Grantee Focus


Grantee Focus

To date AWDF has supported over 800 women’s rights organisations in all regions of Africa and in 41 African countries. These groups include small women’s groups, regional organisation’s and emerging women’s funds. Our grantees share a passion for the rights of African women and are working towards the creation of a better world in their communities, countries and regions.

Some of the groups/organisations supported include:

West Africa

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund (SMWF) – Liberia

President Ellen

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia

AWDF has supported Liberian women and friends of Liberia in the Diaspora to contribute their quota to the re-building and development of a new Liberia. To this end, AWDF hosts the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund (SMWF) which is working to rehabilitate/construct markets in Liberia. The SMWF was created in 2006 by a group of women based in New York, who wished to celebrate and support Africa’s first female president. The creation of the fund is an acknowledgement of the support that market women gave to the realisation of this historic event. The objective of the fund is to mobilise the resources that would lead to the improvement of existing markets and construction of new markets which would include crèches, storage, sanitary facilities, credit facilities and training programmes for market women.

In 2007, SMWF surveyed 1,726 marketers to determine their needs and as a result rebuilt ten markets, two in the capital Monrovia and eight in rural areas. Reconstruction has included micro-credit, literacy and entrepreneurial training, clean water, sanitation, electricity, health care and nursery schools.

In addition to a U$1m grant from the NoVo Foundation (USA) for SMWF projects, AWDF has also supported SMWF with a grant of US$135,000 to meet its institutional and administrative costs. In 2008, AWDF and SMWF organised a ‘Tribute to Liberia’s Market Women and Launch of the Adopt-a-Market Campaign’ in New York. This event successfully raised US$825,500 in pledges and commitments for the SMWF

East Africa/Regional


Abigail Burgesson receiving an award from AMwA

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) – Uganda

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) is an international, pan-African, non-governmental development organisation for African women with its Head Office in Kampala, Uganda and a UK office. AMwA was founded to create space for African women to organise, and build links with African women active in the areas of their own development.

As part of its programmes, AMwA established the African Leadership Institute in 1996, as a contribution towards post-Beijing initiatives in Africa. The institute serves as a network for African women between the ages of 25-45 years for professional support, advice/information and sharing of expertise. It also convenes an intensive two-week residential leadership training programme every year aimed at bringing closer ties and working partnerships amongst young African women activists in the various regional contexts. The institute has since its inception trained over six thousand (6000) young African women from various diverse backgrounds. AWDF over the years has sent staff members to the institute to develop their leadership skills.

Southern Africa

Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL) – Swaziland

Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL) is a 4,500 strong membership organisation that runs community healthcare projects for women and children infected

Communal gardens for support groups

Communal gardens for support groups

with HIV/AIDS. Services offered include establishing support groups at the community level and strengthening existing groups. SWAPOL also promotes good nutrition through communal gardens for support groups and also provide kitchen/backyard gardens for terminally ill people.

Funding from AWDF enabled SWAPOL to scale up an existing healthcare project in 20 rural communities. Key outputs from this project included refresher training for 40 community care givers, integration of mobile clinics into home based healthcare projects and the setting up of a referral system which tracks and refer treatment defaulters for anti-retroviral drugs.

In a context of stigma, financial challenges and poor access to healthcare, SWAPOL’s services offers critical support to people living with HIV/AIDS and the terminally ill.

North Africa

ISIS Centre for Women and Development

The ISIS Centre for Women and Development (IWAD) was founded by a group of Moroccan academics and researchers and undertakes a range of activities supporting women’s empowerment. This includes research on gender and empowerment, the promotion of Moroccan women’s presence in scientific research and inter-cultural dialogue inside and outside Morocco.

AWDF has supported IWAD to organise a roundtable on the anthology Women Writing Africa – The Northern Region. The Women Writing Africa project is a collection of women’s cultural production – oral, written, formal and informal. Over the past decade the project has compiled women’s testimonies in song, letters and texts. These testimonies demonstrate how African women’s negotiate agency and control over their own lives.