Rights and Resources: The Effects of Financing on Organising for Women’s Rights
A Pathways research project has sought to clarify the conditions under which external financial support to women’s rights organisations (WROs) has a positive impact on women’s empowerment as well as the conditions in which successful women’s organising is achievable without such support.
Eleven case study organisations (five in Bangladesh and six in Ghana) were studied in depth using participatory methods of critical reflection. In addition a wider network of WROs were involved in the study in both countries, as were donor staff in the countries concerned as well as at head offices.
The study was financed by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNIFEM (now UN Women). On 21-22 March the Royal Tropical Institute hosted an international conference held in Amsterdam which brought together representatives from case study and donor organisations, as well as international activists and researchers, to discuss the research findings and its implications.
For more information on the project see:
'Rights and Resources: The Effects of External Financing on Organising for Women's Rights', Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay and Rosalind Eyben with Sohela Nazneen, Maheen Sultan, Agnes Apusigah and Dzodzi Tsikata
This is a synthesis report of a study to clarify the conditions under which external financial support to WROs has a positive impact on women's empowerment, as well as the conditions in which successful women's organising is achievable without such support. Participatory methods of critical reflection involved both donor staff and representatives of WROs and networks in Bangladesh and Ghana as well as at global levels.
'Mobilising for Women's Rights and the Role of Resources: Synthesis Report - Bangladesh', Sohela Nazneen, Maheen Sultan and Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay, February 2011, Pathways of Women's Empowerment (South Asia) Hub and BRAC Development Institute (pdf file 2 MB)
Report from the Bangladesh country study. The report finds that major shifts in the mission and strategies of bilateral aid donor organisations have had consequences for the WROs that they have supported. Most bilateral agencies have ended their NGO grants and this has been replaced largely by programme funding on themes that are based on frameworks and 'blue-prints' that are international and donor-driven.
'Women's Rights Organizations and Funding Regimes in Ghana', Agnes Atia Apusigah, Dzodzi Tsikata and Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay, CEGENSA Technical Publication No. 1, 2011, Pathways of Women's Empowerment (West Africa) Hub and Centre for Gender Equality and Advocacy (pdf file 1 MB)
Report from the Ghana country study. The key findings of the study are that securing adequate resources for women's rights work in Ghana remains a great challenge. WROs in Ghana have often started largely without financial resources, but have gradually become donor dependent. Funding regime changes have eroded and in some cases eliminated traditional, reliable and independent sources of resources and thus compelled WROs into new alliances which although generally positive, can also be politically dangerous.