Girls lead, support, and contribute to a broad range of social justice efforts locally, nationally, and transnationally. Yet, there is a disconnect between girls’ expressed needs and the resources flowing to them.
A comprehensive research initiative, “Resourcing Girls to Thrive,” sheds light on the disconnect between girls’ needs and the resources reaching them. This effort aimed to fill gaps in the understanding of the girls’ funding landscape in terms of identifying the funders, the amounts and ways of funding distributions, the needs and resourcing challenges expressed by adolescent girls, and to what extent girls themselves are present across the funding landscape intended for them.
Guided by a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including girls from across the world, feminist adolescent girl funders, academia, civil society, philanthropy, and government representatives from children’s, women’s, and youth sectoral funding fields, the research unveiled crucial findings and recommendations for funders, policy-makers, and practitioners who want to center adolescent girls and deliver transformational funding to support them.
Key findings from the study highlight the significant role girls play in political and social justice movements, despite being severely under-resourced. Uncovering a lack of transparency, consistency, and tracking mechanisms across the girls funding landscape, and the way in which girls’ political agency is not recognized by funders in their funding. The research emphasizes the fundamental role that funders’ frameworks play in determining the impact of resourcing on the lives of adolescent girls.
Recognizing the commitment of many organizations looking to support girls’ rights, the research report offers a roadmap for cultivating a transformational funding ecosystem that, by centering girls, effectively resources them to thrive, including actionable recommendations for approaching girls as political actors, embracing transparency, humility, accountability and collaboration to reduce barriers and collectively track data, and integrating power-building approaches into program strategies, frameworks, tools, and curricula.
Additional strategies beyond the research findings are also highlighted, emphasizing the importance of convening across all types of funders, further research to deepen understanding of the funding landscape, and engaging in mutual advocacy and learning to drive meaningful change.
Adolescent girls around the world are holding more responsibilities, power, and burden to determine their own present and future, and that of their communities. It is our collective responsibility to establish a funding ecosystem that supports them to thrive. Our greatest hope is that this research sparks conversations and contributes to the evolution and establishment of a funding ecosystem where girls are recognized as political actors and provided with dedicated resources that meet their needs. Partnering with organizations using a transformational approach and engaging with girls directly, where appropriate, can help structure funding and inform its flow.
“By recognizing the agency and power of adolescent girls and integrating their perspectives in funding strategies, we can drive social transformation and create a more equitable world for all.” Aissata Sall, Program Director, Global Fund for Women
“By celebrating the power of adolescent girls and centering their wisdom and perspectives in funding strategies, we can drive social transformation that will not only revolutionize the way we do our work but seed a more just world for all of us.” Divya Sooryakumar, Director of Grantmaking, MADRE
The “Resourcing Girls to Thrive” research report and all of the related resources can be accessed via www.resourcinggirls.org. We urge all stakeholders to review these findings and join the efforts to cultivate a transformational funding ecosystem that, by centering girls, resources them to thrive.
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About the research co-leads
Angelika Arutyunova is an Armenian from Uzbekistan, a queer feminist resource advocate and researcher with over two decades of experience in mobilizing, distributing, researching, advocating for, and connecting resources with feminist, social justice, womxn’s, youth and LGBTIQ rights and organizing. Angelika is a co-founder of FRIDA: The Young Feminist Fund and a newly established CEECCNA Collaborative Fund.
Amy Babchek is an American researcher, strategist and integrator who is grounded in justice and freedom. She co-leads initiatives, provides strategic consulting services, and has held roles in funding institutions and healthcare institutions. Her talents lie in creating clarity and building strength, and her passion lies in collaborative, practical work to resource and support adolescent girls.