She Runs Long Distance
Mama Cash has been boldly reinventing herself and adapting her strategies for securing women’s rights for since 1983. Each reinvention brings renewed energy and commitment to supporting sustainable women’s organisations and movements that will thrive for generations to come. One constant is that we have stood by the difficult issues from the beginning and won’t run from them in the future.
By 2001, Mama Cash had transformed herself from a group of passionate volunteers into a professional organisation with a radical mission. When the new Millennium arrived, Mama Cash was living in a very different world, one that she and her grantees had helped to create. Women’s rights were more widely recognised as important to healthy, successful societies. Discrimination was less acceptable, although still a powerful force. It was time, once again, to refresh strategies and step boldly into the future. Creating a happy marriage of professionalism and radicalism was the focus of Mama Cash’s first-ever five-year plan.
The mid-2000’s saw Mama Cash involved in dramatically increasing the amount of money available for sustaining women’s rights organisations. She continues to collaborate with and educate other funders and bilateral agencies in Europe and internationally to expand the possibilities for funding women’s, girls’ and trans people’s rights.
The new Mama Cash burst to life with a second five-year plan in 2009. She now finances fewer groups, but gives them more money in multi-year funding packages. The money is mainly flexible, core support: to bolster the development of the organisation itself so that women’s organisations and movements can continue to grow in size, reach and influence.
Nicky McIntyre, Executive Director from 2008: ‘We decided to fund self-led groups. This means that if it is a group intended to benefit sex workers or women with disabilities or migrant workers, it has to be led by sex workers or women with disabilities or migrant workers. These groups tend to be the most excluded in their societies as well as in women’s movements.’ (watch interview)
Mama Cash has learned that change takes time, courage, persistence, creativity and money. Mama Cash makes sure that those who were unheard and spoken for by others in the past are now speaking for themselves and that she has a role to bring other funders to the table. And finally, because the world is quite different from the early 80’s, new issues and situations that demand the engagement of women’s rights activists have emerged and will continue to emerge. The work to secure further change is ongoing and continuously unfolding.