WASHINGTON, D.C. – On April 8 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new LGBT Global Development Partnership, a public-private partnership between the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute (GLVI), the Williams Institute, and Olivia Companies, which further promotes foreign assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality in emerging markets and developing countries.
"We are thrilled to bring our 35 years' expertise and leadership to this unprecedented partnership," said J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. "Together, with each of the partners, we will collectively address some of the most critical human rights issues faced by our communities."
Starting its work in Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, and expanding to even more countries, the partnership will strengthen the capacity of LGBT civil society organizations, train LGBT individuals to participate more fully in democratic processes, and undertake research on the economic impact of discrimination against LGBT individuals.
"This partnership leverages the financial resources and skills of each partner to further inclusive development and increase respect for the human rights of LGBT people around the world," said Claire Lucas, Senior Advisor for Public-Private Partnerships in the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances at USAID. "It can be a real game-changer in the advancement of the LGBT human rights."
Around the world, eighty-five countries and territories criminalize LGBT behavior and seven countries have a death penalty for same-sex sexual activity. Fewer than 50 countries punish anti-gay discrimination in full or in part. In addition, on December 6, 2011, President Obama issued a Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons which directed "all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons." The LGBT Global Development Partnership represents a response to this directive and a continuation of USAID's long tradition of equality and human rights for all.
"Our aim is to unleash the potential of hundreds of millions of people globally who are LGBT to have the freedom and dignity to contribute fully to their families, communities and nations," said Maura O'Neill, USAID's Chief Innovation Officer.
For more information about USAID and its work in inclusive development, please visit http://www.usaid.gov.