Ms Colleen Lafontaine

Investing in Women at the
Frontlines of Development
Ms Colleen LaFontaine, MSc
Co-Founder Present Purpose Network
The Case
The Policy
Pakistan legislation against honor violence
•2004 Pakistan enacted a law that made honor
killings punishable by 7 years in prison or death
•2010 GBV tried under Anti-Terrorism act
•2011 943 incidents of honor killings reported by
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, up from 791
in 2010
The Frontlines
• Khalida Brohi
• Founder Sughar Empowerment
• Fighting the cultural
foundations of honor killings
and honor violence in her
Increase donor investment directly to the women led
organizations on the frontlines of development as a
compliment to policy initiatives.
“Increasing women’s individual and collective agency
leads to better outcomes, institutions, and policy
-World Development Report 2012
The Case
For every $1 a woman earns
She invests $0.80 in her family.
Men invest $0.30
-Half the Sky Movement
The Case
• Educate a girl and she will be:
3 times less likely to have HIV
Marry 3 years later
Earn 10% more income
Educate her own daughter
Have fewer and healthier children
– Sources: UN Women, Save the Children, OECD
The Case
• World Development Report 2012
– Productivity gains – up to 25%
– Improved outcomes for next generation
– More representative decision making for countries
• World Bank – 1999
– Increasing the share of women with secondary
education by 1% boosts annual per capita income growth
by 0.3 percentage points
Financial Investments
• 2012 World Bank made $29 billion in grants and
loans that were “gender informed”
• 2012 USAID directly funded $30 million for women’s
leadership programmes
• DfiD committed £25 million between 2013-18 to
tackle GBV
• World Bank estimates between $40-60 billion a
year was spent towards achieving the MDGs
Policy Interventions
1995 World Conference on Women – 189 countries
CEDAW – ratified by 187 countries
ICPD 1994 – Cairo – 179 governments
Universal primary education
Increasing minimum age of marriage for girls
The Reality
Women 15 to 45 are more likely to be maimed or die
from violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic
accidents and war. Combined.
The Reality
2.6 billion women live in countries where rape within
marriage is not a crime.
The Reality
Over 135 million girls have undergone FGM.
2 million are at risk each year.
The Reality
An estimated 10 million girls are married before their
18th birthday every year. 25,000 girls a day end their
childhood by forced marriage.
•Sources: UNICEF, Half the Sky, Girls Not Brides
Policy is not Enough
Formal vs Informal Institutions
Government vs Culture
Opportunity vs Agency
Short term vs Sustainable
External vs Internal
Policy is not Enough
• Sexual violence and exploitation against girls
• Ex: Malawi
• 2010 landmark legislation against child labor, child
trafficking and harmful cultural practices
– Yet
• 30,000 cases of sexual abuse reported a year
• More than 50% of girls are married before 18
• Teen pregnancy responsible for ¼ of maternal
Policy is not Enough
• Even in countries with mandatory education
enrollment for girls is often too low
• Ex: Liberia +40% of girls ages 10-14 have never
attended school
– Why?
• “why water another man’s garden”
• Child marriage, son preference
• Fees – direct and indirect
• Opportunity costs
Present Purpose Network
• Our mission is to help young women fulfill their
purpose by working as a virtual network of women
funders – learning, collaborating and investing
• We support fellow women leaders working in the
community with the women and girls most
impacted by poverty, violence and inequality.
• We fund the women on the frontlines of
What are the frontlines?
• Grassroots and Community based organizations
– Local
• Arise from shared experiences
• Shared interest in a community
– People
• Created by the people who benefit
• Created by the people in the community
– Civil society non-profits
• Strengthen communities
• Build civil society skills
Why only women?
• When you support a grassroots woman leader you:
Reinforce the power of women to affect change
Create a role model for women and girls
Change norms and roles in the local culture
Directly fund solutions, not bureaucracy
Fund an expert in the community with real local
– Make change accessible to everyone
Our grantees
• Kenya – Women at the table
– 2010 Constitution 1/3 of parliament to be women
– In 2013 about 20% of parliament were women
– Akili Dada – create the next generation of women
• Vietnam – human trafficking
– 1994 constitution, agreements in 2005-2010 with border
– Adapt Counter trafficking project increasing access to
education, shelter and economic opportunities for girls
• Metrics and Evaluations
Difficult to have universal measures
Lack of staff for tracking and reporting
Open to more qualitative
Example: Global Fund for Children 7 Core Metrics
– Example: IDEX Partnership Model
• Grantees measure the grantor
• Defining (or redefining) success
– Depth vs breadth
– Success in failure
• Communications
• Managing capacity/absorption
• Potential for additional costs or ratios
Goals and Actions
Unrestricted funding to empower women leaders
Building relationships and partners
Not (necessarily) about scale
Support growth through professional development
grants – not growth through outside “experts” or
Finding the Right Organizations
• Networking
– Let your network know the areas and issues you want to fund
– Be open to introductions
– Look to your peers
• Require current partners to partner with the grassroots
• Work with “global partnerships” for introductions to
frontline organizations
– Girls Not Brides
– Women Deliver
• Fund the funders of the grassroots
– Present Purpose Network
– Vital Voices
Take Action
Fund women on the frontlines of development.
•Compliment policy and other investments
•Address cultural and informal institutional barriers to
•Create role models and women civic leaders
•Accelerate change on the ground
Take Action
Fund women on the frontlines of development.
Give women and girls the resources to utilize
their rights, impact their communities
and realize their purpose.
Thank you!