Urgent Action Fund-Africa is pleased to announce the 2022 Sexual and Reproductive health and rights, and bodily integrity call for proposals.
Urgent Action Fund-Africa: Background
Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-Africa) is a feminist, pan African, rapid response Fund committed to transforming power relations through resourcing African feminists and Women. Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) and their formations, as an act of solidarity. We are a part of the ecosystem of feminist and womn’s rights movements in Africa and globally. In character we are bold and courageous, proactive and responsive, creative and rigorous, curious, alert and agile, imaginative and grounded, consistent and reliable.
UAF-Africa innovatively operates as a virtual organisation with strategic presence across the five African sub-regions. This strategy seeks to help expand the Fund’s reach and imprint to ensure a wider and deeper presence across, and an understanding of the continent.
Years after the commission of the ICPD Programme of Action (1994) which was intended to act as a progressive process linking Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and human rights, SRHR remains one of the glaring gaps and priority for womn, particularly in Africa. Despite a plethora of existing policies and grave impetus for championing SRHR and efforts dedicated to mobilising and organising for SRHR access across the globe, progress has been slow and crippled by weak political commitment, inadequate resources, persistent discrimination against womn and girls and the unwillingness to address issues related to sexuality openly and comprehensively. Furthermore, womn continue to suffer disproportionately from poor SRH outcomes and experience pervasive violations of human rights resultant of religious fundamentalisms, traditional and cultural harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriages.
Accessibility to SRHR services and information is often challenged and opposed by the intricate invisible networks, that include the interconnected punitive policies and restrictive laws, social norms, stigma and discrimination, that indirectly or directly deter womn from fully accessing these services and realising their rights. The unsettling reality is that legislative frameworks and policies are embedded in a patriarchal system that creates a perceived acceptable imbalance and inequality in a society. Additionally, the existence of socially constructed ‘gender’ provides a limited binary narrative of acceptable performances and categories of female and male, including acceptable relationships and sexual behavior rooted in patriarchal power and hierarchy. Thus, social realities birthed from such validated inequalities and categorizations suppress womn’s voices as well as agency and impinge on their rights to contraceptives, safe abortions, comprehensive sexuality education and ignore challenging realities that lead to high maternal mortality. Moreover, it further promotes and perpetuates gender-based violence and curtails access to health and education.
Experiences of marginalised groups, particularly LBTQI womn and sex workers are dependent on prevailing societal attitudes that are informed by interlocking religious, political, and cultural fundamentalisms, and which among others, are key factors in the heightened sexual repression as these identities evoke and incite whorephobia, transphobia, homophobia and other intersecting stigma. This kind of sexual repression encourages the suppression and denial of those sexual impulses seen as illicit and immoral, undermining the right of each human being to autonomy and self-determination over their own body – bodily integrity. There is a lack of freedom as womn’s bodies are owned, controlled and contained with strong sanctions imposed against those who defy, resist and ignore societal boundaries. This limits womn’s ability to make decisions over their bodies, wellbeing, health and by consequences on their lives.
The accessibility challenges to SRHR services and perpetuation of GBV cases has been exacerbated by the continuous growth of the repressive forces that include the anti-gender movement, religious, political and traditional fundamentalists that deepened inequalities and structural discrimination. The complication therefore arises for womn who challenge this status quo, who push and demand bodily autonomy and integrity, transformation, and emancipation as they face resistance and backlash. As a result, SRHR activism is stymied and in need of acceleration to strengthen womn’s rights and SRHR movements across Africa.
Objective of the Call for Proposals
The objective of this call for proposals is therefore to invite eligible feminist, womn’s rights organisations, collectives, groups, and movements that are either already supporting or want to support work around SRHR and womn’s bodily integrity, particularly those that target underrepresented and marginalized womn, through systemic change initiatives that cut across thematic areas such as GBV, LBTQI rights and disability justice. Young feminist organisations supporting adolescent girls and addressing sexual violence among adolescent girls are also included. UAF-Africa will support the inspiring work being spearheaded by feminist and womn’s rights formations; their creativity, organising power, and the sense of solidarity that is emerging in many communities where more and deeper connections are being woven despite organised resistance.
Catalytic, Transformative and Systemic Change: Feminist and womn’s rights formations are invited to focus on catalytic, transformative, systemic change which addresses the root barriers preventing gender equality, rather than seeking to change womn to adapt to discriminatory systems. Deploying a movement building approach, womn’s rights activists and their groups are encouraged to centre and elevate strategies that are deliberate and intersectional in shifting power relations, surfacing invisible issues and weave the intricate connections between visible SRHR and invisible SRHR issues such as:
- Consciousness raising /awareness creation
- We will support initiatives that seek to increase awareness on the right to choose, amplifying one’s voice, freedom from fear and violence, ability to access SRHR health facilities and information to organisations and individuals that provide support to accessing a broad range of SRHR information and services.
- Grants will be provided for interventions that seek to increase political consciousness, agency, questioning the invisible power that inhibits the enjoyment of SRHR by African Womn.
- Sustaining African Womn Human Rights Defenders ( AWHRD)
- We will support African Womn Human Rights Defenders’ well-being, safety and security initiatives as they face resistance and backlash while formally and informally challenging the current SRHR status quo. This includes any activities that enable fostering a culture of collective care, healing and protection for (AWHRDs)
- Advocacy /Campaign:
- We will support initiatives that seek to challenge informal discriminatory norms and deep structures, including those that maintain inequality in everyday practices – e.g., culture, religion, social norms that define what is acceptable and often remain invisible powers that still hold people back and constrain SRHR work even when people know.
- We will support African Womn Human Rights Defenders to challenge formal rules as laid down in constitutions, laws, and policies. These include initiatives where engagements on: Regional and international SRHR treaties/human rights standards; changes in laws and policies on SRHR; criminalisation /decriminalisation, are located as sites of change that influence informal power and political commitment towards an enabling legal and policy environment for the full and total enjoyment of SRHR
- Knowledge leadership:
- We will support feminist and women-led initiatives that aim to improve knowledge sharing, networking and data collection on SRHR on the continent. This includes learning, documenting and evidence-based research and publications on SRHR related topics.
UAF-Africa will provide Rapid Response Grants of up to USD 15,000, and Advocacy and Alliance Building Grants of up to USD 30,000 to support the mentioned key areas of support.
How to Apply for Action Fund-Africa Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and bodily integrity
- The call for proposals is open from July 2022. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
- All applicants for the Action Fund-Africa grant must be from women-led women’s rights formations – registered or unregistered – operating on the African continent. Collectives led by young feminists and supporting adolescent girls.
There are two ways to apply for the UAF-Africa’s 2022 SRHR Grants:
- Complete the Online Form which can be accessed here https://www.uaf-africa.org/apply-for-a-grant/. Forms are available in Arabic, English, French, Kiswahili and Portuguese. If you are unable to save your responses as you complete the online form, we suggest that you download a form to prepare your response and paste them into the online form.
- Complete the Downloadable Form: the UAF-Africa Grant Application form which can be accessed for download at https://www.uaf-africa.org/apply-for-a-grant/once completed, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.