From being the regional feminist fund for South Asia,
we have spread our wings — Our work will now cover 18 countries in Asia.
We provided more grants, we reached women’s
and trans* organisations in several new countries,
and we helped take local voices and concerns to international platforms.
When we look back at 2017–18,
there is a sense of accomplishment.
But the transition from South Asia Women's Fund to Women's Fund Asia was not an overnight one.
The process that began in 2016 was intense. We engaged and reflected with our team, board, partners, and advisors to evolve an Asian strategy—a new approach.
Our grant-making has increased steadily over the last five years.
We made the highest number of grants - both in numbers and amount - this year!
Most grants were under the portfolios of Strengthening Feminist Voices, and Movement and Labour.
Several groups are being supported under the new Environmental Justice portfolio as well.
Cordillera Women's Education Action Research Center (CWEARC) is a grassroots non-governmental organisation that strives to empower indigenous women of Cordillera and beyond to protect their land, food, rights and dignity.
CWEARC has been working to build capacities of indigenous women human rights defenders (IWHRDs) to assume frontline roles against development aggression and militarisation; and to protect their rights and food sovereignty. The WFA grant will assist CWEARC to train IWHRDs in the provinces of Kalinga and Apayao, Abra, Mountain Province, and Ifugao to lead their communities’ defence for land and resources; and to document the journey of IWHRDs in the assertion of their rights. This grant recognises the political work being done by indigenous women around the globe on the issue of environmental justice.
Project Mukti works towards ending ‘caste apartheid’ using story, technology, art, and digital security. The WFA grant will be used to conduct six digital security trainings centred on Dalit Adivasi Bahujan activism.
The training will be conducted in Haryana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh and will target 180 community members, grassroots organisers, student organisers and leaders, and women/ GNC/trans organisers.
These trainings will seek to increase digital security awareness and promote use of safer digital practices
A lawyer from the tribal Gomati district in Tripura, Romita belongs to one of the 19 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in India.
Stifling patriarchal norms and lack of opportunities or access for women inspired her to take up law despite opposition from her community elders. Romita took up our legal fellowship in 2014, as soon as she graduated law school. As part of her fellowship-funded work and research, Romita succeeded in helping women from her community to access the Indian legal system. It offered them solutions not provided by the traditional community-based system.
From having no clients in her first year, she reported 15 cases in 2016-18. Over the last three years, she has fought 50 suits pro-bono, which included cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, divorce, and maintenance. Romita also trains community leaders on human rights issues. More women are now participants in community-level activities as a result of her efforts.
Two community-based groups in Thailand are working collectively on issues of mental health and security for women human rights defenders and strengthening intersectional social justice activism. The programme, which is led by LBT activists, focuses on offering mental health support through communal self-care practices which are accessible and affordable. They also provide gender training for frontline defenders who need strengthening of gender and power analyses and feminist concepts. The intervention also hopes to offer cross-issue learning and solidarity building with other human rights movements to strengthen intersectional social justice activism. This is one of the first programmes where self-care for women human rights defenders is a key component of the intervention.