Members of the OECD-DAC provided USD 35.5 billion in aid to gender equality in 2014; this was an all-time high. Around 28% − nearly USD 10 billion − went to civil society organisations (CSOs).
The majority of this aid supported international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) or CSOs based in the donor country. In 2014, 8% of gender focused aid to civil society went directly to CSOs in developing countries. Little was reported as going directly to women’s rights organisations. Where resources are reaching women’s rights organisations, they are typically small-scale and short-term. Small amounts of money can stimulate learning and innovation, but they do not enable vital expansion, scale-up and strengthening of organisational and operational capacity.
It was in this context that the GENDERNET initiated a review to deepen understanding of how donors are partnering with southern women’s rights organisations, and of what is working well and less well. This highlighted multiple ways in which DAC agencies are successfully funding southern women’s groups, often by partnering with specialist intermediary organisations, or nurturing medium and larger women’s rights organisations with established links to the grassroots. The effective approaches outlined in the report can be scaled up and more systematically applied across individual agencies and the DAC donor community as a whole.