Image by Kellie Ryan/IRC
  • Report
  • 8 March 2023

Why Wait? How the Humanitarian System Can Better Fund Women-Led and Women’s Rights Organisations

This report from IRC, produced with support from DI, looks at the quality and quantity of funding to women’s rights and women-led organisations responding to gender based violence in emergencies in three country contexts: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ukraine.


Contributors: Lead: Brianna Guidorzi (IRC), other contributors: Franziska Obholzer (IRC), Helen Stawski (IRC), Helena Minchew (IRC), Sarah Cornish-Spencer (IRC), Sarah Mosely (IRC), Carina Chicet

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About the report

This report from IRC, with contributions from DI, considers pooled funding mechanisms. It focuses on UN OCHA Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) to women’s rights and women-led organisations (WROs/WLOs) responding to GBV in emergencies in three country contexts: Afghanistan, DRC and Ukraine. It is available to read on the IRC website.

It includes:

  1. Qualitative analysis centred on the lived experiences of WROs/WLOs working on gender based violence (GBV) prevention and response as they seek to access funding and build partnerships with international actors. Evidence shows that WROs/WLOs struggle to meet many of the application criteria and requirements necessary to secure CBPF resources. And beyond the scope of the CBPFs, there is a lack of opportunity for leadership and strategic decision-making of WROs/WLOs across all three contexts.
  2. Quantitative data focused on one funding mechanism, the UN OCHA Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs), showing trends in allocations to national/sub-national organisations in Afghanistan, DRC and Ukraine. In DRC, CBPF allocations for GBV met localisation targets, with over 25% being channelled to national/sub-national organisations in 2022, but this was not the case for Afghanistan and Ukraine in the same year.
  3. Recommendations based on evidence and consultations with WROs/WLOs across Afghanistan, DRC, and Ukraine on funding; leadership and decision-making; and accountability to WROs/WLOs and equitable partnerships. Recommendations are based on analysis of the evidence generated, as well as direct inputs from WROs/WLOs included in this study.
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Who is it for?

The report will inform policymakers, including donors and international agencies, on the ways in which they should engage with and provide GBV allocations to WROs/WLOs.

The insights in this report contribute to a growing critique from feminist humanitarian organisations that progress on localisation is too slow, too unambitious, and that WROs/WLOs in particular continue to be marginalised. And yet, WROs/WLOs agree that positive practices regarding funding and forming partnerships do exist. These include international actors being willing to adapt funding amounts and funding criteria, increased flexibility, and partnerships based on mutual respect and understanding. The report compels us to ask the question, “Why wait?” to implement these practices and fund WROs/WLOs.

From 'Why Wait? How the Humanitarian System Can Better Fund Women-Led and Women’s Rights Organisations'
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DI's role in the report

DI provided colleagues at the IRC with quantitative analysis for this report, using DI’s approach and developed methodology to analyse pooled funding to local/national organisations for GBV response.

Visit the IRC website to read the report.

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The report cover photo shows members of the community-based organization, Tupendane, meaning Let’s Love Ourselves, cultivating the land. The woman provide support to survivors of GBV, collaborate with community leaders, and address negative attitudes in their community advocating for better treatment and policies for women. They also act as a cooperative, starting businesses together and operating savings and loans groups. (Kellie Ryan/IRC)