(New York) – This week the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) released the findings of its annual Civil Society Organization Survey on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, which aims to take stock of the space and support for local women’s organizations working to respond to crisis and build peace in active WPHF countries around the world. 154 CSO representatives from 19 countries across Africa, Arab States, Asia & the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean participated in the survey made available in four languages.
Key findings from the survey reveal that 85% of CSOs feel that their organization is at some level of risk due to the lack of programmatic or institutional funding for local women’s organizations working on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and/or humanitarian action.
“Financing for local women’s organizations in crisis settings remains needlessly low, made worse by the impacts of COVID-19 diverting resources away from these organizations as their needs are de-prioritized, their contributions unacknowledged and the transformative power of their work underestimated,” said Ghita El Khyari, Head of the WPHF Secretariat.
Just over one year since a previous WPHF survey found almost 30% of CSO respondents felt the existence of their organizations was seriously threatened by the risks of COVID-19, WPHF’s latest findings reveal that more than 77% of organizations note these risks have increased or remained constant over the past 12 months, threatening the continuity of their operations or ability to implement programming as a result of the pandemic.
Despite this, local women’s organizations continue to persist with their work and participate as peacebuilders, even when over 76% of all organizations report that they have experienced or observed resistance or retaliation against women’s rights organizations to some degree.
“[We need to] intensify programs to support women’s causes and … their involvement in peace processes, strengthening their role to achieve a true partnership that strengthens their role in society,” said a survey respondent from a local women’s rights organization and WPHF partner in Yemen.
WPHF aims for the findings of this survey to help highlight the continued need for the international community and private sector actors to support local women’s organizations working in crisis and conflict settings through flexible and quality funding, including multi-year institutional or core funding, as well as recognize and enhance the expertise and leadership of local women’s rights organizations in building peace and responding to crisis in meaningful ways.
“…[T]ime and again, women and local civil society organizations deliver,” El Khyari said. “They reach remote areas where services are often disrupted or non-existent, bring deep structural change to address the underlying causes of conflict and are often the first in their communities to mobilize for peace – working to build a more secure and better future for all.”
Download and read the full WPHF survey brief here.