Women’s funds mobilizing resources

Alliance magazine


TEWA (Nepal)
Investing in land and buildings

Over the past three years, Tewa has begun to execute a Land and Building Development Plan (LBDP). The plan, which will be accomplished in three phases over a period of seven years, involves the acquisition of two acres of land and building on it a new office for Tewa, shops, a café and recreational facilities. The shops are now built and will house the Tewa office until the new office building is completed late this year, at which time the shops will be rented out.

The development runs parallel to the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. As the social, economic and political environment deteriorated, with increased violence over the last three to four years, Tewa’s strategy has been to invest in infrastructure, not only as a means of survival, but also as a statement of women’s work and politics. Tewa is presently beginning a drive to raise the money invested in the building from Nepalis, something which is in any case central to its work so as to ensure greater ownership and community partnership. However, continuing support from the northern-based women’s funds is critical to the project’s full realization.
For further information, contact Deepak Dewan at tewa@mail.com.np

UKRAINIAN WOMEN’S FUND
Raising money for breast cancer

The Ukrainian Women’s Fund (UWF) is part of a group of NGOs that is taking the lead in raising awareness about breast cancer in the Ukraine. More than 15,000 women in the country are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Twenty per cent of them die within a year because it was not detected early – one of the highest mortality rates in Europe.

In April 2002, a coalition of NGOs, including UWF, the Centre for Reform Education (CURE), the Women’s Health and Family Planning Charitable Fund and US government-funded Winrock International organized a charity fashion show. Contact with NGOs in the USA and Canada resulted in the original show going on tour to Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Washington DC and New York. It has raised $90,000 – enough to buy a new mammography machine and a processor for one of Ukraine’s most needy regions.

Using designers to promote a public awareness campaign is not new, but it is a novel approach in the Ukraine. Natalia Karbowska, chair of the UWF board, explains: ‘As a country in transition, we are still learning this culture of volunteerism. Our mission is twofold: we want NGOs to unite to show that there is strength in numbers and we want to introduce the notion of philanthropy in Ukraine.’
For more information about this campaign, contact Marta Kolomayets at PBNMartak@aol.com
For more information about UWF, contact uwf@uwf.kiev.ua

CENTRAL AMERICAN WOMEN’S FUND
Fundraising through volunteers

How do you promote a new idea of philanthropy among people with neither experience nor tradition of it? The Central American Women’s Fund (CAWF) is trying to do this by introducing a volunteer fundraising programme throughout the Central American region.

CAWF, the first organization of its kind in the region, raises funds to distribute to women’s organizations, especially young women’s organizations, that are working to defend women’s human rights. It wants to use philanthropy as a means for everyone, not just the wealthy, and especially women, to realize the power of their money and to use it to make changes in their communities. The volunteer fundraising training programme, one of its key strategies for the coming year, aims to involve women from different sectors of each Central American country in fundraising activities among their friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Modelled on a similar programme run by Tewa, a women’s fund in Nepal, the programme will not only raise funds; it will also increase the knowledge of Central American women about the situation of women in their countries and involve them in a network of organizations and initiatives concerned with the advancement of human rights.

CAWF also hopes to use face-to-face volunteer fundraisers to tap into the potential for philanthropy among Central Americans living outside their countries, mainly the more than 1,730,000 living in the US who are now sending back $3 billion a year in remittances to their families. Social solidarity and mutual aid networks have already developed both inside each country and internationally. Hometown associations established in the US already send money to their home communities to pay for basic infrastructure such as roads and healthcare and educational facilities. The challenge now is to orient these networks towards overcoming poverty and addressing human rights violations in the region. Over the next year, CAWF will begin to establish contacts in key cities in the US such as the San Francisco Bay area with a high concentration of Central American residents to begin fundraising activities.
For more information, contact Millie Brobston at millie@fcmujeres.org

ANGELA BORBA FUND FOR WOMEN
Working with Brazilian business

ABF sees its mission as being to change the mentality of mainstream philanthropy institutions about feminism and women’s human rights and to change their attitude to social investment and social responsibility generally. In pursuit of this, it has sought contact and cooperation with organizations like GIFE (Group of Institutes, Foundations and Enterprises) and the Federation of Industries in Rio de Janeiro, contacts which have given it more visibility and respect in national philanthropy circles and in the Brazilian third sector. Since 2003, ABF has been organizing awareness and fundraising events with women entrepreneurs, which have culminated in the launch of a Campaign for Individual Donors, in partnership with the Business Professionals Women’s Organization (BPW) in Rio de Janeiro; Linea HC (a factory and chain of women’s clothing stores), which will share its mailing list of 3,000 clients; Hard Rock Café and Garcia & Rodriguez Restaurant, and the Marriot Hotel, all in Rio.

