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Global Grassroots Women's Congress

The Inaugural Grassroots Women’s Congress: For Grassroots Women, By Grassroots Women

The Inaugural Grassroots Women’s Congress & World Urban Forum 9 February 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The Inaugural Grassroots Women’s Congress: For Grassroots Women, By Grassroots Women February 2-6, 2018


In February 2018, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will become the epicenter of organizing for more than one hundred grassroots women leaders from around the world. They will be coming together for the inaugural Global Grassroots Women’s Congress, a pivotal event for affirming their commitments to and strategies for movement-building and collective action for resilient development.  The Congress is strategically timed to contribute to World Urban Forum 9, which will take place from February 7-13, 2018, allowing grassroots women leaders to widely share outcomes of the Congress, advance agreed-upon policy priorities, and build new partnerships that support government efforts to move from policy to implementation.


The grassroots women at the Congress will be representing women in informal settlements, indigenous women, women displaced by the urban-rural divide, and various other constituencies.  During the Congress we will share a common vision of sustainable, community-driven development practices; decide upon collective local-to-global policy priorities; and strengthen capacity to influence and create policy.


The Congress will equip leaders to fortify not only the work in their home communities and countries, but to further energize the global movement of grassroots women focused on sustainable, community-driven resilient development.   Convened by the Huairou Commission, the Congress is an essential link in local-to-global community organizing for grassroots women leaders. It will focus the energy of women representing more than one million people across 51 countries to champion community-driven implementation of global policy frameworks. The Congress is also a milestone for the movement of grassroots women itself, a living example of the type of participatory governance centering grassroots women that is often discussed but rarely actualized.


Following are just three examples of the work of the grassroots women leaders who will attend the Congress:  

In Bangladesh, grassroots women leaders are focusing on how they can train an increasing number of cohorts of grassroots women so that they, in turn, can train their family and community members in health and sanitation practices. They are also concentrating on how to further their work of informing local governments’ disaster response plans with their proven methods for mapping disaster-prone areas.

In Nicaragua, Guatemala, Kenya and India, grassroots women leaders are looking to strengthen their campaigns to subsidize women farmers to scale up sustainable agriculture practices that enhance community livelihoods, improve access to markets, and secure land.

In Kenya and the Philippines, grassroots women are aiming to expand their work to ensure that women’s safety is consistently prioritized in the development of community and transportation infrastructure.  
Together at the Congress and the World Urban Forum, these and other grassroots women leaders will strategize about how to maximize their work, develop the kind of relationships that result in concrete change, and discover new directions and methods for achieving their goals.

Over four days of deliberation, knowledge development and capacity building, leaders will exchange best practices and strategies, refine and enhance their organizing methods, and define their roles and responsibilities as local-to-global community leaders. The inaugural Congress will also be a catalyst for the scaling-up of local organizing and the infusing of global policy with local priorities. It comes at a time when political, economic and environmental shifts point to the need to strengthen the capacities of grassroots women leaders as never before.

Since it will take place every three years, the 2018 Congress will also provide the blueprint for future Congresses as well as an anchor and structure for strengthening the grassroots women’s work between Congresses.


Participating in the Grassroots Women’s Conference


All Huairou Commission members are welcome and encouraged to attend the Grassroots Women’s Congress if they are self-funded. We will allocate funding for selected Advanced members to participate in the Grassroots Women’s Academy and inaugural Grassroots Women’s Congress, held from 2 to 6 February 2018.

Funding Opportunities


Until the list of Congress participants receiving funding is determined, we encourage all Huairou Commission members to begin planning the estimated cost of attending the Congress as soon as possible so that you can fundraise as necessary. We recommend approaching your embassies and donors in your fundraising efforts, emphasizing the impact of your work and how it relates to this global conference. A letter from Huairou Secretariat to assist in your fundraising efforts will be provided upon request.

Remote Congress Engagement


All advanced members who are unable to attend the Grassroots Women’s Congress in person will be able to participate by engaging online. More information on how to participate remotely will shared as it becomes available.


Participating in the World Urban Forum 9 (WUF9) February 7-13, 2018


Grassroots Women’s Congress participants receiving funding from Huairou Commission will be funded to stay for the entirety or part of WUF9. Wednesday, February 7, 2018 is the official day for the WUF9 Stakeholder Assemblies. The Huairou Commission will be hosting the Women’s Assembly in collaboration with UN Habitat, Women and Cities International, UN Women, GAP Women Partner’s Constituency Group, Jagori, Women and Habitat, City Alliance, Shack/Slum Dwellers International, and other active women’s organizations working on SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda. We will also host the Grassroots Assembly in collaboration with Shack/Slum Dwellers International. The opening of the WUF9 conference is the morning of Thursday, February 8, 2018, with activities held continuously (throughout the weekend) until the official closing day on the morning of Tuesday, February 13, 2018. Huairou Commission will be hosting the Daily Women’s Caucus starting on Friday, 9 February at 8 am. We will provide you with more detailed schedule information along with a Grassroots Congress Guidebook and relevant materials to review as they become available in January. WUF9 Networking, Side Events and Training Events


Registration for the World Urban Forum 9 (WUF9)


Each participant at WUF9 must be registered individually to attend the conference; registration by organization is not allowed. Registration is free of charge so we encourage you to register even if you are unsure if you will have the funds to attend. Please visit the WUF9 website to access the registration form:

Online registration will close on Friday, 15 December.

Once you register, please print the Confirmation Email sent to you. You will need to present the Confirmation Email when you register for your batch in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Participants requiring visas and yellow fever vaccinations should begin these processes in December: Please be mindful of both the visa and vaccination processes and allow time to complete them (vaccination certificates for yellow fever are valid 10 days after vaccination).


Engage on Social Media


As the Grassroots Women’s Congress and WUF9 is drawing near, we invite you to spread the word and tag the Huairou Commission on social media (Facebook: @HuairouCommission; Twitter: @HuairouConnect) in your contributions, pictures and overall preparations for the Global Grassroots Women Congress and WUF9  by using the hashtags: #GGWC & #Uniting4change

Thank you in advance!




We recommend that you subscribe to our Newsletter, the HC Update  to receive news and updates about WUF9. Subscribe here:   If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Seneca Rasey at


Donate today to help women showcase their initiatives and make a change at the World Urban Forum 9.