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Strategic Framework 2012 - 2015

For over 150 years, the World YWCA movement has advanced the status of women and girls worldwide, promoting young women’s active leadership on issues affecting their lives, and bringing the voices of women from grassroots communities into global debates.

History speaks to the progress that women have made and yet the daily reality for many women, young women and girls around the world - which includes hardship and discrimination - underlines the urgent need to step up efforts to create positive change and to maintain a strong relevance to the experiences of women as individuals, in their homes, communities and countries.

The World YWCA Strategic Framework 2012-2015 is a targeted response, within the continuum of the movement’s efforts, that aims to balance the diversity and energy of the movement with the necessity to focus efforts and strategically utilise available human and financial resources towards advancing our purpose. The Strategic Framework for 2012-2015 aims to encompass the geographical and cultural diversity and vast experience of the World YWCA movement, in order to coordinate and strengthen the efforts of all YWCAs over the next four years. As the World YWCA movement continues to expand around the globe, the challenge of upholding the highest level of management through good governance and accountability guides all YWCAs. Working together, for common goals, with a shared vision and guiding values, YWCAs will ensure that women, young women and girls of the world will have their voices heard, their lives improved and their rights respected.

The World YWCA Strategic Framework 2012-2015 is based on the on-going work of the organisation. It builds on the programmatic content, lessons learnt and insights gained from member associations, including from the Power to Change Fund. The 4 year questionnaire, review of Constitution and the Standards of Good Management and Accountability (SGMA) have all provided the critical information on the health of the movement; the key areas of focus, trends and gaps. The outcomes of Regional Training Institutes and other interactions with the movement, as well as World YWCA board and staff sessions over 2010 contributed to this strategy development.

A Stronger Rights Based Approach

The Strategic Framework applies a human rights-based approach by shifting the emphasis from solely meeting needs, towards realising women’s rights, especially the rights of those who often experience multiple forms of discrimination. Within such an approach, the processes adopted are equally as important as the results achieved. Meaningful participation is essential as women, young women and girls are empowered as leaders to claim their rights and demand accountability, as they take collective action for the attainment of justice, peace, freedom, health and human dignity.

Results Based Management

The Strategic Framework adopts a results-based structure that is consistent with the imperative of measuring positive change in the lives of women, young women and girls. The results-based management focus will enable the World YWCA to better monitor the effectiveness of the collective efforts and evaluate short-term outcomes and longer term impact. The World YWCA Standards of Good Management and Accountability (SGMA) provide a solid foundation for building organisational effectiveness. Furthermore, through a stronger and more integrated monitoring and evaluation framework, the World YWCA movement strives to better reflect on lessons learned and share best practices that enable women, young women and girls to fulfil their potential.

Balancing Programmatic Priorities with Movement Building

The Strategic Framework has a strong focus on strengthening the movement and supporting member associations. It places the Power to Change Fund at the centre of this effort, while consciously focusing on building leadership within the movement and compliance with the Constitution and the SGMA. It provides a strong platform for the sharing of resources, expertise, knowledge and opportunities within the movement.

The programme priorities affirm the importance of continuity, the diversity of ongoing efforts within the movement, as well as the interdependence and interlinkages of rights. Issues of violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV, and economic and environmental justice are complex, and tackling them requires engaging with social and cultural norms and behaviour. An essential aspect of the World YWCA’s work is that such transformative change is led by women, young women and girls, actively participating as decision makers and change agents to claim their rightful place in society and the enjoyment of their fundamental civil and political freedoms as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

The Strategic Framework’s specific focus on young women is rooted in the very identify of the YWCA and its long standing commitment to developing the leadership of young women and girls through mentorship, internships, vocational training, education and broader empowerment. The World YWCA has identified, and aims to fill a significant gap in programming, by placing greater importance on intergenerational leadership so that women, young women and girls may confidently assume their roles as decision makers, community leaders and active citizens. Many young women and girls will forge a future while facing the multiple challenges of poverty, a growing threat of HIV, widespread violence against women, inadequate access to education and employment opportunities as well as the adverse effects of climate change. Interwoven into all of these challenges is the discrimination women, young women and girls face due to the simple fact of being born female.

The Strategic Framework reflects that many YWCAs around the world respond to the realities facing women, young women and girls who live in violence, conflict and natural disasters. Violence against women is a pervasive violation of women’s rights that permeates the lives of survivors. In order to confront the multiple layers of discrimination, family and community pressure, economic dependence, lack of political will and weak institutions that tolerate and perpetuate violence against women, the YWCA recognises that women, young women and girls must be in positions to exercise their rights. Many YWCAs have programmes addressing prevention, protection and policy issues, yet there is still a need to work towards a more coherent strategy in collaboration with partners.

Approach to Partnerships

This Strategic Framework adopts a deliberate approach to partnerships which prioritises the capacities and expertise of the YWCA within the context of the work undertaken by various stakeholders. The importance of working together with others is crucial for sustainability of the World YWCA movement as part of women, youth and faith networks. It is also important for maximising the impact of our work through sharing of resources and opportunities with other organisations. The World YWCA identifies the following partnerships that are critical to implementation of the Strategic Framework:

  • A cluster of rights-based partners who contribute to the delivery of the mission and vision of the organisation and with whom the organisation has over a century of relationships such as women’s networks, ecumenical groups and youth organisations.
  • Programmatic partners with whom we will deliver the common outcomes in each of our key goals. These are partners with whom we share expertise, knowledge and information, and undertake joint advocacy initiatives.
  • Partners for resourcing our work. These are both the current and potential institutional and individual donors; a group of friends and networks who believe in the mission of the organisation, some committing to specific programmes and others to the core work of the organisation. We seek to have the World YWCA as a partner of choice for those supporting key programme priority areas and work with women and girls.
  • Friends, volunteers and individuals within and outside of the movement who nurture, facilitate and support the movement. The World YWCA seeks to build a stronger approach to individual contributions to support the work and purpose of the organisation.
Download the 2012-2015 World YWCA Strategic Framework: