The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund launches new 1-million-dollar funding opportunity to support women-led peacebuilding efforts in the Philippines

Date: Saturday, September 11, 2021

In Baranggay Datu Piang, water hyacinth plants grow wild throughout the area and cause flooding by blocking the water ways. The traditional livelihood of men and women in the area is farming. However, the families are frequently displaced due to military operations and cannot maintain their farm lands. In a UN Women training, the community women learn how to weave water hyacinth crafts. This provides a portable livelihood without the need for land and solves an environmental problem by preventing flooding. Photo: UN Women/Joser Dumbrique
Photo: UN Women/Joser Dumbrique

Manila, the Philippines — A landmark funding opportunity to support local women’s organizations across the country to engage in conflict prevention and promote sustainable peace was launched today in the Philippines by the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)*. This new, rapid and flexible financing is being made available for applications from women-led and women’s rights organizations, in cooperation with the Office of United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, the Government of the Philippines and UN Women.

Women in the Philippines have long been at the forefront of peace and security efforts. In 2010, the Philippines was the first country in Asia to launch a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was the first in the world to be signed by a female chief negotiator. The expertise of women’s civil society in the Philippines was also brought into the peace process, bolstering the efforts of the negotiating team and the international community. As a result of these efforts, the peace agreement itself boasts several gender-oriented provisions.

Still, significant challenges to the rights and empowerment of women in the Philippines remain. Their limited participation in security sector reform, challenges in access to justice including transitional justice processes, and ongoing cultures of violence, impunity, clan-wars, and intense conflict risks have perpetuated gender inequality and created a precarious situation for the realization of women’s human rights. Women and children constitute a majority of internally displaced persons and are vulnerable to violence and human rights abuses, economic distress and marginalization, and deep-rooted social uncertainty.

The effects of COVID-19 further threaten the gains made on building and sustaining peace, as well as securing women’s leadership in post-conflict recovery and decision-making.

UN Women has documented the gendered effects of COVID-19 in the Philippines. The pandemic has exacerbated human rights challenges, including through an increased rate of psychosocial stress disorders and drastic increases in gender-based violence and domestic violence. The pandemic has also exacerbated existing lines of conflict in the form of religious, ethnic and other community-based tensions. The economic devastation due to the pandemic has severely worsened the operating and funding situation of women’s rights organizations in the Philippines.

Women’s voices and leadership from the community level up are needed more than ever to address the full scope of these challenges and ensure sustainable solutions are brought to the fore. This funding opportunity of the WPHF aims to ensure the critical needs of grassroots women are met.

“The women’s movement in the Philippines has long been among the world’s most vibrant,” said Khalid Hassan, UN Resident Coordinator a.i. “This contribution of women peacebuilders is recognized through this landmark funding opportunity of the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund, which will provide around 1 million USD to local women’s organizations by December 2022.”

The government is also advancing solutions to these challenges and remains a key partner for the WPHF. The Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has continued to implement its social healing and peacebuilding program to address key drivers of conflict and change the conflict dynamics in conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable areas, particularly concerning those in vulnerable groups such as women, youth, children, former rebels, indigenous peoples and internally displaced persons.

In finalizing the government’s cooperation in the launch of the WPHF in the Philippines, Under-Secretary Isidro Purisima stated, on behalf of OPAPP, the “hope that […] our partner organizations can move forward with accessing the funds with the goal of implementing interventions that will advance women’s role in the peace process and other peace and development efforts.”

Carla Silbert, Officer-in-Charge for UN Women Philippines underscored the immense and positive impact this funding window will have on women’s rights and civil society organizations’ successful delivery of gender equality and the sustainable development goals, as well as to improving the challenging operating environment. “This funding opportunity is a game-changer for women’s civil society in the Philippines,” she said. “It will support women’s efforts to sustain peace, prevent conflict, and strengthen their organizational capacities to ensure this critical work can continue into the future for years to come.”

The focus of the WPHF call for proposals will be on increasing women’s participation in advocating for and ensuring accountability on the WPS agenda, as well as on enhancing decision-making of women in conflict prevention processes and response.

Applications will be accepted until 22 October 2021.

For more information:

To apply visit: https://wphfund.org/call-for-proposals-in-philippines

*The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund is the only global financing mechanism dedicated exclusively to supporting women’s participation in peacebuilding and humanitarian action. It is a flexible and rapid financing tool supporting quality interventions to enhance the capacity of local women to prevent conflict, respond to crises and emergencies, and seize key peacebuilding opportunities.

Learn more at WPHFund.org | @wphfund | #wphfund | #WomenBuildPeace | #WomenRespond2Crises | #UNSCR1325 | #WPSin2020 | #InvestinWomen