Gender-based violence (GBV) affects more than one in three women worldwide and is often interlinked with environmental issues. USAID's Resilient, Inclusive, & Sustainable Environments (RISE): A Challenge to Address Gender-Based Violence in the Environment supports organizations as they innovatively adapt and implement approaches to address GBV in environmental programming.

In 2019, USAID’s Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GenDev) designed the RISE Challenge to support the innovative application of promising or proven interventions to address GBV in environmental programming. The RISE Challenge aims to:

  • Spur greater awareness of the intersection between environmental degradation and GBV
  • Test new environmental programming approaches that incorporate efforts to prevent and respond to GBV
  • Widely share evidence of effective interventions and policies
  • Elevate this issue and attract commitments from other organizations, including implementing partners and donors, for collaboration and co-investment.

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Banner Image Credit: Marlon del Aguila

Meet the nine winners from the USAID's RISE Challenge. These projects do critical work in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fiji, Guatemala, Kenya, Peru, Uganda, and Vietnam. The activities are designed to address gender-based violence (GBV) in environmental programs and generate evidence on promising interventions.

The Problem

Gender-based violence (GBV) is estimated to affect more than one in three women worldwide. This widespread problem takes a variety of forms, including sexual, psychological, community, economic, institutional, and intimate partner violence, and in turn affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life, including health, education, and economic and political opportunities. At the same time, environmental degradation, loss of ecosystem benefits, and unsustainable resource use are creating complex crises worldwide. As billions of people rely on these natural resources and ecosystems to sustain themselves, the potential human impacts are dire, with disproportionate effects on women and girls.

GBV and environmental issues are interlinked, and so their interactions are complex, diverse, and multi-layered. In some contexts, they form feedback loops where gender-based attacks, harassment, and discrimination worsens the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem resources, and this environmental deterioration triggers new, more damaging forms of violence. In other contexts, preventing and responding to GBV unlocks opportunities for enhanced environmental action, as well as for women’s and community empowerment.

About the Challenge

Responding to GBV can provide opportunities for both enhanced environmental action and women’s empowerment, but tackling one issue without addressing the other is unlikely to succeed. USAID’s RISE Challenge identifies and implements interventions to reduce GBV in environmental programming.

This challenge funds organizations to innovatively adapt and implement promising or proven practices that have been used to effectively prevent and respond to GBV in other sectors to environmental programming. The challenge draws insights from other development and humanitarian sectors that have proven or promising practices to address GBV. It incentivizes partnerships between environmental organizations, local communities, indigenous peoples organizations, and gender and GBV experts who can help bridge knowledge gaps and work to build an evidence base of effective GBV interventions.

We also celebrate and spur a broad range of interventions that are sustainable and integrable into USAID and partners’ environmental programming and investments. You can learn about the winners of the RISE Challenge here.

Why Participate?

For winners of the RISE challenge, USAID features their interventions, facilitates access to funding and networking opportunities, and provides technical assistance to support the proposed activity in achieving measurable results and impact.

The RISE Challenge is currently closed and no longer accepting applications at this time. You can see the previous request for applications and supporting documents here.


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Competitions for Development

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