Power Up: resourcing women’s and girls’ movements for change

A cheering crowd

OPENS: 8th October 2018

CLOSES: 7th December 12pm GMT 2018

FUNDING AVAILABLE: Up to £300K for single applicants, or up to £500k for partnerships

COUNTRY FOCUS: We are inviting applications from any of the countries we fund in


‘We believe women and girls should have equal power and agency in decision-making at all levels’

The Opportunity

We are excited to launch this funding opportunity focussed on strengthening women’s and girls’ movements.

We believe that the material and practical considerations of women and girls’ daily lives will only be significantly improved when we have full and equal power in decision making at all levels.

Studies have shown that women’s rights organisations bring the greatest long-term change to women’s lives, and we know that for women and girls to continue to drive change in their own lives, that of their families, communities and on a global stage, women’s rights organisations are essential.  However, The World Bank estimates that funding to women’s rights organisations has fallen by more than half over the last 5 years.

The aim of this programme is to support a diverse range of women’s rights organisations to fight against systems which perpetuate the injustices they encounter in their daily lives.

We are therefore launching an open programme to find and support women and girl’s movements to seed, sustain and strengthen this change in the geographies we fund. Please be aware we expect this to be a competitive programme and so will be unable to fund in every country.

What do we mean by Women’s and Girls’ movements

We believe movements are made up of a number of constituents working collectively towards a shared long-term goal.

Constituents of women’s and girls’ movements that we might fund directly could include (though is not limited to):

  • Advocacy or Campaigning organisations
  • Service delivery organisations
  • Research bodies
  • Think tanks
  • Registered community organisation
  • Women’s funds
  • Trades unions or professional bodies

Constituents of women’s and girls’ movements that we might support indirectly, through partners/devolved funding:

  • Individuals/activists
  • Informal groups and organisations
  • Small or newly formed organisations which do not meet our income threshold

What do we mean by power?

  • The ability to define, decide and do….
  • This can be individually about your own life, and collectively about structures and systems.

This includes being able to:

  • have control over your own body, labour and narrative
  • work with others to shape collective narratives, strategies and policies
  • influence and make decisions on how and by whom these are implemented and adapted over time

This could include:

  • Formal power i.e. preparing women to stand for election in local or national representation, leadership programmes, mentoring, individual development for org/movement leaders
  • The ability to organise (physically or digitally) to build collective power, i.e. to be able to influence and make decisions about community resources, or catalyse learning and incubate new ideas
  • Coming together to develop strategic advocacy or ways of working together more effectively, i.e. building stronger long-term alliances, or establishing a joint response to a particular situation (such as policy or legislation change, or outbreaks of conflict or epidemics)

What we want to learn from this work

As well as learning about the specific work you are doing and the impact/outcomes from this, we are interested in demonstrating the broader learning about the value of women’s movements, and how funders can support them to create long-term change. We are therefore interested in working with people who are happy to engage in cohort and collective learning as part of this programme

Funding criteria

We want to work with amazing women and girl-led organisations, partnerships, consortia and women’s funds who are supporting women to have collective power, build movements and become change agents.

We are interested in hearing about the work that you feel is most important and appropriate to secure long-term change for women and girls in your context. We understand that change takes time, and so are interested in what your long-term goals are and who else you are working with to achieve these, either in formal partnerships, or informally.

We are interested in supporting the development of specific work (such as campaigns, advocacy and/or services) when it is part of this long-term change. We are also interested in supporting work which helps movement constituents develop a common agenda for change, such as developing and sharing analytic frameworks, learnings and research, and work that is focussed on base building, such as growing membership and leadership, building/growing/supporting alliances and solidarity both between and within movements.

We’re inviting locally-rooted organisations to tell us what solutions you believe will work, demonstrating how your solutions are rooted in and informed by an understanding and experience of delivery, centring the experiences of those most affected by the issue. This is to ensure that lived experience and learning from doing are at the heart of the work. There is evidence that your work is already making a demonstrable difference, this is an exciting opportunity to expand, learn and influence from that work.

We are inviting applications from any of the geographies we fund in. Please be aware that we expect this to be a competitive programme and so we will not be able to fund in every country.

What we will fund

  • Funding is available for 3 – 5 years
  • Funding can be used to cover the core costs / overheads of an organisation / partnerships, or specific projects and activities or a mixture of the two.
  • We also welcome applications using digital or Sport for Change approaches.

We are interested in the way that movements bring about change, approaches might include (but not be limited to):

  • Strategic litigation
  • Norm changing and behaviour change including with men and boys
  • Grassroots or frontline delivery of services*
  • Policy work
  • Campaigns
  • Advocacy
  • Network/alliance building
  • Research/building shared analytical frameworks

We are also interested in any number of issues as identified by those most affected, for example these may include (but are not limited to):

  • Gender based violence
  • Access to and control over resources, both within families, and over shared community assets (including land rights, water, protecting resources from extraction)
  • Women and girls in detention
  • Labour rights
  • Rights of minoritised or excluded groups, including BME, migrants, internally displaced people, disabled women, older women, rural women, sex workers
  • Work on the rights of LBTQI

Who can apply

This fund is for women and girl led organisations only

We will be offering grants for 3-5 years for the following total amounts:

  1. Single organisations can apply for grants between £150,000 up to £300,000
  2. Those working in partnership (2 or more organisations), up to £500,000**
  3. For women’s funds or others sub-granting we may consider larger grants (up to £750,000).

For sub-granters who aren’t women’s funds, the following criteria MUST be met:

  • Women and girls who are most affected by the issue being addressed must have a significant role in decision making about how the grants are distributed and what issues are centred
  • The money must be regranted to women or girls’ led groups or women or girls if supporting individuals


There is a two-stage application process. The deadline for first stage applications will be 7th December 2018 12pm GMT. Shortlisted applications will be given 7/8 weeks to submit a full proposal and the deadline will be 15th March 2019 12pm GMT. Decisions will be made by the Comic Relief grants committee and Trustees by July 2019.

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