25 Years of Impact

Background

Since its founding, Global Fund has invested more than $110 million in support of 4,600 women’s groups across 175 countries, fulfilling the principle of getting core funding directly into the hands of women-led groups. We enlisted the services of Stanford University and SVT Group to measure the impact of this principle and the primary Global Fund strategies to Seed, Strengthen and Sustain women’s groups:

  1. To transform philanthropy through resources – particularly general support—to seed women’s groups
  2. To invest resources to strengthen the capacity of women’s groups
  3. To support women’s groups to sustain their work and base

Read the full report conducted by Karina Kloos (Stanford University and SVT Group) and Sara Olsen (SVT Group).

Strategic Impact

Researchers (Kloos and Olsen) analyzed Global Fund impact by asking three powerful questions.


1

Did Global Fund seed new women’s organizations and help to transform women’s philanthropy?

The researchers concluded that Global Fund has made meaningful contributions in this area. Global Fund was the first institutional funder to more than 700 organizations and a key early funder for hundreds more. It adhered to its core beliefs of trusting and listening to grant partners and providing flexible funding. Specific efforts to reach girls and women who are among the most marginalized and rarely funded and to seed and grow Women’s Funds are further indicators of Global Fund’s successful efforts to transform philanthropy.

Today, there are more women’s organizations, more money going to women’s organizations, and more sources of funding than in 1987. For example, Global Fund grant partners reported a mean of 1.5 funding sources in 1987 as compared with 4.5 now (close to a comparable grant-making industry benchmark of 5.2 sources for grant partners globally).

2

Did Global Fund for Women strengthen the capacity of women’s organizations?

The researchers found mixed evidence of Global Fund impact in strengthening grant partners’ capacities. The high number of one-time grant partners (40%), revealed one limitation of Global Fund’s ability to strengthen women’s organizations. The message of “first” and “early” funder has been so persistent that organizations sometimes do not know they are eligible for further funding. Furthermore, turnover in Global Fund staff creates a challenge to maintain continuous communication that makes renewal requests possible.

Nevertheless, flexible, unrestricted core funds provided by Global Fund are demonstrated to support organizational capacity. These funds have been especially essential to organizations in conflict areas such as the DRC, Colombia, former Yugoslavia, and others, as noted by grant partners. Many grant partners have expressed interest in further training and convening, particularly with other local Global Fund grant partners.

3

Did Global Fund help to sustain and link women’s organizations and mobilize women’s social movements?

The researchers cited numerous examples that clearly demonstrate Global Fund’s contribution to movement building. It has provided funding—roughly 15% of its budget—specifically in support of women’s participation in key forums where women’s groups develop new relationships and share new knowledge.

Furthermore, they found substantial evidence that Global Fund has contributed to the fundamental conditions of movement building as defined by social movement scholars. For instance, Global Fund has supported women’s groups to change laws, or introduce new laws in relation to ending gender based violence, in 25 countries that now provide protection for over 1.05 billion women and girls. Over 25 years, Global Fund has played a notable role in sustaining, linking, and/or mobilizing the following movements: Gender-Based Violence; Reproductive Rights; LGBTI Rights; Domestic Worker Rights; Ending Sex Trafficking; Disability Rights; the Rights of Sex Workers; Indigenous and Rural Women’s Rights; and Anti-war/militarism. It has funded women’s organizations that provide direct empowerment on behalf of these populations and issues. Further, Global Fund has supported campaigns and advocacy efforts to bring about, modify, and/or ratify policies and laws. Notably, Global Fund has supported women’s rights organizations that are engaged in a political struggle to oppose conservative/religious/cultural backlash against advances in reproductive justice.

In seeking answers to these questions, Global Fund identified opportunities to increase its impact. As a result, funding will be invested in strong, customized portfolios across regions and issue-areas. The goal: to INNOVATE, STRENGTHEN and AMPLIFY women’s organizations that achieve transformative change and widespread gender equality.

Measuring Impact and Change

Are Global Fund grant partners achieving real outcomes for women and girls? To answer this question, Global Fund adopted a change matrix, which identifies four areas in which change must occur in order for it to be transformative and lasting: formal and informal, individual and systemic.

change matrix showing four axes (formal, informal, individual, systemic) and four types of change (awareness, access to resources & services, adaptation of laws and policies, and shifts in socio-cultural norms, beliefs, and practices)

The four areas are fluid and interrelated. For example, laws against gender-based violence (i.e., formal systemic change) alone do not end violence. Change is also needed in social norms, individual attitudes and behaviors, and access to resources like counseling. But laws can influence individual behavior and the changing social norms create the political will to change laws.

