Feminist Funding – Sevidzem Ernestine Leikeki’s visit to the UN & NYC

Part of what we do at WECF is help ensure that the voices of women and marginalised groups are heard at the policy table by providing mentoring and financial support for our partners to engage in key international conferences. For that reason we brought Sevidzem Ernestine Leikeki – a long term partner of ours and Gender Just Climate Solutions winner – to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to speak during the SDG Action Weekend and partake in several other activities happening around the SDG Summit, Climate Ambition Summit and NY Climate Week. Follow her around a couple of highlights in New York City and see what it means to bring her local solutions to the global stage! 

Want a quick snapshot? Have a look at this short video

Towards a Rights-centered Gender Transformative Economy 

On SDG Mobilization Day, Ernestine shared her perspectives during the official session “Towards a Rights-centred Gender Transformative Economy, Including a New International Financial Architecture”, organised by Women’s Major Group, with the support of UN Women. Ernestine’s organization, Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) works with grass root communities to undertake action for agro-ecology, forest protection and regeneration, sustainable job creation, women’s entrepreneurship and climate literacy. Unfortunately, countries like hers in the global South are burdened with debt and initiatives like hers too often lack access to direct funding. Ernestine urged on decision-makers present that: 

There is a need for significant increased funding for climate action and direct access to climate funding for grassroots organizations: to promote innovative ideas, scale up successful initiatives, promote research and learning and expand actions that promote linkages between conservation, livelihoods and gender equality.” 

Funding Transformation 

Ernestine again echoed this message in the “Funding Transformation” event organised by WEDO and co-organised by WECF, GAGGA and UNFCCC. Also joining the panel was Trupti Jain, a fellow Gender Just Climate Solutions winner and WECF-partner whom we supported in her participation in the event. They shared their perspectives on what ‘gender just climate solutions’ look like, and how funding mechanisms can better resource and support their work. Both Ernestine and Trupti are also recipients of the Scale Fund, a flexible, multi-year funding mechanism of which WECF is also an organiser. Watch a summary of the evening through this link: Gender Just Climate Solutions NY Climate Week Event Recap – YouTube 

Broader outreach 

Not only did we take this message to policy makers and funders, but also to the streets.  

We joined 75,000 others in New York City during the Global March to End Fossil Fuels. Ernestine marched in the Feminist Block, joining fellow feminists to call for an end to fossil fuels, fast, fair and forever 

Much more was on our agenda, including for example partaking in the Global People’s Assembly which WECF co-organised, bringing people’s voices to the UN SDG Summit and other high level events during the UN General Assembly week. Another key highlight included the Feminist Foreign Policy High-level Week event and the presentation of the Political Declaration on Feminist Approaches to Foreign Policy, which Trupti and Ernestine also attended. 

Looking ahead 

Whilst our partners’ participation made for a fruitful week, we share the assessment of the Women’s Major Group that the “negotiated outcomes leading up to the SDG Summit, and statements by leaders during High-Level Week were not ambitious enough for a shift away from current business-as-usual approaches.” In order to create true progress, we need to push for funding approaches that reach those left furthest behind. In the words of Ernestine:  

“A truly gender-transformative economy recognises the need to invest in gender-just climate and environmental initiatives to the benefit of us all. Let’s begin by lifting the barriers for feminist grassroots organizations to access direct funding to take action on the SDGs.”  

Want to learn more about the Gender Just Climate Solutions awards, or the mentoring support we provide, watch these two clips: 

Watch last years celebration
Our Mentoring Programme