Call to GEST Alumni: The March 8 Fund 2023

8 March 2023
Call to GEST Alumni: The March 8 Fund 2023

The GRÓ GEST programme hereby invites its alumni to apply for The March 8 Fund 2023. The deadline for applications is at midnight (GMT) April 30, 2023. Selected applicants will be announced on 31 May 2023. Read more about how to apply, eligibility criteria and priorities here.

Every year on March 8, International Women’s Day, major organizations, and stakeholders stand in line around the world to celebrate women’s rights and to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. However, as most gender equality professionals, including alumni from the GRÓ GEST programme, know all too well; while it is easy to talk about the virtues of gender equality, it remains an area of human development that is still underfunded. Celebrating International Women's Day only by promoting general and vague notions of equality is not enough. Historically, March 8 is a day rooted in radical social reform and deserves more than gradual commercialization and dilution.

True commitment requires investment. The March 8 Fund was established following a pilot call under the name ‘GEST Alumni Fund’ in 2020 to finance projects promoting gender equality and social justice, led by GEST alumni. In 2020, €10.000 were awarded by GEST to Chinenye Anekwe, GEST alumna of 2018, for the project Business Booster Programme for 100 Rural Women Energy Entrepreneurs; a project which exceeded its outcome expectations. The project was jointly financed by the GEST Alumni Fund and Solar Sister Nigeria and was led by Ms. Anekwe. Following the lead of Ms. Anekwe, the second recipient of the alumni fund, now called the 8 March Fund, Claudia Pamela Chavarría Machado, a 2021 alumna initiated and led a project in collaboration with Iniciativa Ciudadana y Desarrollo (INCIDE) on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) called Community Response to Access to the Right of Women to Live Free from Violence in Mexico City. The indications of success by mid and final reporting of the two projects demonstrate the need for continued financial investment in small-scale projects. It is rewarding for both GEST and the GEST alumni to witness the local impacts led by young gender equality experts. More information about the projects can be found here.

The GRÓ GEST March 8 Fund is a symbolic reminder to organizations, policy makers and stakeholders to invest in gender equality beyond words and promises.