Tools for Change

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Developed by the United Nations Development Programme and Open Society Foundations, Tools for Change is an easy-to-use resource for advocates working on women’s housing, land, and property rights in the context of HIV. It brings together relevant international human rights documents and highlights core concepts, rights, and means of enforcement, providing examples of successful advocacy from around the world. Moreover, it draws on the voices of women worldwide to explain these rights and their uses in practical terms.

This manual was originally conceived during a strategic meeting on property and inheritance rights as they relate to HIV, held during the 2009 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, where organizations gathered from around the world. It emerged from the realization that through hard work, advocates have managed to get a number of UN instruments to include protection for women’s housing, land, and property rights, and member states have pledged to abide by them. However, many advocates at the national level do not even know of these international instruments, even though they might be helpful in their work, particularly as governments may not be meeting their international human rights obligations.

Advocates need a better understanding of international human rights and government obligations in order to ensure government accountability and advance women’s housing, land, and property rights. This manual seeks to empower advocates working in the context of HIV by making the relevant United Nations standards and interpretations clear and accessible—to make them "tools for change."