Kvinna till Kvinna

Awarded 2002


For its successes in addressing ethnic hatred by helping war-torn women to be the major agents of peace-building and reconciliation.

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation has a broad agenda within the areas of women’s rights and peace. The Foundation strengthens the organisation of women in conflict regions by collaborating with women’s organisations and supporting their work to promote women’s rights and peace. The goal is for women’s power and influence to increase.

Kvinna till Kvinna literally translates to “Woman to Woman”. Their partner organisations organise meeting points for women in environments where it is difficult for them to connect. They influence policy and generate dialogue across border conflicts. They promote women’s health, provide information and education about women’s human rights, and prevent human trafficking and violence against women. The role of Kvinna till Kvinna is to provide financial support and to mediate contacts between organisations. Today, Kvinna till Kvinna supports more than 100 women’s organisations in five regions afflicted by conflict: Central and Western Africa, the Middle East, the South Caucasus and the Western Balkans.

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Kvinna till Kvinna, 2002 Laureate

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation was founded in 1993 in response to the war in the Balkans and the atrocities committed on women there.

Kvinna till Kvinna saw women both as victims of these circumstances but as important forces for change in society that needs to be rebuilt in the aftermath of war and conflict.

So Kvinna till Kvinna was established to give support to and work with women's organisations in such situations. Its formal aims are:

  • Preventing and stopping gender-based violence
  • Promoting women’s equal participation in society
  • Strengthening peace, security and women’s participation in peace processes
  • Empowering women economically

Most of Kvinna till Kvinna's work so far has been carried out in the Balkans. The work entails promoting dialogue, training for empowerment and employment, health care, addressing domestic violence, legal advice, and many other issues (such as sex trafficking), which arise in conflict and post-conflict situations.

A study published in 2000 drew attention to the lack of gender sensitivity in the Dayton Peace Accords and the barrier this represented to reconstruction.

This report was part of the official Swedish presentation at the Beijing+5 Conference on Women in New York in 2000 and made Kvinna till Kvinna internationally known.

The report is also thought to have influenced the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), which urges "Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict."

Other reports have focused on the gender aspects of the UNMIK administration in Kosovo and on overcoming the obstacles in the healing process for women in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 2001, Kvinna till Kvinna started supporting women's groups in Israel and Palestine and in 2002 offices in Albania and Georgia were opened. Kvinna till Kvinna has now established a presence in Europe, Africa, South Caucasus and the MENA region, working with more than 130 local partner organisations.

Their activities can range from reproductive health information to political questions, with an important part being building networks among the women's groups. The ability and willingness of these organisations to cooperate across ethnic divides is a precondition for Kvinna till Kvinna's support. The support is mostly economical and for capacity building. The cooperation is phased out when a group has become sufficiently mature and has found other funding sources or when a group is not needed any longer because the public service taken over its tasks. Kvinna till Kvinna has been instrumental in stimulating the formation of many new women's groups globally, now being one of the leading women's rights organisations in the world.

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