2017: The Year That Was
Jan 11, 2018 | Knowledge Building

A special post by Deepa Ranganathan, FRIDA’s Communications Officer.

Hi everyone,

Happiest new year to all of you–the lovely audience of FRIDA! I hope you have the same energy (maybe even more?) to smash the patriarchy, knock off misogyny and defeat sexist and homophobic attitudes everywhere. Before we do that though, I want to pause and reflect on the past year that went by at FRIDA.

A peep into my FRIDA workspace: Floral patterns on a yellow table, a copy of “All about love” by bell hooks and a Frida Kahlo coffee mug.

The year 2017 was a significant one in terms of FRIDA’s communications and advocacy, and I want to take this opportunity to share a quick recap of how the year was and all that we were able to achieve in it. 

Enjoy!

Putting the spotlight on young feminist activism 

There is just so much awesomeness and inspiration being spread by young feminist groups worldwide, and FRIDA is privileged to be able to support some of them in the Global South. While we acknowledge impact being created across communities, regions and nations, here are some that we spotlighted throughout the year in 2017. Click on them to (re)read and get your dose of inspirational energy today. We promise to share more powerful stories this year!

Photo Credit: Feminist Workshop, Ukraine

Building more knowledge through powerful publications 

FRIDA strongly believes in building knowledge around young feminist organizing, feminist advocacy and philanthropy. We believe in adding more information about young feminist movement building, by young feminists themselves. Check out our publications:

WHAT COULD TAKE THE IMPACT OF YOUNG FEMINIST ORGANIZING TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL? As an extension to our commitment to building the resource mobilization capacities of young women, girls, and trans* youth so they can create long lasting change, we published our first-ever Resource Mobilization Toolkit! The Toolkit is meant to serve as a friend, philosopher and guide to countless young feminist organizers who need the right guidance to mobilize resources for their work. This Toolkit has already been accessed and downloaded over 1000 times, and we are working to make translations available this year so that it reaches more activists in diverse regions and continents.

LAC CONVENING REPORT: Hace un año hicimos historia cuando nos encontramos y compartimos el 1er Campamento de América Latina y el Caribe de FRIDA el Fondo de Feministas Jóvenes. ¡Lee un informe fascinante! Solo español. Want to see how the Convening went? Explore it all in this lovely video (with English subtitles).

2016: POWERFUL PATTERNS: What happens when young feminist organizing is supported and given the right space and environment to grow? It creates a powerful pattern of changing oppressive structures and rewriting histories. We attempted to capture it all in a visually appealing microsite of rich information, colorful illustrations and truckload of inspiration. The site was viewed and visited over 500 times, plus we upheld a #NoPDFPolicy with the annual report last year!

RISING CURRENTS STRONGER MOVEMENTS: A zine of prose, poems, art, cartoons, and more that tell the stories of how climate change is experienced by young feminists. FRIDA is proud to be a supporting partner of the Young Feminist Climate Justice collective, along with other supporters such as Sierra Club and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). 

Key milestones

A visual makeover: From a communications perspective, 2017 will always be remembered as the year we updated our website since our first launch back in 2010. Officially revealed in May last year, we worked closely with the amazing folks at 270strategies who helped us build the website, brick by brick, ensuring that the new visual look was vibrant, colorful, fearless and magical. With the sole aim of giving our audience a more user-friendly browsing experience, we tried to make it as stories-focussed and action-oriented as possible. We did some soul-searching ourself to develop fresh content, expressed what is it that we actually do at FRIDA, what are we trying to change, who are the faces of FRIDA and how impactful is young feminist organizing globally.

A multilingual approach: It was a conscious effort on our part to make the new website multilingual. As an organization striving to reach the remotest corners of the world, we realised how important it is to communicate with people across regions and continents. Making our content available in more than one language is the first step towards reaching closer to the vibrant young feminist community, so they understand why FRIDA exists. Our social media communications were also reflective of a little departure form English-only posts, and we are still working towards building a Spanish audience. Si desea mantenerse actualizado sobre las noticias de FRIDA, haga clic aquí suscríbase a nuestro boletín en español.

Initiatives, events, campaigns and engagements

As always, we continued to advocate for the effectiveness of young feminist organizing, telling more people about our philanthropic strategy and grantmaking model and finding ways in which we can engage with our larger audience to take some concrete action. Here’s some of the ways we did that in both physical and virtual worlds:

Continuing to color outside the lines: What started as a way to celebrate our fifth birthday continued in 2017 by putting the spotlight on artivism. With the help of our amazing partners, The Fearless Collective, together with FRIDA grantee partners in Brazil and Lebanon, explored the theme of coloring outside the lines of spirit and home, respectively. The themes were more complex, the results even more enchanting. Check out the beautiful photo essay by clicking here and here.

