Equality Fund and AWDF Celebrate Powerful New Community of Grantee Partners

May 19, 2021

Grants are a culmination of Catalyze, the Equality Fund’s first global funding opportunity

May 19, 2021  —  The Equality Fund and African Women’s Development Fund are celebrating a powerful community of new grantee partners—72 fierce and fearless feminist organizations forging lasting change around the world.

Working in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, these organizations are calling out gender inequality wherever they see it, protecting Indigenous women’s ancestral knowledge and practices, radically reclaiming space and safety, weaving peace that is inclusive and lasting, and reimagining policies, economies, and societies so that women, girls, and non-binary people are fully seen and valued everywhere.

Meeting crisis with courage

As the COVID-19 pandemic hits the women, girls, and non-binary people at the margins the hardest, these brave activists are fighting back even harder, tearing up old rulebooks, building collective power, demanding rights, and taking the future into their own hands.

This powerful community of organizations shines as the latest example for the world of the transformative power and possibility of feminist movements,” said Françoise Moudouthe, CEO of AWDF. “We can’t wait to see where their fierce leadership will guide us all in the years ahead.”

“In a time of ongoing pain and uncertainty, these exceptional leaders are a source of clarity, purpose, and power. We are in awe of their vision and are so honoured to help amplify their work to the world,” said Jess Tomlin and Jess Houssian, co-CEOs of the Equality Fund.

A global partnership with increased impact in Africa

The grants also represent a milestone in the Equality Fund’s journey. As the culmination of its first global feminist funding opportunity, Catalyze, they are rooted in a deep partnership with the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), a sister organization that is leading the Equality Fund’s efforts to resource organizations in Africa and helping to shape every step of the Equality Fund’s growth as a global women’s fund. 

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Through this dynamic partnership, AWDF led a call for proposals across the African continent, ultimately selecting  42  grassroots feminist organizations for funding.

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The Equality Fund led a call across Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, selecting  30  new grantee partners.

Together, the 72 grants total $4,365,632.

By acting together, the two organizations are reaching farther than ever before—meeting emerging organizations on the newest front lines of feminism whose work is fundamental to our future but too often ignored. 

Meet this extraordinary community of grantee partners

The result is a powerful set of grantee partners advancing critical feminist work in the context of the pandemic, including:

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A digital community platform led by women and non-binary people of colour to highlight race and ethnicity issues in Brazil

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Campaigns advancing women’s political participation in Uganda

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Organizations supporting the acute needs of refugees and displaced women and communities in Lebanon and Syria

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Activists confronting gender-based violence in Cameroon

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Changemakers advancing the rights of Indigenous women, precarious workers, and migrant workers

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Movements fighting for sexual and reproductive health and LBTQI rights

 

Launched with global calls for proposals in 2020, Catalyze offers a window into the unprecedented threats facing women’s rights and feminist organizations. All over the world, these organizations are losing funding for their work, radically adjusting their activities, adapting to remote work, and stretching beyond the imaginable to address the deepening impacts of the pandemic in their communities.  

In such a critical moment, Catalyze was focused on making funding accessible to feminist groups most in need of support, prioritizing those that are advancing anti-racist, anti-colonial and intersectional agendas, responding to rights crackdowns and supporting women, girls, youth, non-binary people, and LBTIQ human rights defenders, addressing violence at multiple levels, and promoting economic justice.

Uncover the courageous stories of our grantee partners

Get to know these organizations working around the world

Note that some grantee partners are not included in this list in order to safeguard their security.

Asia and the Pacific

Women’s Rights Action Movement is a feminist organization founded in 2011 that remains one of the few groups in the Solomon Islands leading work on legislative reform to advance women’s rights and political participation and leadership.

Cultural-Humanitarian Fund “Sukhumi” is a non-governmental organization established by a group of internally displaced women that works towards a nonviolent, peaceful, and equal society—ensuring that women and youth are sustainable actors for a democratic Georgia.

EQUAL GROUND is an LGBTIQ rights organization in Sri Lanka that advocates for the decriminalization of same-sex relationships and access to equal rights and safe spaces for LGBTIQ persons—particularly LBT women.

Fearless Collective was conceived by young women artivists in South Asia in 2012 during protests of the Nirbhaya rape case, and uses public art and storytelling initiatives to reclaim space and safety and strengthen feminist movements in Sri Lanka, India, and globally.

