APWLD’s Women in Power programme has selected new partners for our Womanifesto Sub-grant for Advancing Feminist Participatory Democracy! APWLD partners and supports organisations that will build a women’s movement around a community-driven Womanifesto or women’s agenda that articulates the aspirations of the citizens at the grassroots.

The 15-month programme aims to develop the capacity of women, their organisations and communities to develop women’s political agenda, engage in and influence electoral politics, hold the elected representatives responsive and accountable to Womanifestoes, and increase the democratic participation of women from the grassroots in the political processes of their country. It also aims to foster knowledge and resources on women’s human rights, particularly democracy methods and community organising tools.

APWLD believes that to have a strong democracy that is a true reflection of the citizens’ aspirations, women must be equal participants and their demands must be part of election promises and their implementation. To this end, it is not only important to have women elected to the governments, but also important to have women citizens voice their demands and be vigilant about accountability of the elected leaders.

Over the course of the next 15 months, APWLD will conduct three regional training sessions to provide the selected organisations with resources and tools to produce their own analysis, critique, policy recommendation, and to carry out advocacy based on their research.

The following organisations have been selected to participate in this programme:

Astitva Samajik Sanstha, India

Astitva Samajik Sanstha is a grassroots women rights organisation from rural Uttar Pradesh in North India. It has been working specifically among the minorities – Dalits and Muslims – in the region. Astitva, meaning existence in Hindi, has a multi-pronged approach – from giving legal education to women to increasing school and college enrollment among the minority communities. They have been successfully combating violence against women and child marriage since their inception in 2005. Uttar Pradesh is the largest state in India and will play a decisive part in the upcoming 2019 general elections. Astitva will focus on ensuring the most marginalised women have a voice and their demands are met in the elections. They feel having a political voice will also give these women greater autonomy in their private sphere of families.

Blind Women Association Nepal (BWAN), Nepal 

BWAN is a non-political, nonprofit and social organization led by blind and visually impaired (BVI) women. Working as a self-help group, the organization aims to engage in a holistic development and empowerment of overall Women with Disabilities (WWDs) in general and BVI girls and women in particular, by creating equal access to justice, education, employment and social activities. Through the Womanifesto journey, BWAN aims to increase awareness and bring about change in attitudes about WWD at the policy level.

Bougainville Women’s Federation, Papua New Guinea

Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) is a membership driven organisation based in the Bougainville Autonomous Region of Papua New Guinea. The federation is made up of 13 district women’s federations and its structure goes right down to the village level through which the organization works very closely with women at the grassroots level. BWF has been implementing community based projects designed to prepare and empower women for leadership roles in politics in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Having the experience in conducting the voter education, BWF feels that the Womanifesto programme is the best opportunity to increase the number of women supporting or voting for women candidates in elections and also for women getting into the political arena to advocate for women’s issues.

Da Hawwa Lur, Pakistan

Da Hawwa Lur is a non-profit organization working for the protection and empowerment of women and transgender in one of the militancy-hit province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan. Women in this region are routinely barred from exercising not just their political rights, but also other rights. Through the Women’s Agenda for Change, Da Hawwa Lur aims to organise women and transpersons to advocate for themselves and exercise their rights to citizenship.

Democracy Restoration Group, Thailand

Democracy Restoration Group is a youth organisation founded by student leaders in the wake of a military coup in Thailand in 2014. The organisation is advocating for holding free and fair elections and wresting back the controls from the military. At the same time, the patriarchal nature of the society means that there are very few women in the parliament and women’s issues are not well represented. Hence they want to build a Women’s Agenda for Change for the upcoming elections.

Dem-Ololt, Mongolia

Dem-Ololt is a non-profit working all over Mongolia specifically committed to helping women understand their civil, social, economic and cultural and environmental rights. The organisation has been working with indigenous women, urban and rural women since 2008. Dem-Ololt’s primary objective has been to build the capacity of women in their local communities in Mongolia to address self-defined human rights needs in sustainable, practical, and culturally appropriate ways. Dem-Ololt will focus on getting grassroots women to play a greater role in the electoral politics of the country. They feel the answer to a patriarchal system can only be women organising themselves into a powerful democratic force to be reckoned with.

Jeepyah Civil Society Development Organization (JCSDO), Burma/Myanmar

Based in the Mon state of Burma/Myanmar, JCSDO works to enable Mon communities to participate fully in the emerging democratic political system. One of their thrust areas is empowering women. JCDSO believes that being part of the Womanifesto journey will get them closer to better representation in the upcoming 2020 elections. They believe that the process of building a Womanifesto will further encourage Mon women to take an active interest in politics, encourage them to organise, advocate, and vote critically in elections.

Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan (Women Workers Movement), Philippines

KMK is a national women workers’ organization founded in 1985 which aims to mobilise and organise women workers against the widespread discrimination from unfair labour laws to sexual harassment in the workplace. KMK aims to strengthen women workers’ agenda for the coming local and national (May 2019) elections through the Womanifesto by using it as an advocacy tool with political parties and independent candidates.

Viluthu, Sri Lanka

Viluthu (meaning the roots of the banyan tree in Tamil) is an organisation that works with women and youth across Sri Lanka to promote inclusive, peaceful and sustainable growth. Through Womanifesto, Viluthu aims to work with women who head families and widows to strengthen their voices and allow them to successfully self-advocate at the policy level.