After a long wait, UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) has finally announced that it is seeking proposals from NGOs (and also governmental agencies) in developing countries under its newly established “Fund for Gender Equality” which aims to “accelerate progress toward the goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment.” The Fund will promote new multilateral initiative to achieve gender equality, reduce discrimination, poverty and work towards achieving the objectives of the Beijing Platform Action, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Fund has been supported by the Government of Spain and it will provide support towards strengthening of “organizations that promote gender equality and women’s rights at the country level.” Women’s organizations, networks and other mechanisms will be benefited from the Fund as it will work towards building their capacities and skills. One of the priorities identified by the Fund is the political and economic empowerment of women. The Fund has based its principles and practices from the lessons learned by other major international funding facilities such as the Fast Track Initiative on Education for All; the Global Fund on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Spanish MDG Achievement Fund; The Dutch MDG3 Fund; and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
The Fund will be making two types of grants, namely, the Implementation Grants and the Catalytic Grants. The Implementation Grants are for activities such as supporting programs based upon agreed laws and policies promoting gender equality in developing countries at the national-level. These grants will be distributed over a period of 2-4 years and budget allocation is between US $2-5 million. The Catalytic Grants are limited and will be allocated between US $200,000-500,000 for a period of 1-2 years in places where gender equality plans and programs are not yet ready for implementation. In such cases, the Fund would support partnerships and coalitions for enhancing consensus on gender equality plans and policies.
Initially, applicant organizations have to submit concept notes to apply for this funding. The last date for submitting concept notes is 30 September 2009. . After the review of the concept notes, selected organizations will be invited to submit full proposals. However, the online application form for submitting the concept note will be available only from 15 September 2009. In the meantime, the applicants can prepare themselves with their ideas and strategies by closely reading through the guidelines and downloading the forms from the UNIFEM website. For more information, visit this link.