Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment

IWDA’s Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment (WAVE) is a civil and political participation program focusing on equal representation and visibility of women and men.

WAVE is funded by the Government of the Netherlands under their FLOW 2016-2020 policy framework.

Taking place in five countries of the Asia Pacific region, WAVE aims to build demand and capability of women to take their place in governance and decision making.

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.

Why is it so important?

  • Women face active discrimination, intimidation and violence, in contravention of their human rights. This adversely affects their participation in civil and political governance.
  • WAVE Program countries face significant challenges of violence, marginalisation and exclusion of women, reflected in their low ranking in the UNDP Gender Inequality Index (GII)
  • We know that with greater inclusion of women’s views and priorities in decision making, other human rights for women will also be achieved


WAVE aims to bring widespread change in the lives of women over the next four years

For individuals across generations of women:

  • 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%


For political and governance  systems across all levels:

  • 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


For women’s movement and Civil Society Organisations:

  • 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


For research and evidence:

  • Research, Evidence and Learning Framework will be developed and resourced through academic and learning partnerships across five countries
  • Research and advocacy networks will be developed to reflect diversity and experience


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 Impact Areas


By developing women leaders and leadership capabilities across generations to ensure that individual women’s leadership can influence political, economic and social decisions:

  • Women, including young women, are in influential political, civic & business leadership positions
  • Women are supported to achieve and retain elected office
  • Women leaders have greater support and opportunities within community, economic and social spheres
  • Programs address violence against women as a fundamental barrier and/or consequence of women’s empowerment


Political and Governance Systems

By generating change to inequitable legal, policy and economic frameworks to ensure that power brokers and institutions are responsive to and accountable for women’s rights and status:

  • Advocacy effectively brings increased realisation of women’s rights through institutional reform processes and individual champions for change
  • Normative frameworks that support women and gender equality are in place (local, subnational and national levels)
  • Duty bearers are willing, resourced and supported to implement normative frameworks


Women’s Movement and CSOs

By catalysing collective action and accountability for women’s rights and gender equality to ensure that a vital, visible and vocal women’s movement aggregates and amplifies women’s power and priorities:

  • Autonomous women’s organisations, groups, networks & coalitions succeed in collaboration on common goals and shared objectives
  • National and regional women’s movements are resourced and mobilised
  • Individual women, women’s organisations and women’s movements are able to represent issues at strategic national and international forums


Research, Evidence and Learning

By applying knowledge from women’s voice and lived experiences to advocacy and education settings to ensure that evidence of how change towards gender equality happens informs/influences individuals, institutions and movements:

  • Iterative advocacy and learning is enhanced by inclusive and systematic research collaborations
  • Evidence is used in programming and applied to advocacy
  • Research and advocacy networks are resourced to reflect diversity and experience
  • A five-year research, evidence and learning framework is  developed

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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