The Funders Forum
There were about 250 participants to listen to the very well facilitated session on Funding: Where is the Money for Women’s Rights?
There were about 250 participants to listen to the very well facilitated session on Funding: where is the money for women’s rights?
The session began with a presentation from AWID on the findings of their research project on funding. The aims of the session were to share information, to highlight the challenges concerning resource mobilization, to give information on current opportunities and to raise key questions for debate. The presentation noted that funding had increased a little between 2005 and 2007 for women’s rights. On the whole the organizations receiving funds are small. Women’s funds were highlighted as very significant for this kind of funding. The major funding is from multi-lateral agencies. Challenges that were noted include: a gap between donor conditions and women’s organizational needs who require greater flexibility; the need for investment in OD; need for non-linear approaches to evaluation; the need for organizations to improve their communications strategies; and the need to strengthen partnerships.
The chair invited the 6 panelists who were from a range of donors, big and small, to react to the AWID report. All expressed the view the AWID research was very helpful and influenced them and their funding strategies. All spoke of ongoing commitments to funding women’s rights and gender equality in various forms. The funders all demonstrated a personal commitment to this funding work. There was some discussion on new funding opportunities through the OECD. There was an emphasis on organizations need to diversify their funding bases.
Two women were then asked to pose questions to the panel, one older woman, and one younger. They both presented incisive challenging questions about the current financial context; where there should be a separation between project funding and movement funding; and how young women can get access as there often is a sense that ‘life begins at 40’.
The importance of both projects and movements were stressed. The disconnect between the macro political framework and the funding of projects was also acknowledged, hence the importance of the political work of movements. All spoke of the challenge and commitment to fund young women.
AWID was asked to continue its research and in the next round try to answer what ‘sustainability’ means for organizations and what it means to particular funders, and what more funders can do to support the base of the women’s movement.
The panel was provocative and interesting and even though there was not time for questions from the floor, it seemed that the participants remained engaged. It was 21h00 when it ended and there was a desire to go and dance!
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