This change matrix will inform the work of Global Fund and grant partners and will become a key tool to establish metrics and measure impact.

Call to Action

Global Fund and others have built a much stronger network of women’s organizations working to innovate, strengthen and amplify social justice for the world’s women and girls. As Global Fund builds on this progress in pursuit of its vision and mission, the researchers provided the following recommendations:

  1. Identify Boundaries. Global Fund must determine priorities. The researchers suggested more support for multiyear grants, direct capacity building with grant partners, and more convenings among grant partners. Once established, these priorities must be clearly communicated to key stakeholders to align both grant partners and key funders around the identity and priorities of the organization.
  2. Set Targets. The change matrix has been adopted; it will help shape Global Fund’s framework for learning, evaluation and impact. This will lead to specific strategies and measurable impact, both for Global Fund and its grant partners.
  3. Facilitate Communication. Global Fund must define the specific questions to be answered when it evaluates its grant-making. This will inform what data needs to be collected from grant partners and also what actions Global Fund can take to ensure grant partners are able to gain from this information.
  4. Integrate Findings. There have been extensive efforts to track and learn from Global Fund activities and those of its grant partners. Global Fund is well positioned to do much more to learn about and evaluate its specific, identifiable impact by utilizing, integrating, and improving upon the collection and analysis of data that demonstrate impact.

Our 25th Anniversary

Flip through our interactive timeline showcasing our 25-year history alongside major world events, and download our anniversary book, Human Right.

TIMELINE: Explore 25 years of women's movements
BOOK: Reflections from the past, visions of the future

Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era

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Women at DAWN's 2011 training institute.

In the age of globalization, DAWN's network of feminist scholars, researchers and activists work for economic and gender justice – basic human rights often overlooked during rapid development.

Through research, advocacy, and training, DAWN creates a support system for women to organize around challenging issues affecting their livelihoods, living standards, and overall human rights.

When DAWN supported 25 women to attend the Rio +20 global development conference, decision makers couldn’t ignore their voices. Women from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Rapa Nui, Vanuatu, Hawaii and Samoa lobbied for laws to protect biodiversity and their oceans, and they demanded government regulation of industries that destroy natural resources. They won and the government of Papua New Guinea agreed to a moratorium on deep-sea mining exploration – a major policy shift.

 

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

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Woman at APWLD's Parliamentary Exchange in Timor-Leste.

APWLD has been a powerhouse of advocacy and activism for 25 years. With 180 member-groups from over 25 countries, they are a leading voice for women’s rights in Asia and the Pacific. With research and training, women are empowered to use law as an instrument to claim and strengthen their human rights.

A recent training on gender and politics included a parliamentary exchange that took Burmese women parliamentarians to meet their counterparts in Timor-Leste. The result? Daw Khin Waing Kyi, a representative in Burma/Myanmar’s House of Nationalities, was inspired to advocate for a 30 percent quota for women within the Burmese Parliament. Her proposal is pending review for the next election in 2015.

apwld

From parliamentarians to local women leaders, APWLD’s strength lies in its diverse membership. During trainings on how to utilize local political resources, a member of her city council’s Committee on Affairs of Women and Youth in Tajikistan used APWLD’s materials to develop leadership trainings for young women in her city. Another participant from Kyrgyzstan incorporated APWLD resources to create leadership development sessions for women living with HIV.

 

Tiwi’s Raincoat

At first, Tiwi’s work was caring for her family. But with the cost of living in Indonesia on the rise, Tiwi needed more money just to keep up. So, like many women between the ages of 20 and 50 in her country, Tiwi started working on contract, making leather goods for a local factory.

But there was a downside. Contract work allows factories to subvert minimum wage laws, ignore working conditions and undermine relationship and solidarity building amongst women workers who fiercely compete for contracts.

yasanti

Despite these obstacles, Tiwi was promoted to a day laborer position. Unfortunately, day laborers are not entitled to transportation, a uniform, and meals like permanent factory workers. So during the rainy season, she worked outside without a raincoat because the factory only gave them to permanent workers.

Undeterred, Tiwi became involved with Global Fund for Women grantee partner, Yasanti, one of the only female trade unions in Indonesia. She and her colleagues learned the value and purpose of labor unions and leadership. Yasanti organizes local labor groups and connects women from different sectors to regional labor networks. An important advocate and voice, Yasanti speaks truth to business owners who can influence government.

