Author: Rosalind Eyben
This report concerns the historical trajectory of women’s rights organisations (WROs) in Bangladesh and Ghana within the changing national contexts as well as the shifting international aid landscape in the last two decades and identifies the influence of external financing on what the organisations do and how they go about it. The report offers a model for how to study the question in other contexts and it can be used by WROs in other countries to reflect upon the relevance of the findings in their own context and to respond accordingly. The influence of international aid, particularly in the 1990s and the early part of the last decade was in many ways beneficial for organisational effectiveness. Recently the funding landscape has become more hostile with funders’ interest in rights and social transformation declining. Nevertheless in this environment maintaining the legitimacy of the discourse of women’s rights as integral to gender and development policies has not been easy either for gender officers in aid organisations or for the WROs and although the organisations have managed to keep their identity, a sense of autonomy and a continued commitment, they are struggling to find their way. International funders are missing an important opportunity to support WROs in a manner that would optimise their capacity to mobilize women to formulate and voice their demands for gender justice.