Human Rights and Gender

Around the world, women are suffering from the negative impacts of large-scale projects such as dams, mines, and land conversion projects. In 2014, with support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Both ENDS launched an innovative four-year project, Upholding human rights: Bridging the gender-environment divide, in cooperation with ActionAid groups in the Netherlands, South Africa, and Kenya; Indian partners Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children and Keystone Foundation; and the Center for International Environmental Law, based in the United States.

The project aims to empower women and human rights defenders, especially to increase women’s participation in relevant local and national decision-making processes. It also aims to improve sustainable resource management and to further explore the potential of the human rights framework – especially the right to food, water, and a healthy environment – to enhance the position and protect the rights of women. It addresses the nexus between women’s human rights and sustainable development.

The foundation for the project was laid in the first year with a meeting of all partners to exchange experiences and develop a common understanding of the goals. Baseline studies and training on the human rights framework were also carried out. In 2015, the project has started to show concrete results: more than 3000 women and men have now received training about women’s human rights and the gendered impacts of large-scale projects. Around 25 women’s groups have been formed or supported to help make the voices of affected women heard and to promote their rights to water, food, and a healthy environment. Special attention has been placed on enhancing the skills of women to take up leadership roles.

She described how these impacts affect women more severely, as they are the ones responsible for the collection of firewood, water, and food for their families. They are also less equipped to stand up for their rights, and face greater risks in doing so. The dialogue was attended by Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Kees van Baar and representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Taskforce on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, among others.

A key part of the project is to document specific cases in each partner country of women’s human rights violations and to pursue remedy in local courts or international human rights courts. A case in Kenya focuses on a Chinese coal mining project which would force at least 100,000 people from their ancestral land. In South Africa, the case involves a coal-fired power station and open-pit mine that is causing severe water and air pollution. In India, the focus is on forests, mining and national parks. Summaries of all three cases, including a gender analysis, were published in November.

Dhaatri has already achieved some successes using India’s Forest Rights Act, which recognises the forest rights of the adivasi, a historically marginalised forest dwelling people. Dhaatri has supported the filing of more than 500 individual and 40 community forest rights claims under the Forest Rights Act. They also managed to stop the planned eviction of adivasi communities to make way for the Panna National Park and Tiger Reserve.

#Briefing paper_India

#Briefing paper_Kenya

#Briefing paper_South Africa

Small grants funds

Both ENDS manages two small grants funds

NAME: Young Environmental Leadership

FINANCED BY: JWH Initiative.

Young people who work for environmental civil society organisations (CSOs) in developing countries often have few opportunities to develop leadership skills due to a general lack of resources for schooling, training or practical learning. By annually giving small grants to approximately 30 young potential leaders, the Initiative aims to increase their knowledge, experience and training, thus strengthening the capacity and efficiency of local environmental CSOs.


NAME: The Koningsschool fund

FINANCED BY: Stichting School van Z.M. Koning Willem III en H.M. Koningin Emma der Nederlanden.

The Koningsschool Foundation, based in The Netherlands, promotes knowledge of forests and forestry, and provides financial support to projects on sustainable forest management. Both ENDS has been advising the foundation on applications from developing countries for small grants since 2005.




An overview of other projects

This is a short overview of the titles, the funders and the project partners of other projects Both ENDS worked on in 2015.

NAME OF PROJECT: Upholding Human Rights, bridging the gender – environmental divide

FINANCED BY: Human Rights Fund (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

PROJECT PARTNERS: Dhaatri (India), Action Aid (Kenya), Action Aid (the Netherlands), Action Aid (South Africa).

NAME OF PROJECT: Study on the complaints Mechanism of the Green Climate Fund

FINANCED BY: Transparency International

PROJECT PARTNERS: Transparency International, NaturalJustice, Bruce Rich.


FINANCED BY: The European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme for research & innovation.

PROJECT PARTNERS: Wageningen University (WU) (The Netherlands) and many universities, private sector and think expertise organisations from Europe and China.

NAME OF PROJECT: Investing in land and water: turning new climate finance mechanisms into tools for cooperation (CCMCC research programme)

FINANCED BY: NWO, UK Department for International Development (DFID)

PROJECT PARTNERS: UNESCO-IHE, LEI Wageningen UR (the Netherlands), ECFF, HoAREC (Ethiopia), Aksi!, Brawijaya University (Indonesia).


NAME OF PROJECT: Support for Asian NGO’s

FINANCED BY: European Climate Foundation.