2018: The Year That Was

Another year has passed and we are excited and thrilled to welcome the new year with renewed energies and rejuvenated spirits. The year 2018 was significant for FRIDA, for many reasons, both as an organization and as a movement builder. We recap some of the content produced, communication pieces, key announcements, events and happenings from the past year. Enjoy!

Bringing young feminist activism at the center: grantee partner spotlights!

Photo credit: Clube de Blogueiras Negras, Brazil.

  • Judit Abarca, FRIDA advisor for the Latin America and the Caribbean region, explained why it is important to accompany young feminist activists in their journey in a special blog post reflecting on her visit to Reflexion y Acción Feminista (RAF), Mexico. [Lee este blog en español]
  • Can sewing machines dismantle patriarchal economies? Gerehu Working Women’s Sewing Group (GWWSG), a young feminist collective in the Pacific island of Papua New Guinea has been showing us how. We spotlighted their work and their journey towards becoming an independent organization.
  • The trans* community may be defiant but is not different. Dani from ‘’No Tan Distintas’ (loosely translates as “Not so different”) and Euge from team FRIDA, two young feminists from Argentina, got together to pen their thoughts on May 17, International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). They also wrote a poem!
  • Young feminist organizing is everywhere, especially in remote corners of the world where we may not have an understanding of the context and challenges. FRIDA team member Saadat went all the way to Siberia to meet I am Freedom from Ulan – Ude, the capital of Buryat Republic. The results were nothing short of magical.
  • Did you know about a young feminist group in Mongolia who have designed and developed a free mobile app to prevent child sexual abuse? Beautiful Hearts Collective know that as technology advances, so does our organizing.
  • A young feminist group in Ghana believes in “centering Herstories in a world that seeks to erase them” and is using theatre to restore gender equity and balance, encouraging rich conversations around women’s lives and roles in society. There is a lot to learn from the Drama Queens!
  • Peace, humanity and healing from conflict is an urgent need of the hour in the world today, and young feminists are leading this work in beautiful ways. They are using creative strategies, artistic interventions and potential collaborations to work towards peacebuilding and conflict resolution in their regions and contexts. Read more in this exclusive spotlight.

Living to tell the tale: experiences, announcements, events!

  • FRIDA team members, Ruby Johnson and Beatriz Nuñez, had a magical and rejuvenating time when they attended the magical Zapatistas festival in Mexico in a world where “men are forbidden to enter”. Relive the experience by reading their blog.
  • Did you know that FRIDA girl advisor, Khensani Charllote Nhambongo, has attended the CSW not once but twice already? Representing the girls rights agenda, in 2018 she spoke about the challenges faced by girls, including handling tokenism from their own parents and family members to facing it at key advocacy spaces like the UN. Her blog is an inspiration for us all.
  • As key actors in the philanthropic landscape, we must respond to the global outrage and spotlight on gender based violence in the recent context of the #MeToo movement and its spread. FRIDA Co-Directors Ruby Johnson and Devi Leiper O’Malley were invited to be part of a funder convening to discuss this more. There was a well-known face at the panel, too!
  • The only thing constant is change, and we realise this well at FRIDA. The year 2018 marked an important time for FRIDA as an organization and a movement as we kickstarted the process of drafting our next strategic plan to inform our future feminist directions, and announced the transition of our current Co-Directors. Read more in this letter (available in all FRIDA languages).
  • On International Day of the Girl, we asked two FRIDA Girl Advisors, Khensani and Ludmila, what inspired them to become activists at a young age and what motivates them and girls around them to continue to fight for girls’ rights. Their answers will motivate you.

Call to action: taking a stand!

