Caribbean feminist activists and groups to set the agenda in leveraging Canada’s Women’s Voice and Leadership funding in their region

Astraea and The MATCH Fund to work alongside on-the-ground partners to further feminist movements in the Caribbean.

(OTTAWA, September 5, 2018). Yesterday from Bridgetown, Barbados, Canadian Member of Parliament Kamal Khera, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, announced a five-year, $4.8 million initiative aimed at strengthening feminist movements in the Caribbean.

Working alongside women’s organizations in the region, The MATCH International Women’s Fund (The MATCH Fund) and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea) are leveraging funding opportunities from Canada to mobilize significant resources which will further the priorities of feminist organizations in the Caribbean.

“In the current wave of progressive Caribbean women’s organizing, this grant from the Canadian Government could make a significant contribution to advancing our feminist agenda,” said Peggy Antrobus, long-time Caribbean-based gender advocate and The MATCH Fund Board member.

According to early consultations undertaken by The MATCH Fund with local women’s groups over the past months, priorities include, but are not limited to:

  • addressing violence against women and girls and furthering access to justice;
  • enhancing economic, social and environmental justice in the context of economic decline and exposure to climate change;
  • advancing sexual reproductive health rights and agency;
  • increasing the visibility and profile of LBT women and,
  • supporting the leadership of young women and the diverse movements they are building;

However, additional research and consultations with Caribbean feminist groups will soon take place to further direct the initiative. Read our backgrounder on the funding announcement.

“Astraea welcomes the opportunity to play a partnership role in building the capacity and sustainability of grassroots LBT-led women’s rights organizations and movements in the Caribbean,” said Cara Page, Astraea’s Director of Programs.

“Historically there has been a major gap in support for groups led by and for lesbian, bisexual and queer women, trans and gender nonconforming people, and intersex people. By providing multi-year, core support grants to a variety of partners in the region, this funding has a strong chance to meaningfully advance human rights for women, girls and the LBTQI community,” said Page.

This Women’s Voice and Leadership initiative includes multi-year funding for programs and advocacy, responsive funding for innovative pilot programs, support to increase advocacy capabilities to advance policy change in the Caribbean, and will facilitate movement building among diverse communities throughout the islands.

The initiative will also assess the viability of a regional funding mechanism that could generate resources for Caribbean feminist movements beyond the life of the project.

The MATCH Fund and Astraea strongly believe that this significant increase of critical resources for grassroots women’s rights organising over the next five years will propel locally led organizations to advance human rights in the region.

“What’s most significant about this initiative,” said The MATCH Fund’s CEO Jess Tomlin, “is that it will be led by grassroots Caribbean feminist groups – those who are experts on the local context, and who are best positioned to find sustainable solutions.”

“We look forward to learning from and working alongside Caribbean feminists in our shared efforts to advance human rights and gender equality,” said Tomlin.

 

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The MATCH International Women’s Fund is Canada’s only global fund for women, girls, and trans* people. Working at the intersection of women’s rights and innovation, The MATCH Fund provides direct financial support to grassroots women’s rights organizations in the global South. We fund creative and courageous women to dismantle barriers, challenge perceptions, and change the world for women and girls. @MATCHIntFund

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea) is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights on a global scale. Through grantmaking, capacity building and leadership development, philanthropic advocacy and media and communications, Astraea provides critical strategic resources to hundreds of LGBTQI groups in the U.S. and internationally. To date, we have granted nearly $1M over almost 20 years of funding in the Caribbean. @AstraeaUpdates and www.astraeafoundation.org