AJWS' Latest Grants Selection Distributes More Than $3 Million to Grassroots Organizations in the Developing World


AJWS' Latest Grants Selection Distributes More Than $3 Million to Grassroots Organizations in the Developing World

October 16, 2007

In its most recent grants selection, American Jewish World Service awarded more than $3 million in 132 grants to support grassroots organizations in 30 countries in the developing world.

This grants selection continues to directly fund community-based organizations pursuing human rights, while supporting local responses to poverty, hunger and disease in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

AJWS’ grantmaking focuses on community efforts to develop quality education and economic opportunities, sustainable agriculture initiatives, and health programs with a focus on HIV prevention, care and support. By supporting local organizations, over 50% of them run by women, AJWS is strengthening civil society and promoting women’s rights.

The following is a small selection of the grants that AJWS is making to many diverse and dynamic grassroots organizations around the world.

In Latin America, AJWS is distributing 27 grants, totaling $707,950, including:

- Centro para el Desarrollo Regional (CDR) is educating and mentoring the 6,000 children and adolescents who work as miners in Potosí, Bolivia. AJWS recently expanded its Americas portfolio to include Bolivia, South America’s most impoverished country. Support for CDR will provide education, counseling and recreational activities for child miners.

- Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo (UCIZONI) works in Oaxaca, Mexico, a state of great cultural, social and political diversity but also of widespread poverty and marginalization. AJWS is supporting the organization to carry out targeted advocacy to promote indigenous peoples’ rights.

In Asia, AJWS is distributing 51 grants, totaling $1,023,214, including:

- PARWAZ Micro Finance Institution in Afghanistan empowers women economically and socially through micro-enterprise projects. AJWS is supporting PARWAZ to offer basic business skills training for illiterate female micro-finance clients. In addition, PARWAZ is expanding its skills training for women who are already running successful businesses.

- Highlander’s Association is an indigenous people’s NGO in rural Cambodia, addressing the illegal land confiscation taking place throughout the country. With AJWS funding, Highlander’s Association is supporting communities to challenge land confiscations in the Cambodian court system.

In Africa, AJWS is distributing 49 grants, totaling $1,468,310, including:

- Lady Mermaid’s Bureau (LMB) in Uganda is an organization that aims to ensure that commercial sex workers – who face significant risk of HIV infection – are able to access health services despite the stigma and discrimination they face in society. With AJWS funding, LMB will provide financial support to HIV-positive commercial sex workers to enable them to explore alternative livelihoods and receive adequate healthcare.

- Physicians for Social Justice (PSJ) in Nigeria pursues community health advocacy in schools. AJWS is supporting PSJ’s outreach efforts to teach children in poverty-stricken and remote rural communities about health. In order to extend these health services to the students’ extended communities, children are also encouraged to invite their out-of-school peer and family members.

In addition to grants in Africa, Asia and Latin Americas, AJWS also partners with international organizations that can provide training and capacity building to AJWS grantees. Two recipients of AJWS “collegial partnership” grants are:

- Front Line: the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is a new AJWS grantee. Front Line aims to protect human rights defenders through protection, networking, training and access to international advocacy and support. Front Line has already provided emergency support for two AJWS grantees in Central America. Their security and capacity building training for human rights defenders will coach human rights defenders in personal security and protection.

- The Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in New York offers a capacity-building program, called the Human Rights Advocate Program (HRAP), which is designed to strengthen the skills, knowledge and networks of proven human rights defenders. AJWS is making a grant to HRAP to support its program of bringing grantees and activists to the U.S. to study at Columbia and facilitate dialogue with policymakers, NGOs and journalists.

AJWS reviews general support grants twice each year. The next round of general support grants will be announced in December 2007.