Highlights of the third day of “We Rise 2023”


Panelists at the "Funding feminist movements" plenary discussion at We Rise 2023
Panelists at the "Funding feminist movements" plenary discussion at We Rise 2023. Credit: Digital Tailor Agency Limited

The day of We Rise 2023 started off with a participatory session inviting grantee organizations to share reflections from Day 2 and expectations for the rest of the Regional Learning Exchange. 

After a brief reflections moment for grantee organizations to share their thoughts on the previous day, a plenary discussion on Funding Feminist Movements was held. The discussion was an opportunity to reflect on the sustainability of feminist movements through the lens of organizational resilience. 

Faizat Badmus-Busari from SIHA (South Sudan) reflected on the importance of flexible funding to adapt projects in times of crises such as COVID-19, to respond effectively to the needs of women and girl survivors and at risk of violence. 

Jackline Bartenge from Women Challenged to Challenge (Kenya) highlighted how core funding and funding from the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative has helped to build both the resilience of women and girls living with disabilities and the capacity of the organization itself. 

Fernanda Rotondo from ANDHES (Argentina) observed how flexible funding from the UN Trust Fund has allowed them to adapt to different contexts, including to accompany Indigenous women human rights defenders facing persecution in the Jujuy province or to establish mental health support for their staff.  

Hisham Obaid from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) shared how the UN Trust Fund has been implementing and simplifying procedures over the years to allow for more flexibility for grantee organizations. 

Lara Fergus from the Spotlight Civil Society Global Reference Group explained how the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative is an unprecedented opportunity to resource grassroots organizations through flexible funding, including constituent-led organizations. “We need to strengthen women’s movements if we want to end violence against women and girls. This is not just a feminist belief; this is supported by research.” she added. 

Concluding the panel session, Katarzyna Staszewska from AWID commented on how funders should provide more core funding to grassroots women’s organizations to allow them to drive sustainable, transformative change for women and girls, noting that only 1% of the total ODA* go to women’s rights organizations [1] .

“It is possible to change the tide, it is possible to change the stories of women and girls” 

Grantee organizations were encouraged to share their expertise and lessons learned in thematic, interactive workshops held on different topics:

  • Organizational resilience and crisis preparedness 
  • Self and collective care in the context of Programming to end violence against women and girls
  • Growing small grassroots organizations 
  • Feminist resourcing: approaches, experiences, & effectively changing the funding landscape in 2024 & beyond  

The afternoon was dedicated to open space sessions for grantee organizations to self-organize around identified themes and issues and exchange ideas and expertise.  

At the closing ceremony, Abigail Erikson, Chief of the UN Trust Fund, thanked all participants for their enriching exchanges and discussions and their tireless work to end violence against women and girls in all their diversity. 

Kalliopi Mingeirou, Chief of the UN Women End Violence Against Women section reflected on the significance of such convenings, noting that “this is needed more than ever, especially now that we are facing important backlash.”

*ODA: Official Development Assistance

[1] https://www.awid.org/sites/default/files/2022-01/AWID_Research_WITM_Brief_ENG.pdf