Press release: UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality awards USD 7.3 million for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

Fund for Gender Equality’s global grant-making portfolio hits 80 Countries in six years

Date: 16 December 2015

Media Inquiries:
Oisika Chakrabarti: oisika.chakrabarti[at]unwomen.org
Sharon Grobeisen: sharon.grobeisen[at]unwomen.org

(New York, 16 December, 2015) — UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality (FGE) today announced USD 7.26 million in grants to 24 innovative programmes across the globe to boost women’s economic empowerment and political leadership and participation. The high-impact programmes designed by women-led civil society organizations have been selected to jumpstart the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 28 countries. UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality will provide technical and financial assistance to maximize impact and sustainability of these interventions.

The selection of the new grantees is the result of a highly competitive process initiated in March through a public call for proposals where almost 1,400 applications from women’s civil society organizations were received. The selected programmes will start implementation in January 2016. With eight new countries among the 24 grantees joining FGE’s grant-making landscape — namely Albania, Armenia, Benin, Haiti, Honduras, Mali, Samoa and Turkey — the Fund’s global portfolio has expanded to a total of 80 countries.

“Through these grants, we start to implement Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development right from 1 January 2016, in the most practical way possible. The civil society and grassroots organizations whose work the Fund for Gender Equality is supporting, know exactly the realities on the ground for women and girls and how to achieve change. Yet their expertise is often overlooked and underfunded. Through this new grant-making cycle, UN Women reaffirms its commitment to strengthening women’s organizations as highly accountable, fundamental players in realizing women’s empowerment and achieving full human development”, said UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The 2015 call for proposals was specifically designed to address the gender equality dimensions of Sustainable Development Goals, which are central to the global goals. The Fund’s new portfolio will meaningfully contribute to SDG 5 on Gender Equality, as well as to at least nine other Goals, reflecting the multi-dimensional nature of women’s empowerment and gender equality.

The programmes address global concerns and work towards solutions on issues such as the limited number of women in decision-making positions in the political and economic spheres; the barriers preventing women from accessing and controlling land, credit or resources; decent employment and the gender pay gap; and the discriminatory provisions in laws and policies, among others.

The Fund estimates that these initiatives will touch the lives of at least 325,000 direct beneficiaries, of which 45 percent come from low-income countries and approximately 53 percent are based in fragile states. The grants will make a strong impact on the ground by working with groups who experience strong exclusion such as indigenous and rural women, migrant and domestic workers, displaced populations, working in collaboration with grass-root activists, parliamentarians, youth and media representatives. More than half of them will engage men and boys as strategic partners in advancing women’s rights and gender equality.

The global investment will allow grantees to tackle a variety of critical issues, including among others: 

  • Increasing the number of elected women and overall women’s political participation in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Yemen;
  • Supporting women entrepreneurs to access markets and enhance their incomes in Benin, Lebanon and Mali;
  • Strengthening the capacities of rural women in Algeria and Tanzania to access natural resources, land and credit;
  • Supporting sustainable farming and women’s resilience to climate change and natural disasters in Armenia, Cambodia and Haiti;
  • Implementing labour and social protection rights, and fostering access to decent work for marginalized groups of women in the Philippines, maquila workers in Guatemala and Honduras, construction workers in Bolivia and domestic and care workers in Mexico and Samoa;
  • Promoting legislative and policy changes for women’s political participation and economic rights in Nepal, Palestine, Paraguay and South Africa, and women’s active engagement in political processes such as peacebuilding in Albania and decision-making in Turkey.

Placing women’s civil society organizations at the forefront of the implementation of the new development goals is a priority for UN Women in the post-2015 development era. This grant-making cycle demonstrates how the organization is fit to deliver on this commitment and how the civil society is ready to play a role in achieving the new global commitments. The hundreds of applications we received demonstrates the vast demand for resources to achieve gender equality. But it also reveals the level of commitment, enthusiasm and creativity that civil society is able to mobilize to effect a positive change in the lives of the most marginalized. It is inspiring to see the amount of organizations across the globe that are making a difference”, highlighted Elisa Fernández, Chief of the Fund for Gender Equality.

About UN Women Fund for Gender Equality

UN Women Fund for Gender Equality is a grant-making mechanism within UN Women dedicated to supporting innovative and high-impact programmes that yield concrete results in the lives of women and girls, their families and communities. Launched in 2009, the Fund has consolidated itself as a multi-donor mechanism with over 22 donors including governments, private sector and foundations. Among the main contributors to the current round of grant-making are the Governments of Switzerland and Germany, the private sector company Tupperware, and the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In the past six years, the Fund for Gender Equality has successfully awarded USD $64 million to 120 grantee programmes in 80 countries. To date, such programmes have reached over 10 million women, girls and boys as direct beneficiaries. For more information about UN Women´s Fund for Gender Equality, please visit: www.unwomen.org/fge/