Tiwi took the skills from Yasanti back to her factory, organized her coworkers, and called a meeting with the management to demand raincoats. The negotiations were successful: day laborers got raincoats and improved facilities to keep them dry during the rainy season.

Today, Tiwi continues to collaborate with Yasanti to fight for the rights of women workers in her community.

 

A Leader All Along

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Community leader in Southeast Asia. Photo credit: APWLD.

When her husband’s alcoholism became so debilitating that he could no longer work, Kanthi Wijekoon had to make a difficult decision. She left her three small children in Sri Lanka with hopes of making higher wages as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia.

While living and working in her employer’s home, she was sexually assaulted. When Kanthi complained, the employer’s wife retaliated by withholding food and burning her hand to the bone with a hot frying spoon.

Kanthi escaped by jumping a high wall surrounding the family’s home. But without a passport, she was quickly arrested and placed in Saudi jail with little food and poor sanitation.

In prison, she met over 700 Sri Lankan women; all had been arrested for running away or minor infractions like stealing food from their employers. In the long tradition of Sri Lankan women’s organizing, Kanthi didn’t resign herself to the sickening prison conditions. She organized and led her fellow prisoners to demand better treatment.

Remembering her local women’s organization, Kanthi wrote Global Fund for Women grantee partner, Rural Women’s Front for help. They sorted out legal aid and paid her fees. When she returned to Sri Lanka, they provided her with counseling. After hearing her stories of prison organizing, Rural Women’s Front knew Kanthi would benefit from leadership training.

Today, Kanthi is a recognized leader and role model for women in the rural Gampha district. Using skills from Rural Women’s Front, she was able to increase daily wages for women rice farmers. Kanthi now leads programs reaching more than 600 women every year, many facing the same struggles she once did.

 

The Rising Tide in Asia and the Pacific

What happens when one of the world’s leading women’s rights foundations receives its largest single grant in history? We rise and team up with women-led organizations in Asia and the Pacific to propel progress for women, communities, and nations.

ENDING VIOLENCE
BUILDING ECONOMIC SECURITY
GROWING POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

With a four-year, $5.9 million investment from the Dutch Foreign Ministry, women-led organizations are leading the charge to end violence and poverty. They are recruiting women to run for office and applying grassroots solutions to climate change.

Follow us through 2015 as we build on the successes of our Breakthrough Project and learn from a region where women’s rights are changing virtually overnight.

Our Impact

$1.1M

IN FLEXIBLE FUNDING

192,278

PEOPLE SERVED

11,544

WOMEN AND GIRLS TRAINED AS LEADERS

As of April 30, 2013

Our Grantee Partners

As of April 2013, Global Fund for Women awarded more than $1.1 million in grants to 52 women-led organizations working in 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific. Use this map to spot our grantee partners.


View FLOW grantee orgs in a larger map

The Stories

Portrait of a smiling young woman in a white headscarf

A Leader All Along

When her husband’s alcoholism became so debilitating that he could no longer work, Kanthi Wijekoon had to make a difficult decision. She left her three small children in Sri Lanka with hopes of making higher wages as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia. Read more »


group of women smiling

Tiwi’s Raincoat

At first, Tiwi’s work was caring for her family. But with the cost of living in Indonesia on the rise, Tiwi needed more money just to keep up. So, like many women between the ages of 20 and 50 in her country, Tiwi started working on contract, making leather goods for a local factory. Read more »


Our Partners

Portrait of a smiling young woman in a white headscarf

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Chiang Mai, Thailand

APWLD has been a powerhouse of advocacy and activism for 25 years. With 180 member-groups from over 25 countries, they are a leading voice for women’s rights in Asia and the Pacific. Read more »


Portrait of a smiling young woman

Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, Quezon City, Philippines

In the age of globalization, DAWN’s network of feminist scholars, researchers and activists work for economic and gender justice – basic human rights often overlooked during rapid development. Read more »


Support

Logo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

This project is made possible thanks to the Government of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) project is a 80.5 million euro fund initiated by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to strengthen the rights and opportunities for women and girls worldwide. FLOW focuses on women's leadership in three priority areas: security (including violence against women and UN Resolution 1325), economic empowerment (with an emphasis on food security, land, water and economic rights) and participation and representation of women in politics and public administration.

We are grateful to the Government of the Netherlands for their investment in women.


 
 

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