Language justice

We acknowledge that even though our grantmaking process happens in multiple languages, the language we use to communicate our work to the world is English. This language is not only overrepresented in our communication, but it can also introduce concepts that shape our imagination and how we envision our organizing, impact and transformative change that do not necessarily speak to the realities of our community across different contexts. The domination of one language can also impose culturespecific concepts that might not accurately describe movements’ organizing realities. This can create immense power dynamics that prioritize one knowledge source over others, as the language used in funding processes has the power to set agendas and direct our strategies and work. This report also contains concepts that allow us to communicate some ideas more quickly with the philanthropic community, but those same concepts don’t necessarily translate to the realities across Global South and East socio-political contexts. Feminist organizers are continuously asked to translate our work and our realities to the language used within philanthropic frameworks, which is sometimes too narrow to fit our vision. This report is written by non-native English speakers, so we understand the challenge of language accessibility. We kept some concepts descriptive in the report, and we will build an online glossary on our web page that expands overtime. Also, we will ensure that this report is translated to other languages that we use in our work.

Inspiration behind the design

For the design of this report, we have drawn inspiration from fungi and mycorrhizal networks, which all life on the planet is connected to and depends on. These webs interact with and build complex relationships with other plants, and they can transport information across their wide network. These relationships are intimate and also complex, and some exchanges feel more generative than others–some might even feel competitive or interdependent. There is so much that we can learn from these networks, including how they interconnect and exchange and sustain themselves. Separate fungal networks can fuse with each other, even with their many differences, and create powerful alliances by merging, connecting and building relationships. They survive together where they can’t on their own. This inspiration has been brought to life in analogue artwork and drawings by Marina Milanovic and Diana K. Cury.

It takes a feminist village!
Appreciation to feminist community globally

This report includes conversations, stories, memories, knowledge, and experiences from an expansive community of feminist activists who have been part of creating FRIDA over the years. FRIDA would not exist today without the intentional participation of feminist activists across the world who gifted their time, knowledge, and love to co-create this space. We hold deep gratitude for every feminist activist that has been part of the FRIDA Global Advisory and Grantee Community, and who continuously show up to FRIDA’s participatory process believing in their impact. We are also grateful to the staff members who get to support this process every year and bring their young feminist expertise into it. We are grateful to all young feminist collectives who have been part of FRIDA’s grantmaking process, and who shared their feedback and dreams for FRIDA’s future. Also, big appreciation to our teachers, those that came before us and those that we continue to learn with within the network of feminist funds globally that have shared feminist learnings and strategy spaces with us.

How we learn from participatory
Grantmaking practice

Having a participatory grantmaking process that involves young feminist organizers in staff, advisory, and grantee community as well as young feminist collectives that apply allows us to learn in interrelations with feminist movements and co-create knowledge, expertise, and solutions together. We get to reflect and learn in each stage of this process and this knowledge shapes and nourishes our programmatic work, how we plan, distribute and mobilize resources and how we communicate our vision, commitments, and learnings with the world. 

FRIDA participatory grantmaking process creates a space for learning, exchange, and feminist movement connection and carries these values in each stage of the process. With the last report on FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking approach, Letting The Movements Decide (2015) we have gathered some insight of what is working and what needs to change in our participatory grantmaking model in our open call for applications. From 2015 onward, FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking process has been modified based on the feedback gathered from the participants and together with the data from our internal evaluation in each cycle. Today we are reflecting on what we have achieved so far and what is the future of this model and it’s possibilities.

How has FRIDA adopted the recommendation
From previous report

Sustainability of FRIDA's
Grantmaking model

From its inception until 2020 FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking process has been managed, facilitated and further designed but one staff member. This role involved designing and improving the grantmaking process, setting up the systems and technology to hold it and manage each stage of this process. This involved also facilitation of participation of Advisory Committee, young feminist collectives applicants and grantee partners and participation of other FRIDA staff. We recognize that it was an unsustainable way of managing this process and incompatible with the values and principles that we hold behind it. FRIDA’s budget has affected how we could grow our systems internally while we respond to the commitments towards young feminist movements. Today there are multiple staff members managing this process, however we still are rethinking about sustainability of this approach so that this knowledge is decentralized and doesn’t depend on one person holding all the history and pieces of it.