As well as sharing its mailing list, BPW has provided introductions to a group of foreign women married to executives of international corporations, who already invest in NGOs in Rio and who are interested in investing in ABF. ABF has also reached an agreement with Natura (a leading Brazilian cosmetics company), whereby the company will allow ABF to use its training space in São Paulo for capacity-building workshops for its grantees. Natura has also offered to pay for all the meals and coffee breaks.
For more information, contact Amalia Fischer at amalia@angelaborbafundo.org

AFRICAN WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT FUND (Ghana)
A fundraising strategy

AWDF’s mission is to support African women’s organizations with grantmaking and technical assistance. In pursuit of this mission, it has developed a fundraising strategy which is being implemented in two phases. The first phase has involved working with a core group of institutional donors who have shown a willingness to support the establishment of a philanthropic institution in Africa for women. Since 2001, AWDF has succeeded in raising several multi-year grants and commitments worth over U$3.5 million from foundations in North America and Europe. The second phase of the fundraising strategy began in 2003 and will run until 2006. It has as its focus bilateral funding agencies, philanthropists within and outside Africa, the corporate sector and diaspora Africans.

AWDF recognizes the importance of mobilizing resources from the local community and being able to generate its own income. It has therefore instituted an Individual Giving Programme, aimed at promoting a culture of organized giving in Africa, particularly for women’s rights. In 2004, it plans to target a donor base of 2,000 individual givers, build on its communications programmes, implement the Africa Diaspora Project and promote its online giving. AWDF is convinced that it is possible to raise funds from local sources, but that it requires a sustained investment of human, financial and technical resources over time.

Between October 2001 and May 2004, AWDF has awarded $1.5 million to 165 women’s organizations in 32 countries.
For more details, contact Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi at awdf@awdf.org

SEMILLAS (Mexico)
Women Investing in Women

Semillas (Sociedad Mexicana por Derechos de la Mujer) is one of the oldest women’s funds in the global South, established in Mexico in 1990 by a group of well-known feminist women. Since then, Semillas has given away more than US$1,350,000 to support 170 women’s human rights projects throughout the country. It is still the only women’s fund in Mexico.

In the past three years, Semillas has built an individual donors’ network, Women Investing in Women (Mujeres Invirtiendo en Mujeres, or Red MIM) as a means of local fundraising. Red MIM began with a group of 15 women donors. This has now grown to 220, all giving small amounts on a monthly basis. The $20 to $50 (monthly average) that donors contribute creates a pool of funds that is invested in women’s projects. The first project financed in this way, to the tune of some $7,500, was the building of a midwives’ clinic in a very poor rural region in Oaxaca. Red MIM will bring Semillas an estimated US$30,000 this year, making it possible to support three or four projects next year.

Red MIM does not only raise money, it also brings women together, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the difficulties that many Mexican women are facing in order to survive and to bring resources to their families and communities.
For more information, contact Emilienne de Leon at emilienne.deleon@semillas.org.mx

TEWA (Nepal)
Investing in land and buildings

Over the past three years, Tewa has begun to execute a Land and Building Development Plan (LBDP). The plan, which will be accomplished in three phases over a period of seven years, involves the acquisition of two acres of land and building on it a new office for Tewa, shops, a café and recreational facilities. The shops are now built and will house the Tewa office until the new office building is completed late this year, at which time the shops will be rented out.

The development runs parallel to the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. As the social, economic and the political environment deteriorated, with increased violence over the last three to four years, Tewa’s strategy has been to invest in infrastructure, not only as a means of survival, but also as a statement of women’s work and politics. Tewa is presently beginning a drive to raise the money invested in the building from Nepalis, something which is in any case central to its work so as to ensure greater ownership and community partnership. However, continuing support from the northern-based women’s funds is critical to the project’s full realization.
For further information, contact Deepak Dewan at tewa@mail.com.np

The International Network of Women’s Funds
The International Network of Women’s Funds (INWF), established in 1998 at the fifteenth anniversary of Mama Cash, is a unique network in which funders in both the North and the South are organized democratically, and are organically linked to the feminist movement – from which almost all of them emerged. It currently has 17 members committed to expand the resources available to women’s rights organizations around the world:

  • African Women’s Development Fund – Ghana
  • Alquimia Collective Fund – Chile
  • Angela Borba Fund for Women – Brazil
  • Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice – USA
  • Central American Women’s Fund – Nicaragua
  • Filia Women’s Foundation – Germany
  • Global Fund for Women – USA
  • HER Fund – Hong Kong
  • Mama Cash Foundation – Netherlands
  • Mongolian Women’s Fund – Mongolia
  • Nirnaya Women’s Fund – India
  • Pitseng Trust – South Africa
  • Semillas Women’s Fund – Mexico
  • Tewa for Women’s Empowerment – Nepal
  • Ukrainian Women’s Fund – Ukraine
  • Urgent Action Fund – USA (their Africa office will become a new independent fund in Kenya shortly)
  • Women’s Hope Education and Training (WHEAT) Trust – South Africa

 

In 2003, INWF members had a combined operational budget of US$20,000,000.

The member funds began meeting annually in 2000, when the first meeting was hosted by Tewa, in Nepal. Since then, meetings have been hosted by Semillas in Oaxaca, Mexico (2001); by Nirnaya in Hyderabad, India (2002); by the African Women’s Development Fund in Accra, Ghana (2003); and by the Angela Borba Fund in Rio de Janeiro (2004). The annual meetings provide opportunities for peer learning, mentoring, information sharing, professional development, coordinate activities and strategies. The meetings will now be held on a biennial basis, and the next one will be hosted by the Ukrainian Women’s Fund in 2006.

For more information about the INWF, contact the Network Coordinator, Maria Elena Martinez, at malena@globalalternatives.org or visit http://www.iiwfn.org


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