On the 6th of October, GPG will be holding a virtual conference about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on trafficked women and girls. The focus of the dialogue will be to map the risks of an increase in TIP for women and girls, and how to alleviate them.
The discussion will benefit from contribution from around the world: Sudan, the Gulf, the UK and the Horn of Africa. The event will be hosted by Lord Jeremy Purvis and the following speakers :
Click here to sign up and feel free to share this event with your contacts. We will share more details on how to join us closer to the date, but in the meantime, do send us questions to ask to speakers during the event at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to read and share our latest blogs!
This week’s publication has been written by Kevin Deveaux, longstanding GPG Associate and governance consultant for various organizations, including DFID, UN Women, the World Bank, the EU, FCO and UNDP. He shares how the Canadian Parliament handled the COVID-19 pandemic and how it mobilized its strengths to face this exceptional situation.
Stephen Gethins, GPG Associate, SNP member and former member of Parliament writing about political parties and their crucial role in local politics.
Nick Sigler, also GPG Associate and former International Department of UNISON wrote about how trade unions have served democratic transitions across the world.
And last but not least, our very own Sue Griffiths, GPG’s Executive Director has written a very timely piece on the FCDO merger.
During August, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi met with Donald Trump at the White House to discuss a series of security, energy, economic and health issues. The meeting’s main focus was on resetting the US military mission in Iraq and the reduction of the existing American troops on the Iraqi soil to help fight ISIS remnants. On the national level, mass protests continue with protesters in Basra setting fire to parliament offices to demand the resignation of Basra Governor as a result of killing two prominent anti-corruption activists in the city. Consequently, Al Kadhimi announced in a speech that a new investigation committee would be established in order to directly report major corruption cases and exceptional crimes. The Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi paid a visit to London in August to strengthen bilateral relations between Iraq and the UK, where the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on providing technical assistance by the UK to boost Iraqi economic reforms. The Minister also told the Council of Representatives (CoR) that economic reforms would take up to five years in light of a state debt which amounted to 80-90% of national product, in addition to around $133 billion of foreign debt.
GPG Iraq team has started enrolling local beneficiaries into both the Parliamentary Directorate and Strategic Communications online courses as a first step towards their official launch. We provided a briefing paper for members of the finance committee to equip them with the needed knowledge to effectively hold their first consultation session with the chief executive officers from Standard Chartered. We now have a draft of our research on “Economic Drivers of Youth Political Discontent in Iraq” which is being finalised to be published by the end of September. In addition, Iraq team held sessions with the women committee and number of women MPs on reading and interpreting legislations using the Anti-Domestic Violence Law as a case study. We also provided tailored support to help women MPs develop a comprehensive and co-ordinated strategy for communicating their message about the law externally and to help them develop a plan to monitor objections to the law and to decide on how to manage those objections. Moreover, we are developing a new online course to support youth political participation in Iraq in the wake of the active role currently played by Iraqi youth to establish new political parties aiming to take part in the country’s coming early elections.
GPG’s project under the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund was evaluated in July and out of 8 projects under the MSIF, GPG’s project is the only one emerging from the evaluation without a single recommendation. This is a big achievement for the team since not only the project is challenging in itself, but the context has been very tricky to operate: from changes of government, to visa delays, to a world pandemic, economic crises to now deadly floods the team has continued to be able to adapt to the circumstances and ensure the project remained relevant for our counterparts.
GPG has also now been able to enroll 10 members of the National Committee to Counter Trafficking (NCCT) to our online platform courses. We were supposed to have a follow up session this week with the staff but due to several internet and electricity shutdowns, we will postpone this until the coming week. GPG’s goal now is to familiarize NCCT staff with the online platform and eventually hold sessions with staff and Associates to support the material that is already online.
GPG is still waiting to sign an MoU with the NCCT and is hopeful this will happen in the coming month.
A massive explosion ripped through the Port of Beirut on August 4, sending shockwaves through the Lebanese capital, killing approximately 200, injuring thousands, and leaving upwards of 300,000 homeless. This comes with Lebanon already on the brink of economic collapse, struggling to address a COVID outbreak, and as the trust gap between citizens and the state is wider than ever. Thankfully our staff and partners are physically okay but this devastation will take a long time to recover.
Right before the explosion, in early August, GPG managed to secure a small amount of funding from Porticus – a private philanthropic organization. This allows GPG to partner back with the consortium’s partners LOST and Atalanta to continue working on the same program to promote gender equality at the political parties’ national level, and building up the women’s capacities locally in Beqaa. Unfortunately, we will not be able to continue with the Independent Women strand as there is not sufficient funding to cover it.
