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The ASEAN Foundation was established in 1997 during ASEAN’s 30th Commemorative Summit, in recognition of the fundamental importance of improving the livelihoods and well-being of the peoples of Southeast Asia. With so many other activities aimed at developing political stability and economic prosperity, Ministers envisioned the ASEAN Foundation as the mechanism to elevate the importance of social cooperation to bring about shared prosperity and a sustainable future for All ASEAN member states. In this regard, the ASEAN Foundation takes steps to promote ASEAN awareness as well as people-to-people contact through scholarships, fellowships and other exchanges.

Specifically the ASEAN Foundation is responsible for (Article IV, ASEAN Foundation MoU):

      1. Promoting greater awareness of ASEAN, and greater interaction among the peoples of ASEAN as well as their wider participation in ASEAN’s activities inter alia through human resources development that will enable them to realize their full potential and capacity to contribute to progress of ASEAN member states as productive and responsible members of society
      2. Contributing to the evolution of a development cooperation strategy that promotes mutual assistance, equitable economic development, and the alleviation of poverty

To help achieve ASEAN’s vision of a unified community of Southeast Asian states, the ASEAN Foundation’s advocacy runs parallel to and complements the advocacy of the ASEAN Secretariat. The ASEAN Secretariat is the advocate, coordinator and mechanism for policy integration among ASEAN governments, while the ASEAN Foundation is the advocate and coordinator for ASEAN peoples – including private sector actors, CSOs and individuals.

To accomplish its objectives the ASEAN Foundation undertakes many different activities, including:

      • Organising and supporting activities to promote education, training (including in the areas of science and technology), health and cultural life
      • Providing assistance to uplift the social condition of the peoples in the ASEAN region
      • Providing fellowships to and support exchanges of ASEAN youths and students
      • Promoting collaborative work among academics, professionals and scientists
      • Implementing projects assigned by ASEAN Leaders or Ministers
      • Actively raising funds for the Foundation’s activities

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How does it help tackling violence against women?

One of the priority areas identified in the ASEAN Foundation’s Plan of Action is the development of cooperation in addressing issues of poverty alleviation and other socio-economic disparities. In this section, one of the key targets addresses violence against women:

“3.4 Strengthen ASEAN collaboration in combating the trafficking in, and crimes of violence against, women and children…”

It is recognised by ASEAN that improving the quality of life for people in every part of the region requires the elimination of gender-based violence. Because the ASEAN Foundation focuses on civil society and private sector actors, their work will involve a bottom-up approach focused on advocacy in communities and bringing civil society members together to tackle gender-based violence.

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