WFT-Trust Marks 15 Years of its inception
By Carol Mango
10 March 2023
What is a Feminist Fund? A core element of a women’s fund is that it is founded and led by women, and aims at reaching and benefiting more women and girls, especially those in the margins of our societies. Like other feminist funds WFT-T recognize the incredible ability and resourcefulness of women who operate at the community level, often with limited resources, and technical support. All this is accomplished despite the constraints of patriarchy and other practices that aim at marginalizing others, which are deeply rooted in our cultures and traditions, and also in our legal and policy frameworks. These lead to limiting women’s access to productive resources such as land, leadership positions, funding and voice Yet somehow, women, whether grassroots or nationally based, have been able to organize and produce transformative results-though at times limitedly recognised and rewarded. A feminist fund like WFT-T aims to reclaim the authority over which issues gain prominence and receive support, based on the specific and unique needs that women identify within their communities. At the same time, there is recognition that by having pockets of excellence dotted across the country, a lot may go unnoticed.
A second feature of a feminist fund like ours is that it works to strengthen feminist conscious movement building through funding coalitions and creating strategic alliances; partnerships among women and girls’ organizations, including bringing into these coalitions/platforms; and voice and agency of grassroots-based women to enable greater impact out of their collective organizing and action. By connecting women’s groups/organizations, as well as supporting them to adopt intersectional approaches to their organizing agenda, we are able to expose them to partnerships with likeminded individuals to spur greater change in their day-to-day struggle. We do acknowledge, however, that sometimes their achievements are not made visible to others. This work can be noted in WFT-T’s funding approach towards investing in several women-led movement platforms, such as the strong Coalition leading the anti- sexual corruption campaign where women, girls and other supporting actors and institutions from national to local community level rallied around the agenda in a bid to address this vice in our country.
WFT-T also funds work towards shifting negative and de-humanizing narratives towards the women’s and girls’ rights agenda, while promoting recognizing the greater contribution women have done played economically, socially, and politically in their communities and their country. We know that the stories of women have been left out of key political, social-cultural, and policy documentation at a national level, as well as out of oral conversations and anecdotes. Therefore, we are funding the shift and saying NO to the elimination of women’s ‘herstory’ to the ‘HerStory of different developmental narratives and discourses. In this way the significant contribution of women in our country’s history will be increasingly noted and appreciated. This is in line with not only documenting their “herstories’’ from their own perspectives but furthermore encouraging the need for public policy to pay attention to having more recognition of women’s contributions to progress in our national curriculum history books and other key spaces.
Finally, we know that the concept of ‘role modelling’ plays a significant part in shaping future leaders. Our Fund works to not only amplify voices of women leadership, but also to call out for a different model of leadership that is built on feminist principles around power sharing, balancing the long hours that women work with caring for their wellbeing, respect, and a strong work ethic. It is well known that women engage in significantly more unpaid work alongside any paid roles they may hold, and oftentimes this can be of great detriment to their health. Feminist funds are increasingly recognizing that to manage this additional burden, there needs to be a new style of leadership that starts within our own organizations, which aims to honor the realities of women’s lives and also calling upon the government and other private institutions to recognize gender responsive approaches, including adopting gender budgeting as tool for appreciating and reducing the workload of the unpaid care work done by women.