“This is a moment when individuals can make a difference” — Interview with Adina Wolf from the UN Trust Fund
Under its Strategic Plan 2021–2025, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) commits to leveraging its unique position to advocate for collective and sustainable resourcing for civil society, especially women’s rights organizations.
While leading innovative work and creating transformational changes to the lives of women and girls worldwide, women’s rights organizations must also respond to the rising challenges that drive violence against women, which include natural disasters, wars and anti-feminist movements.
We talked with Adina Wolf, Resource Mobilization and Reporting Specialist at the UN Trust Fund,* on what this advocacy process looks like with partners and champions of ending violence against women.
Findings from recent reports continue to show that women’s rights organizations are severely underfunded. How have these findings informed the UN Trust Fund’s approach?
The stark fact remains that one in three women and girls around the world will experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Yet, there remains a dearth of funding for preventing and ending violence against women and girls.
We know that women’s rights organizations are leading the change, and building and strengthening autonomous feminist movements. We trust that local organizations know what works and what is needed in their local context. However, they need funding.
The UN Trust Fund therefore not only advocates for properly resourcing civil society and women’s rights organizations, but also focuses on gaining insights from these organizations into what kinds of funding are most useful and how the UN Trust Fund can propel the conversation forward.
What does this look like in practice?
For instance, we advocate for more core and flexible funding as well as for long-term funding. This means investing in strengthening organizations’ resilience and their longevity in working for women and girls around the world.
In addition, the UN Trust Fund recognizes the need for and importance of collective and self-care for the individuals doing the work every day to deliver services for survivors of violence, implement prevention activities, and ensure laws and policies are implemented.
Organizations report that this kind of funding helps ensure essential services for their own staff, such as health insurance. As we’ve increasingly seen through overlapping crises in the past few years, it is vital to invest in organizations to ensure they can deliver services to survivors.
Global feminist movements need more visibility, collective recognition and support. How does the UN Trust Fund respond to this?
Global feminist movements are essential in efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls. In places where there is a vibrant women’s rights movement, it is more likely that there are laws and policies in place that protect women and girls.
However, recently there has been an increase in resistance and backlash to women’s rights in some corners of the globe. Therefore, it is vital to fund and support the women’s and feminist movements — they make a difference on the ground for women and girls through direct services, but also awareness raising and advocacy.
Under the umbrella of the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative and general UN Trust Fund funding, organizations are working tirelessly as part of and building integrated feminist movements. In Argentina, for example, four organizations funded by the UN Trust Fund as part of a cohort of 80 organizations have successfully advocated for a new law that protects the bodily autonomy of women with disabilities.
Feminist movements make change happen! This type of work is increasingly important in a world where backlash against women’s rights continues to grow.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an important occasion for the UN Trust Fund and for individuals around the world. Why?
The 16 Days of Activism creates a global moment of intense activism and presents one of the most visible opportunities for advocacy each year. It’s an exciting and important time that makes a real difference in creating space for this important topic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and other overlapping crises make even more apparent, violence against women is incredibly pervasive yet does not receive the commensurate attention or funding. Therefore, the 16 Days, with its vibrant moments of attention — and its use of the vibrant colour orange, symbolizing a bright future free from violence against women — creates this space to focus the attention of individuals, governments, organizations and companies on the inherent rights of women and girls to live free from violence.
Do you have a message to our audience?
This is a moment when individuals can make a difference! Join the moment and the movement with the UN Trust Fund today.
It’s simple — reliable funding is key to making a difference for women and girls around the world.
Your contributions ensure we can support the next cohort of organizations making change happen.
Make a recurring contribution today. Challenge your friends to do the same. And tag us on social media to show your action during this vital time of advocacy.
* This is part of a #16Days series of interviews with members of the UN Trust Fund that sheds light on what goes on “behind the scenes” to end violence against women and girls.