Feminist Grassroots in the Western Balkans

 In Middle and Eastern Europe, Strengthening Democracies

Foto: Conference of Middle and Eastern European women’s rights organizations in Berlin in 2019.

Not only Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, but also the current resurgence of conflict in the Western Balkans shows us that warlike confrontations are still part of everyday life for many people in Europe. In addition, the Russian government is trying to consolidate pro-Russian forces and strengthen anti-democratic attitudes through disinformation and conspiracy narratives in Southeastern Europe. There are also challenges from the aftermath of the Corona pandemic, the climate crisis, and the resulting economic crisis. Women, girls and LGBTIQ+ are most affected by the negative impacts of these developments.

Financial support for grassroots organizations in the Western Balkans

We know from studies that strong, independent feminist grassroots organizations are a crucial factor for social change. Feminist activists are experts on the concerns of women, girls and LGBTIQ+. They know what it takes. They know how to improve the situation for all. In the Western Balkans, numerous feminist organizations have formed in recent years. They work locally on solutions for democratic and peaceful coexistence and are committed to a change in social consciousness. At the same time, they are coming under greater pressure because right-wing nationalist parties and anti-feminist groups are threatening their work. With bureaucratic hurdles, propaganda that stokes fears, and even violent attacks.

filia cooperates with women’s funds from Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria

To strengthen and sustain the work of these feminist groups is the goal of the project “Feminist Grassroots in the Western Balkans”. filia cooperates for the project with three other women’s funds: with the Ecumenical Women’s Initiative (EWI) based in Croatia, the Reconstruction Women’s Fund (RWF) in Serbia and the Bulgarian Fund for Women (BFW).

The national women’s funds contact grassroots organizations and awards grants for their activities in open calls. All measures funded within this framework have in common that they empower women, girls and LBTIQ+ and thus contribute to the development of a peaceful and just civil society on the ground. They counteract pro-Russian disinformation, address gender-based violence or combat gender stereotypes.

The project “Feminist Grassroots in Western Balkans” is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. The project duration is from March 2023 to December 2024.

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