Call to Action on Funding Activism in Afghanistan and other Humanitarian Crises

Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds supports gender justice activism around the world and mobilizes action in the funding communities that we are a part of to secure that feminist activists, groups, organizations, movements, and human rights defenders are protected, safe, and able to continue their work, including in situations of multiple crises. What we are currently witnessing in Afghanistan is terrifying. We stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders in Afghanistan, as they find ways to challenge and negotiate this crisis, in the face of closed borders, disclosed identities, and a system which has completely annihilated their access to safety and security. As both emergency-response and long-term funders of grassroots and local groups, Prospera INWF calls on the funding community to join us in coordinating responses amongst different funding networks, collaboratives, and communities in such ways that funding:

1. Is realistic and sustainable

We acknowledge that the region will take extensive time to emerge from this crisis, which must be led by local processes and leadership, to be realistic and sustainable; and therefore commit that the people of Afghanistan are served in the way they decide, ensuring they are well represented in our work and planning going forward.

2. Takes the lead from local activists & amplify their voices

We listen to, and take the lead from, activists on the ground, and the organizations supporting them -both in Afghanistan and border countries-, about what actions to take and not, and to above else do no harm. This means amplifying their voices in ways that they are comfortable with and do not further endanger them.

3. Prioritizes security

The safety and security of activists must be prioritized.

4. Is in service of activists

We strategize, organize, fund, and support in service of local feminist movements, activists, and defenders. This means having direct channels of communication with those groups without overburdening them or placing the onus on activists themselves. Funding, when available, should be flexible, trust-based, and responsive to local needs and realities and be provided for the short, medium, and long terms.

5. Provides adaptable funding

Feminist funds, such as the Urgent Action Funds sisterhood and feminist organizations such as MADRE and Women’s Regional Network who have a track record and vast experience in reaching those in situations of marginalization and oppression are leading efforts and informing feminist funding strategies during emergencies. Other Prospera members such as Global Fund for Women, the Equality Fund, Mama Cash, FRIDA, and Women Win, also provide long-term support to feminist groups’ sustainable activism in the region. This will be a long and difficult road, and we need to create adaptable funding streams that cede power and decision making to those closest to the changing context on the ground.*

Ongoing humanitarian and political catastrophes unfold from Haiti and Nicaragua, to Lebanon and Palestine, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, Myanmar and many others in between today and every day; and we seek to apply these principles and actions to funding women, girls, trans and all non-binary people in all situations of crisis.

It is our collective responsibility and commitment to resource feminist activism by listening to and taking the lead from those who know where, and how, to fund.

* Links:

Urgent Action Funds sisterhood


Women’s Regional Network

Global Fund for Women

Equality Fund

Mama Cash


Women Win