Huairou’s Community Resilience Fund is an innovative financial mechanism that delivers micro funding to grassroots women in disaster-prone communities. These microgrants help grassroots women develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, creating livelihoods for women to support their families with and opportunities for women to reduce their community’s vulnerabilities to disaster.
Through our Community Resilience Fund, Huairou works with 30 organizations across 23 countries, linking grassroots women’s groups within and across borders to create platforms for learning and advocacy. The Fund’s microgrants are delivered directly to grassroots women’s organizations as flexible funds, enabling grassroots women to allocate the funds as they see fit. More than 5,000 women around the world have been supported by the Fund.
The Community Resilience Fund has helped mobilize grassroots women’s organizations in disaster-prone, high risk conditions in 23 countries. The CRF is a mechanism for channeling resources to organized groups of women in poor, hazard-prone settlements around the world in order to mobilize resilience practices and reduce communities’ vulnerabilities. The CRF gives micorgrants to grassroots women’s organizations, women farmers, producer cooperatives, savings and credit groups and informal settlement associations. These organizations position grassroots women in public leadership roles in order to identify and address risks, collaborate with local officials, leverage resources and sustain and scale up resilience-building efforts and practices. The CRF was designed to challenge the identification of grassroots women as victims of disasters and beneficiaries of aid, and instead to position them as agents of community resilience. Community-based organizations are at a disadvantage when trying to access resources from top-down policies and programs. Resources frequently do not reach local communities, who are continually left out of high-level planning and implementation, and are denied access to funds to implement their own initiatives. The CRF places flexible funds in the hands of grassroots women’s organizations, who can then prioritize their concerns and implement their own solutions. This process enhances women’s organizing, leadership, resource management and agenda-setting capabilities, helping women gain identities as change-makers and leaders in resilience development.
Around the world, grassroots women are improving their homes and communities. From addressing sanitation issues and seeking alternative energy sources to developing seed banks and building collective asset bases, grassroots women have created and employed resilience strategies for decades. Today, these strategies and practices are scaling up across neighborhoods, communities and countries. Grassroots women’s organizations are capable of self-organizing, learning and adapting to changing conditions. Their agendas are long-term, even if their entry points are short-term projects, such as reclaiming a water source, because they are committed to enhancing their community’s resilience to environmental, economic and political shocks. Rather than focusing exclusively on women’s issues, grassroots women look for solutions that benefit households and communities, contributing to and localizing the SDGs and other global development frameworks.