Our approach


We do international development differently. Our partnership model – working closely with women’s rights organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America to deliver change on the ground – is effective, ethical, and sustainable. Since we were founded in 1989 it has transformed the lives of 18 million women and girls, their families and communities.

In a nutshell:

  1. Our local partners develop solutions to stop violence against women and end inequality
  2. We give them the support they need to do it
  3. We combine their expertise with our own to promote women’s rights internationally

1. Delivering change for women and girls

Our partners develop and deliver a huge range of different projects and services which help women and girls to transform their lives.

As well as more familiar solutions such as refuges for women and children escaping violence, or programmes to support new women MPs and community leaders, our partners create innovative programmes and uncover new paths to successful outcomes.

We support community conversations, women-only savings and loan associations, mobile legal aid clinics, human rights training, HIV support groups, refugee paralegal teams, radio programmes, girls’ leadership clubs, and drama groups.

With our partners we help women join together, often for the first time, to talk about what they want to change, and then we help them to achieve it. For some, it might be the first time that they have been able to leave their home and meet with other women. This includes training to develop leadership skills, so women can have their voices heard and challenge discrimination.

Once women know about and understand their rights, they go into the community and inform other women and support others to spread the word. As momentum grows, women’s voices are heard more widely, creating change within their families, communities and across wider society.

2. Supporting women’s rights organisations

We support our partners to become stronger and more effective. Investing in women’s rights organisations gives them the stability and capacity to develop and implement activities which promote and protect women’s rights in the longer term, including research, advocacy and campaigns.

We’re more than just another funder, we’re also part of the women’s movement together with our partners. Through our long-term partnerships we support their fundraising, provide expert training and advice, bring partners together to share learning, and look for opportunities to amplify their voices.

We don’t have Womankind offices in the countries where we work because our history and focus has been on strengthening civil society and supporting the local women’s rights movement.

3. Promoting women’s rights internationally

Women’s rights are at the heart of everything we do. We’ve been entirely dedicated to supporting women and girls since we were founded on International Women’s Day in 1989.

With such strong links with the women’s rights movement in Africa, Asia and Latin America, we are the leading UK authority on international women’s rights. We use our expertise and that of our partners to influence government and ensure that women’s rights are at the heart of the UK’s international development work.

We recognise that the underlying causes of gender inequality, discrimination and poverty will not be solved by services and projects alone. Time and resources are needed to influence decision makers at local, regional, national and international levels, changing the way people think about and act on women's rights issues.

Our partners on why our approach makes a difference