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is an alliance of more than 80 non-governmental organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America that promotes and defends the human rights of all migrants and their families and calls for safety standards for migrant workers in the process of migration and in the formal and informal work sectors.

LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) is a collective of feminist activists and Indigenous women leaders in the Philippines working to advance the cultural, economic, social, and political rights of Indigenous women.

MONFEMNET National Network NGOs is a network of women’s rights organizations in Mongolia that acts as a feminist advocate for a national, broad-based, democratic, sustainable, and transformative movement for women’s human rights, gender equality, and social justice.

Naripokkho is a member-led women’s rights organization in Bangladesh that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls, advances sexual and reproductive health and rights, and promotes political participation, community peacebuilding and economic justice.

United Sisterhood Alliance is an alliance of four local women’s  organizations—representing sex workers, artivists, garment workers, and rural workers and famers—that work together in Cambodia to advance labour rights and justice and build feminist movements for socio-economic and political change.

Latin America

The Asociación Femenina para el Desarrollo de Sacatepéquez (AFEDES)  was founded by Mayan women in Guatemala in order to highlight the living conditions faced by Indigenous women, advance their rights, and strengthen their physical, economic, and political autonomy.

The Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres is a feminist peace movement bringing together 300 organizations across Colombia to advance the resolution of armed conflict through feminism, pacifism, and the political participation of women.

AzMina is a digital community driven by LBTQ people that raises awareness of the multiple forms of violence against women, girls, and non-binary people and advocates for women’s rights, racial justice, LBTQ rights, and economic justice in Brazil and across South America.

Balance Promoción para el Desarrollo y Juventud A.C. works to strengthen the sexual and reproductive rights of youth, women, and non-binary people in Mexico through a set of interconnected strategies, including: political advocacy,  communications, emancipation, leadership development, and movement building.

The “Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer, Elisa Martínez A.C.” works in Mexico to contribute to the eradication of the structural drivers of the sex trade and delivers health care and legal support to cisgender and trans sex workers most at the margins.

The Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM) is a collective of feminist and social activists and women’s human rights defenders who create spaces to question unequal and violent social and economic models and build solidarity between Honduran women’s movements and other social and popular movements.

Coletivo Mulher Vida began as a dialogue among women sugarcane cutters in Brazil facing gender-based violence—and has grown to provide direct services, political advocacy, training, and movement building to engage socially excluded children, adolescents, youth and adult women to confront domestic, sexual, and sexist violence throughout the country.

Comunicando y Capacitando a Mujeres Trans con VIH en El Salvador (COMCAVIS TRANS) was established by 12 trans women with HIV in El Salvador and works to advance legal reform at the national and international level so that the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people are recognized and fulfilled.

Movimiento Campesino de Córdoba (Argentina)

Red Latinoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Sociales y Ambientales is a network of grassroots organizations spanning 11 Latin American countries that documents the harmful impacts of the mining industry on women’s lives and works to advance women’s rights and environmental justice.

Europe

Alliance against Discrimination of LGBTI (Aleanca) is a grassroots organization established by a group of young LGBTIQ+ people working in close partnership with women’s rights organizations to protect, empower, engage and give a voice to all LGBTI communities in Albanian society.

Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC) is an independent feminist civil society organization that promotes the rights of LGBTI people and women through community engagement, activist movement-building, and advocacy at the national, European and international level.

Middle East

Gharsah is founded and led by Syrian refugee women in Lebanon to advance leadership skills, provide critical services, and identify and address key issues Syrian refugee women face, including: gender-based violence, internal and external forms of oppression, precarious livelihoods, and education for their children, particularly adolescent girls.

Marsa is a leading advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality in Lebanon and the Middle East and North  Africa, with a focus on the rights of girls, women, youth, and LGBTIQ individuals.

The Women’s Humanitarian Organization was created by and for Palestinian and Syrian women in Bourj el Burajneh refugee camp in Lebanon to advance women’s and children’s rights as well as secure equal access for women and girls to quality education and employment.

Women Now For Development is led by Syrian women and works in Syria and among refugee host communities in Lebanon and other neighboring countries to address sexual and gender-based violence and strengthen women’s political, social, and economic rights.

Africa

 

Forum for Women in Democracy conducts training, mentorship programs, and advocacy in service of its vision of a Ugandan society where women and men share equally in decision-making in every sphere of society, both public and private.  

