Perhaps some of you may not have noticed, but there has been an important change underway at the AGAs. Since 2010, thanks to the leadership of Mama Cash and the support of other organizations and foundations, the issue of funding gender, women and girls has been given more attention. For those of you who may not be following this development, here is a quick overview.
Almost exactly 2 years ago at the 2010 AGA, Mama Cash, in cooperation with the European Foundation Centre and the Foundation Center, shared initial outcomes regarding their study of European foundation funding for women and girls. I wrote about it on the first Alliance conference reporting blog.
About one year later, the report, Untapped Potential, was published and officially launched at the 2011 AGA; it reported on the quite limited focus and spending of European foundations on gender and programs affecting women and girls. The scope of this research was impressive and included statistics not only on funding for women and girls, but also other important data on the funding patterns of European foundations. In addition, a few foundations that are working in this area were profiled and some interesting case studies were described.
Building on this, Mama Cash , with the support of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, initiated a second study with Grantcraft, this time one that focuses on strategies and approaches of those who are funding in this area. I was pleased to be one of the representatives interviewed during the preparation of this valuable guide, which has an important aim: to increase the number of European foundations funding gender and women and girls by sharing examples and lessons learned of those who are active in this area. This report was launched at the 2012 AGA, at a session organized by Mama Cash. The room was crowded, and the energetic small group discussions were facilitated under three main sub-themes around funding gender and women/girls: youth, migration and civil society development.
I congratulate Mama Cash and the various partners who have collaborated to make these studies and sessions possible, and hope that this series of publications will continue to yield new reports that will inform foundations and donors (such as donor briefs on sub-thematic areas, regional insight papers and other subjects within the realm of funding gender and women and girls). I also congratulate the EFC for making this important subject a regular theme at AGAs, and am very hopeful that after a three-year streak, this will continue and will ultimately lead to an increase in European foundations’ efforts to support gender equality and improve the lives of women and girls.
Filiz Bikmen is director of programs and international relations at the Sabanci Foundation and a member of the Governing Council of the European Foundation Centre.