Other Group

African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF)

Website:

aphrc.org/

Location:

Accra, Ghana

Type:

Pass-through funder

Founded:

2000

Executive Director:

Francoise Moudouthe

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), based in Accra, Ghana, funds various women’s organizations and movements in Africa and the Middle East. The fund supports pro-abortion activism, pro-LGBT activism, and expanded access to birth control. It solicits funding from both left-of-center organizations and foundations in the United States and foreign governments. [1]

In addition to work promoting the legalization and the use of abortion, the organization also funds and works on other issues of importance to African women. The fund collaborates to work on issues such as violence against women and stamping out sexual violence on the African continent. [2]

In addition to having a presence in Africa, the organization has an American sister organization called African Women’s Development Fund USA. AWDFUSA serves to boost the profile of the AWDF among the African diaspora in the U.S. and encourage American donors to support the AWDF’s work. [3]

In March 2022, American philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced that the organization was one of the many organizations she had decided to fund. The amount of money Scott donated to the organization was undisclosed. [4]

Overview

African Women’s Development Fund supports promotion and legalization of abortion and expanded access to birth control. It is also active in promoting LGBT rights on the African continent. [5]

The organization also works on ending sexual violence in Africa. In December 2021, the left-of-center grant makers Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations announced the creation of a $3.75 million fund called Kasa!, hosted at AWDF. Kasa! supports women’s organizations working against sexual violence. Kasa! will largely be focused on work in Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal. [6]

History

African Women’s Development Fund was created in 2000 by three women: Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Joana Foster, and Hilda Tadira. The organization focused most of its grants towards under-supported women’s causes. [7]

The fund was initially supported by several institutional donors. Among those donors were the Carnegie Corporation, the Global Fund for Women, Ford Foundation, Comic Relief, Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, Mama Cash, and Match International. [8]

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi worked as the organization’s first executive director until she stepped aside in 2011. [9]

By March 2022, the organization had awarded more than $50 million in grants to African feminist organizations. [10]

AWDF has an affiliated organization in the United States called the African Women’s Development Fund USA. The purpose of the organization is to build awareness for AWDF among the African diaspora in the United States and to encourage American donors to contribute to AWDF. [11]

MacKenzie Scott Grant

In March 2022, the organization announced that American philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, had awarded it a grant. The amount of the grant was not disclosed. The grant from Scott did not have any restrictions or stipulations for its use. [12]

Leadership

Francoise Moudouthe is the chief executive officer of the organization. She is from Cameroon. [13]

Finances

As of 2018, the fund lists numerous left-of-center organizations as donors including the Ford Foundation, Foundation for a Just Society, the Novo Foundation, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the William and Flora Hewitt Foundation, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, and the Global Fund for Women. [14]

In addition to soliciting and receiving support from left-of-center American foundations, the fund is also funded by foreign governments. In 2018, it claimed support from foreign aid provided by Canada and the Netherlands. [15]

References

  1. “Amplify Change.” African Women’s Development Fund. Feb. 12, 2018. https://awdf.org/amplifychange/. ^
  2.  “Ford Foundation And Open Society Initiative For West Africa Launch New Fund To End Sexual Violence In West Africa.” Ford Foundation. Dec. 2, 2021. https://www.fordfoundation.org/news-and-stories/news-and-press/news/ford-foundation-and-open-society-initiative-for-west-africa-launch-new-fund-to-end-sexual-violence-in-west-africa/. ^
  3. “VISION & MISSION.” AWDFUSA. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdfus.org/mission-and-vision/. ^
  4. “A Huge Boost For Transformative Feminist Funding.” African Women’s Development Fund. March 24, 2022. https://awdf.org/a-huge-boost-for-transformative-feminist-funding/. ^
  5. “Amplify Change.” African Women’s Development Fund. Feb. 12, 2018. https://awdf.org/amplifychange/. ^
  6. “Ford Foundation And Open Society Initiative For West Africa Launch New Fund To End Sexual Violence In West Africa.” Ford Foundation. Dec. 2, 2021. https://www.fordfoundation.org/news-and-stories/news-and-press/news/ford-foundation-and-open-society-initiative-for-west-africa-launch-new-fund-to-end-sexual-violence-in-west-africa/. ^
  7. “History.” African Women’s Development Fund. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdf.org/history-2/. ^
  8. “Donors.” African Women’s Development Fund. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdf.org/donors/. ^
  9. “History.” African Women’s Development Fund. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdf.org/history-2/. ^
  10.   “A Huge Boost For Transformative Feminist Funding.” African Women’s Development Fund. March 24, 2022. https://awdf.org/a-huge-boost-for-transformative-feminist-funding/. ^
  11. [1] “VISION & MISSION.” AWDFUSA. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdfus.org/mission-and-vision/. ^
  12. “A Huge Boost For Transformative Feminist Funding.” African Women’s Development Fund. March 24, 2022. https://awdf.org/a-huge-boost-for-transformative-feminist-funding/. ^
  13. “Our Staff.” African Women’s Development Fund. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdf.org/staff/#close. ^
  14. “Donors.” African Women’s Development Fund. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdf.org/donors/. ^
  15. “Donors.” African Women’s Development Fund. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://awdf.org/donors/. ^
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