Urgent Action Fund

Since its inception in 1997, the Urgent Action Fund has promoted the rights of women and girls around the world through rapid response grantmaking and by sharing the unique knowledge and experience of its grant-recipients through research and publications. Although UAF’s main office is located in Boulder, Colorado, it makes grants to women’s human rights groups in more than 70 countries around the world.

Grant requests must involve projects that fall into one of the following three categories:
1) response to situations of armed conflict, escalating violence, or politically volatile environments;
2) precedent setting legal or legislative action; or
3) protection of women human rights defenders.

Grant proposals must demonstrate all of the following characteristics:
1) strategic – the action is related to a predetermined plan to create structural change that will advance women’s human rights;
2) unanticipated and Time-Urgent – the situation or opportunity is unanticipated and action must happen quickly in order to be effective;
3) sustainable- the group is able to carry out the proposed action effectively, and can secure funding for future work related to the strategy; and
4) supported – the group has the support of others involved in women’s human rights or related fields, locally or globally.

This year, UAF made a grant to the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL). In early 2005, Ontario officials unexpectedly announced that they were considering allowing the use of religious law in family disputes. NAWL contacted UAF after learning that international experts on religious law, feminism and Islam from the Women Living Under Muslim Law network would be attending a conference in Montreal. With a grant from UAF, NAWL held a meeting in Montreal entitled “International Perspectives on Religious Arbitration in Family Law” to take advantage of the expertise present at the conference. The meeting resulted in the formation of the No Religious Arbitration Coalition, which launched a campaign, and on September 11, 2005 the Premier of Ontario announced that no religious arbitration would be allowed in Ontario.

If you would like to know more about UAF please visit the website at: www.urgentactionfund.org.

Amy LaBorde is the Development & Communications Officer at the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights.