The Institute of Commonwealth Studies is one of eight partners in a new and ambitious programme of action and research to counter discrimination and economic inequality against LGBT+ people in five major African cities. Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) the £12 million ‘Strong in Diversity – Bold on Inclusion’ project is a consortium led by the organisation Hivos. The partner organisations will work together in five cities for four years (2019-2022). By bringing together African LGBT+ networks, research institutes and international NGOs the project takes an innovative and inclusive approach. 

“We aim to use research to demonstrate the economic consequences of exclusion and to show that respecting human rights can lead to positive change in the prospects of cities. The research will support local activists by providing a stronger evidence base for their advocacy with society leaders and through the media.”  - Corinne Lennox, co-director of the Human Rights Consortium at the ICwS and research co-ordinator for the project    


LGBT+ rights in Africa have made significant progress in the years since South Africa legalised same-sex marriage in 2006. However, in many parts of the continent LGBT+ people are stigmatised and excluded and many live in fear for their safety. To tackle the challenges facing this community and promote inclusion the consortium will engage societal leaders; empower LGBT+ communities and train journalists and media houses on positive representation; strengthen LGBT+ communities to be more resilient, while also providing research based evidence on the experiences of LGBT+ people.

It is hoped that by the end of the project, societal leaders and media in these five cities will have a better understanding of the daily lives and struggles of LGBT+ people, and increasingly use positive and respectful language when referring to sexual orientation and non-conforming gender identities and expressions. Ultimately, LGBT+ people should have equal opportunities to realise their full potential and to achieve a high standard of personal wellbeing.

Part of being an African is seeing change happen in one’s life time, from living in a country as young as one’s self, to visiting neighbouring countries not much older, more than anywhere else in the world, Africa is a place of tactile and persistent change and the Strong in Diversity – Bold on Inclusion programme (SidBoI) presents an opportunity for African communities to take bold steps towards equality of all its peoples regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression…” - Dr Olusegun Odumosu, Acting Executive Director at AMSHeR

The consortium partners are; HivosAfrican Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR)ARTICLE 19Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)Kaleidoscope TrustSynergía – Initiatives for Human RightsWorkplace Pride Foundation, and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London (in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and the University of Pretoria).

The ICwS has previously supported on LGBT+ human rights issues through the publication of two major edited volumes, available as open source


Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights : (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope




Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change