Leading from the South 2022

Leading from the South

Applications for the LFS grant programme are now CLOSED. All applications received by WFA will be acknowledged within 2 weeks after the deadline. If you have submitted your application form and received an automated response (please check the spam folder in your inbox), your submission was successful.

About Leading from the South

Leading from the South (LFS) is a special fund created to resource feminist activism in the Global South, initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (MFA). It supports activism devised, implemented, and led by women, girls, trans, and intersex rights organisations in the Global South. Through grantmaking, capacity building, and other resourcing, LFS will strengthen movements, networks, and organisations—especially their advocacy capacity.  

The fund is being implemented by four women’s funds: three regional funds—the African Women’s Development Fund (Africa and the Middle East), Fondo de Mujeres del Sur (Latin America and the Caribbean), and Women’s Fund Asia (Asia)—and one global fund, the  Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas/ International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI).

 Notes on our constituencies:

  • WFA supports girls at two levels: through directly funding girl-led groups whose leadership is between the ages of 18 to 24 and through supporting work on rights of young women and girls aged 13 and above.
  • ‘Trans’ is used by WFA as a placeholder to cover a diversity of gender identities and forms of gender expressions claimed by people across the region and the world. WFA supports trans rights, including that of transfeminine, transmasculine, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, amongst other identities. WFA has removed the asterisk that we previously used to indicate that “trans” is a placeholder designation for the range in identities.

 Eligibility Criteria

 All applicants must fit the following criteria, in addition to grant category-specific criteria laid out in the LFS Call Guidelines: 

  • Registration: Must be registered and based in one of these 17 countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. If you are from an unregistered group, you may apply as part of a consortium. The lead applicant of the consortium must be registered and based in one of the 17 countries above.
  • Location: Please note that the board and staff of applying organisations should be representative of the Asia region. At least 60% of board members should be based in the Asia region for regional organisations and in the country of registration for national/ sub-national organisations.
  • Focus: Must have advancement of women, girls, trans, and/or intersex rights as a focus of their vision, mission, and programme. 
  • Approach: Must be committed to feminist principles and rights-based approaches.
  • Consortium Grants: In case the application is for a consortium, the board and staff leadership as well as the board and staff composition of the lead organisation should comply with the criteria set out under the respective grant category. Additionally, the rest of the consortium members’s board and staff should be led/co-led by either one or a combination of women, girls, trans, and/or intersex persons and be based in one of the 17 countries. Consortium members can pool their members’ annual budgets to meet the criteria, and submit their audited statement of accounts or management financial reports. Unregistered groups may apply as part of a consortium. 
  • Feminist/Women’s/Trans/Intersex Funds: Yes, national women’s, trans, and intersex funds, registered and working in the 17 mandated countries for a minimum of three years can apply under the LFS programme. They may only apply for the grant category Amplifying Voices and as part of a collaboration for an application for Promoting Regional Feminist Agendas. Such organisations may apply only for capacity building, knowledge building, and research activities under this programme. They cannot use LFS funds for sub-granting.


Individuals are not eligible to apply for this call. Please note that WFA can only support organisations that have a bank account. Write to us at applications.wfa@protonmail.com in case your organisation is interested in applying for a grant.

“Girl-led” means that the board and/or staff must be led by a girl between ages 18 and 24 years.


Grant Focus and Objectives

To effectively work towards achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals—working towards gender equality through empowering women and girls—in an expansive and sustainable manner, it is critical to have a framework rooted in the voices, experiences, and leadership of women, girls, trans, and intersex people. The programme framework is also rooted within the three main principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)—substantive equality, non-discrimination, and state obligation. 

To do so under the LFS programme, the grants supported aim to address one or all of the following three objectives: 

  • Addressing all forms of violence against women, girls, trans, and intersex people and advancing their bodily integrity and autonomy.
  • Protecting and ensuring full economic rights and justice for women, girls, trans, and intersex people.
  • Expanding democratic space, sustaining inclusive governance, and equal participation of women, girls, trans, and intersex people.

There are multiple paths envisioned by the MFA to achieve this goal of gender equality. The most relevant path for LFS has been the path which focuses on change achieved through the leadership, participation, voice, and agency of women, girls, trans, and intersex people.  

 The four women’s funds of this consortium have agreed to track outcomes related to the following indicators: 

  • Laws, policies, and strategies blocked, adopted, or improved to promote women’s voice, agency, leadership, and representative participation in decision-making processes in the public, private, and civic spheres;
  • Success of CSOs in creating spaces for CSO demands and positions on women’s voice, agency, leadership, and representative participation in decision-making processes in public, private, and civic spheres, through agenda setting, influencing the debate, and/or movement building; and
  • Strengthened capacity of organisations to advance women’s rights and gender equality. 

All applicants should align their programme design and results framework to these commitments of LFS.  


