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Celebrating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Issues Affecting Women Programme / Partner story

Photo provided by Imkaan

For International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women we want to raise awareness about the great work of Marai Larasi, a UK-based community organiser around women’s rights.

“I do this work because I believe it is possible to end violence against women and girls,” says Marai Larasi. “Sometimes people say, ‘but, it will always be here’. If my ancestors had said ‘slavery would always be here’, I wouldn’t be here right now. So, I come from the context of ‘you dream and then you create’. And for me, I dream a different world, and right now, it feels like a really important time to say ‘let’s create a step change around what we do, specifically around black women and girls, minoritised women and girls’.”

To accomplish Larasi’s dream over the next five years, our grant-making in the UK will be guided by the following core principles:

  • Create a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Women’s Fund.

A small team of women, led by respected community organiser Marai Larasi, are meeting and thinking with women across the country to design a blueprint for the first ever BME Women’s Fund in the UK. The Issues Affecting Women Programme is sharing the idea with other donors, and advocating for more and better resources to reach BME women service providers, organisers and activists.

  • Work at the intersection of safe housing, service provision and violence response.

A legal defence fund will provide resources for strategic litigation against decisions to cut funding to specialist BME organisations. We will explore how the women’s rights movement can build collective community assets, enabling organisations to present competitive bids and reduce their reliance on statutory funding.

  • Oppose the backlash.

There is an increased global backlash against women’s rights. Civil society needs to be able to expose and oppose narratives of hate and oppression. We will support work that advocates for rights to be upheld through robust strategic communication and legal frameworks.

  • Fund movement-building activities.

Movements are the key to enabling women to enjoy their full and equal human rights. The UK women’s movements have a long history of resistance and we will continue our support to harness this extraordinary energy by funding intersectional movement building and community organising.

Our Issues Affecting Women Programme (IAWP), provides flexible, long term support and capacity development support to women-led, rights-based organisations worldwide. The IAWP has been funding women’s rights organisations in the UK since 2005. We support organisations in the UK working with women who have experienced domestic and sexual violence and organisations focused on ending labour exploitation.

We support women-led organisations that: empower women to fully and equally participate in society; and adopt a holistic approach, taking into consideration various contexts and cultures, and addressing root causes. We believe that strong women’s movements are key to creating and sustaining social, cultural and political change. Read more about IAWP’s strategy here.