In 2016, ActionAid and those it works alongside – people living with poverty and injustice, their communities, and other organisations and allies – achieved important changes and victories in the struggle for social justice, poverty eradication and gender equality. Inspiring examples of people-led change included female paralegals successfully combatting harmful traditional practices in communities in Nigeria and women-led emergency response to the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti (see the photo stories). These, and the many other examples described in the Annual Report, are illustrative of the changes achieved in countries around the world by women and men, young people, girls and boys, social movements, alliances, partner organisations and ActionAid staff.
These achievements are even more significant considering that 2016 was a deeply challenging year. Across the globe, there was a rise in the interconnected processes of human rights violations. Conflicts and disasters displaced or claimed the lives of intolerable numbers of people. Civic space continued to shrink, with increased repression of people’s movements and greater impediments to organisations working for social justice. Political changes in many countries had an immediate impact on reversing women’s rights, particularly sexual and reproductive rights. Austerity policies in many countries continued the gradual decline in social protection and public service systems; and there was deepening inequality, not only in economic terms but also in who has access to and influence over decision making.
In responding to this challenging context, ActionAid’s strength came from the rootedness of its work with communities - empowering those most affected to know, claim and defend their rights. This was supported by global solidarity and campaigning for just alternatives in collaboration with movements, coalitions and committed supporters.
To find out more about ActionAid’s work in 2016, please download the full ActionAid Annual Report.