‘Leading from the South’ – a new fund to resource women’s rights activism in the global South.
The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Fondo Mujeres del Sur (FMS), the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) and the South Asia Women’s Fund (SAWF) are excited to announce ‘Leading from the South’ (LFS), a new 40 million euro fund to support activism devised, implemented and led by women’s rights organisations in the global South. Developed and implemented by three regional and one international women’s fund, the new funding facility is supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of their policy on women’s rights and gender equality and their ‘Dialogue and Dissent’ programme.
Through grantmaking, capacity building and other resourcing, LFS will strengthen women’s movements in the global South. The fund’s focus on women’s rights, on advocacy and on elimination of marginalization and discrimination highlight a strong alignment with a range of the UN global goals, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 5 on the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The four Women’s Funds will manage LFS over the next four years, resourcing activism and strengthening women’s rights movements in Asia (SAWF), Africa and the Middle East (AWDF), Latin America and the Caribbean (FMS) and globally for indigenous women (FIMI).
Emilienne de Leon Aulina, Executive Director of Prospera (International Network of Women’s Funds) stated ‘It is wonderful to see the recognition of the solid work women’s funds have been undertaking to support women’s movements across the world. As activists themselves, women’s funds are closer to the ground, understand context and have proven to be adept at funding transformation’.
The Executive Directors of the four funds highlighted the importance of the new fund – ‘It is essential that local, national and regional organisations are enabled to set our own agendas and resource our own visions. This fund will power change for women’s rights organisations in the South and strengthen our movements’.
One of the most profound transformations of the past century is the shift in the social and political status of women and girls and in the growing acceptance in societies around the globe that women’s rights and gender equality are desirable goals. Over the past 30 years, the work of women’s rights organisations and movements has led to nothing short of revolutionary changes in public attitudes, law, governance, and in the private sector and civil society.
Despite this, and the key role that women’s movements have played to secure progress for women’s rights, women all over the world still face inequality and violation of their rights on a daily basis and much remains to be done to achieve justice and equity for women. Yet research from sources such as the Association for Women Rights in Development (AWID) show women’s rights organisations to be struggling for sufficient funds to maintain their work.
Leading From the South intends to change that dynamic. The Fund will officially be launched in early 2017, along with the first calls for grant proposals from the four managers of the Fund.