Women’s rights and women-led organisations (WROs/WLOs) are a critical driving force in providing effective gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response services to women and girls impacted by conflict and displacement. Although rhetorical recognition of WROs/WLOs has grown at policy levels, funding to WROs/WLOs remains incredibly low.

Following on from “Why Not Local?”, this report provides analysis from across three contexts: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Ukraine. It reveals the pervasive systemic barriers preventing WROs/WLOs to access humanitarian funding.

Qualitative analysis is centred on the lived experiences of WROs/WLOs working on GBV prevention and response as they seek to access funding, with a focus on OCHA’s Country Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs). WROs/WLOs struggle to meet many of CBPF’s application criteria and requirements necessary to secure CBPF resources. The absence of WROs/WLOs in leadership and decision-making across humanitarian fora, both within and beyond the CBPFs, only contributes to barriers in accessing funding. Quantitative data, contributed by Development Initiatives, illustrates CBPF trends from 2017-2022 across the three contexts, showing how funding barriers can play out in cents and dollars for national and sub-national organisations.

The report also outlines positive practices and compels donors, INGOs, and UN agencies to ask the question, “Why wait?” to implement these practices and fund WROs/WLOs. Recommendations point to specific changes that can be made at both operational and policy level, intended to be a resource for policy makers who are keen to drive reform of the multilateral system they fund and to ensure their commitments to localisation, feminist approaches, and aid effectiveness can be realised.