Women's Human Rights and Empowerment: How Fondazione Pangea Helps Victims of Violence

On Thursday, October 14, Martina G. Daelli shared her professional experience as an Advocacy Officer at Fondazione Pangea with the talk, “Women’s Human Rights and Empowerment Pathways Out of Violence.” Pangea is an Italian non-profit organization that has been working since 2002 to promote the economic and social development of women on both a national and international scale. The talk was organized by JCU’s Service Learning Program.

Pangea’s work is human rights-based and gender-responsive, focusing specifically on women and the human rights issues that women systemically face. Broken down into four areas, the organization seeks to navigate the complexities of women’s empowerment, gender-based violence, women’s peace and security, and women’s rights. Pangea primarily operates in two spheres of work: projects and advocacy. In nineteen years, the foundation has operated in ten countries with campaigns on both a grassroots, national, and global level.

Pangea’s projects in Afghanistan were among the foundation’s earliest international initiatives, with the goal of educating and providing health and financial services for women and children. Similar projects have also been established in India, working towards women’s economic empowerment with credit building and self-help financial groups. For Pangea, women’s empowerment is mostly economic empowerment, but also expanded awareness and greater opportunity. Unfortunately, due to the current situation with the Taliban, the Afghanistan projects are on hold for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, Pangea has implemented an emergency plan to assist in humanitarian evacuation, provide safe houses, and support Afghan asylum seekers in Italy.

On a national level, Pangea has developed several programs to promote women’s economic empowerment, women’s rights, and conflict prevention. To name a few, Young Women Entrepreneurs is a program for 30 women in Italy who are provided with microcredit and tools to learn how to build a business. Women’s Rights & Violence Against Women is a program inspired by the 2011 Istanbul Convention, which seeks to end domestic violence against women, advocating for policy and cultural change to empower women and their children. There is also a program called “Little Guests,” which seeks to support children who are witnesses of violence.

REAMA Pangea

REAMA Network

In its outreach, the organization has produced videos explaining the various forms of sexism as well as a documentary following the stories of three refugee women and their experiences with hate speech. One of Pangea’s most recent projects is the REAMA Network, (Rete per l’Empowerment e l’Auto Mutuo Aiuto),  a national antiviolence network and online helpdesk. Established in 2018 with the goal of being a point of reference and support for victims of gender-based violence, REAMA is working to open at least one center in every region of Italy. Gender-based violence comes in many forms, be it physical, sexual, economic, psychological, emotional, intimate partner abuse, etc., and Pangea aims to help women caught in the cycle of violence.

Ultimately, one of the organization’s main agendas centers on women’s peace and security by fostering women’s participation and protection. This begins with conflict prevention, relief, and recovery, and Pangea’s many projects, programs, and public service announcements are making important progress towards realizing that agenda.