16 days to step up action against gender-based violence

Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea take part in activities for the 2019 campaign against Gender-Based Violence. Photo: ELCPNG/Asenath TUBIAN 

LWF launches campaign with action pack for churches and country programs to engage in local advocacy 

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is calling for stronger efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, with more resources made available to organizations working towards this goal. 

The call comes in a message from LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge to mark the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence campaign. The global campaign runs from 25 November, the UN’s international day for the elimination of violence against women, to 10 December, celebrated each year as Human Rights Day. 

The LWF General Secretary notes that sexual and gender based-violence is “one of the most widespread forms of human rights violations in the world” with millions of women across the globe “traumatized, maimed or killed every day.” He also highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed women and girls to even greater risks of domestic violence and abuse. 

Commitment inspired by faith 

“As a global communion of Lutheran churches,” Junge says, “we can’t just watch and let violence happen. We have committed to speak out and to act against gender-based violence. This commitment is inspired by and rooted in our faith.”  

While acknowledging the “enormous work done by our member churches, country programs, ecumenical and civil society partners” to fight sexual and gender-based violence, he says the LWF “wants to see more efforts going towards prevention” and “more resources made available to organizations working towards this objective.” 

“We have a long-standing commitment to empower women every day of the year. The 16 Days campaign is a vital opportunity to shine the spotlight on the problems of violence, injustice and inequality that they continue to face in all parts of the world,” says LWF’s Advocacy Officer for Gender Justice Ms Sikhonzile Ndlovu.  


"Statistics show that the COVID-19 pandemic has set back the struggle for justice and inclusivity as envisioned by the Beijing conference and platform for action 25 years ago,” Ndlovu adds. Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women and girls a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19. 

This year, the global 16 Days campaign focuses on the theme: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect, highlighting the urgent need to invest in more effective prevention and response initiatives. LWF is encouraging all its member churches, country programs, and supporters to engage with the campaign in their local context. Ndlovu says: “We have sent out a campaign action pack with 16 suggested ways of engaging through prayer and worship, education and fund raising, discussions online and in person, to involve every member of the community in this vital human rights work.” 

Global campaign, local engagement 

On the opening day of the campaign, LWF is jointly hosting a webinar exploring ways of preventing and responding to gender-based violence. The event, organized in partnership with ACT Alliance, Side by Side and the Mother’s Union in Uganda, is entitled ‘The Shadow Pandemic’ and showcases best practices in preventing and responding to gender-based violence in Uganda. 

The following day, 26 November, LWF will partner with the World Communion of Reformed Churches, ACT Alliance and the South Africa based Sonke Gender Justice network for the first in a series of webinars dedicated to Transformative Masculinities. Engaging men and boys in the increasingly urgent task of combating individual and institutional violence within all churches and faith communities is a key priority for the LWF. 

The 16 Days campaign pack also contains suggested bible studies and worship resources, printable pledge cards, colorful zoom backgrounds for use in online encounters, as well as news about activities taking place in different parts of the global communion of churches. For full details, please see our Media Kit below and follow us on our social media channels. 

LWF/P. Hitchen 



LWF commitment to 16 Days campaign message from LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge.