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Call for Proposals: Feminist Movement for Change in Syria

WILPF seeks to preserve and grow the grassroots nonviolent movement for equality, freedom and justice in Syria. To this end, we are supporting civil society efforts towards a peaceful and just solution to the conflict, premised on respect for and attainment of human rights, women’s rights and women’s meaningful participation in all aspects of life.

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WILPF International Secretariat
26 April 2019

Funds for Syrian Civil Society Organisations with Feminist Agendas

Read the text in Arabic here

About the call:

WILPF seeks to preserve and grow the grassroots nonviolent movement for equality, freedom and justice in Syria. To this end, we are supporting civil society efforts towards a peaceful and just solution to the conflict, premised on respect for and attainment of human rights, women’s rights and women’s meaningful participation in all aspects of life. WILPF is committed to a rights-based approach to furthering the agenda for feminist peace[1] in Syria. Support for feminist movement building by Syrian civil society is one of three parallel streams through which we work to achieve this objective[2] 

In 2017, WILPF undertook an in-depth Needs Assessment to deepen our understanding of the current challenges, needs and priorities of a number of Syrian organisations working for the advancement of women’s rights. Despite all odds, the organisations were determined to integrate gender perspectives into their work, as well as the community, and have made notable achievements. However, challenges such as insecurity, lack of funds, the donor-led approach and chronic burnout, have a significant impact on the sustainability and structure of organisations, as well as their ability to plan and implement in a proactive and forward-looking manner. In particular, the results showed us that Syrian organisations are in urgent need of space and resources to further their feminist values, in particular through flexible funding, customised technical support and coordination.

Following the successful implementation of the “Feminist Movement for Change in Syria” pilot project in 2018, partner organisations were able to further their feminist agendas, had improved technical capacities and networking relationships, and reported feeling more empowered and resilient.

WILPF seeks to continue its support to Syrian civil society organisations to further their feminist agendas, develop sustainable and effective structures, and strengthen networks for collective growth in 2019. Throughout the project, WILPF will provide a combination of flexible funding[3], tailored technical support and networking and coordination opportunities to Syrian organisations with feminist values.

Grant description:

The “Feminist Movement for Change in Syria” grant is designed to free up feminist leaders and activists from constant project proposal writing to meet basic costs, allowing them the time, space, and resources to think, analyse and act strategically. Through receiving similar funds in the past, Syrian feminist organisations were able to pilot new ideas and initiatives that strategically support progress towards their visions and aid in the organisation’s sustainability.

Core Grant

WILPF is offering core grants of up to 30,000 CHF to registered Syrian organisations with access to a bank account in their name to further their feminist values and agendas.

The funding requested:

  • Can be up to 30,000 CHF for the period: 1 June 2019 – 31 March 2020.
  • Should not exceed 15% of the organisation’s secured overall budget for 2019.
  • Must be for core funding; flexible funding that responds to the needs of organisations and is not tied to particular projects or activities. This grant does not support project funding and is primarily concerned with the capacity development needs of Syrian feminist organisations.

Small Grant

Groups that are not registered and/or do not have access to a bank account registered in their name can apply for funding of up to 5,000 CHF.

The funding requested:

  • Can be up to 5,000 CHF for the period: 1 June 2019 – 31 March 2020.
  • Can be to cover core costs or for project implementation.
  • Is exempt from the 15% of overall budget for the year condition.

Eligibility criteria (Applies to Core and Small grants)

The applying organisation:

  • Must be managed by Syrians, working for Syrians and be committed to furthering feminist values and agendas.
  • Must demonstrate how it is working to achieve full and equal political, economic, social and cultural rights for women.
  • Must demonstrate that they have the means to receive funds securely and without undue risk of harm to staff or others.
  • Can be located inside Syria or abroad.

How to apply:

Please send a proposal of no more than 10 pages, using the provided Proposal Template to syria.grants@wilpf.org with “Feminist Movement for Change in Syria” in the subject. The 2019 organisational budget should be annexed with conversion to CHF.

In the proposal, you should consider and provide answers for how you see WILPF can best support your feminist values, through a mixture of financial and technical support. We are also interested in learning about what your organisation has found hardest to secure funding for and whether core funding could provide a solution to this. In addition, we are keen to hear about how your organisation overcame difficulties faced in receiving funds from abroad. We would like to read about innovative examples of how your organisation has addressed this challenge, with a description of the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods you have trialed.

Deadline: Sunday 19 May 2019

[1] WILPF defines feminist peace as “a world free from violence and armed conflict with equality and justice for all, achieved through addressing the root causes of violence with a feminist lens and mobilizing for nonviolent action.”

[2] The other two streams are women’s meaningful participation in political life and gender-sensitive accountability and justice.

[3] Flexible funding that responds to the needs of organisations and is not tied to particular projects or activities.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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Thank you!

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

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WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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