Our Learning Lab
We invest in the ownership, empowerment, and organizational effectiveness of our grantee partners in several ways. One of the most important is through our Learning Lab. Our unique approach is partner-led and partner-driven, centered in equity and guided by our Learning Lab principles. Our partners who participate in the Lab have a one-of-a-kind opportunity that sets our relationship apart from their experiences with many other funders.
What’s the Learning Lab?
The Learning Lab is dedicated to ensuring opportunities for our grantee partners, local women-led organizations from across the globe, to strengthen their capacity and connect with each other by providing a dedicated space for sharing, learning, disseminating their findings, and building a strong community amongst our partners and WomenStrong staff. The Lab is a core component of WomenStrong’s broader mission of empowering local women-led organizations to be more effective in improving the lives of girls and women in their communities.
The Lab’s goals encompass four key pillars:
- Peer Learning and Collaboration: Fostering peer learning and collaboration among partners and promoting partner-led advocacy efforts.
The Lab encourages knowledge-sharing and peer learning through various channels, including in-person retreats, webinars, an online portal, and WhatsApp groups. We value the expertise and context-specific knowledge that partners bring to the table. Partner calls and collaborations are driven by their interests, covering topics ranging from training in technical skills to advancing personal or professional development.
- Community Capacity Strengthening: Strengthening the capacity of women-led organizations to enhance program effectiveness and sustainability within gender-intentional programming.
When local women-led organizations have the tools, resources, and support they need, they can create transformational change for the women and girls they serve. Community capacity strengthening is a process that involves working together, developing visions and strategies, and building individual skills and capabilities. Our goal is to improve partners’ individual and organizational capacities in order to improve their effectiveness.
- Collective Power: Building a community of women-led organizations with a collective agenda to promote women’s and girls’ empowerment and address gender inequities.
Women-led organizations play a critical leadership role in promoting human rights, highlighting gender inequalities, and advancing collective action. The Learning Lab fosters solidarity by fostering relationships among women-led organizations and leveraging the power ensuing from that solidarity to advance their agenda. We facilitate relationships among partner organizations, foster collaboration, and provide opportunities for partners to raise their collective voice regarding how best to meet the needs of local women and girls. In doing so, we aim to help partners to better meet their organizational objectives and drive meaningful change.
- Voice and Visibility: Amplifying the voice and visibility of local women-led organizations globally by enabling them to share their solutions and advocate for increased investments in those solutions.
Through the Learning Lab, we convene partners to amplify their voices in discussions about gender equity at the global level. We promote their blogs and collaborate with them in preparing to engage in local, regional, and international webinars and conferences. We also assist with partner-led advocacy campaigns, such as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and the International Day of the Girl Child.
Learning Lab Principles on Partner Engagement
Our partnership is guided by principles that emphasize mutual respect, trust, and a commitment to equity. We acknowledge the traditional power dynamic between donor and grantee, and endeavor to move power to our partners. Abiding by the principles fosters authentic relationships based on trust. Language justice is central to our principles and to building those relationships, and we operate in English, Spanish, and French, as needed.
Learning Lab Activities
The Learning Lab offers a range of activities, including:
- Community building activities
- Virtual group discussions
- Knowledge-sharing through an online portal and WhatsApp groups
- Retreats and convenings, both in person and online
- Collaborative development of events, products, reports, podcasts, and more
These activities nurture connections, provide knowledge and tools, and encourage peer-to-peer exchange toward strengthening partners’ capacities and developing a collective agenda. Through our Learning Lab, our partners contribute to global efforts to achieve equity for women and girls worldwide.
Watch this space as we report on our transformative journey toward lasting impact!
About WomenStrong International
WomenStrong International provides trust-based funding, capacity strengthening, and a peer learning community to grantee partners addressing some of the most critical needs of women and girls: keeping girls in school, accessing lifesaving reproductive health care, preventing gender-based violence, and creating pathways to economic security. Learn More