WOMEN'S VOICE AND LEADERSHIP - CARIBBEAN

Strengthening Women's and LBTIQ Rights Organizations and Movements in the Caribbean

PROJECT DETAILS

  • Location: Official Development Assistance eligible countries in the Caribbean Community
  • Duration: 5 years (2019-2024)
  • Primary Beneficiaries: Caribbean Women’s rights organizations and lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer groups
  • Leading Partners: Equality Fund and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
  • Funding Source: Government of Canada

WOMEN’S VOICE AND LEADERSHIP

In June 2017, the Government of Canada launched the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Program—as part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy—to provide women’s rights organizations and movements in developing countries with direct funding to advance gender equality. 21 organizations are implementing 32 projects in 30 different developing countries and/or regions under the WVL Program. These projects respond to the needs of women’s rights organizations and put women at the centre of decision-making.

In September 2018, the Equality Fund (formerly The MATCH International Women’s Fund) and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea) began a partnership to co-implement WVL-Caribbean—a five-year, $4.8 million initiative to advance women’s and LBTIQ rights and gender equality in the Caribbean region.

WVL-Caribbean is supporting the capacity, leadership, and agendas of grassroots women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups that advance their own solutions to improve women’s and LBTIQ rights and gender equality in their own contexts, especially at the intersections of the following broad thematic areas:

  • Economic Justice;
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights;
  • Feminist Leadership and Movement-Building;
  • Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Rights; and
  • Climate Change.

WHY THE CARIBBEAN?

In most Caribbean countries, poverty is higher among women, especially in women-headed households. LBTIQ women in the Caribbean also face discrimination and stigma. Caribbean women’s organizations and LBTIQ groups face many challenges while addressing these issues and more—including a lack of sustainable funding and a reliance on volunteer work.

BACK TO OUR ROOTS: SUPPORTING WOMEN IN THE CARIBBEAN

In the late 70s, The MATCH International Women’s Fund (known at the time as MATCH International Centre) began funding women in the Caribbean. Sadly, when The MATCH International Women’s Fund lost its government funding in 2010, much of the organization’s support for grassroots work in the Caribbean region came to an end.

With WVL-Caribbean, the Equality Fund—just as The MATCH International Women’s Fund did in the past—is supporting Caribbean women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups working to advance women’s and LBTIQ rights and gender equality in the region. With WVL-Caribbean we are returning to these roots, establishing new and exciting partnerships, and leaving a lasting legacy.

EQUALITY FUND AND ASTRAEA AS LEADING PARTNERS

The Equality Fund—a groundbreaking partnership combining feminist philanthropy, grantmaking and investing—and Astraea—the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LBTIQ human rights around the world—share a rich history deeply embedded in feminist movements globally. For over forty years, both organizations have been exclusively investing in grassroots organizations improving women’s and LBTIQ human rights with innovative solutions.

Project information

What are we doing?

The Equality Fund and Astraea are working together to support women at the frontlines of discrimination, poverty and violence in the Caribbean. WVL–Caribbean is improving women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups’ access to key resources, including funding, capacity-building, and network and alliance building, investing in their own priorities for change and strengthening the Caribbean women’s and LBTIQ movements as a whole.

How are we doing it?

WVL–Caribbean is providing both multi-year and responsive funding to women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups based and/or working in Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), specifically in Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. The purpose of multi-year grants is to provide core funding to women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups over a three-year period to enable them to implement their own programs and advocacy based on their own agendas and priorities.

Responsive funding is separate but complementary to multi-year funding and will be available to multi-year grantees to enhance the delivery of their program and advocacy initiatives. To extend project support beyond direct project beneficiaries, requests that propose collaboration with non-WVL funded groups and organizations in the region will be prioritized.

Capacity-building and network and alliance building support are also key components of WVL-Caribbean, through which the project expects to respond to the immediate needs of women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups, contributing to their future sustainability, and amplify their voices and allow for broader collective action.

Co-designed by and for women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups

This initiative is uniquely co-designed by and for women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups in the Caribbean. In the spirit of shared building, research and consultations were conducted during the project inception phase, in order to include diverse voices and perspectives in the project design.

In June 2019, the Equality Fund (then The MATCH International Women’s Fund) and Astraea hosted a consultation meeting in St. John’s, Antigua, bringing together a wide range of partners and representatives from around the Caribbean region.

This highly participatory consultation and validation meeting allowed groups to discuss how WVL–Caribbean can best respond to their priorities. It also provided an opportunity to examine the funding landscape of the Caribbean. The report from the Convening can be accessed here.

Caribbean Advisory Group

WVL-Caribbean is being supported by a Caribbean Advisory Group, which is providing high-level support and advice on the main components of the project, including multi-year and responsive grantmaking, capacity-building, and network and alliance building, as well as on other key aspects, such as project sustainability. The WVL-Caribbean Advisory Group is comprised by an outstanding group of feminist leaders from across the Caribbean, coming from different backgrounds and generations and with different perspectives, but united by their shared passion and interest in advancing women’s and LBTIQ rights and gender equality in the Caribbean. Learn more about our Caribbean Advisors here.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter or contact wvlcaribbean@equalityfund.ca to learn more.

Twitter: @Equality_Fund

Hashtags: #CanadaInTheCaribbean | #WVLCaribbean | #FIAP


Funded by the Government of Canada