The Power of Global Networks - Blog Series

Click on the location markers below to read posts from women's funds around the world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Authentically global means common purpose and shared long-term goals

Based on the experience of the Urgent Action Funds for Women´s Human Rights, “authentically global”, at the very minimum, implies common purpose and shared long-term goals.  Our option for social transformation leading to peace, justice, and equality for all, and a clear decision to protect and promote the right of the diversity of women to participate in all aspects of citizenship and peace building at the local, national and international levels, is at the heart of our “globalness”. As three “sister” funds, the well-being of each is the concern of all. 

Although we are three independent and autonomous organizations belonging to the same sisterhood, we share essentially identical Missions, Visions, and Values. In other words, we are readily identifiable as the Urgent Action Funds both for what we stand for as well as our shared programming initiatives. We are authentically global in that we work in all countries of the Global South and East for the defense and promotion of women’s rights from offices in Bogotá, Colombia for women in the Americas; in Nairobi, Kenya for African women; and in Boulder, Colorado to meet the needs of women human rights defenders in other parts of the world.  

To program global does not imply we are absolutely and forever identical: in fact, to fulfill our mandate of responding to the needs of the diversity of grassroots activists and women human rights defenders, we incorporate contextual specificities that respond to their realities.  Being authentically global also implies we must be able to decipher and incorporate, with the participation of colleagues on the ground, the needs of women on many continents, in a multitude of countries. 

At the same time, to be “authentically global” means to step beyond shared philosophical concerns and political goals and to be committed to similar, if not completely identical, programming initiatives. In order to build synergy; strengthen women’s organizations through shared learning; and to develop effective advocacy strategies at the international level, programming initiatives involving similar themes and processes have been developed. Around the world, the Urgent Action Funds are known for Rapid Response Grant Making, and although our Categories and Criteria may vary slightly, our identity for this particular funding niche is unmistakable. Each of the Urgent Action Funds is also committed to involving partner participation in the implementation of Collaborative Initiatives including Research, Publications and Advocacy. In other words, we are also “authentically global” because we implement programs that can benefit a wide diversity of activists and women’s human rights organizations around the world. 

Operational concerns are also important; language capacity, for example, allows for global communication that ensures collaboration and cooperation. In the case of the UAF´s, the question of where offices should be located is not a determining factor; rather than one centralized office, regional offices have proven to be operationally and programmatically feasible. Collaborative rather than competitive fund-raising, as well as shared advocacy initiatives at the global level, are features of an authentically global organization or network- based on shared goals, programs and practice. 

Eleanor Douglas, Executive Director 
Urgent Action Fund of Latin America for Women´s Human Rights
Bogotá, Colombia
Women's Funding Network Member since 2010

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