Small Grants, Local Action, Better Lives
VGIF is an international women's fund that provides small grants to women-led grassroots projects.
At VGIF, we believe that when the rights of women and girls are threatened, women and girls are the best-equipped leaders for finding sustainable solutions that fit their own communities' particular needs.
That's why, since our founding in 1969, VGIF has distributed more than $3.5 million to fund women-led projects in 94 different countries.
The work done by VGIF grantees has impacted over 1 million people, changing lives in significant and lasting ways.
"We knew we could do it.
We knew we could make women's lives better.
We just needed the opportunity."
VGIF Grant Project Director
Though all VGIF grantees work so that women and girls are able to reach their full potential, this means something different for every community. Working to support projects across the spectrum of women's empowerment, VGIF's grantees fall into six thematic areas:
1. Economic Development & Empowerment
These grantees work to increase women's earning power through business development and vocational training.
Past projects have conducted sewing workshops for single moms in the DRC, provided rope-making machines for formerly bonded laborers in India, and developed marketing and business plans for women selling food products in Kenya.
Today, women make up more than two-thirds of the world's 796 million illiterate people.
That's why VGIF grantees have worked to strengthen school resources and support girls who want to learn by installing computer labs, establishing science and math clubs and organizing school lunch programs using food grown by local women farmers.
3. Environment, Food & Water Security
The food and water systems built by VGIF grantees have benefitted entire communities.
In 2018, VGIF grantees will train 150 female cocoa farmers in sustainable agricultural practices in Cameroon.
4. Health Wellness, Bodily Integrity
These grants tackle gender-based health disparities by increasing access to health information, resources and services.
VGIF grantees have distributed reusable sanitary pads to girls at risk of missing school in Kenya and provided 2,243 women with services like HIV testing and cervical cancer screening at a medical center in Uganda.
5. Human Rights and Legal Status
VGIF grantees advocate for the passage and implementation of laws that bring societies closer to gender equality.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, 157 rape victims were given access to free legal and psychological services.
6. Leadership & Movement Building
VGIF supports grassroots leaders to network and speak out at the community, national and international level.
Grantees have rallied against bonded labor in India and produced radio shows to advocate for indigenous rights in Honduras.
Evaluating our projects
Working with so many grantees from around the world, VGIF realizes the importance of establishing trust between our staff and our project directors. Over the years, we have worked hard to build a reputation so that when community leaders send us an application, they know that they will be encouraged and supported by a dedicated team.
For this reason, VGIF has become a popular funder for first-time grant-seekers; an important role since many other funders require applicants to have received grants in the past to qualify for funding.
VGIF grantees submit detailed reports on their projects and maintain regular contact with VGIF program staff throughout the year. VGIF also conducts site visits, which enable us to connect with our project leaders in a more personalized way.
Our grantees have said that they appreciate the trust VGIF puts in them as young, local organizations. They appreciate our flexibility - as we recognize that creating real change is hard, and we'd rather see a project succeed than stick to an outdated plan.