The Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute (ILSB) is a feminist Mexican NGO that has worked for the last 17 years to strengthen social leadership and citizen participation. Its focus is on bringing about justice, equity, and gender equality in society by helping feminist leaders influence national and regional policies. ILSB's policy agenda focuses on fulfilling women's human rights and demanding accountability for gender equality.
ILSB's mission is to contribute to the consolidation of rights and freedoms within democratic society through advocacy, knowledge, and capacity building. It is recognized as a trailblazer on gender equality issues in Mexico. ILSB also works to establish alliances between leaders who value gender equality and cultural responsiveness. Their goal is to promote practices that reduce both discrimination and inequality in Mexico.
In March 2015, one of ILSB's U.S.-based funders invited them to apply to be ED-certified through NGOsource. Valentina Zendejas Moheno of ILSB reflects:
The process was online, easy, and fast. Three weeks after applying we received the notification that we had been certified. Thanks to this certification we have been able to secure six new donations in two years, increasing our annual budget by 50 percent, which has meant a total transformation of the ILSB, the work we have done, and the impact we have achieved.
By working through our local Mexico-based partner, Cemefi, NGOsource provided ILSB with a Spanish version of the ED questionnaire. All of NGOsource's nine global partners, including Cemefi, provide top-notch support in an NGO's local language and time zone while also working to connect NGOs to more flexible funding. NGOsource's ED service also greatly minimizes work and costs for grantmakers. By becoming an NGOsource member, a grantmaker can save nearly $8,000 in ED costs and access $250 ED certificates for NGOs already in NGOsource's centralized repository.
ED in Action
As a result of the funding ILSB received with its ED, ILSB produced an animated short that shows both the inequality experienced by many women and how the ILSB works to reverse those conditions of inequality through social leadership training and public policy advocacy.
After receiving its initial ED, ILSB secured funding to completely overhaul its institutional structure and strengthen its public image as a feminist organization. A second grant, from the Hewlett Foundation, allowed ILSB to bring together young people and indigenous women to hold local governments accountable for providing public health services.
Over 18 months, 20 women from ILSB´s Indigenous Women Network and 58 young adults from ILSB´s youth network were trained to monitor public health facilities that focus on sexual and reproductive health. These groups analyzed services in each state and will be working with municipal governments and local authorities to implement their resulting recommendations. Their proposed changes will enable local leadership to better serve the needs of indigenous women and young people, often marginalized groups whose voices are traditionally excluded.
In another project, ILSB developed and launched the online platform Time Out: Access to Safe Abortion in Cases of Rape. There, survivors of sexual violence can receive information about legal abortions throughout Mexico. The platform also provides information about the health, legal, and psychological services that public institutions are mandated by law to provide to women. More than 3,000 users have accessed Tiempo Fuera, the majority of whom are between 25 and 34 years old.
ILSB has grown tremendously since receiving its first transformative ED two years ago, and the organization continues to develop itself as a leader in gender issues in Mexico. Women's health and equality issues will find an advocate in ILSB for years to come.
We thank Valentina Zendejas Moheno of ILSB for her contributions to this post.
All photos used with permission from ILSB (c) 2017.