Information Centre of the Independent Women's Forum (ICIWF)
The Information Centre of the Independent Women's Forum (ICIWF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 that networks women's organizations throughout Russia. ICIWF focus¬es on creating partnerships between activists from different social move¬ments and local community residents to strengthen gender equality and build Russia's civil society. ICIWF is based in Moscow and has partner organizations in multiple cities throughout Russia such as Tver, Putchino, Dubno, Petrozavodsk, St. Petersburg, Sochy, Cheliabinsk, Snejinsk and others in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
ICIWCF's activities aim at transforming the social initiatives of women into political ones providing the formation of the policy "from down below". For example, ICIWF facilitates women to organize into neighborhood groups- collections of women living in the same building or block- and supports them in engaging local governments to increase the influence of women in the dissemination of property to increase women's access to housing and improve public services to better serve the women in the community. ICIWF and its member partner organizations thus put considerable effort into promoting dialogue and the development of social skills among neighbors and work towards their mobilization through the organization of joint discussions, trainings and local development projects. They ensure that residents, and first of all women, take an active part in the planning and implementation of these projects.
HC Campaign Activities
ICIWF has been a Huairou Commission member since 2005 and has been involved in the Land and Housing(link) and Governance(link) Campaigns. ICIWF assists grassroots women to engage local authorities in including women and women's organizations in planning, policies, and actions that affect their communities. ICIWF works to increase the number of women working in local bodies, neighborhood groups, and communities of dwelling owners or local managerial level and assists them in forming new relationships between citizens and municipal self-governance bodies in the framework of conducting the housing and public service reform and the formation of local self-governance. ICIWF believes it is necessary that social organizations, including women's organizations that have already acquired practical experience, take active part in forming local communities and improving living conditions.
ICIWF was also instrumental in the development of Local to Local Dialogues as a means of sharing information and experiences of grassroots women working on similar projects in different countries around the world (for more information see Local to Local Dialogues in the Governance Campaign - link). ICIWF is also participating in the Safer Cities Initiative (see Safer Cities in the Governance Campaign - link) by conducting research to understand the factors that cause and lead to exclusion of women in public spaces in order to address them (.
ICIWF is also very involved in providing information on women's rights and gender mainstreaming in Russia and CIS to women's NGOs, grassroots organizations, governmental leaders, and individual researchers. ICIWF created "The Center" which acts as an informational hub for women's rights and gender issues with the aim of advancing the women's movement in Russia. The Centre disseminates information on women's rights and gender issues, encourages information exchange and concerted actions among women's organizations, supports women grassroots initiatives, and organizes educational projects. They also train local law enforcement agencies and city administrations on gender issues through direct training and the advancement women's leadership in local government. This is all done with the aim of promoting less-discriminatory societies, and establishing a strong position for women and their concerns in policy and institutions. ICIWF has also reached out to other social movements in Russia to promote the idea that gender equality is the major component of construction of a civil society. With its large panel of projects and activities in different locations across Russia, ICIWF is demonstrating that gender equity can be incorporated into the wider agenda of sustainability.
ICIWF has seen considerable improvement in the areas they have been working on. On a concrete level, ICIWF has reported that neighborhood groups have been able to clean up the parks, repair damaged grounds, build a playground and engage other mem¬bers of the communities. As a result, crime rates dropped significantly and the common spaces in the communi¬ties are now clean and attractive. Grassroots women have been recognized by local administrations as crucial in developing and implementing holistic, sustainable projects and have been called to inform the creation of these projects and be included in meetings. In addition, the women leaders in particular are taking the floor in meetings and presenting women's vision of the discussed issues. Most importantly, ICIWF has created openings for grassroots women orga¬nizations to actively participate in local governments' decision-making process.
Where We Work
Partner organizations of the ICIWF include:
• The H.Buelle Foundation in Russia;
• "Conversion and Women", Moscow;
• Baikal Region Women's Union "Angara", Irkutsk;
• Women's Center "Stimula", Dubna, Moscow oblast;
• Women's Public Association "Femina", Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan;
• "Women from ZATO", Snezhinsk, Chelyabinskaya oblast;
• Karelian Centre for Gender Studies (KCGS), Petrozavodsk;
• Peterburg Women's Crisis Psychological Center, St. Peterburg;
• Moscow Center for Gender Studies, Moscow;
• "East-West: Women's innovation projects";
• "Sodejstvie", Chelyabinsk;
• "Citizens and House", Petrozavodsk;
• Moscow house of Public organizations, Moscow;
• The center of the psychological care "Art and health", Moscow;
• "Town-dweller and House", Zhukovsky town, Moscow oblast;
• The center of family support "Three generations", Putchino town, Moscow oblast;
• MVD, Karelia Republic;
For more information on ICIWF and their current activities please visit www.owl.ru/eng/women/org001/