The body of evidence and research on the prevalence of violence against women and girls in all its forms has provided clear confirmation of its varied manifestations and pandemic proportions.
However, adequate financial commitments to end this human rights violation have not followed. This continued underfunding is hampering the ability of organizations – and above all grassroots women’s organizations who are at the forefront of providing immediate and long-term support to women and girls – to implement programmes that can transform lives and communities.
Recent studies by the Association of Women in Development (AWID) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Assistance Committee Network on Gender Equality (OECD DAC Gendernet) provide an overview of the restricted financing for women’s rights organizations. A global AWID study in 2011 of 740 women’s rights organizations found the average median income for these organizations was USD 20,000.11 A report published in November 2016 by the OECD DAC Gendernet on funding trends noted that just 8 per cent of gender-focused overseas development assistance went directly to women’s rights organizations in developing countries.12
As part of its advocacy efforts, in 2017 the UN Trust Fund focused in particular on raising the profile and the visibility of successful initiatives to end violence against women that are being developed and delivered by women’s rights, small and women-led organizations. One way in which heightened visibility for these organizations was pursued was by increasing the avenues and platforms to showcase their work and achievements in order to inform a wider interested public about efficient and cost-effective ways to achieve change.
In March 2017, the UN Trust Fund hosted a one-day conversation about challenges and opportunities in providing much needed resources to end this global pandemic, convening key stakeholders from civil society, governments, the UN and the private sector. Ten recipients of small grants13 played an active role in bringing the perspective of grass-roots women’s rights organizations into this discussion, sharing their unique contribution to the work of ending violence against women and highlighting the need for adequate and sustainable funding.
This and other conversations all highlighted the need for changes in funding approaches. In particular they underscored the need for flexible and long-term core funding to maximize the impact of the work of grass-roots women’s organizations.
During 2017, the UN Trust Fund provided support to its small grants recipients in particular in a number of ways. In addition to extensive capacity-building investment described above, the UN Trust Fund has recognized the need of small women’s organizations to ensure the sustainability of their core organizational functions. This underpins their autonomy and ability to define their own strategic direction in accomplishing their mission and vision. The UN Trust Fund is responding to this need by including – for the first time – an additional budget line for core funding to small women’s organizations up to a maximum of 7 per cent of direct activity costs.
The commitment of those working on the frontline of efforts to end violence against women and girls often results in their own needs and wellbeing falling way down the list of priorities. This is why with the Call for Proposals which closed in December 2017, the UN Trust Fund introduced a special budget line for self-care for small women’s organizations of up to USD 2,000 to support each organization in taking care of its staff members’ physical and emotional health, in order to prevent burnout.
The UN Trust Fund is introducing a special budget line for selfcare for small women’s organizations of up to
to support each organization in taking care of its staff members’ physical and emotional health, in order to prevent burnout.