The European Development Days (EDD) are hosted by the European Commission and aim to bring together global development community. Ideas and experiences are shared, new partnerships are created and innovative solutions are proposed for some of the world’s most pressing problems.

This year the Commission is bringing forward its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment with Agenda 2030. The main theme for this year is: ‘Women and Girls at the forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower and invest’.

Under this main thread the agenda is being framed under three major themes emerging as key priorities:

  • Ensuring the physical and psychological integrity of Girls and Women;
  • Promoting economic and social right and empowerment of Girls and Women;
  • Strengthening Girls’ and Women’s voice and participation.

From a lack of opportunity for women and girls to harmful practices such as gender-based violence, the injustice against women and girls is a pressing issue we cannot ignore. It has serious consequences at family, community and societal levels.

There is often an erroneous conflation of injustice towards women and girls and religious dogma, particularly Islam and women’s rights. Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) believes, from research conducted, that faith-based approaches can positively influence attitudes, behaviours and social relations.

IRW also believes that faith is a source of protection and empowerment for all and it plays a critical role in the restoration of justice. Faith inspired action through the voices of those marginalised are key to changing the narrative of oppression and exclusion.

IRW’s International Programmes Division, and Advocacy Department seek to encourage greater representation of Islamic perspectives to tackle ignorance, and create alliances built on mutual trust and understanding. The EDD provides a fitting forum towards this goal by showcasing a collaborative, alternative and positive narrative coalesced around the theme of gender justice.


Mousumi Saikia (Partnerships and Program Development): “During the two days, IRW are hosting an inter-faith stand with support from World Vision International and Finn Church Aid at the EDD Global Village this is a great opportunity to initiate a global dialogue; and create an opportunity to foster partnerships between different stakeholders.”

Shahin Ashraf (Advocacy Advisor): “The EDD is a particularly exciting platform to showcase successful projects and ground-breaking reports and initiatives from around the world.”

Affan Cheema (Head of Program Quality): “The IRW stand at the EDD is entitled ‘Harnessing Faith for Gender Justice and we seek to raise awareness on why faith matters.’”