In July, Stars Foundation and three other funders committed to creating an annual awards initiative that would eventually give more than $1m to local organisations working with and for girls.
Today – just four months later – our Interim CEO Eric Levine will stand onstage at the Trust Women Conference in London to announce further details on the awards, and to celebrate the news that the funders' collective has already reached its $1m target.
The With and For Girls Collective is a group of eight organisations – EMpower, Mama Cash, Nike Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Plan UK, Stars Foundation, The Global Fund for Children and The Malala Fund – with a track record of supporting civil society organisations working to improve the lives of girls and their communities.
The Collective is developing a global awards process that will provide a total of $1m to strong local girl-led and girl-focused organisations next year.
In its first year, the Collective will make up to 20 awards of flexible funding to small- and medium-sized grassroots organisations in five regions: Asia and the Pacific; Europe and Central Asia; The American Continent and the Caribbean; The Middle East and North Africa; and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The awards will not focus on a particular theme, but will instead be open to organisations with a range of development outcomes – from health and education to challenging negative attitudes toward girls in their schools, families and communities.
What matters is that the awards identify effective, girl-driven organisations working to change the lives of – and the enabling environments for – adolescent girls where they live.
A feature of the awards is their insistence on the participation and agency of girls throughout the process.
In addition to working with networks and thought leaders knowledgeable about girls’ rights and programming, a group of adolescent girls will also provide meaningful input throughout the selection process.
The awards will seek to amplify the voices of those less often heard – the voice of girls, the voice of locally-led development efforts.
By elevating these organisations in spaces of influence, the With and For Girls Collective hopes that donors will recognise the critical insight of grassroots development initiatives that prioritise girls’ participation, and that more donors might join forces with us – or start their own collectives – to support similar efforts in ways that unlock the power and potential of local organisations and the girls they work with.