New Report Highlights The State of Funding

On April 2, 2024, Global Greengrants, a previous Channel grantee, released a new report titled “A Holistic Approach to Funding Women Environmental Defenders”. The report highlights the state of funding at the intersection of women, the environment, and gender-based violence and provides recommendations for a holistic approach to funding women environmental defenders (WEDs). 

Created in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) and the SAGE Fund, and with the  support of Ford Foundation, the report “supports women environmental defenders in resisting natural resource extraction and responding to the structural violence that underpins extractive industries”.  It relies on analysis of grants from hundreds of foundations in 2014 and 2017, as well as interviews with dozens of philanthropic organizations.  

According to the report, in 2017, $4.3 billion was allocated for environmental funding. Of that only 1.2%, $53.1 million, was focused on women and the environment and 0.05%, $2.3 million, was focused on the intersection of women, the environment, and gender-based violence. Additionally, according to GAGGA, 81% of environmental justice organizations led by women and girls “felt that they had insufficient funds to carry out their work”.  This highlights a large deficit in funding women environmental defenders, particularly at that intersection.

The report provides a case study on Global Greengrants grantee partner, the National Confederation of Indigenous Women of Bolivia (CNAMIB). Wilma Mendoza, the president of CNAMIB, states that “women are the ones who put their bodies on the front line in mobilizations”. The work that CNAMIB conducts to increase women’s leadership and political participation at the intersection of environment justice, gender equality, and Indigenous sovereignty has often led to them risking their lives. This necessitates increased funding to protect women environmental defenders.

To conclude, the report provides eleven recommendations for improving funding:

  1. Bridge the gap in funding to WEDs.
  2. Recognize the importance of an intersectional approach and fund systemic change.
  3. Broaden the definition of violence.
  4. Shift from project-based to core, multi-year grants.
  5. Proactively work to create a greater sense of safety and trust with grantee partners.
  6. Provide holistic security grants to support collective care.
  7. Facilitate and resource more direct connection, community, and experiential learning.
  8. Become a philanthropic catalyst and leader.
  9. Fund intermediaries, and develop shared ‘due diligence’ guidelines.
  10. Pursue alternative creative financing mechanisms to address barriers and alleviate obstacles for WEDs.
  11. Cultivate collective, bold, creative communications strategies.