Since 2001, the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) has been providing grants to local, national, and regional women’s organizations to empower and promote the rights of African women. For the last 15 years, they have provided more than $26 m to 1,235 women-led organizations in 42 African countries.
AWDF was founded with contributions from individual African women, as well as a variety of partner organizations, such as The Global Fund For Women and the Carnegie Corporation. Since 2011, AWDF has been supported by many private and public foundations around the world that are committed to combating harmful stereotypes that African women face.
“AWDF is an outstanding African donor. They have believed in small rural women’s organizations like ours,” says a representative from the Women’s Leadership and Training Program, which works on building the leadership skills of girls and young women in the rural KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa.
There are many causes that AWDF supports in different regions of Africa. In Southern Africa, Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL) is a Swazi NGO that runs community healthcare projects that offer critical medical support for women and children infected with HIV and AIDS. AWDF funding has allowed this organization to train more community caregivers and establish mobile clinics for home-based projects in 20 different rural communities.
“AWDF’s grants over the years have helped SWAPOL grow from a small community support group to a national NGO. We have supported SWAPOL’s home-based care programs, food security for HIV positive families, as well as income generating activities to make the women self reliant,” says the co-founder of AWDF.
To qualify for a grant from AWDF, organizations must first be led and run by women, and their work must be aimed at empowering all African women. AWDF will not grant funds to organizations that only support an individual or that identify with a specific religion or political party.
On April 19, AWDF launched their Futures Initiative with the Institute for Democratic Governance, a nonprofit seeking to establish a just and free society in Africa. Analysts, thinkers, donors, creatives, activists and program implementers of all kinds came together to explore questions such as, “What is the future of Africa seen through the lens of women’s rights?” and “Are our current strategies appropriate in light of where Africa is headed?”
AWDF is constantly making progress. With programs like the Futures Initiative, AWDF is demonstrating their investment in the future of women’s rights and opportunities in Africa, which they feel are central to the future of the continent as a whole.
There are so many ways to get involved in AWDF. Of course, you can donate money, but that is not all that is needed. Equipment donations such as computers, printers, scanners, vehicles, bicycles, and factory machines are helpful as well. You can also host a movie night or start a Twitter party. Learn more about all of these ways to take action here!
Featured Image by DFID – UK Department for International Development on Flickr
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