Project Name: Fiji Women’s Fund
Project Partner: Fijian women’s groups, women focused CSOs and networks
Total Funding: $10,5000,000
Funding timeframe: 2017–2022
In its first year, the Fiji Women’s Fund (the Fund) is well underway, having established relevant governance and management systems and conducting its first call for proposals. Ensuring proper systems are in place has been essential, with the Fund receiving 226 applications in its first funding call.
The Fiji Women’s Fund commits $10.5 million of flexible funding to support the work of organisations and networks in Fiji to expand and enhance their work on women’s empowerment and gender equality. Projects supported under the Fund will work to increase women’s economic empowerment, end violence against women, increase women’s leadership and decision making in formal and informal spaces, and support women’s groups and coalitions for change.
The Fund’s start-up period has focussed on recruiting five staff members, establishing an office, which is situated within the Pacific Women Support Unit, and developing policies and procedures including a workplan, grants manual and finance and operations manual.
Michelle Reddy, a Pacific women’s rights activist, was appointed as Fund Manager in May 2017 and brings extensive experience on gender equality and human rights in Fiji and the Pacific.
‘It’s exciting to be involved in setting up the Fund, a first for the Pacific. Learning from other women’s funds across the world, we recognise that supporting women’s organisations, groups and networks is central for advancing gender equality and making transformative change for women and girls,’ Ms Reddy said.
In preparation for its first call for proposals, the Fund conducted 16 information sessions in Suva, Taveuni, Navua, Lautoka, Labasa, Rakiraki, Ba, Nadi and Sigatoka, reaching a total of 596 people. These sessions provided information to women’s groups, networks, and organisations about how the Fund works and outlined the application process for its first call for proposals.
Three types of grants are available under the Fund: multi-year funding (with contribution to core funding) up to FJ$150,000, one year funding (with contribution to core funding) for FJ$50,000 – $150,000, and funding for less than one year for FJ$5,000 – $50,000.
A Steering Committee has been established to provide overall strategic guidance and support to the Fund. The nine-member Steering Committee consists of representatives from the Fiji Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, DFAT, the Pacific Women Support Unit, the private sector and women’s civil society organisations. The Fund also has a Grants Committee to assess and approve funding proposals.
With systems, staff, and governance in place, it is now time for the Grants Committee to assess funding proposals and award the first round of grants.