As a women’s fund, our key mandate is to influence philanthropy towards women’s human rights, as opposed to charitable giving or giving for mainstreaming gender. This approach is based on the overall rights-based principles of SAWF – supporting women’s human rights movements to recognise, exercise, sustain, and claim the rights of women. Influencing philanthropy and resource mobilisation are key components of our programme strategy, since they are critical in fulfilling our mandate of influencing donors and increasing resources for women’s rights work in the region.
As the only regional women’s fund in Asia, we play a catalytic role in moving social justice philanthropy towards women’s human rights, especially in harnessing indigenous philanthropy, and in the process challenging the traditional charity/welfare-driven model. We focus on working with philanthropic networks, media, donors and sister funds to advocate for a greater share of resources for women's rights work, and seek greater political accountability for resourcing of the women's rights movements. Our work in this area is constantly informed by the work of our partenrs, who bring in knowledge and contextual experiences from their ground realities.
We are a member of Prospera - the International Network of Women's Funds (INWF), which believes in promoting philanthropy within a feminist paradigm, and are the coordinator of its Asian chapter – Asian Network of Women's Funds. In addition, we constantly network with other global sister funds to promote linking, sharing, and learning. SAWF is also associated with International Human Rights Funders Group and with its Asia-Pacific group.