Introducing “Small and Mighty!”: a new UN Trust Fund podcast

This month, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) launches its second podcast: “Small and Mighty!”. In this five-episode series, the UN Trust Fund shares the voices and journeys of 18 small civil society and women’s rights organizations that are leading bold, innovative, feminist initiatives to end violence against women and girls, and fostering grassroots feminist networks. Their stories are not only testaments to their resilience and determination to make a difference. They are also a living history of feminist movements that can inform donors to better support this lifeline work.

We spoke with Annie Hedlund, Monitoring and Evaluations Specialist at the UN Trust Fund, who worked on this new podcast.

First, please can you provide some background on the UN Trust Fund’s small grants modality?

The small grants modality began in 2014, with the Small Grants Window, to improve access to funding for small civil society and women’s rights organizations after we collected significant evidence on both the effectiveness of these organizations and their underfunding.

When adequately resourced and supported to meet complex donor requirements, small organizations are able to make a significant and sustainable impact in their communities and improve the lives of women and girls. They’ve proved this over and over again.

The window provides grants of up to USD 150,000 to organizations with annual operational budgets below USD 200,000. These grants prioritize flexible funding and include a dedicated budget for self-care. In addition, the support includes tailored capacity development packages to enhance organizational systems, resilience and fund management capabilities.

Since 2014, over 90 small civil society and women’s rights organizations have received support through this modality.

Documenting the impact and fostering learning is a vital aspect of supporting small organizations. The UN Trust Fund collaborates with organizations to co-create practice-based learning opportunities through project evaluations, cluster evaluations, podcast series, meta-analyses and knowledge sharing.

By amplifying achievements and experiences, the UN Trust Fund supports organizations in their advocacy and resource mobilization efforts.

Why is it important to hear directly, through this podcast, from small civil society and women’s rights organizations?

Our journey with the small grassroots organizations featured in this podcast started in 2019, when 18 of them began to implement their projects. Their inspiring journeys have been documented and the impacts they’ve had in their communities have been evident. Together, we have co-created and produced various knowledge products, from project summaries to a meta-analysis and now a podcast.

This is an exciting opportunity to go about your day while listening to the voices of practitioners who are doing violence prevention and response work every day. It is a unique opportunity to get an insight into the work of grassroots organizations from various parts of the world.

What are some of the main takeaways from this “Small and Mighty!” podcast?

Listening to this podcast is an eye-opening experience. As I hear about the daily lives and struggles faced by these extraordinary individuals and witness their relentless efforts to uplift women in their communities, I am reminded of the importance and complexity of their work. As we hear, the challenges they navigate are immense.

The podcast also underscores the vital need for long-term, flexible and core funding that adequately resources these grassroots organizations, enabling them to sustain and expand their initiatives. This includes rethinking funding structures and ensuring accessibility to funds, as well as building the organizations’ capacities and facilitating network exchanges.

This podcast also serves as a compelling call to action to recognize and support these smaller organizations, which are driving change at the grassroots level.

What is your favorite episode and why?

The first episode; it sets the scene and sheds light on the crucial role of small civil society organizations and women’s rights organizations in ending violence against women and girls.

We hear from Nancy Sittima in Kenya [Forum for Women in Development, Democracy, and Justice], Vielta Parkhomenko in Ukraine [Club Eney], Selma Badzic in Bosnia Herzegovina [Center for Women’s Rights], Marcela Lucha from Albania [Shelter for Abused Women and Girls] and Mabel Bianco from Argentina [FEIM], to mention just a few.

What stands out for me is the dedication and resilience of these organizations in the face of limited resources and challenging environments. They provide a wide range of services to support and empower survivors. Despite being underfunded, they are also at the forefront of social change, advocating for policy reforms and creating safe spaces for marginalized communities.

The episode also highlights the importance of partnerships and collaboration between organizations to maximize their impact.

Overall, this episode really showcases the immense potential and effectiveness of small women’s rights organizations in addressing violence against women and girls!

Listen now to “Small and Mighty” on Spreaker, Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts and on Google Podcasts.



UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women is the only global grant-making mechanism dedicated to eradicating all forms of #VAWG.