With the first edition of our newsletter, I am extremely excited to share South Asia Women’s Fund’s (SAWF) expansion to South East Asia and Mongolia! Founded in 2004, South Asia Women’s Fund’s focus has been on ensuring resources for women’s rights organisations in the region to enable the realisation of women’s rights agendas. After 12 years of work in South Asia, we had before us a critical opportunity to expand our work and reach out to 18 countries in Asia – which we seized, with full knowledge of the added responsibilities that will entail!
The expansion brings with it larger grant-making, our strengthened ability to link our partners to different ideas, strategies and challenges- therefore, building stronger networks, amplifying feminist voices and ensuring grassroots mobilisation for rights in Asia.
The expansion was accompanied by the launch of the Leading from the South programme, which enabled us to support regional actors, in addition to national and grassroots level organisations, working in the women’s rights space. As most national and local organisations in the region find it challenging to work across borders (given the severe financial and movement restrictions) supporting the work of regional organisations will strengthen cross border partnerships, collaborations as well as learnings. Facilitating platforms, spaces and opportunities to bring together grassroots, national, cross national and regional voices is a key objective of South Asia Women’s Fund.
At the same time our outreach to small, grassroots groups in South East Asia and Mongolia has been extremely limited. We are undertaking a process of extensive research, fieldwork and networking to develop comprehensive strategies for the entire region. We are committed to raising sustainable and flexible resources to not only support the work of the organisations, but also invest in strengthening them at an institutional level.
Given the absence of women’s funds in South-East Asia, we strongly believe we have a critical role to play in supporting women’s human rights work in the region. We believe this will strengthen the women’s funds eco-system and global women’s rights architecture, to ensure that adequate resources are brought in for the realisation of the human rights of women in the region.
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