The United Nations Foundation and Spotlight Initiative announced today that Liberty Latin America and Target Foundation have joined as partners in support of the WithHer Fund. Launched in December 2021, the Fund directs much-needed resources to women-led, grassroot organizations working in the Global South to eliminate gender-based violence (GBV) in their communities.
Both companies join founding partners The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation and H&M Foundation. Collectively, partners have doubled their impact in the Fund’s first year—with resources being used to fill immediate, critical needs, such as purchasing motorcycles to reach women in remote areas, and hiring sign language interpreters to reach Deaf women who are too often left behind by conventional social services. The Fund has also provided resources to conduct community outreach efforts to spread awareness about GBV and challenge harmful social norms, in addition to offering arts-related programming to help survivors heal from trauma while building confidence and agency.
“Violence negatively affects every aspect of a woman’s life, and the consequences reverberate across our societies,” said Nahla Valji, Spotlight Initiative Global Coordinator for the United Nations. “It is in everyone’s best interest to invest in proven solutions to end this scourge once and for all. That’s what the WithHer Fund is all about, supporting women-led solutions that are making a difference at the local level.”
GBV plagues girls and women in every place and part of life. 1 in 3 women worldwide will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime, while data from 2021 found that, on average, more than five girls or women are killed by someone in their own family every hour.
Liberty Latin America has firsthand experience with these tragic statistics: two women employed by the company were killed by their partners during the height of pandemic lockdowns—and subsequent surge in GBV in 2020. Liberty Latin America has since taken steps to honor their colleagues’ lives with action. By raising awareness about GBV, facilitating open and honest dialogues, and implementing a new comprehensive company policy, they are acting to ensure that workplaces are supportive of and safe for women—and they’re encouraging other companies to do the same.
“We are so pleased to welcome Liberty Latin America and Target Foundation as WithHer Fund partners,” said Michelle Milford Morse, Vice President for Girls and Women Strategy at the UN Foundation. “The private sector is uniquely positioned to catalyze broader change on GBV. Not only is their support essential to secure desperately-needed funding, but they can also foster the leadership that’s needed to create institutional policies and challenge harmful norms that allow GBV to continue.”
GBV is both a public health emergency and human rights violation on a global scale. And yet, approximately 99 percent of all gender-related international aid does not reach grassroots women’s rights and feminist organizations. The WithHer Fund was established to help fill this gap.
The Fund delivers resources directly to frontline women’s organizations that are deeply embedded in their communities, and therefore know how to best support local survivors and challenge harmful social norms that further entrench GBV in our societies. The Fund employs a collaborative and partnership-oriented feminist approach to grantmaking, based on unrestricted funding, flexibility, and trust throughout the process.
The UN Foundation and Spotlight Initiative selected an initial cohort of grantees that are women-led, women’s rights organizations, that are implementing grassroots activities with feminist leadership. Regional diversity and urgency of resourcing needs were also assessed as part of the selection process.
The six selected organizations are based in Argentina, Belize, El Salvador, Malawi, Mali, and Trinidad and Tobago.
- Argentina: Sordas sin Violencia
Sordas sin Violencia (Deaf Women Without Violence Programme) is the only initiative in Argentina that exclusively works on providing accessible information and support to deaf and hard-of-hearing women and their children who are experiencing violence and discrimination.
- Belize: Haven House
Haven House is the only shelter in Belize City providing temporary relief for women and their children experiencing domestic violence.
- El Salvador: CEMUJER
CEMUJER is a feminist human rights institution dedicated to strengthening the rule of law and access to justice for women.
- Malawi: Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment (FOCESE)
Founded by young women survivors of child marriage, teen motherhood, and HIV, FOCESE works to ensure young people in Malawi – particularly adolescent girls and young women – are active participants and informed decision-makers of their own lives.
- Mali: ONG Tagnè
ONG Tagnè works in the field of reproductive health, GBV and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and forced/early marriage.
- Trinidad & Tobago: NiNa Young Women’s Leadership Program
The NiNa program provides life skills, financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and tools to help build self-value in young women within the state care system. In recent years, the Program has also worked with the St. Jude’s Home for Girls to help girls develop coping skills to manage past sexual abuse and emotional trauma.
You can learn more about each of the grantees, including how the WithHer Fund supports their vital work here.
About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation is an independent charitable organization created to work closely with the United Nations to address humanity’s greatest challenges, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and drive global progress. Learn more at www.unfoundation.org
About the Spotlight Initiative
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. Its investments across more than 25 countries are addressing legislative and policy gaps, strengthening institutions, promoting gender-equitable attitudes, and providing quality services for survivors. Interventions are also strengthening systems for collecting data on violence against women and girls and women’s movements. Learn more at www.spotlightinitiative.org