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MATCH International

Member Profile February 2013

VIDEA Twinning Programme

Malawi: Re-usable, locally sourced and crafted sanitary pads enable the full participation of girls in school, while providing local women with business opportunities.

CCIC: MATCH International was founded close to 40 years ago; and after undergoing a crisis, it is now back on the scene with a new strategy and structure. This is a “happy ending” story for our sector. Can you share with our readers what you consider to be some of the critical factors for this successful comeback?


MATCH: MATCH is an organization with a very loyal and committed base of support. Many women who started supporting the organization when it was founded by Norma Walmsley and Suzanne Johnson-Harvor in 1976 continue to support MATCH today. We never felt alone during the crisis, nor do we now in our transformation. A strategic administrative relationship with WUSC has helped in managing our corporate needs.

MATCH spent a good amount of time talking to a range of partners and stakeholders about our organization- asking questions around how we could be relevant in new ways, how we could honour the legacy and how we could reposition the organization whilst maintaining our core values of supporting women at the grassroots level. Losing CIDA funding forced us to explore all of these things, and redefine our viability model in a new way.


CCIC: How would you describe MATCH International’s role and niche, among the different international development organizations that have a focus on women’s rights?


MATCH: MATCH has over the years worked with more than 500 women’s rights organizations in the Global South, providing relatively small and sometimes catalytic investments. MATCH has always employed a rights-based approach in its work and has exclusively worked with women-led organizations. In moving forward, MATCH will focus its development efforts through an International Women’s Fund. The fund will be the only one of its kind in Canada. We also feel very strongly about the importance of our work domestically, and as such, will continue to play a role in convening Canadian groups in relation to international women’s rights issues as well as engaging the Canadian public more broadly to keep women’s rights top of mind.



CCIC: MATCH is supporting the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Violence in Conflict. Can you tell us more about this campaign?


MATCH: MATCH is one of thousands of organizations and individuals who have signed on to the campaign. This campaign seeks to harness a collective energy to advocate for the prevention of rape as a weapon of war, protect the victims of rape and violence in conflict, and demand that those perpetrators of violent conflict be prosecuted. Canada was one of the early adopters- On June 20th, 2012, the New Democratic Party of Canada introduced a motion to the House of Commons to not only reaffirm Canada’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, but also to become a global leader in the fight against sexual violence in conflict. Canadian leadership, at the political and civil society level, in conjunction with a coordinated international effort is needed to prevent and stop rape and gender violence in conflict situations.



CCIC: Your renewal strategy (2013-2016) includes the new MATCH Women’s Fund for Social Innovation; can you explain what this program will respond to?


MATCH: Much like the hundreds of women’s funds around the world, MATCH believes that the women’s fund model is an important part of the development and philanthropic landscape. Women’s funds have historically prioritized investments in the leadership and empowerment of women and girls, addressing various aspects of social change - including systems, attitudes and social norms.

MATCH will launch its women’s fund in 2013 with an initial focus on women’s social innovation. We will be exploring partnerships around the world with women’s organizations that employ creative and catalytic approaches to their work in championing the rights of women and girls in the community. The MATCH women’s fund for social innovation will invest in a range of initiatives centered on social change- including supporting movement building in particular amongst young women, innovative use of technologies and the promotion of women in public and political space.



CCIC: Soon we will be celebrating International Women’s Day. For MATCH, what is one of the most pressing issues that women are still facing in 2013?


MATCH:The statistics around women in poverty are staggering. Women still do not have land rights in many countries; hundreds of thousands of women are trafficked across and within borders every day. Considerably more women than men are refugees and IDPs. For those in development, we know that the full appreciation of rights for women is an essential part of sustained and successful development. 

We are most encouraged however by the way in which these grave issues are making their way into the mainstream consciousness. Women’s rights have become increasingly ‘internationalized’ in recent years. Now more than ever, there is global outrage around the rape and violent acts committed against women and girls. There are movements gaining strength at both the grassroots and within the highest echelons of power. Millions of people rose to end rape as a part of the VDay campaign on February 14th. Organizations across the globe are banding together to end rape and violence against women in situations of conflict. This year we saw the inaugural international day of the girl. In the US, the women moving millions campaign has raised $200 million dollars for women’s rights and this number is climbing. Here at home, the idle no more movement was largely led and inspired by women. We at MATCH can’t escape the feeling that we are in a moment, a turning point, for global action.



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