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Feasibility Study For The Creation Of The Mediterranean Foundation For Women's Rights

Project Summary of one of the AWID Innovation Seed Grant Winners 2005

Recognizing that change doesn't happen through ideas alone, AWID invited the 2005 Forum participants to submit grant applications for projects that would transform ideas and perspectives picked up at the forum into projects for meaningful change. How does change happen? One step at a time, one project at a time.
The objective of this project is to conduct a feasibility study to decide upon the relevance and the viability of a foundation dedicated to financing projects concerned with women's rights in the Mediterranean region.

The co-developments of religious fundamentalism and neo-liberalism in the region have weakened women's rights. Violence against women remains a very important issue: marital violence, sexual aggression, honor crimes and the objectification of the female body common in Southern textbooks and Northern pornography. Violence against women as a means of warfare is also very common as we saw in Bosnia Herzegovina in 1992 and in Algeria between 1994 and 2000.

Currently, those engaged in women's rights work in the region find it very difficult to secure funding. Because volunteerism in the region is seen as being a true mark of commitment for advocates, there tends to be a sense of shame involved in being paid for advocacy work. Furthermore, many funders are often in bilateral contracts with governments, and are therefore unable to support civil society groups, especially those organisations, like the majority of women's rights groups in non-democratic countries, who are opposed to their governments. The principal goal of the project will therefore be the improvement of the condition of women's lives in the region by way of supporting those who are advocating for their rights.

The feasibility study, financed partly by AWID, will make it possible to determine the relevance and viability of a foundation devoted to the financing of the initiatives, actions and projects concerning women's rights and development in the Mediterranean. Whatever its conclusions, it will be of great utility for the women's organizations in the Mediterranean.

The study will either:

  • Recommend the creation of a structure and will design its form, operating modes, objectives, means, financing and its actions;
  • Or it will not recommend the creation of such a structure but will direct the women's groups towards financial backers, identified through the study, who will support their projects.

About New Ways-International Alliance for Social Innovation

New Ways - International Alliance for Social Innovation, was founded in 1999, by women and men from the two sides of the Mediterranean wishing to work for a change in social relationship between the sexes and, more generally, between human beings. The organization is a space dedicated to the search and the promotion of new ways of constructing peace and democracy. The organizational structure is a network that connects individuals and organizations engaged in the international movement for social change, justice and peace. The New Ways Secretariat is located in France and is associated with an office in Istanbul, Turkey.

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