Leading from the South

Leading from the South is currently supported through a special fund created to resource women’s rights activism in the global South (over four years), initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It supports activism devised, implemented, and led by women’s rights organisations in the global South. The fund is being implemented by four women’s funds: Three are Regional Funds - African Women’s Development Fund (Africa and the Middle East), Fondo Mujeres del Sur (Latin America and the Caribbean) and South Asia Women Fund (Asia); and one global fund AYNI – the Indigenous Women’s Fund.

The call for applications for the first phase of grant-making under this programme is now closed. The applications received are under review and the applicants will be notified as per the timeline below. The second call for applications will be opened in 2018.


First call for Applications 10th January 2017
Review (shortlisting, interviews, finalisation of grant contracts and grant disbursements) Between 20th February 2017 and 25th May 2017
Announcement of final grantees 1st week of June 2017
Second Call for Applications By October 2018



The grants under this programme are aimed at addressing three key overall objectives -

  1. Addressing all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls and advancing women’s bodily integrity and autonomy
  2. Protecting and ensuring full economic rights and justice for women and girls
  3. Expanding democratic space, sustaining inclusive governance and equal participation of women

Within the above, priority will be given to groups and organisations that seek to

  1. Strengthen Women’s Voice and Leadership at the grassroots level
  2. Expand the Right to Safe Mobility and Secure Livelihoods
  3. Invest in Young Women’s Leadership
  4. Increase Access to Justice
  5. Extend Environmental Justice

Special attention will be given for outreach to women in marginalised communities facing multiple discrimination (women from minority and indigenous communities facing ethnic and caste-based violence; LBTIQ communities; women in stigmatised and informal labour; refugees; internally displaced women; women with disabilities; women from conflict- affected areas, etc.),



The Call for Proposals is for 18 countries in Asia, which include:

South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

South East and East Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste,Vietnam and Mongolia.



Applicants may apply for grants under three categories, depending on the size of the organisation/network and the nature of the intervention. Please note, the proposal guidelines differ for each category.

  1. Frontline Defenders:

    Groups working at the community and sub-national levels as the frontline of defence against rights violations and/or as mobilisers of women’s movements. A maximum of 10 grants will be awarded.

    • Applicants may apply for a grant for 1, 2 or 3.5 years.
    • Grant amount budgeted can be between 12,500 to 30,000 Euros per annum.
    • Annual budget of the applying organisation should be at least 20,000 Euros per annum.
    Download the proposal guidelines for this category 
  2. Amplifying the Voices:

    Organisations and networks working at the local, national or regional level with communities and policy makers. Their work need not be direct community implementation and can be focused on knowledge and capacity building, research, as well as evidence-based advocacy at local, national, regional and even at the international level. Groups can also apply for sustaining an on-going campaign or launching a new one. A maximum of 5 grants will be awarded.

    • Applicants may apply for a grant for minimum of one year and maximum of two years.
    • Grant amount budgeted should be between a minimum 75,000 Euro and maximum 100,000 Euro per annum.
    • The annual budget of the applying organisation should be at least 50,000 Euros per annum.
    Download the proposal guidelines for this category
  3. Promoting Regional Feminist Agendas:

    Organisations and networks working on capacity building, research and advocacy initiatives at the sub-regional, regional or cross-regional level. Priority will be given to groups that are working with international treaty bodies and regional inter-governmental organisations or cooperation entities such as SAARC and ASEAN.

    • Applicants may apply for a grant for minimum of one year and maximum of two years
    • Grant amount budgeted should be between a minimum of 200,000 Euro and maximum 300,000 Euro per annum.
    • The annual budget of the applying organisation/networks should be at least 200,000 Euros per annum.
    Download the proposal guidelines for this category


Who may apply:

  1. Only women’s rights organisations, networks, and women’s funds can apply for a grant. Applicant Organisations must have:
    • 70% women in its Governing Body/Board;
    • 60% women on the staff and a woman Head of organisation;
    • 70% programmatic resources dedicated for direct programming on women’s rights;
    • Women’s Funds need to be registered and working in the region for a minimum of three years.
  2. Two or more women’s groups/networks can jointly apply as a consortium for any of the grant categories. There will be one lead organisation for receipt of grant and needs to adhere to criteria.
  3. Organisations need to be registered in the countries specified in Section II. Please note that organisations based and/or working outside of the specified countries are not eligible for applying for support under this programme.
  4. Organisations must have the requisite legal registration to receive grants from foreign sources.

Political parties, faith-based organisations, educational institutions and individuals are not eligible for funding either independently or as part of a consortium.

Activities to be considered for the grant:

  1. Community leadership building of women
  2. Community awareness on rights of women
  3. Directly supporting cases of Violence Against Women - supporting case work and legal aid to women survivors and litigants.
  4. Trainings/capacity building/workshops for various stakeholders
  5. Research studies that will influence local/national/ regional policy; and/or research on emerging women’s rights issues
  6. Engagement with international treaty bodies and inter-governmental regional organisations such as ASEAN and SAARC
  7. Developing knowledge tools and kits to strengthen the work of women’s movements
  8. Artivism: using art as a tool of street theater, films, etc.
  9. Information, Technology and Communications related activities such as developing apps, digital security, online feminist spaces – websites, blogs, forums, running feminist tech centres etc.
  10. New campaigns and sustaining ongoing campaigns
  11. National, sub-regional and regional-level feminist convergences
  12. Support to women’s human rights defenders' groups to ensure their safety and security

Activities not eligible for grants:

  1. Microcredit, Microfinance and other income generation activities
  2. Sponsorships and Scholarships
  3. Service provision activities such as running of health camps
  4. Direct or Indirect interventions in electoral or party-based political activities such as election campaigns, election processes, supporting or opposing a political candidate during elections and contributions to political party or individual candidate’s (even if independent) fund
  5. Re-granting: Using the funds to provide grants and fellowships to other groups and individuals. Please note Women’s Funds can only apply for capacity building, knowledge building and research activities under this programme
  6. Buying or construction of office space or any other space for the organisation
Download the full Call for Applications here