“We believe funders must play a leadership role in addressing the lack of resources available to grassroots girl-centred and girl-led organisations. When funders are more aware that powerful girl-led groups exist,
understand why girls are a priority for equitable development, and believe in the power of collective organising to propel change, then an enabling funding environment is created in which girl-led and girl-centred organisations can survive and thrive.”
- Swatee Deepak, Director, With and For Girls, Purposeful
The With and For Girls Award
Through the With and For Girls Awards process
, the Collective identifies strong organisations with girls at their centre in five regions of the world: Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, The American Continent and the Caribbean, and The Middle East and North Africa. The Award package includes:
The Collective supports organisations with flexible funding through a girl-led selection process. We annually award up to 25 inspiring organisations with flexible funding. The With and For Girls Collective also works with funders to leverage additional resources for girl-led and girl-centred groups.
We work with journalists to increase media coverage for Award Winners; In the past, this has ranged from organisations being featured in ForbesStylist
and The Guardian
; to more gender-specific press, including Refinery29
, DIVA Magazine and Verve; through to sector-specific press, including Alliance magazine and Philanthropy Impact
Each year, Winning organisations are invited to an Awards week to connect with each other, meet key stakeholders and receive an Awards certificate. We also work to amplify girls’ and grassroots voices on panels at relevant events. To date, this includes the Elevate Children Funders
meeting, Human Rights Funders
meeting, #MeToo and Philanthropy event, Girls Not Brides
global meeting, and Asian Venture Philanthropy
We support organisations with additional funding to secure and strengthen their operations and activities, enhance their well-being and provide opportunities to learn and exchange solutions with others - this ranges from safeguarding to fundraising and financial training to more holistic support such as wellbeing coaching.
"Having girls lead decisions on grants for girls is smart philanthropy – it harnesses their wisdom and bone-deep knowledge about what is important and what works for girls. And importantly, girls gain self-confidence in their decision-making, and visibility and respect – all empowering.
The With and For Girls Collective has played a catalytic role in raising the visibility and eminent sense of this approach.”
- Cynthia Steele, President, EMpower
How do we involve girls?
Empowering locally-led organisations and promoting the participation of girls as decision-makers are at the heart of the With andFor Girls Collective and Awards. As such, we ensure that girls’ voices are at the core of everything we do. In addition to working with networks and thought leaders knowledgeable about girls’ rights and programming, girls are involved in many aspects of our work:
A unique feature of the Awards is the participation of girls throughout the entire process. The final stage of the Awards process is conducted through five regional judging panels comprised of adolescent girls. Girl’s across multiple regions lead in the selection process, ultimately choosing which organisations should receive an award. Supported through a training process where they learn about the lives of girls across their region, the contexts they live in and how to analyse nominees applications, each panel of girls interviews shortlisted applicants from its region, and select two larger and two smaller organisations for an Award.
We know that girls are often overlooked, underestimated and invisible in key decision-making spaces. We provide support to girls to identify and travel to places where they want to be and continue to identify events where we believe girls voices need to be urgently heard. In past years, the With and For Girls Collective has brought together girl activists from organisations in Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, U.S.A, Poland, Kenya, Nepal, Barbados, Guatemala, Israel, Romania and Nicaragua to share their realities with the Human Rights Funders Network at their annual global meeting in Mexico City. Other recent events have included New York for the UN Commission on the Status of Women and Kathmandu for the CREA Re-Conference.
- Involving girls in research
To further our learning as a Collective we embarked on an independent evaluation
to improve, not only our own processes but to encourage other donors to take similar steps in centring powerful girl-led groups in their funding practices. Girls’ voices were a fundamental part of this process, twelve girls from Kenya and Nepal participated in the research- receiving specialist participatory action research training, interviewing award winners, analysing data and providing a set of core recommendations about how we can deepen our support to, with, and for girls. Findings from the report were instrumental in re-shaping the Awards process.
" Global Fund for Children believes that the only way for real change to happen in the lives of girls is for girls themselves to influence and guide what programs get designed, how they are shaped, and what decisions get made. The chance to bring more support and visibility to organisations where girls are in critical leadership roles is the key reason why being a member of the With and for Girls Collective is a vital part of our vision and approach to funding local organisations. “
- Corey Ozer, Director of Programmes, Global Fund for Children
New resources for girl-led
and girl-centered organisations
We redistribute resources to girls and the groups that support them as one way of redressing power disparities – in community, in broader philanthropic and development spaces, and in the world at large. As such, the way we give is as important as what we give, with girls from across the globe defining the parameters of our grant-making through a range of participatory models. Alongside finding a new home for With and For Girls in 2018 and commissioning our independent evaluation, we worked closely to launch new grant making rounds, with and for girls.
Supporting girls to advocate for their own rights and freedoms, on their own terms and in their own words, is a fundamental value of the With and For Girls Collective. However, without resource, organisations struggle to mobilise and access vital spaces of connection. The With and For Girls Visibility Fund supports existing Award Winners to travel to global peer spaces, events and conferences so that grassroots girl leaders have the space, opportunity and platform to share their stories, access resources and build new partnerships. Through this fund, girls are coming together with peers and with broader donor and development leaders. Trips from Cameroon to New York, Palestine to Bangkok and Barbados to Vancouver are just a few opportunities the Visibility Fund has helped support.
A new fund to support transnational movement building with and for girls has launched. The fund provides opportunities for existing award winners to collaborate across borders and issue areas, exchange solutions and amplify the power of their collective voices. Many extraordinary partnerships have emerged from the new fund, from a new media project to share truth of violence against girls, animal rights and land rights in South Africa, Kenya and the USA; to a partnership between survivors of trafficking in Pakistan and Serbia. Across places and spaces, girls are coming together to reimagine the future of their movements. In an era of increasing populism and transnational relationships that focus on trade, girls are showing us what’s possible when we provide access to resources for them to organise.