By International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Staff
Indigenous women have made a vast imprint on global processes as change agents. This includes within their communities to secure collective rights of Indigenous Peoples, advancing gender equality locally and globally, protecting Indigenous territories and transmitting and preserving traditional knowledge.
While these contributions are often recognized, when it comes to the donor community, the evidence shows that funders are not adequately or equitably investing in Indigenous women’s organizations. At the same time, supporting Indigenous women as change agents and ensuring access to funding is critically important to Indigenous Peoples. As a philanthropic and donor community, we must address this gap.
Building on IFIP’s and its partners’ past learnings, findings and insights on Indigenous Women, IFIP formed its first Indigenous Women Funders Working Group. This working group will focus on fostering learning among the funding community and within the women’s rights movement to form collaborations that contribute to expanding and transforming funding partnerships with Indigenous women.
Where we are now
Since the formation of the Indigenous Women Funders Working Group, IFIP has convened an in-person launch and a call with potential group members. The purpose of these meetings involved identifying the major issues affecting Indigenous women and outlining the purpose and actions of the working group.
Alongside the challenge of accessing funding for Indigenous women groups, other issues identified included:
Indigenous women at the working group launch emphasized policies that led to the violation of Indigenous Peoples rights as well as harm to their communities’ environment and territories. These issues stemmed from land grabbing for industrial agriculture; the impact of economic development policies dependent on the extractive industry; and conservation models that have caused the removal of Indigenous Peoples from their lands or severely limited access to resources on their territories. Indigenous women are almost always at the forefront of protecting their communities’ well-being, even as these policies have led to criminalization of Indigenous Peoples for protecting their livelihoods and territories.
Others identified the difficulty of connecting community and grassroots organizations to international platforms, arenas and larger foundations. This includes articulating local issues, accessing information, and developing spaces in which Indigenous women can meet each other and share the same key messaging in these influential spaces.
Charting the Path Forward
After distilling several challenges, the group will be exploring strategies to address the issues listed above while advancing Indigenous women’s rights. Participants will discover what funding initiatives are thriving, assess the current funding landscape, and leverage the opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and connections.
The working group identified concrete ideas of how to propel this goal forward that include:
The development of a mapping process, where the group identifies what different funders are supporting at the moment and how donors can complement each other’s efforts.
Share and discuss the key priorities that working group participants are hearing from their partners to identify how the group can support these issues and learn together.
IFIP’s Indigenous Women Funders Working group envisions raising awareness and interest in expanding funding towards supporting Indigenous women. The group will also join other efforts to influence funder spaces so that the Four R’s of Indigenous Philanthropy (Reciprocity, Relationships, Respect and Responsibility) and self-determination are valued and practiced in funding partnerships.
IFIP’s Working Groups are open to members only. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.