Ripples International, one of the earliest organizations to address HIV/AIDS in Kenya, serves as a champion for women’s and girls’ rights, and works to protect and promote women’s bodily rights and end sexual violence. 

Ikhwezi Women’s Support Center, established in 1997 in South Africa after the rape of a 6- year-old girl by a 34-year-old man, is committed to educating and empowering women, girls, youth, and men on violence prevention, human rights, and HIV/AIDS.

Action for Rural Women Empowerment works in Uganda to eliminate discriminatory practices that prevent women, particularly rural women, from realizing their full potential in social and economic development. 

Women Beyond Barriers amplifies women’s voices to challenge social norms and structural discrimination so that all ethnic minority women and girls in Kenya can live in dignity, enjoy full land rights, and achieve economic justice. 

Centre for 21st Century Issues works to deepen democracy, promote human rights, advance good governance, and promote environmental justice in Nigeria, with a particular focus on women and socially vulnerable groups living at the margins. 

Association of Media Women in Kenya brings together over 300 women working in the  media in Kenya to pool their professional skills, transform the media landscape, enhance women’s status and leadership across society, and bring visibility to women’s concerns. 

Association Horizons Femmes works in Cameroon to reduce gender inequality and gender-based violence, build an equal, just, and balanced future, and bring about harmonised human development for poor and vulnerable groups living on the margins. 

Alliances for Africa works from Nigeria to advance local, national, sub-regional and international initiatives on human rights, peace, and sustainable development, and acts as a facilitator for the generation and dissemination of information relevant to Africa within the women’s right field.

Voice of Mitooma is an association of female environmental journalists and environmental human rights defenders in Uganda that works to protect the safety of female environmental journalists and human rights defenders, increase media coverage of climate change with women playing a key role, empower women to address the impact of pollution on the environment, and promote sustainable development through supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Faith in Action was built upon the premise that women and youth are the pillars of successful development in Ethiopia, and works to empower women and young women to advance gender equality and economic and environmental justice throughout the country.

Forum Mulher is a network of women across Mozambique working to improve economic, socio-cultural and political transformations that lead to structural change with a feminist perspective and secure equal rights, political participation, and opportunities for all women. 

Mengbwa Actions Jeunes works in Cameroon to empower single mothers, end social injustice and violence against women, advance environmental and gender justice, and fight HIV/AIDS. 

Si Jeunesse Savait (SJS) is a young feminist organisation that works to promote and protect women’s rights, carry out studies and research, build capacities, and strengthen the leadership of young women, girls, and sexual minorities in the Demorcatic Republic of the Congo. 

Moving the Goalpost brings girls in Kenya together for opportunities to play football, build knowledge and skills, take up leadership roles, navigate life challenges, and advocate for full rights and opportunity on their own behalf. 

Raise Foundation, established in Nigeria on the principle that education, income opportunity and health are interlinked and must be nurtured at the community level, raises awareness and opportunity for women and girls to realise their potential in an environment safe for pregnancy and childbirth.

Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust, the oldest women’s organisation in South Africa dealing with adult rape, works to ensure that survivors of rape have access to services and support, and conducts popular education and advocacy to end gender-based violence. 

Sisonke National Movement is a South African sex worker-led movement that enhances the capacity of sex workers to advocate on their own behalf, works to reduce the stigma associated with sex work, challenges and changes existing laws, policies, and practices relating to sex work, and advocates to achieve the decriminalization of sex work. 

Transgender Equality Uganda is a human rights organisation in Uganda that advocates for equal treatment and creates safe spaces where transgender women are recognised, their dignity upheld, and their access to social and economic opportunities expands. 

Women’s Organisation Network for Human Rights Advocacy was established by three sex workers in Uganda to improve the health, social, and economic wellbeing of adult female sex workers throughout the country and to advocate for their human rights. 

Arquivo de Identidade Angolano works in Angola to make the struggles of LBTQI+ women visible, promotes and defends their human rights, and advances public education and understanding of gender and sexuality in the Angolan and African context. 

Women in Action for Human Dignity is a feminist organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo that advances community activism in order to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, reduce violence against women and girls, and consolidate peace.

Women Spaces Africa creates transformative spaces for women and girls with disabilities in Kenya to participate in sustainable development in dignity and equity, advocate for their rights, break through stigma, and access services and support. 

