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Success Story | Women’s leadership in grassroots, political and media spheres results in support for women’s rights


This article is part of a series of articles published in conjunction with our annual report. You can read the full report “Reaching Further” here.


Women Fund “Sukhumi” (WFS) promotes social, economic & political development of women by building their capacities, raising their social & legal awareness, supporting their development as active citizens & central decision-makers. The group is building awareness of IDPs & ethnic minorities in rural western Georgia (Kutaisi), who are often marginalized to speak out. The group will engage them to organize & protest against the foreign agent law.

Through a grant to local organisation, in the framework of, UAF enabled WFS to engage in awareness-raising & mobilizing rural, ethnic minorities, internally displaced women, survivors of violence & other vulnerable members to participate in civic engagement to challenge the foreign agent law & garner govt support. The media/journalists & local government also participated in information sessions. This resulted in tangible changes in actions at the local government & media levels to request for closer collaboration with WFS to provide trainings to their munipality members & youth on gender issues, develop a gender and equality strategy, start a community network to support vulnerable families and children. The media is writing about WFS & stories to help women.

During the grant period, the foreign agent law was repealed, although government found ways to continue to target civil societ in public spaces, such as digital surveillance on social media. While there continues to be a shadow surveillance of CSOs, this grant showed promising results through engagement of WHRDs and rural women through in democratic processes, public awareness-raising & advocacy with local governments in 10 rural municipalities and with the media/journalists. As a result of this grant, the local Khobi municipality government requested additional training & funded $2000 to the organization to provide 6 trainings to municipality members on gender issues & on how to develop a gender & equality strategy for 2023-24. In Chokhatauri municipality, the government asked for closer collabration to raise awareness about women’s rights and gender-based violence for school teachers, doctors, mayor’s representatives and youth, along with creating a network of partners to support vulnerable families, & closer communication with the mayor’s office for protecting children’s rights. Support from the media/journalists included their intention to publicize the work of WPS, tour WPS facilities & stated its commitment to highlight & write about the impact of WFS in their community. The media wrote 12 stories about WPS’ impact in the community serving women survivors of violence. The media wants to bring forth women’s stories of struggle and resilience, as well as name resources to support vulnerable women.

The grant supports actions by a women’s rights organization facing infringement on the right to expression and organizing due to the foreign agent law passed in Georgia. The grant allowed them to conduct advocacy work by partnering with rural women in western Georgia who are internally displaced, ethnic minorities (Armenian and Azeri), survivors of violence and marginalized members who do not have the agency, opportunity and platform to speak out (compared to their urban/city counterparts). The grante enabled WPS and engaged rural women to mobilize and advocate for more women’s leadership and participation to advance and protect women’s rights in vulnerable communities. This resulted in commitments from two local government municipalities to support training for their staff and community workers (teachers, doctors) and members (youth), as well as closer collaboration and communication with the government departments to better support gendered policy development and gender-sensitive work. The media is committed to write more positive stories uplifting the leadership, experiences and resiliency of women.