Since its inception, FRIDA has been committed to supporting spaces where young feminist activists can come together, share strategies and forge alliances and common agendas. As a global community reliant on new, safe and secure technologies for communication, the opportunity to meet and share the same physical space is rare and invaluable, as they help us strengthen the bonds that make up a movement.
FRIDA’s advisors play a pivotal role in everything that we stand for–guiding us at every step of our grantmaking and capacity building programs, and helping us catalyse movement building. They make up an important body in our larger community and help to define us a youth-led fund.
In the last 3 years, our advisory committee has grown extensively and we recently held our biennial Global Advisory Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand in August 2017.
Here we share a few moments of this gathering:
OPENING RITUALS: Everyone had to choose one word that represents what they are bringing to the meeting and write it on a card. The catch was that it had to be a word that starts with the same first letter in their first name.
BLOOMING FLOWERS: Advisors had opportunities to sit in regional and cross-regional groupings to discuss the current contexts of young feminist organizing in their regions, how they can better support groups, and how FRIDA can play a greater support role in catalyzing movements. Every session was a burst of energy, creativity and reflexivity of looking at our own individual activist journeys and how we can put our experiences to good use in advancing the young feminist movement together.
TIME TO REFLECT: An important reason to have these meetings is to reflect on the experiences, successes, and challenges faced by the Advisory Committee since they play a significant role in facilitating our participatory grant processes, accompanying grantee partners, and helping us respond to opportunities and changing contexts. They are a key body of FRIDA’s overall community, interacting with grantee partners, potential applicants, staff, Board, and potential supporters.
GROUP SHOT: What’s a meeting without the traditional group shot? We got creative and took down our sign from the wall and held it in our hands. Pictured here are the fourteen advisors that came from across five regions in the Global South to take part in the convening, with a few board and staff members, our facilitator, and logistics support person (and a baby too!)
WHAT’S THE POINT OF A REVOLUTION IF YOU CAN’T DANCE: With burnout and backlash being part of the daily struggle of activists, we took time to do a self-care activity: DANCEmandala, led by Areeradh K Tri-siddha, “takes us on an inward journey through different layers of our being helping us become more aware of our true Self, our harmonious connection with others, nature and community.”
CLOSING RITUALS: At the end of the meeting, we all got to choose one of the cards we made in the opening ritual to bring home as a momento. They help serve as a reminder of the contributions we all bring and share with one another. Our co-director, Devi, sums up the role of FRIDA advisors aptly: “Each advisor is a star that is beautiful on its own, but together they form a bigger constellation of dreams and visions.”
On behalf of FRIDA, we would like to say a huge THANK YOU one more time to all the advisors who took part with so much enthusiasm! We are constantly inspired by your commitment to young women, girls, and trans*youth all over the world.
Lastly, we want to say thank YOU, for your support and belief in young feminist leadership! We’re in this together!
All Photos by Thida Leiper.