Women for Cancer Early Detection and Treatment works in Kenya to prevent needless death and suffering caused by cancer—particularly reproductive cancers that are preventable through early detection—through advocacy, public awareness campaigns, HPV vaccination promotion, and the facilitation of early detection, treatment, and care. 

Rising Women Organisation was established by young women in Kenya to promote women’s rights, reduce injustice, and build power, with a particular focus on ensuring that women and girls, especially those in urban slum and informal communities, have strong voices and equal participation in the environmental, economic, and social development of their country.  

Women’s Rights and Health Project promotes women and community health and development in Nigeria by equipping, mobilising, and actively engaging community members as social change agents through information sharing, capacity building, and advocacy. 

Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights Organisation was established by two nurses in Sierra Leone to strengthen and influence the country’s sexual and reproductive health and rights policies through constructive engagements, dialogue, education, training and collaborative partnership. 

Readership for Learning and Development was started by two directors of the only women-owned publishing house in Tanzania to advance knowledge, creativity, and independent thinking; co-create inclusive feminist spaces for leisure and learning; invest in feminist conscious young women’s agency; and promote Swahili culture and expression.

Women with Dignity promotes and protects the rights of all sex workers in Tanzania and East Africa by designing and implementing evidence-based advocacy campaigns to influence public policy and practice in the field of human rights. 

Trans Youth Initiative is a human rights advocacy organisation and action platform for transgender youth women, transgender youth sex workers, and gender diverse youth in rural western Uganda that helps to elevate the often-neglected perspectives of rural communities within LGBTI, sex worker, and women’s rights movements.

Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda builds safer and more secure work environments for women human rights defenders through capacity building on safety and security, advocacy and networking, and the provision of feminist protection and emergency response services.  

Une Femme qui en Soulève une Autre works with grassroots communities to dismantle the barriers that prevent women and girls from fully realising their rights, including accessing justice and economic rights. 

Young Women’s Christian Association in Ethiopia’s vision is to become a ‘healthy people’s organisation’, upholding gender equality, promoting socio-economic welfare, and advancing young women’s leadership and entrepreneurship. 

Kenya Sex Workers Alliance is a sex worker-led organisation and national network that works to improve the human rights status of sex workers in Kenya through innovative, evidence-based, and cost-effective advocacy campaigns.

National Association of Women’s Organisations in Uganda is an umbrella organisation of women- founded and women-led organisations whose mission is to promote the growth of a strong women’s movement in Uganda that successfully advocates for women’s rights and  enhances their social-cultural, economic, and political status.

Action de Solidarité des Femmes pour la Femme et l’Enfant was formed by a group of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo to promote gender equality in all sectors, including rights to inheritance, succession, and participation of women in decision making processes at the family, community and national levels.

Movimento das Jovens Feministas de Moçambique- MovFemme is an organization led by young women feminists In Mozambique that aims to promote and protect young women’s rights, eliminate gender-based violence, advance sexual and reproductive rights, and end all forms of oppression based on sexual orientation, gender, religion, class, and race.

Synergie des Partenaires Pour La Promotion des Droits De La Femme is a national network of women’s organisations that operates in all the provinces of Burundi to improve women’s living conditions by advancing peace and promoting civil, political, social, and cultural rights, which include the right to development.

La Floraison ASBL was founded in the Democratic Republic of Congo to advance girls’ and women’s rights and promote their participation and inclusion in local governance—in order to build communities where all women, especially those pushed to the margins, are protected and respected.

Project Alert on Violence Against Women- Nigeria is a national, non-governmental women’s rights organisation that promotes and protects women’s rights, advocates for zero tolerance to all forms of violence against women, young women, and girls, and provides practical support services to female survivors of violence. 

Jekesa Pfungwa Vulingqondo is an indigenous Zimbabwean non-governmental organisation working with women’s groups at the grassroots level to advocate for gender equality, promote women’s leadership, and advance equitable development, with a focus on women in rural and poor urban areas.

We are deeply inspired by each of our grantee partners and are filled with gratitude for the powerful example they set for the world. This is just the beginning of our celebration of this community—visit us often in the months ahead for updated news, stories, and insights from the front lines of feminist change. In the meantime, join us in the celebration! Using the social media icons below, share this news with your networks all around the world.

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