The African Womens Development Fund

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is a Ghana-based grantmaking institution serving the continent of Africa. This summary will provide a brief description of the AWDF as an organization, their mission statement, their values, along with a short mention of their current activities. The AWDF was selected for this summary because it is not a gender-based charitable organization but rather it creates and provides grants to “support local, national and regional women’s organizations working towards the empowerment of African women” (AWDF, 2016).  Using the official website of the AWDF along with an April 7, 2015 Mena Report on recent AWDF grants will be used as source information for this summary.

Over the course of the organization’s fifteen-year history, it has provided more than $26 million dollars in grant money to over 1,235 women-led organizations in 42 African countries (AWDF, 2016). Essentially, they support and aid agencies in fundraising and donor cultivation as an independent group that awards the funds through grants. In essences, this is a clear division-of-labor within a non-governmental/non-profit organizational chain and creates an intermediary between the ‘on-the-ground’ agent and donor agent.  As well as grantmaking, the AWDF is also successful at capacity-building among its grantee’s through extensive capacity-building workshops focusing on specific areas of organizational development (AWDF, 2016).  The group has a rather extensive network and reach with additional roles and programs. However, grantmaking and capacity-building were presented as their most successful endeavors.

The mission statement of the AWDF is “to mobilize financial, human, and material resources to support African women and the work of the African women’s movement to advance women’s rights and gender equality in Africa” (AWDF, 2016). Their mission is underpinned by a strong values regime respecting: women’s rights, women’s work, women’s leadership, solidarity, diversity, partnerships, and sustainable movements. Understanding their mission and core values helps greatly to understand which organizations benefit from grants and support. The AWDF has staked a normative claim toward gender equality on the African continent; groups that accelerate those values would fall into view.

Focusing on building capacity, the Mena Report (2015) includes dialogue on the AWDF’s recent operations. Due to the strategic importance of capacity-building for the organization and grantee’s, in 2012, a $2.7 million grant was award to the AWDF to support capacity-building for the group, and its workshop programs for grantees (Mena, 2015). Important to note in highlighting the group’s success, this grant was in support of the 4th phase of the AWDF’s capacity-building goals. This phase focuses on strengthen(ing) the institutional and human capacity of   AWDF to effectively address the needs of its grantees; and increase the institutional capacity of African Women Organizations to engage effectively on issues of women’s human rights and development in Africa. (Mena, 2015).

The AWDF is an institution of institution-building focused on gender equality and female empowerment. A clearinghouse of sorts for grants that are funneled to gender equal African non-profits and a program of capacity-building makes the AWDF a great value to the people it supports. To conclude this summary in a global sense, the AWDF aids greatly in the maintenance and creation of strong African institutions by teaching and reinforcing the work and best practices of organizations operating on the continent. While Africa is still synonymous with conflict, the persistent churning of norms and ideas found in institutional capacity-building can only help create stronger foundations for the future.

Works Cited

“Strengthening the Human and Institutional Capacity of The African Womens Development Fund (AWDF) Phase II.” Mena Report 7 Apr. 2015. General OneFile. Web. 31 July 2016.

“Our Work – The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).” The African Womens Development Fund AWDF. N.p., 2016. Web. 31 July 2016.

“Who We Are – The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).” The African Womens Development Fund AWDF. N.p., 2016. Web. 31 July 2016.

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