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VOAW has found that women are more likely to be the victim of isolation, domestic and sexual violence, gender-based violence, and harmful cultural practices. These findings have been confirmed in various studies. VOAW believes that women have a crucial role in the realisation of a safe, peaceful, and just society. To enhance the agency of women, VOAW focuses on the empowerment of women. In order to achieve this, VOAW also seeks the active participation of men and boys. It is of importance that men and boys are also included in the emancipation process of women. It requires a change in behaviour and thought for men and boys and, it will require men to relate to women differently in order to create the necessary space for women’s development and emancipation. The younger generation has an equally important role in VOAW’s organisation. VOAW considers younger generations as the future and as important actors of change.

“Youth, taking the responsibility to end harmful traditional practices”


Since the beginning, VOAW has been an organisation that, due to a foundation of shared experiences and cultures, has been able to have close ties with their target audience. Lived experiences and inside knowledge have been some of the tools that VOAW has used to reach closed communities. This distinguishes VOAW from other organisations. VOAW has a large network of trainers and volunteers that share a similar background to VOAW’s target audience and that have come from closed communities and marginalised communities and thus due to their lived experiences have gained valuable knowledge which enables VOAW to reach these communities more easily. Cultural sensitivity is an integral aspect of VOAW’s work. VOAW’s multicultural background furthermore enables VOAW to build bridges between local and international activities and projects. In this regard, VOAW has gained valuable experience, participating in international partnerships for projects based in Afghanistan. The implementation and use of knowledge and experience which has been gained through projects in the Netherlands in international projects is an important aspect of VOAW’s vision.

VOAW seeks to connect its vision to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and to its 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. More specifically to goal number 5 namely: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. To achieve this goal, VOAW’s applies the principle of Leave No One Behind, in order to reach the most marginalised communities and to contribute to the fight against inequality in society.

VOAW furthermore seeks to connect its vision to the Istanbul Convention Action against violence against women and domestic violence, The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in particular recommendations 28,30 en 32,  The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, the 1951 Refugee Convention (UNHCR), The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Women.

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