Through its Civil Society Development Fund (CSDF), the Embassy of France in South Africa supports local civil society organisations through projects that contribute to upholding human rights, strengthening social cohesion and the sustainable development of communities, as well as democratic governance.
In 2021, the Embassy embarked on a partnership with 9 feminist organisations in Lesotho and South Africa to support their work on:
- Gender-based violence (GBV) prevention
- Economic empowerment of rural women through sustainable & climate friendly livelihoods
These organisations are “feminist” in that they are either women-led or primarily concerned with advancing gender equality and women’s rights, and committed to upholding feminist principles.
Our partners are:
- in South Africa: Black Womxn Caucus, DOCKDA Rural Development Agency, People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), Lawyers Against Abuse (LvA), Nisaa Institute for Women Empowerment, Ubunye Foundation, and Women on Farms Project.
- in Lesotho: Hope for Rural Women Assemby and She Hive.
Feminist organisations are at the forefront of advancing women’s rights and gender equality.
GBV and socio-economic inequalities between women and men are major challenges in South Africa and Lesotho, and feature high on the cooperation agenda between France and these countries. Until now, the majority of efforts and resources have been directed to responding to violence and assisting the victims. However, there is a growing realisation that more needs to be done on prevention, to stem the tide of violence which has been even further exacerbated under the COVID-19 pandemic. Prevention is complex due to the multiplicity of factors at play, the need to address deeply ingrained norms or believes, and systemic vulnerabilities.
Women’s economic agency – their capacity to act independently and to make their own free choices – and access to productive resources are not only key to achieving gender equality, but also to transforming the conditions and mindsets that increase women’s vulnerability to violence. They can also leverage poverty reduction, improved food security and sustainable development in general.
Through this partnership, the Embassy supports the invaluable role played by these feminist organisations in upholding human rights and dignity for everyone, and doing so, advancing equality, justice, and solidarity.
The partnership includes a 2-year grant and other non-financial support, including organisational development support as well as networking and competence-sharing opportunities.
This partnership is made possible thanks to the Support Fund for Feminist Organisations of the French Republic. Its goal is to support feminist civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in partner countries of France’s development policy. The fund is co-managed by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency (AFD). It falls within the framework of France’s feminist diplomacy and its International Strategy for Gender Equality 2018-2022.