Name of organization: Asian Women in Co-operative Development Forum (AWCF)
The Asian Women in Co-operative Development Forum (AWCF), set up in 1990, is a resource center and advocacy body on gender and co-operatives in Asia. Its members in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are national co-op organizations and non-government organizations (NGOs?) that promote co-operatives.
AWCF functioned initially as an informal, collaborative forum among its founding organizations. It promoted gender awareness among these organizations' female and male leaders, staff, and members so as to enable them to pursue the thrusts of AWCF. Three years after it was founded, AWCF adopted its present organizational form and objectives.
AWCF was organized amid the awareness that gender inequalities exist in co-operatives, particularly on how co-op principles and values are put into practice. AWCF was built on the strong belief that co-ops, by their very nature as people-based and democratically run and managed socioeconomic institutions, have the values, the infrastructure and the resources (with their strong financial base) to bring about gender equality, gender equity, improved gender relations, and improved condition of the economically and socially disadvantaged, of whom many are women.
In its many years of existence, AWCF has acquired vast expertise and resources in addressing gender issues in and through co-op structures. Together with this build-up of its competencies comes the realization for AWCF that the co-op movement now faces more and newer challenges and roles to do in a swiftly changing, globalizing world. Today, more than ever, co-operatives must tap all avenues to strengthen themselves and to enhance and maintain their relevance.
AWCF furthers its advocacy by utilizing its expertise and resources to work for stronger co-op development using the concepts and practices of gender equity and gender equality.
AWCF's expertise and commitment to development has been recognized by other co-op organizations and NGOs? in Asia and in other parts of the world. In the international development arena, AWCF is also an active actor. It is an NGO in Special Consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is a member of the Asia Caucus, a forum of Philippines-based development groups that are working for and within Asia.