Thematic Priorities for WFA

Within the above framework, priority will be given to groups that seek to:  

  • Expand the Right to Movement and Labour. We have supported  interventions focused on women, girls, trans, and intersex people’s right to safe migration, economic justice, and labour rights, with a particular focus on women working in vulnerable, informal, and stigmatised sectors such as sex work, garment factories, tea plantations, domestic work, and migrant labour. 
  • Promote Autonomy, Decisions, and Sexual Rights. We have supported  initiatives that promote the right to sexuality, decision-making, and bodily autonomy of women, girls, trans, and intersex people. Beginning with supporting work on child and forced marriage and young women’s leadership and choices, this priority area also grew to encompass groups working on LBTQI rights, abortion rights, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). 
  • Increase Access to Justice. We support initiatives focused on increasing women, girls, trans, and intersex people’s access to justice, including raising  legal awareness among communities, creating pathways and mechanisms for survivors to access lawyers and the judicial system, training women paralegals, supporting women lawyers, and others. 
  • Extend Environmental Justice. Interventions aimed at securing women, girls, trans, and intersex people’s right to access natural resources, and recognition of their leadership in resource management, disaster risk relief, climate change, and sustainable development. We have supported work by women with disabilities, women farmers, garment factory workers, and indigenous and Adivasi women on issues such as land rights, right to clean water and safe living and working environments, climate-related displacement, mining, and deforestation, among others. 
  • Strengthen Feminist Voices. Supporting and strengthening grassroots feminist leadership and movements has always been a priority for WFA. In the  past, grants have supported institutional strengthening, capacity development for groups and their constituencies, grassroots mobilisation, campaigns, research, advocacy, and outreach. Consideration will also be given to organisations and networks  who work to advance the rights of women, girls, trans, and intersex people through feminist interventions, which include rights-based, intersectional strategies; developing new discourses and building/strengthening linkages; continuing mobilisation; and strengthening feminist leadership. 

Special consideration will be given for outreach to women, girls, trans, and intersex people in/from marginalised communities facing multiple forms of  discrimination.


Grant Type, Size and Duration

Grants will range from EUR48,600 to EUR446,800 for a period of 33 months (2 years and 9 months). The grants will be made available in three categories: 

  • Frontline Defenders grants (up to EUR48,600) for organisations and networks led by women, girls, trans, and/or intersex persons working directly with communities on mobilisation and leadership building at the community and sub-national levels. Groups must be based in rural areas or small towns, or working with marginalised communities in urban areas. Ongoing programmes/ interventions would be given a preference. 
  • Amplifying Voices grants (up to EUR206,600) for organisations and networks led by women, girls, trans, and/or intersex persons working on campaigns, knowledge, and capacity building, research, and evidence-based advocacy at the national and/or sub-regional levels.
  • Promoting Regional Feminist Agenda grants (up to EUR446,800) for organisations and networks led by women, girls, trans, and/or intersex persons working at the macro level on capacity building of other feminist groups and activists, as well as undertaking knowledge building, evidence-based advocacy initiatives at the sub-regional, regional, and international levels. Priority will be given to groups working with international treaty bodies and regional intergovernmental organisations/or cooperation entities. 



All completed applications must be submitted via the online portal (or by email in exceptional cases) by 2.00 pm on 23 June 2022 (Sri Lanka Time, GMT+5:30). No further extensions will be given. We strongly recommend that you submit your applications at least 2-3 days ahead of the deadline, to give yourself time to approach us if you have any technology-related difficulty in submitting the application.

If you have submitted your application form and received an automated response (please check the spam folder in your inbox), your submission was successful.


Call Package

Please review the guidelines and frequently asked questions before beginning your application. 

The complete call package can be downloaded from this publicly accessible Drive folder. The package comprises: 

  • Guidelines for Leading From the South (PDF) 
  • Board and Staff Details Template (DOCX)
  • Budget Template (XLS)

Before beginning your application, please ensure you have the required documentation. If your organisation does not have the complete required documentation, please write to us before you apply at applications@wf-asia.org with the subject line ‘LFS 2022 - Inquiry’ at least two weeks before the deadline.


How to Apply

Apply Online

You will be able to save your application form online and resume later. You are also able to read the entire form once before beginning to prepare your application. Please take note of the character limits for your responses to the questions in the form.

As part of your application, you will need to submit the following documents in addition to the online proposal format: 

  1. Budget (under "Call Package" above)
  2. Board and Staff details (under "Call Package" above)
  3. All other required materials listed in the checklist at the end of the application form

Please note that you will be asked to submit a letter from your bank to confirm that your account is able to receive foreign funds, should your application move forward in the process. 

The LFS application form is only available online, and can only be submitted in English. 

For applicants under the Frontline Defenders category:  

  • If you need to apply in another language, please write to us by 6th June 2022 at applications@wf-asia.org with the subject ‘LFS 2022 - Language Support’. Please also mention the language in which you would like to apply.
  • If you are facing any challenges with accessing a strong/stable internet to complete the application online, please write to us at applications@wf-asia.org with the subject ‘LFS 2022 - Internet Support’.

All applications received by WFA will be acknowledged after the 17 June 2022 deadline.



Please write to applications@wf-asia.org with the subject line ‘LFS 2022 - Inquiry’ for any queries while the call is open. Queries may include any security concerns or technical issues with regards to your application.

Prospective applicants with heightened security concerns may write to us via ProtonMail at applications.wfa@protonmail.com (use the subject line ‘LFS 2022 - Inquiry’).


We understand that the application process is a long and detailed process that requires significant time and energy, so we organised a webinar to provide some guidance on the application process.