Ukrainian Women’s Fund to Receive Women’s Voice and Leadership Funding from Canada

Canada’s direct support of UWF and women’s rights movements is an essential part of a feminist foreign policy 

(OTTAWA, July 23, 2018). Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) and The MATCH International Women’s Fund (The MATCH Fund) welcome the announcement made by the Minister of International Development, The Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, in Kyiv today whereby Canada will commit up to $4.75 million in support of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund (UWF).

This funding will support a five-year initiative to advance gender equality in Ukraine by supporting Ukrainian women’s rights organizations – particularly those representing vulnerable and marginalized women and girls.

“This Canadian support to UWF represents the largest initiative with Ukrainian women’s organizations to date,” said Natalka Karbowska, UWF’s Director of Strategic Development. “We commend the Government of Canada for following a process that is in line with a feminist foreign assistance policy: open, transparent, and significant engagement with stakeholders.”

Today’s announcement in Kyiv is part of Canada’s $150 million envelope earmarked for the Women’s Voice and Leadership initiative, created specifically to support women’s rights organizations and movements globally.

NWI and The MATCH Fund reacted favorably to Minister Bibeau’s announcement of the Women’s Voice and Leadership initiative in June 2017, as it represented an opportunity to provide unprecedented financial support for feminist organizations and movements leading critical social change.

This is the first country-specific announcement in the Women’s Voice and Leadership initiative where the funding will be managed by a women’s organization.

“Together, NWI and The MATCH Fund have been urging the Government to work more closely with women’s rights organizations, to back the leadership of local women and invest directly in their community-led initiatives,” said Jess Tomlin, CEO of The MATCH Fund. “This shift in power is essential to ensure that women on the ground hold the purse strings and set their own agendas. Supporting UWF is an important signal that the government recognizes the centrality of women’s organizations and feminist movements in achieving and sustaining change.”

“Women’s organizations like the Ukrainian Women’s Fund are what drive change on the ground in conflict and post-conflict countries,” said Liz Bernstein, Nobel Women’s Initiative’s Executive Director. “Direct support to local women’s organizations and movements will go a long way in advancing peace and equality not only in the Ukraine but across the globe–so we await further announcements that show Canadian funding is really reaching those women who are doing the risky and ground-breaking work.”

Nobel Women’s Initiative and The MATCH Fund know that there are many strong feminist organizations like UWF globally, and look forward to seeing greater support for these organizations in Women’s Voice and Leadership announcements in the coming months.


The Nobel Women’s Initiative brings together six women Nobel peace laureates—Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Tawakkol Karman (Yemen), Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), Jody Williams (U.S.), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Rigoberta Menchu Tum (Guatemala)—to amplify the voices and analysis of women human rights defenders around the globe. @NobelWomen

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

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Catherine Fortin LeFaivre

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