Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment

Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment (WAVE) is a ground-breaking civil and political participation program that brings together and supports women, organisations and movements in Asia and the Pacific region to increase the representation of women in diverse leadership positions.

Funded by the Government of the Netherlands, WAVE supports 18 women’s rights organisations in 5 countries with the resources, skills and networks they need to amplify their collective voice and create a more enabling environment for women’s leadership.

WAVE is also a movement, bringing women’s organisations and the public together to challenge widespread imbalances of power and priority that negatively affect women and their human rights. WAVE has five years (2016-2020) to deliver on its promise to women, including to women already in politics, women and young women with potential for political or civil leadership, and advocates for women’s empowerment spanning all genders and tiers of society.

The Issue


Percentage of women in Pacific parliaments; the lowest in the world.


Percentage of women elected in Cambodia's 2017 commune elections.


Number of women elected in PNG's national election in 2017.

Women are drastically under-represented in formal and informal positions of leadership in Asia and the Pacific region. Yet we know that when women lead, outcomes are better for all.

WAVE brings about sustainable change in four key areas

Wave Pillar - Individual Women’s Leadership Individual Women’s Leadership

Individual women’s leadership influences political, economic and social decisions.

  • 1,200 young women, will have increased skills and confidence to engage in social and economic leadership
  • More than 17,000 women’s human rights defenders, community members and violence survivors will lead responses to violence against women including through networks
  • The number of seats held by women in national, subnational and local government will increase by 25%

WAVE Pillar - Research, Evidence and Learning  Political and Governance Systems

Power holders and institutions are responsive to and accountable for women’s rights and status.

  • The 18 women’s organisations partnering through WAVE will coordinate and build advocacy campaigns into policy reform at national and regional levels
  • Up to 100,000 individuals and groups will engage and learn, monitor progress and hold governments to account through direct action and media
  • At least 5,000 duty bearers and an additional 17,000 community members across five countries will have increased knowledge of and willingness to implement changes to support women.

WAVE Pillar - Women’s Organisations and Movements

Women’s Organisations and Movements

A vital, visible and vocal women’s movement aggregates and amplifies women’s power and priorities.

  • The program will provide space and resources to support the formation and development of women’s rights organisations as part of national and regional networks
  • WAVE partners will have strengthened organisational capacity whether alone or in coalition and partnership with others.

WAVE Pillar - Research, Evidence and Learning  Research, Evidence and Learning

Evidence on how change towards gender equality happens informs individuals, institutions and movements.


Women’s Political Leadership Strategy

The Women’s Political Leadership Strategy shows how decisions around women’s political leadership are made within the WAVE program.


WAVE partners across Asia Pacific

Ta'ang Women's Organisation

Ta’ang Women’s Organisation (TWO) works to raise and document human rights issues of the Palaung Women of Myanmar.

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Women's Rights Action Movement

Women’s Rights Action Movement (WRAM) is a non-government organisation of motivated women and men who believe in the cause for gender equality.

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Shan Women's Action Network

Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is a network of Shan women active in Shan State and Thailand. Its mission is to work on gender equality and justice for Shan women.

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Bougainville Women's Federation

Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) is an umbrella organisation that advocates for the women of post-conflict Bougainville by coordinating women’s groups, and a young women’s leadership program.

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A Cambodian Women’s Network for Development bringing together grassroots women’s organisations to promote participation of women in politics and development platforms. We focus on Commune Councils for locally led women’s empowerment.

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Voice for Change

Voice for Change (VfC) is a women’s human rights organisation aiming to empower and mobilise rural women to take leadership in addressing gender-based violence and increasing women’s economic empowerment.

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Gender & Development Cambodia

Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) is a local non-profit and non-political organisation. It works in cooperation with the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and members of civil society organisations to advocate for gender sensitive projects and programs, national laws and policy formulation in Cambodia.

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Wide Bay Conservation Association

Wide Bay Conservation Association (WBCA) is an association made up of clans from the Wide Bay area of East Pomio, New Britain. WBCA works to strengthen recognition of women as traditional custodians of the land, and as equal leaders in their communities.

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Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei empowers vulnerable women to improve their political, economic and psychosocial situation through the implementation of community development projects, advocacy work and encouraging men’s participation in addressing issues affecting women. Our name, taken from a renowned 10th century Cambodian temple, means ‘Citadel of Women’.

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Asisténsia Legál ba Feto no Labarik (ALFeLa) supports women and children in Timor-Leste to access a fair and formal justice system without discrimination through legal aid, legal education and advocacy.

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Women's League of Burma

The Women’s League of Burma (WLB) is a federation of 13 ethnic women’s rights organisations, established in 1999. Its vision is a federal democratic union of Burma premised on genuine peace, social and political justice and gender and ethnic equality.

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The Alola Foundation is a not-for-profit non-government organisation seeking to nurture women leaders and advocate for the rights of women.

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United Sisterhood Alliance

United Sisterhood Alliance comprises of four separate institutions; Workers Information Centre (WIC), Messenger Band, Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), and Social Action for Change (SAC).

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Akhaya Women

Akhaya Women is a local women’s organisation led by and for women. It supports empowerment through individual and experiential learning in small women’s group settings to develop leadership skills.

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West Are'Are Rokotanikeni Association

West ‘Are’Are Rokotanikeni Association (WARA) is an indigenous women’s savings organisation that is leading the way for women to manage their own finances, learn to budget for household items and save for their family’s futures.

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