Creating storms of solidarities: This year, we took a good, hard look at the global backlash and the responsive resistance by young women and trans*youth across the globe, and decided to so something about it in our own little way. Solidarity being an operative word in our movements, we created #SolidarityStorm on different topics that affect our struggle greatly–self-care, intersectionality, security and lack of resources. From creating a thunderclap moment, interviewing individual activists, inviting our audience to participate with words and pictures to sharing resources and reasons to give to young feminist struggle, we created engagement opportunities for everyone to be a part of. We will continue to do them in 2018, so keep an eye out!

FRIDA presence at key places: We were advocating for the awesomeness of youngfem activism everywhere–starting from the EFC Conference, organizing Happy Hour: Decolonising Philanthropy in Seattle, US, advocating for climate justice at COY13 and more! A big highlight was co-hosting an activist-funder dialogue with MamaCash at the Center for Social Innovation in New York City, where we understood and exchanged ideas around making the relationship between grassroots activists and funders more transparent, approachable and trustworthy.

Social media shimmer: We hit over 20,000 likes on Facebook last year, and our Twitter community is almost 14,000 people strong. We have over 1600 followers on Instagram and the love on that platform continues to grow. Our newsletter audience grew by 15% with more individuals wanting to stay abreast of all affairs that are young and feminist!

Putting our opinions out there

2017 was the year of being unapologetically opinionated! Members of the FRIDA community wrote our thoughts and penned our reflections on deeply engaging topics:

Art by Claudia, On The Right Mind

  • FRIDA Co-directors, Ruby Johnson and Devi Leiper O’Malley, shared their tips and reflections on how they make the virtual co-leadership structure work at FRIDA.
  • FRIDA team members, María Díaz Ezquerro and Deepa Ranganathan, wrote an op-ed on holistic security and what it means to practise it everyday in human rights work as part of openGlobalRights series of reflections on mental health and human rights.
  • FRIDA team members, Ruby Johnson and Ledys Sanjuan, wrote about the gaps between funders and activists, and the opportunities to cultivate more honest engagements and build collective power for Grantcraft’s blog.
  • FRIDA & AWID co-wrote about young feminists pushing back and forging new paths in global resistance, while still needing financial support and personal security to achieve real gains. Penned by Ruby Johnson and Felogene Anumo of FRIDA and AWID respectively.
  • FRIDA advisor from sub-Saharan Africa, Roseline Kamdem Magne, wrote about being a mentor, on the Queen’s Young Leaders Mentoring Programme, to Susan Mueni Waita (of MAD Sisters Kenya, a FRIDA grantee partner), explaining the process of mentorship and co-learning in advancing women’s rights.

Special mentions

This year, not only did FRIDA members write about critical issues affecting the movement, we also had the pleasure of receiving some spotlight–our work, our community members and our funding model–by other media platforms. Here’s how FRIDA fared in the media:

  • A Ford Foundation blog that introduced the concept of participatory grantmaking and profiled donors who follow the model, FRIDA being one of them. View the full paper here.
  • An article about FRIDA’s growth and journey from the beginning was published on Philanthropy Women, giving concrete examples of FRIDA grantee partners using media and artivism to do their work.
  • Long-time partner and supporter, Tides Foundation did a profile of FRIDA, talking about our feminist politics, philanthropic approach and funding model.
  • FRIDA Founding Advisor, Lydia Alpizar wrote a reflective blog piece, talking about being involved in the sparking of FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund
  • As a way to bring our five-year celebrations to a closure, we launched an interactive, open source and participatory timeline documenting FRIDA’s history from 2008 until now, telling the story of FRIDA, how it was born and our journey.
  • FRIDA Advisor from Asia Pacific region, Sarah Soysa, was interviewed, in which she talks about her role as a young feminist activist championing the cause of SRHR.

None of this was possible without the creativity and passion of the young feminists we work with and the many supporters, advisors, consultants, board and staff that bolster their organizing!

As we dive into 2018 to do more bold and definitive work, I would love to hear from you:

Click here to take FRIDA’s Communications Survey!

Your responses would shape the direction FRIDA takes this year in advocating for youngfem activism and creating global spark waves through it.

I can’t wait to see what this year brings us!

Hugs,

Deepa Ranganathan,
Communications Officer

P.S. If you have any questions, feedback, or comments to share directly with me, contact me here.