  • FRIDA joined Latin American women funds to release a statement of solidarity, asking the international community to stand with Nicaraguan civil society, organisations and human right defenders in the wake of increasing violence and targeted attacks on human rights defenders. Together, we said #SOSNicaragua.
  • Why is it important to reflect on the struggles one identifies with? Why is it essential to reflect on the the feelings one relates to in those struggles? UAF-Latin America and FRIDA urged the people to answer these and actually start a conversation about the politics of care at the EDGE conference held at New Orleans, USA.
  • Without a doubt, 2018 will be remembered as a historic day in the struggle for the legalization of abortion all over the world. Some countries progressed, some are still stagnant in their ways and legalization. The struggle is far from over, and we took a stand on why we believe safe abortions for all is a basic human right.

It’s out in the press: publications, thought pieces and collective reflections!

  • In 2018 we launched Young Feminist Media Fellowship, a pilot project in partnership with Women’s Media Center’s The FBomb, intersectional teen feminist media platform created by and for socially conscious youth. It has been our attempt to counter dominant narratives that provide little to no space to achievements and accomplishments of young feminist organizers, giving an opportunity to young feminist storytellers to tell the story themselves of young feminist trends around them. Four fellows have been writing about handling PCOS as a non binary person, green wave in Latin America fighting for abortion rights, global girls organizing, moral panic surrounding women’s virginity alongside spotlighting FRIDA grantee partners. Visit our website to meet the fellows and read their stories.
  • In the last couple of years, FRIDA has been privileged to support five convenings in different parts of the world. It was time to put all that knowledge and experience together and reflect on all that we took away as learnings from them. We launched FRIDA Convening reports in a series of four.
  • Drawing on the energy of moons, we introduced you to the latest cohort of powerful young feminist groups who joined the FRIDA community as grantee partners. The 2018 grant cycle brought 87 new groups from 80 countries! We presented their stories in an e-zine entitled ‘New Moons’.
  • Girls are organising in creative and impactful ways and it was time to bring GIRLS TO THE FRONT to acknowledge the amazing ways girl organisers are generating change in their communities. At the Human Rights Funders Network Conference held in Mexico, FRIDA and Mama Cash jointly launched ‘Girls to the Front’, the first-ever participatory research led by girls on girl-led activism, along with an exclusive case studies zine spotlighting the work of 11 girl-led groups around the world!
  • The second volume of the Young Feminists for Climate Justice storytelling project, a multimedia and multilingual collection of stories by and for young feminist activists, was launched. ‘Rooted in Care: Sustaining Movements’ reflected on the role of care in climate justice. Because, in order to heal, we must start at the roots.
  • FRIDA team member Ruby Johnson teamed up with Vanina Serra of MamaCash and Monica Enrıquez of Foundation for a Just Society to write about the practice of combining art and activism—‘artivism’—by feminist activist groups around the world. Read the paper online.
  • Former FRIDA staff member, Nevin Öztop, wrote for Whores of Yore, to explain why decriminalising sex work is our only option, urging funders to do more to support the human rights of sex workers and sex workers’ organizing.
  • Our participatory grantmaking forms an integral part of our DNA. Team members, Ruby Johnson and Jovana Djordjevic, unpacked the term and why it is important to let go of power, as funders, to truly understand and trust the complex realities of the community we seek to support. Read their co-authored piece. FRIDA is also among the many inspiring participatory grantmakers from around the world who contributed to the drafting of Foundation Center’s guide Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking.
  • FRIDA staff and advisors Gopika Bashi, Lucia Martelotte, Boikanyo Modungwa and Maria Eugenia Olmos co-wrote about young feminists’ creative strategies to challenge the status quo from a specific FRIDA perspective for the Gender and Development Journal’s issue on Young Feminisms. In the same issue, FRIDA Co-Directors Ruby Johnson and Devi Leiper O’Malley co-wrote an article drawing on FRIDA’s experience of young feminist activism and explores a range of examples from around the world of how young feminists are reinventing and building different institutions based on new cultures of leadership, greater emphasis on the collective, and more holistic compensation for activist work.

Visual delights!

