Meet some of our grantee partners*
When the land was stolen out from underneath five young Congolese women, Action Femme came to the rescue. Thanks to their relentless advocacy, all five women still have a plot of earth to call home. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, land rights are a hot button issue—especially for women in rural areas. Action Femme works with thousands of women who are struggling to stay on their land and grappling with the daily effects of climate change. The Equality Fund supports Action Femme to maintain a community space for women to share stories and strategies and to cultivate a homegrown movement of climate warriors.
Three decades of war and the constant threat of a Taliban take-over means that Women Human Rights Defenders and their families are at serious risk in Afghanistan. That’s why AWSDC provides 23 safehouses, legal services, economic support, and advocacy to over 10,000 women. AWSDC has even opened Kabul’s first ever women-run restaurant—entirely staffed by the residents of their shelters. The restaurant provides a harassment-free space and an opportunity to build skills and economic independence.
And Soppeku means, “Together for a change”—and it will truly take everyone to change the current situation for sex workers in Senegal’s city centers. While Senegal is one of the few countries to legalize sex work, day-to-day realities have forced sex workers underground. The brave lawyers, doctors, and nurses who care for this vulnerable group have also been forced underground, risking their own safety just by providing vital services. To advocate for sex workers’ rights, And Soppeku organizes training for sex workers to become paralegals. The Equality Fund supports their efforts to document human rights violations and advocate for change from within.
Domestic workers in Mali are the heartbeat of the household. At best, their work goes unnoticed. At worst, they are underpaid, overworked, and at great risk for sexual exploitation. ADDAD organizes domestic workers around the country to fight for a living wage, decent living conditions, and reasonable work hours. Their slogan, “we have rights, too,” is especially powerful, as it might be the first time that these workers, often young migrant women, have ever heard such a thing. A united voice of 800 and growing, these women demanded—and won—an increased minimum wage (now at $45CAD/month) and a six-day work week. Support from the Equality Fund will help them reach new members and fight for additional worker protections.
To be a woman living with a disability in Madagascar is to experience a “double discrimination.” As the women who launched AFHAM will tell you, it’s unpleasant (to say the least) to be thought of as a burden, if you are even thought of at all. Schools don’t accommodate. Employers don’t accommodate. In short, AFHAM has their work cut out for them. Luckily, they also have a secret weapon: one amazing music video. Called “Ohatranao Ihany (Like You),” AFHAM’s song features funky Malagasy rhythms and highlights women and girls with disabilities leading full and productive lives. For anyone who has ever said, “if I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution,” count AFHAM in.
High fives all around as the ball sails into the net. The crowd goes wild. The littlest girls cheer from the sidelines, still full of energy after their own match. It seems as if all of Bamako has turned up for the tournament. This is the “power of soccer,” as AMPJF says. It’s hard to feel anything other than powerful with a roaring crowd, the blood rushing through your ears, the wind in your face, and the ball connecting with your instep. In a country where girls still face high rates of violence and female genital mutilation, teaching girls to feel powerful is the goal (and teaching communities to respect women’s rights is the big win.) AMPJF has already organized 75 girls’ soccer teams around the country. The Equality Fund is one of their biggest fans.
When a teenager in Burundi feels the first flutters of her baby-to-be, her first thought isn’t about one day counting its tiny fingers and toes. Instead, it’s about counting down the days until she’s no longer welcome at school. Last year, Burundi’s Minister of Education officially banned teen moms from the classroom. This is just one of the many hurdles young single moms face. With AMC on their side, teen moms have access to a mobile clinic, a drop-in center, and resources to stay in school. AMC also works in local communities to provide sex education and to end the stigma toward single moms.
Young women and girls in Niger felt left out of Sustainable Development Goals talks, even though they are the most affected by child marriage, violence against women, terrorism, and a lack of formal education. With the support of Cellule, more women and girls are speaking up and demanding their voices are heard. Through workshops on blogging, public speaking, social media, artistic expression, and entrepreneurship, Cellule strengthens the capacity of over 300 girls, growing a feminist movement from the ground up.
Youth around the globe are leading powerful movements for change. But young people in one of the world’s youngest countries—South Sudan—face a few extra hurdles. How do you grow a youth movement in a place where protests are illegal? Brazenly demanding women’s rights in a country ravaged by conflict, Crown The Woman has a few tricks up their sleeve: silent peace marches, a comic book curriculum, and quirky social media campaigns to address serious topics such as child marriage and violence against women. Crown’s impact has reached more than 6,000 students, 300 community members, 60 teachers, and 500 parents. A grant from the Equality Fund will continue this disruptive work.
According to some, there are 100,000 witches in Togo. Many of them are women and girls. Some identify as LGBTQ+. Shunned, disinherited, accused of witchcraft, the 100,000 people with HIV/AIDS in Togo are under siege. Worse still, they are dying. If only there were a magic wand to dispel harmful myths about HIV/AIDS. Only half of the people in Togo with the disease have access to life-saving drugs, women with HIV/AIDS are at greater risk for violence, and accurate information about treatment rarely reaches the local level. That’s why a group of women and girls with HIV/AIDS founded Femme Plus Togo. A grant from the Equality Fund ensures that critical information is translated into the Kabiyé and Èwe languages and that LGBTQ+ folks have a safe place to go for HIV/AIDS services.
The world relies on the DRC for the minerals that power cell phones, computers, and cars. But the incessant rainfall caused by climate change and the constant extraction of the land’s resources for tech are destroying the country. FFGRN is mobilizing women’s agency and leadership. Their strategies—advocacy, movement building, training, research and lobbying—take women from minefields to natural resource management.
All eyes were on Nepal during the 2015 earthquake that killed 9,000 people, razed communities, closed schools, and cut off remote areas from medical help. But who was watching out for those who, long before the earthquake, had fallen through the cracks? Despite being nearly 40% of Nepal’s population, Indigenous peoples have been all but erased from the constitution. And as for Indigenous women with disabilities—support was practically non-existent. Founded in the aftermath of the earthquake to support this triply invisible population, NIDWAN’s work demonstrates that, while earthquakes may crumble man-made structures, the power of women-built movements at the grassroots is truly groundbreaking
“Women are not leaders.” Ruth, a leader for disability rights in Bamenda, was tired of hearing those words. She founded NWAWWD to prove the world wrong. Violent conflict in the area has left women with disabilities hiding in forests and vulnerable to violence. NWAWWD advocates for the well-being and needs of these women. Ruth’s leadership has created a ripple effect in the region, and has expanded her small idea into a growing movement that spans 7 regions with over 50 members.
It’s no secret that girls in Kenya are natural leaders. Resource Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) in Machakos knows this first hand. They run unique mentoring camps for girls and young women from rural Kenya to equip them with power and resources they need to be agents of change. In addition to these camps, RCWG keeps the girls engaged through a series of mentoring and peer-networking initiatives, run by alumni of the Girls’ Camps themselves.
By supporting smart, ambitious, and brave girls, RCWG seeks to shift cycles of power to end violence against women and girls and promote sexual reproductive health rights, socio-economic resilience and the right to safe environments free from violence. Their model works – in fact, they have 250 girls (and counting) to prove it. Talk about girl power.
Resources—especially for feminist LGBTQ+ led organizations—are deeply scarce in Francophone West Africa. WIFC works in formal and informal spaces providing legal, health, and economic support to LGBTQ+ youth survivors of violence. WIFC has witnessed the daily threats that Women Human Rights Defenders face to their safety firsthand. As an emerging organization, they have inspired hard-to-reach communities to report assaults and violence, which WIFC documents for strategic research advocacy.