Project Origins

Bloomberg Philanthropies convened a Summit with a group of stakeholders investing and working in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Burundi—funders, NGOs, and government officials.

The purpose was to create comprehensive, collaborative plans to ensure women’s economic and political citizenship. After two days, it became clear that a comprehensive solution was elusive. The primary feedback was, “we need data, and it’s hard to find.”

Summit participants wanted answers to three primary questions:

  • Where is funding going?
  • Who is investing in these countries?
  • What approaches work for women and their families and communities?

In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the King Baudouin Foundation partnered with Foundation Center to create Equal Footing, a freely accessible web portal for information-sharing and collaboration among those who invest and work in Rwanda, DRC, and Burundi. Equal Footing includes data about philanthropic funding across all issues in these three countries and, in this demonstration, highlights approaches focused on economic development through a focus on women.

Project Goals

Discover and share who and what funders are supporting in this region

Curate a collection of social sector research about what works in economic development with a focus on women

Create case studies and how-to materials on effective approaches to funding

Grants Data

Site Content

Equal Footing presents funding data across a wide range of issue areas and also highlights how philanthropy supports economic development through women.

The Funding Map on the Countries area of the website shows who is funding what and where in Burundi, the DRC, and Rwanda. The Top 25 list on the Funders page offers additional details about funders and their grants.

The Approaches section of the site presents related research, case studies, infographics, and sample grants that illustrate how philanthropy is supporting economic development through women in these countries or other post-conflict and conflict regions of the world.

The seven Approaches reflect the types of activities for which we commonly see philanthropic support. Research shows that economic development does not happen in isolation, but is most successful when part of a broader set of approaches targeted at issues such as education, health, and women’s rights.

Related Research items are pulled from IssueLab, which works to more effectively gather, index, and share the collective intelligence of the social sector.

The reports in this collection were identified and compiled from recommendations of those working in the field; websites of groups focused on women’s economic development or Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda; and additional research.

We limited the collection to include: 1) women’s initiatives in our three countries of interest; 2) women in conflict/post-conflict zones; or 3) women’s economic issues in rural areas.


Case Studies and infographics were created with GrantCraft, an initiative that combines the practical wisdom of funders worldwide with the expertise of Foundation Center to improve the practice of philanthropy.

We spoke with several funders to create a dynamic suite of personal stories and visuals that illustrate important aspects of women's economic development.

In addition to impact stories, there are infographics on Equal Footing illustrating universal themes or trends that emerged from our interviews with these funders.


Other Site Content

  • Sample Grants from Foundation Center’s grants database highlight specific donations and projects related to economic empowerment through women in Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda.

  • Statistics found throughout the site are drawn from World Bank and United Nations Development Programme resources.

  • The country backgrounds on the individual country pages are published by Foundation Center and discuss the state of civil society in that country. This information will be updated periodically or as important events occur that impact civil society.

Highlight Your Work on Equal Footing

If you would like to highlight the impact of your foundation’s work in this region,
please e-mail to contribute a report, story of impact,
or other relevant resources.

Photographs on Equal Footing are provided courtesy of Alison Wright, African Women’s Development Fund, Clay Enos, Segal Family Foundation, Sustainable Harvest, United Nations Foundation, Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, and Women for Women International.