 

Global Citizenship Education

ActionAid Ireland also has a programme of work in Ireland on global citizenship education. We are members of the Irish Development Education Association and are signed up to their code of conduct for Global Citizenship Education to ensure our resources, formal, non-formal and informal, meet the best possible standards. The annual ActionTalks Speech Writing Competition is part of this programme of work.

Pictured in the heading image is Florence , Executive Director of the ActionAid-supported Tusitukirewamu Women’s Network in Kampala. Florence believes that violence against women and girls must end with her. Photo taken by: Esther Mbabazi/ActionAid

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