Women’s Voice & Leadership – Caribbean

Strengthening Women’s Rights Organizations and Movements in the Caribbean

PROJECT DETAILS
Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Duration: 5 years (2019-2024)
Primary Beneficiaries: Women’s rights organizations and lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer groups
Leading Partners: The MATCH International Women’s Fund and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Funding Source: Government of Canada

 

WOMEN’S VOICE AND LEADERSHIP

 

In June 2017, the Government of Canada launched the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Program as part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy, to provide women’s rights organizations and networks with direct funding that will help reduce their funding gap and advance gender equality and women’s rights in developing countries.

These projects aim to respond to the needs and priorities identified by women’s rights organizations and place women at the centre of project implementation.

In the Caribbean, The MATCH International Women’s Fund (The MATCH Fund), in partnership with the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea), will support directly the capacity, leadership and agendas of women’s rights organizations and lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LBTIQ) groups.

Caribbean women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups face several challenges while trying to address critical issues within the region such as gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health rights. In most Caribbean countries, poverty is higher among women than men, which is particularly evident among women-headed households. Lesbian, bisexual, and trans* (LBT) women in the Caribbean also face discrimination and stigma. The lack of predictable funding and reliance on volunteer work is perhaps one of the main challenges faced by many women’s rights and LBTIQ organizations and groups. 

This five-year (2019-2024) initiative will be implemented alongside women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups investing in their strategies and priorities for change and strengthening the women’s movement as a whole in the Caribbean. This initiative seeks to provide support towards the diverse challenges faced in the region, and towards building sustainable and well-resourced feminist and gender justice movements.

BACK TO OUR ROOTS: SUPPORTING WOMEN IN THE CARIBBEAN

 

Together with Astraea, The MATCH Fund is embarking on a new chapter that will reignite our partnership with the Government of Canada and that will impact women and girls throughout the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). 

In the late 70s, The MATCH Fund (known at the time as the MATCH International Centre) began funding women in the Caribbean. We supported women working in fisheries in Antigua, children in schools throughout Grenada, women entrepreneurs in St. Kitts, and Jamaican women activists addressing violence and other issues through collective theatre and creative writing.  

Sadly, when MATCH International lost its government funding in 2010, much of our support for grassroots work in the Caribbean came to an end.  

Through the Women’s Voice and Leadership – Caribbean Program, The MATCH Fund has the opportunity to, once again, stand with Caribbean women’s and LBTIQ movements and support their agendas to improve the lives of women, and girls in the Caribbean. We will be able to go back to our roots, establish new and exciting partnerships, and leave a lasting legacy.

THE MATCH FUND & ASTRAEA AS LEADING PARTNERS

 

The MATCH Fund, Canada’s sole global fund for women, girls, and trans* people, and Astraea, the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LBTIQ human rights around the world, share a rich history deeply embedded in feminist and human rights movements over the world. 

The MATCH Fund and Astraea support diverse feminist leaders, organizations, and movements. For forty years, both organizations have been exclusively investing in grassroots organizations advancing their own solutions to improve women’s human rights in their own contexts.

 

The MATCH Fund and Astraea will be co-leading the WVL – Caribbean project, through which we will work together to directly support the women who belong to the very communities most affected by discrimination, poverty and violence in the Caribbean.
WVL – Caribbean aims to increase women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups’ access to different but interrelated key resources such as funding, capacity building, networks and alliances, investing in their priorities for change and strengthening the Caribbean women’s movement as a whole.
WVL – Caribbean will provide both multi-year and responsive funding to women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups working in ODA eligible countries across the region. Grantmaking is expected to start in early 2020.
The MATCH Fund and Astraea will also provide capacity building support in response to the immediate needs of  women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups’ and to ensure future sustainability. Networking and Alliance building support will also be provided in order to amplify voices and allow for broader collective action.
This initiative is unique in the sense that it is being co-designed by and for women’s rights organizations and LBTIQ groups in the Caribbean. In the spirit of collective ownership and shared building, The MATCH Fund and Astraea are conducting highly participatory research and consultations to validate and enrich the main project components and strengthen the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives throughout the project.
In June 2019, The MATCH Fund and Astraea hosted a consultation meeting in Antigua, which brought together a wide range of partners and representatives from around the region. 
This highly participatory consultation and validation meeting enabled groups to discuss the design of the WVL – Caribbean initiative and how it can be most responsive  to the priorities of groups in the region. It also provided an opportunity to examine the funding landscape in the Caribbean. The report from the Convening can be accessed here.
 

Sign up for the Equality Fund’s e-newsletter and contact us at wvlcaribbean@equalityfund.ca to learn more about our first Call for Proposals and as we document stories of change from around the region!

 

Funded by The Government of Canada

Twitter: @CanCaribbean | @MATCHIntFund | @AstraeaUpdates

Hashtags: #CanadaInTheCaribbean | #WVLCaribbean | #FIAP

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