  • Creating social change is a complicated but beautiful process. For years, we’ve tried to put our Theory of Change into words but we never felt satisfied with our documents and tables. Ultimately, we decided art was the best medium and a garden was the best analogy to illustrate this complicated beautiful process. Explore FRIDA’s Garden of Change.
  • As part of International Women’s Day celebrations, we shared 12 stories of inspiration and courage–of visionary womxn whose contributions have given a sense of direction to FRIDA to be what it is today. We called this a ‘Memory Project’ and added illustrations and doodles to support their reflections. Catch Nourishing Roots, Nurturing Movements.
  • The 2017 annual report launched last year was not just a report but a reminder and affirmation to embrace the wild within ourselves. Capturing all the events and achievements of 2017, the report had breathtaking visuals, graphics and take-away postcards to share with near and dear ones. Click here to download and read Wild Within.
  • How can we center care in philanthropy? What does it mean to resource care? Have a look at some starting and pressing questions that were posed by Urgent Action Fund-Latin America and FRIDA to start a conversation about the politics of care at the EDGE Funders Conference held in New Orleans, USA in April 2018.
  • We held an enriching discussion on how girl led organizing is impacting the world in a webinar that was co-hosted by FRIDA and Mama Cash. Girl researchers who were part of the participatory research ‘Girls to the Front’ spoke about the writing and data gathering process, sharing some research findings and learnings from funders to better support girl led activism. To those who missed it, watch this recording of the webinar.
  • Campaigning and social change is hard work. Campaigners and activists often face health problems, burnout, exhaustion and stress. How can busy, dedicated campaigners care for themselves and others so we have the energy and resilience to stay in this work and win? FRIDA team member Ledys Sanjuan was invited to be on the panel as part of one of the MOBLAB Live sessions. Here’s all that was discussed in front of a live online audience.
  • FRIDA organized a special convening for its community members from the Central Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central and North Asia (CEECCNA) region in Tbilisi, Georgia in September 2018. The historic event brought together more than 50 young feminists from FRIDA community–grantee partners, advisors, staff and board. Relive the magic through this video!
  • FRIDA was invited to be part of ‘Healing Solidarity’, an online conference designed to reimagine international development, organized by Mary Ann Clements. Team members Nadia Elboubkri, Ruby Johnson and Deepa Ranganathan spoke about funding grassroots initiatives, feminist approaches and self-care. Watch the trailer video! The conference is now over and you can click here to learn more about how you can access the full video and all other sessions of the conference.
  • The 2018 edition of the #SolidarityStorm focused on appreciation and recognition of each other as feminist activists, as well as all those who inspire and sustain our movements. We worked with a cyberfeminist collective to build a digital wall of love, solidarity and support. Here are our highlights from the engagement campaign and why we chose to focus on appreciation.

Numbers don’t lie!

  • 110 grantee partners received renewed support. 88 new grantee partners joined the FRIDA universe. Together, we are now supporting 198 young feminist groups globally.
  • We awarded USD 1.4 million in direct grants! A total of USD 430,000 was granted in core grants for new grantee partners, USD 587,000 to renewed groups, USD 144,000 in capacity development support and USD 258,000 in travel and exchange grants!
  • More than 26,000 people ‘like’ us on Facebook (a growth of 30% in a year), our Twitter community is over 20,000 people strong (a growth of 30% in a year) and we have over 26000 followers on Instagram (a whopping growth of over 1500% last year).
  • Our newsletter audience grew by 23% with more individuals wanting to stay abreast of all affairs that are young and feminist–nearly 4500 people, to be precise! Not yet subscribed to FRIDA news and updates? Click here.
  • 182 people clicked on FRIDA’s donate link alone last year–the most they clicked on any link. Pssst! Wanna be the 183rd? Click here. 😉

We look forward to delighting and enriching you with more stories on the impact of young feminist organizing, doing philanthropic advocacy the right way by centering the young feminist agenda and letting youngfems speak for themselves about their realities and experiences.

With love,
All of us @ FRIDA 🙂