The South Asia Women’s Fund (SAWF) was founded in 2004 to support women’s rights groups and activists in the South Asian countries of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
We are a regional women’s Fund, committed to supporting women-led interventions to enhance and strengthen access to women’s human rights and countering violations thereof. We envision a peaceful and egalitarian region in which women’s participation, leadership and enjoyment of all their human rights is ensured and secure.
Our core mandate is to support women’s rights groups and activists in South Asia, address the non-availability of resources for women's rights work in the region, and support strategies and interventions designed, implemented and led by women.
We provide fiscal and technical support to our partners, specifically in the context of conflict, identity, socio-economic deprivations, and in relation to violence against women. We aim to move towards developing a regional mandate, which is informed by national realities, and is responsive to the rights and needs of the individual woman.
As of 2017, our geographical scope has expanded to include countries in Asia. We will be supporting women’s human rights work in:
South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan
South-East Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam
East Asia: Mongolia
Over the last decade, SAWF has supported around 200 initiatives at the sub-national level in the region, ensuring human rights for a diverse cross-section of women. This support has included technical resources along with critical fiscal resources, for both women's rights groups and donors. We also foster effective programme designing and process-oriented strategies, to nurture not only the implementers but also the constituencies, which comprise women at the community level.
In a nutshell, our programming:
Our present programme strategy reflects our learning from the field, and highlights our thematic focus. It builds on five key thematic components:
Apart from grant-making and working with women’s human rights groups, we also focus on working with philanthropic networks, media, donors and sister funds to advocate for greater share of resources for women's rights work, seek greater political accountability for resourcing of the women's rights movements and claims, and on being an effective fund through collaborative work.
We have received committed and sustainable support from institutional donors such as Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Mama Cash, Foundation for a Just Society, American Jewish World Service, Flora Family Foundation and Filia.