About The Forum 1. Introduction Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a human rights violation that poses a threat to the achievement of global and national development goals. In Lesotho, GBV disproportionately affects women and girls. A study by Gender Links (2016) revealed that 86% of women in the country have experienced GBV in their lifetime. Therefore, GBV has reached epidemic levels and is an obstacle to achieving social, economic and political progress for individuals as well as society.Lesotho is a signatory to numerous protocols that seek to promote gender equality and address GBV, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Protocol to the African Declaration on Human and People’s Rights on the Right of Women in Africa (known as the Maputo Protocol), and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. At the national level, the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) of 2003 seeks to address and combat sexual violence. It also provides a basis for combatting intra-marriage violence. However, it does not provide direct reference to gender-based violence. The dual existence of the legal system and the customary law applied by the courts of law creates further barriers for gender equality and the protection of women and girls. A Domestic Violence Bill is in progress and it is perceived as a tool that will be useful in addressing cases of Gender-Based Violence in Lesotho. Currently stakeholders are unsure how to best establish shared goals and form strategic alliances and the coordination forum is a good platform to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships with shared goals. Legal tools as well as a strong framework to prevent violence must be put in place, hence the need for a GBV coordination forum.The Ministry of Gender is the lead actor in coordinating efforts to prevent and respond to Gender-Based Violence in Lesotho. However, there have been challenges that hamper the work of the ministry hence the need for a special forum addressing GBV.The complex and multi-faceted nature of GBV and violence against women and girls means that a multi-sectoral approach is needed to address it. This cannot be done by one agency alone. Effective prevention of and responses to GBV require partnerships across national, regional and local levels, across sectors and between governmental, non-governmental and private sector actors. To strengthen concerted efforts against GBV, the Ministry of Gender has set up an anti-GBV Coordination Forum that is organised in the following manner; 2. Purpose of the anti-GBV Coordination Forum The overall purpose of the anti-GBV Coordination Forum is to strengthen national GBV efforts and activities through increased co-ordination. Specific objectives of the anti-GBV Coordination Forum are to: Develop a common and coherent framework for eliminating GBV in Lesotho Reduce duplication of efforts and strengthen synergies between stakeholders working on GBV prevention and response Strengthen evidence based GBV prevention and response efforts, including through sharing and promoting best practices, documents and data between stakeholders and the public at large Advise on national legislation, policies and guidelines Facilitate the development of multi-stakeholder partnerships with shared goals 3. Roles of the anti-GBV Coordination Forum The overall purpose of the anti-GBV Coordination Forum is to strengthen national GBV efforts and activities through increased co-ordination. Coordination on GBV efforts – including through establishing an overview of ongoing efforts, identifying and addressing duplications and gaps, and ensuring synergies between efforts. Platform for sharing data, evidence, promising/good practices, technical documents/resources (like manuals, IEC materials, etc) between members of the Forum Contribution to the monitoring and reporting on the national and international commitments on GBV (e.g. GAD policy priority area 8 on GBV, SDGs, SADC Protocol, Maputo Protocol) Provision of advice on legal, policy and programme priorities and guidelines for national GBV efforts Encouragement of (new) stakeholders to join national efforts for GBV prevention and response, and form partnerships to address GBV in Lesotho 4.Composition of the anti-GBV Coordination Forum The Coordination forum is made up of member organisation/institutions, a chair and an advisory board. Members are organized in Technical Working Groups according to their thematic area of work. The Chair is the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, through the Department of Gender.