Given the recent situation in Lebanon, GPG will now be doing a Political Economy Analysis (PEA) on the role of women in politics in Lebanon and we are aiming to deliver it in October. The PEA updates aim for a better understanding of the current political, humanitarian, and gender context in Lebanon. Throughout this process, GPG and partners will interview around 42-people from political parties, women’s wing, female independent candidates, economists, academics, civil society organizations, activists, and analysts.
During this month we faced real-time challenges while re-contracting and amending our contract with fifty-fifty, where they have decided they can no longer be part of the Stronger with Women project neither under Porticus nor the British Embassy in Lebanon, therefore they will no longer be part of the consortia. This is disappointing, although not necessarily surprising given the changes over recent months.
This will mean that GPG and the rest of the team will now be handling relationships with political parties and high-profile candidates directly, in order to strengthen our relationship with them and to be able to interview them for the PEA.
This month GPGF has been working on expanding our network in Uzbekistan and getting in touch with the key beneficiaries of the project.
The main achievement was a discussion with Prof. Saidov, the First Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis, on the remit of the new committee, its place in the parliament, relations with other parliamentary actors, civil society, and the Ombudsman. Based on the take-aways of this discussion, our associates, Meg Munn, Paul Silk, Alison Suttie, Aileen Walker, and Nick Walker, have started working on the content of the e-learning course for the members of the Human Rights Committee.
We have successfully established a link with the Chairman of the Committee on Democratic Institutions, Non-State Organizations, and Citizens’ Self-Government Bodies that will be working closely with the future committee.
GPG was successful in its tender to the International Republican Institute (IRI) for a small piece of work focusing on our thematic area of Gender, developing training materials for developing male allies.
Building upon the momentum and interest in this area, GPG submitted a subsequent concept paper to IRI on Developing Women’s local Leadership and Representation in Jordan.
The Arab Youth Centre, UAE approached GPG to develop a proposal to undertake information-gathering on youth policy across the Arab region. GPG has submitted a proposal to undertake this work, in two stages, the first part is to develop country-specific briefs on youth policy across the region, and the second part is a best practice report, identifying the principles, characteristics and processes that are likely to improve engagement of youth in the policy process.
The Adam Smith Institute approached GPG regarding their framework tender under DFID’s Official Development Assistance Programme Services (ODAPS) Framework Agreement for the MENA region. GPG awaits a decision to see if we were included as part of their final consortia.
GPG has now submitted a bid to the Arts and Humanitarian Research Council for a Call for funding on Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre -COVID-19 Rapid Response. This bid is a small call for research around the impact of Covid-19 on victims of Modern Slavery and it is focused on Sudan, due to GPG’s expertise in the region. This is part of a consortium with Nottingham Rights Lab, RUSI and Waging Peace aiming at broadening GPG’s partnerships and areas of work.
GPG Director Sue Griffiths is leaving GPG in mid-October after 8 wonderful years with the team. Anyone who has worked with Sue will know how sad these news are for GPG but how excited we are for her new challenge- becoming the Managing Director at Social Development Direct- that we are sure she will conquer with the same success as she did here. Sue’s incomparable work ethic and understanding of our field has been invaluable for staff and management and we are sorry to see her go. Join us in wishing her the best for this new professional chapter. We will miss you! (Quick additional note to say, as you all know, no one really leaves GPG ever, Sue will continue to be involved with GPG and become member of the Board ).
The good news is that our current Deputy Director Emily Death will be taking over as the new Director, which is an immense achievement! We are very happy to already have her on board and to ensure a smooth transition in this new endeavor at GPG. Congratulations Emily! Simultaneously, GPG will soon be appointing a new Deputy Director. Greg will also be continuing in an active capacity leading the organisation strategically as CEO.
GPG successfully appointed Juliette Harvey as Operations Administrator, who started in late August. Together with the wider Operations team, she is responsible for the day-to-day office management ensuring that administrative activities run smoothly and efficiently. Juliette has extensive experience of production coordination behind the scenes namely with BBC Radio and has worked widely across Radio 4, Radio 3, World Service Radio and Radio 5 Live. Programs include Today, Woman’s Hour and Free Thinking. Her last position also encompassed managing the complex Forward Planning for Radio 4’s Saturday Review.