Women’s Funds Around the World – Tewa, Nepal

Rita Thapa

Founded in 1996, Tewa’s mission is to support emerging groups of women all over rural Nepal. In a country where giving has traditionally been largely through religious channels, Tewa seeks to change attitudes to giving in order to help build a just and equitable society. Given the need to move away from foreign aid dependency, it also serves as a valuable model of self-reliant development.

In its fifth year of existence, Tewa has reached its endowment goal of Rs 15 million (US$ 205,761), trained and mobilized 140 fundraising volunteers, involved over 700 Nepali donors and given out about Rs 4 million in grants to 105 rural women’s groups in 39 districts of Nepal. Many of our small donors are women.

Tewa’s grantee groups are very varied, ranging from those that are just registering their own organizations after being involved in savings and credit groups to those that are beginning to advocate on issues like trafficking of women and women’s rights to property. Some of those women are working hard to assert their space and independence through suitable income generation activities such as opening a community retail store or working as a birth attendant. So far 11 grantee groups are also donors to Tewa. This year a Tewa grantee was invited into Tewa membership during the Annual General Assembly. In this way, Tewa hopes to change the power relation between donor and grantee to make it one of mutual support and respect.

Tewa’s remarkable success, considering the country’s economic situation, has been largely due to the fact that it was able to build an endowment at the very beginning. The support, both moral and practical, that it received from existing international funds like Mama Cash of the Netherlands and the Global Fund for Women was a significant factor here. Today an ongoing relationship of mutual goodwill, support and learning exists for both sides.

In January 2000 Tewa hosted a celebration and visibility walk where 40 women from all over the world representing international women’s funds joined over 500 Tewa grantees, donors, volunteers and allies to walk through the historical city of Patan – a clear statement of support for women’s human rights issues.

For more information about Tewa, please contact Coordinator Rita Thapa or Programme Manager Deepak Dewan at tewa@mail.com.np


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