November 16, 2022

Funded by the European Union, Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme in Central Asia and Afghanistan, for the first time ever, conducted a regional master class on gender journalism, in partnership with ACTED ‘CS-GBV Central Asia’ regional project. The event was held in a hybrid format simultaneously in six cities - Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent, Ashgabat, Dushanbe, and Kabul - and will culminate in a contest for the best media product capturing stories about survivors of violence to inspire those who are still in their survivor journey to speak up, find insightful solutions, and feel empowered. The results of the contest will be announced in early December and the winners will be awarded.

The master class is part of a series of events organized by the Spotlight Regional Programme, jointly with partners in the region, to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence annual global campaign running from 25 November, UN Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, to 10 December, UN Human Rights Day.

Video credit: UN RCO / Olessya Zhuravleva

The event brought together 130 journalists from all over Central Asia and Afghanistan, including media actors, independent journalists, and social media captains, to sensitize them on gender-based violence (GBV), share experiences, and will help in a positive way to manifest themselves in better understanding the ways of addressing GBV.

Despite the gains in preventing and responding to gender-based violence in Central Asia, it remains a challenge. In many instances, gender-based violence is committed aggressively, with a particular cruelty. There is no official and reliable data on the frequency, repetition, and severity of the violence. Some data are available on domestic violence, murders of women most of which are often committed by their male relatives, and revealing the extent of brutality. 

Media and advertising are key agents of change, creating both a culture of intolerance of violence in society and, conversely, promoting gender stereotypes. Sexist jokes in the media, sexist advertisements, exposure to gender-based violence in TV programmes and aggressive behaviour perpetuate discriminatory stereotypes. Promoting positive gender roles support inclusive and diverse social norms, embrace female perspectives, and help avoid harmful stereotypes. 

The master class was anchored at gender transformative approaches in the media coverage of violence against women & girls and helped create a pool of journalists specialized in gender journalism to aspire to end gender-based violence and harmful practices in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The trained journalists will be proactively engaged in all Spotlight Regional Programme supported advocacy and communications events next year. 

Video credit: UN RCO / Olessya Zhuravleva


The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, UN Human Rights Day. The campaign was initiated by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global United Nations initiative supported by the European Union. The initiative brings together global efforts to invest in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. 

The Spotlight Initiative's regional programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan promotes legal reforms, strengthens institutions and women's movements, promotes gender-equitable norms, and improves data collection and statistics on violence against women and girls. The regional programme works with a wide range of actors, including civil society, donors, practitioners, academy and researchers, higher education institutions, and media, to help end sexual and gender-based violence, eradicate harmful practices, and support further gender transformation in the region.

ACTED is an international NGO implementing 500 projects a year to support over 20 million beneficiaries worldwide, notably in hard-to-reach areas. Across Central Asia, ACTED’s focus is on participatory, inclusive, and multi-sectoral community-development efforts. ACTED is implementing a wide range of programming in three Central Asian countries to develop the capacity of civil society organisations, local authorities and the private sector to build strong and resilient communities. ‘CS-GBV Central Asia’ regional project pursues the main goal to amplify the role of civil society in addressing gender-based violence in society and promoting the protection and empowerment of women at risk, or victims and survivors of violence. ACTED ‘CS-GBV Central Asia’ regional project is funded by Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD).

For further information, please contact: 

1) Olesya Zhuravleva, Communications Focal Point, Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan, Tel.: +7 701 6043001, e-mail:  

2) Sharipa Dzhumabekova, Country Project Officer, ACTED, Tel: +996 (770) 701038, e-mail: 

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