The Joint Gender Fund was established in 2009, as a collaborative funding mechanism to support civil society Gender Based Violence programming (Specific focus on women and girls).  Using an innovative approach, the Fund was collectively developed by the three founding donors, Irish Aid, Ford Foundation and HIVOS.  Over the years it expanded to  include SIDA and CIDA (now known as Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development) and then contracted back to three with DG Murray Trust, DFATD and USAID playing a co-granting role.  HIVOS, as a participating donor, also serves as the operational base for the Fund.

The Fund not only represents the harmonisation of donor efforts in the field of GBV in South Africa, but also creates a platform for donors to undertake their role with reflexivity as donors seek the best way to support civil society work in a challenging context of high inequality and ongoing gender-based violence.

The Fund sees itself as contributing towards strengthening the sector’s response to GBV, HIV and AIDS and poverty, in ways that transform gender relations and empower women and girls. Strengthening the sector’s response in practice has meant the following for the participating donors:

  • Integrating a capacity building component to its grant making which is closely linked to monitoring, constructive engagement and facilitating opportunities for exchange and information sharing;
  • Facilitating spaces in which donors, civil society and government can exchange in processes of knowledge sharing and reflection;
  • Facilitating linkages between organizations who potentially could enrich each other’s programme delivery, strategies and/or approaches
  • Encouraging documenting and reflection by civil society partners and finding ways to share this information widely;
  • Identifying and commissioning research projects, which would add value to work in the gender-based violence sector as a whole;
  • Doing Requests for Proposals that address key strategic gaps in the response to gender-based violence.

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