We decide on our support within 24 hours Caroline Kiarie alone Defending the defenders says Caroline Kiarie A young woman with short hair a yellow and green striped scarf and a clear and firm voice Caroline Kiarie works at Urgent Action Fund Africa a pan Af rican women s rights fund based in Kenya Behind her the breeze in the palm trees picks up and she pulls her scarf tighter around her as she speaks Our work includes helping women s human rights activists who have had traumatic experiences as a result of their activism by providing money as well as legal and psycholog ical support Women who stand up for other women and speak out against discrimination are often faced with threats of violence and social marginalization Rape is not even prosecuted in many African coun tries Caroline Kiarie explains It is often exhausting and difficult to deal with these cases That s why we offer multi level support And we are fast It s an express service We decide on our support within 24 hours The fund only helps organizations that are run exclusively by women Urgent Action Fund Africa was established in 2001 in Nairobi Kenya The fund has grown to now also have a physical presence in Egypt Camer oon Nigeria Burundi Zimbabwe Senegal Uganda and Ethiopia From the outset the leadership team consisted of women active in wom en s rights initiatives or in research To this day the fund s board of directors is exclusively made up of women s rights activists and lawyers This setup allows the fund to be as close as possible to the needs of those it supports The workflow is simple and unbureaucratic there is a one page form that applicants can complete in English Swahili Arabic Portuguese or French If the applica tion is accepted the money will be paid out within 24 hours Over 17 years UAF Africa has grown to become a fund that operates across the African continent and is support ed not only by individual donors but also by governments such as those of Sweden and the Netherlands In 2019 180 applicants received funding totalling more than 1 400 000 between January and October 2019 But it is still not enough There is great demand says Caroline Kiarie and we often have to tell organiza tions no simply because we don t have the money to help Women s rights are rarely supported in development cooperation she explains Sometimes there are cultural reasons as to why women are more at risk than men When the Ebola virus broke out in Liberia in 2014 a disproportionately high share of the many dead were women and UAF Africa tried to understand the dynamics behind it We recognized that women are usually the primary caregivers of the sick and get infected this way At the time they also had no access to female hygiene products When we had learned that we were in a position to act says Caroline Kiarie Women in crises like the Ebola epidemic women who lose their land to coal mining and are not compensated women who sell their goods in the streets but have no right to their stalls There are so many stories that Caroline Kiarie can tell and which are the source of UAF Afri ca s work The fund considers the top priority to protect and preserve women s dignity Making sure that women can feel comfortable in their surroundings and have hope for a safe life is therefore one of the main goals of the UAF PROFILE Idea behind the fund Supporting women in crisis and women s rights organizations quickly and unbureaucratically Recipients of support Women s rights organizations run by women women s human rights defenders Type of support Funding of 12 000 max per applicant USP Run by female activists feedback within 24 hours Support volume 1 8 million per year Picture on the right Before and after an employee of the Foundation for Ecological Security FES in India shows the results of a forestation project FES receives sup port from the Skoll Foundation Feature14 Robert Bosch Stiftung P ho to S ko ll Fo un da tio n

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