Gender Equality Fund Announces Funding Partners

13 June 2024

GENEVA – The Gender Equality Fund has announced its inaugural set of funding partners, spanning organizations, networks and consortia working in seven countries. The partners will be awarded up to a total of US$7.5 million in grants over the next three years to help accelerate progress towards gender equality through community engagement and empowerment.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), in partnership with GSK and ViiV Healthcare, created the Gender Equality Fund last year in recognition of the critical importance of gender equality to ending AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria as epidemics. This is particularly important at a time when fragile progress on gender equality is under threat from a global pushback against gender and human rights.

Women and girls often face higher risks and vulnerability to infection; barriers to health information and services; and a lack of decision-making power and not enough control over resources. In addition, rigid gender norms, roles and relationships around masculinity and femininity contribute to worse health outcomes for men and boys as well as for women, girls and gender-diverse communities.

The partners that will receive funding include Focus Droits et Accès; the consortium of Y+ Global and TB Women; the consortium of African Sex Workers Association (ASWA), ATHENA Network, and Nala Feminist Collective; and the consortium of Voice of our Voices, the Eswatini AIDS Support Organisation and Positive Women Together in Action, amongst others. The organizations represent women, girls, and trans and gender-diverse communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia.

The Global Fund is committed to advancing gender equality as we work to end AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics. It is not enough to respond to the symptoms of gender inequality; it is also necessary to tackle its root causes for a more stronger HIV, TB and malaria response. The Gender Equality Fund will do just that — getting resources to those at the forefront of the fight for gender equality and human rights in their communities.

The selected partners reflect the depth of each organization’s expertise. The funds will advance the rights of women and girls by working with men, boys and community leaders through a range of community-level activities to change behavior, perceptions, attitudes and practices around gender-based violence. The funds will strengthen the leadership and participation of women and girls living with and affected by TB and HIV in decision-making processes at the local level, as well as improve their level of knowledge and access to information about their rights.

Other areas the investments will support include increasing access to and uptake of inclusive HIV, TB and malaria prevention; referrals to testing and treatment services for women who use drugs, trans women, and lesbian, bisexual and queer women; and supporting women and girls as community champions.

“Advancing gender equality is a moral imperative, as well as a fundamental pre-requisite to ending AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics. Communities are at the front line of the fight for gender equality and human rights, facing an opposition that is better funded, better organized and more aggressive than ever before,” said Peter Sands, the Executive Director of the Global Fund. “The Gender Equality Fund provides vital resources directly to communities to support their critical work. The rich diversity of the partners announced today and the work they do is essential in confronting the injustices that make some people especially vulnerable to diseases and unable to access the health services they need.”

The funding will go towards supporting the engagement and leadership of women, girls and gender-diverse communities in decision-making at a national level, as well as advocacy and accountability activities to influence the development of relevant laws, policies, programs and budgets. It will also support the design and delivery of interventions that will address and overcome gender-related barriers to health at a community level and advocate for gender-transformative and gender-affirmative approaches to health.

Deborah Waterhouse, CEO of ViiV Healthcare and President of GSK Global Health, said, “Creating spaces and platforms that elevate and empower women, girls and gender-diverse communities is critical to driving better health outcomes. The volume of the applications for funding reinforces the significant opportunity that we have to ensure these important voices are heard. The diversity of organisations, geographically and in terms of areas of focus, means that the Gender Equality Fund will create extensive and positive impact across these communities and I look forward to seeing the recipients thrive.”


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