ACBF's support to the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) has been critical in ensuring that African women’s rights organizations remain viable, sustainable and effective in promoting women’s development in Africa. ACBF’s support has enabled AWDF to conduct an annual training camp that has over the last few years equipped low-income African women’s rights organizations to build their fundraising skills, thereby contributing to the reversal of a trend that has seen many of them shut their doors, as donors have shifted their funding focus from women’s rights work to other areas.
In 2012, the ACBF extended a four-year grant to the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) to design an annual resource mobilization training boot camp to provide skills and knowledge on various aspects of fundraising with a view to improve grantees funding base to sustain women’s right work on the continent. The training covered the following topics: Rationale for Resource Mobilisation Strategy, Resource Mobilisation environmental scan, Mapping Organisational Needs, Strategic Objectives, Strategic Focus, Guiding principles, Sources and targets, Critical Success Factors and Monitoring and Evaluation.
AWDF organized training boot camps in 2013 and 2014, which were each attended to by 42 organizations from different parts of Africa whose work on the ground was hindered by a lack of resources and limited fundraising capacity. Following training, all the organizations developed Resource Mobilization Strategy (RMS) documents, diversified their funding bases and secured more funding.
According to Heal the Land Initiative in Nigeria (HELIN), an organization working with people living with HIV/AIDS, prior to the boot camp training in 2014, “We did not have efficient skills to write a good proposal and know-how to approach partners. We wrote many proposals without any funding”. From the boot camp, HELIN acquired skills to approach donors rather than wait for calls for proposal and to look for funding and resources within its community. HELIN has so far raised US$100,000 for its activities in 2015 compared to $10,000 raised for 2014.
The Foundation for Integrated Development (FID/SL) is another organization, which participated in the 2014 training boot camp. It supports its members through small-scale agricultural and other income generating activities. At the time of training, FID had neither a resource mobilization tool nor a vision that was shared by staff. FID therefore lacked clarity on where it should focus its fundraising efforts. The training enabled the organization to establish an RMS and enhanced staff understanding of the organization’s mission, vision and focus. Before the training, FID’s annual operating budget stood at $55,502 and was, in addition to local contributors, mainly funded by three organizations—Manos Unidas, AWDF, Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The RMS training in 2014 enhanced FID’s capacity to increase its operating budget to $171,387 and diversify its funding sources to include UNDP and other organisations, and possibly Christian Aid.
Research has demonstrated that although women’s empowerment remains central to sustainable development, funding for women’s rights has steadily declined during the past 20 years as many donors are shifting funding focus elsewhere . In recognition of the critical role of women’s empowerment in the achievement of the African Union Agenda 2063, the African Heads of States and government declared 2015 the “Year of women’s empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.”