What are we exploring in
this report?

The key questions we
have been addressing

What is the impact of funding practices where communities decide what is important to be funded in their organizing context? What are the challenges and complexities of participation and connection, and how to address them?

Can participatory grantmaking provide a space for young feminist collectives organizations to connect, practice solidarity and movement building? How does participatory grantmaking ensure that the process is intersectional?

What are young feminist solutions to transforming power structures in philanthropy and distribution of resources? How young feminist envision a feminist funding mechanism? What tools are young feminists using to address and advocate for change in power structures? How are young feminists collaborating with other groups and how they involve communities in their work?

What is the shift in FRIDA's grantmaking model and grantmaking strategy throughout the years impacted by participatory grantmaking and involvement of the communities in reshaping the FRIDA model? How has FRIDA’s grant-making model evolved over the years and where it still needs improvement?

What are the technical, political and ethical aspects of FRIDA's participatory model and its impact? What are the limitations of this model and the solutions for improvement? What are the challenges of implementing a participatory model of grantmaking, and what structure we need to have in place to practice feminist values while facilitating a participatory process?

Key learnings

What we have learned confirms that FRIDA’s grantmaking model align our decision-making with feminist values and principles and fulfils its main purpose: building movement connection, power and mutual accountability:

What you will find in this report

Recommitting to a feminist participatory grantmaking practice

The key findings have directed us to articulate the grounding principles of our participatory practice as a feminist fund. These values have always existed, but they are now solidified as part of the structure and principles under which this model operates. In this section, we reflect on the structure that holds those values and allow them to express themselves and shape this process. We share here FRIDA's principles of participation such as transparency, accountability, intersectionality, shared accountability and how it manifest in our gratnmaking process.

FRIDA's participatory funding model: How does it work?

FRIDA's participatory grantmaking is quite complex, and we wanted to ensure that each stage of the process is explained in detail. This is an important section to read and get familiar with the model to get a comprehensive understanding of young feminist community feedback and FRIDA's reflections, learnings, and ways forward.

Young feminist community evaluation of FRIDA's participatory grantmaking model:

In this section, you will find the main findings from the external evaluation of FRIDA's model. These findings have informed all sections of this report. The feminist participatory research has been carried out by co-reasearchers - young feminist activists from FRIDA's advisory, grantee partners and staff, and external consultants. Recrear, FRIDA Grantee Partner Co-Researchers: Priyadharsini Palaniswamy (India), Jade P. Leung (Philippines), Tatjana Nikolic (Serbia), Deniz Nazarova (Kyrgyzstan), Aline Izaias Lucio (Brazil), Dina Abdel-Nabi, Mona-Lisa Danieli Mungure (Botswana) FRIDA Advisory Co-Researchers: Twasiima Tricia (Uganda), Hazal Atay, Jessica Gonzalez Sampayo (Puerto Rico) Jovana Djordjevic (Former Chief of Programs FRIDA)

Young feminist community evaluation of FRIDA's participatory grantmaking model

In this section, FRIDA is sharing internal reflections in conversation with findings, questions, and concerns that have emerged from the research. FRIDA will also clarify the rationale behind some decisions in the design of this model that are informed by the data received related to the impact of this process that is not always visible as well as the challenges that guide how we dream and envision this model in the future.

Participatory Research Team

PROJECT COORDINATOR AND LEAD WRITER: Jovana Djordjevic Jo has joined FRIDA from young feminist organizing background in 2013 and has managed and facilitated FRIDA’s Participatory Grantmaking and Operations until 2020. This report is part of their knowledge documentation and transition process.

EXTERNAL EVALUATION: FRIDA GRANTEE PARTNER CO-RESEARCHERS: Priyadharsini Palaniswamy, Jade P. Leung , Tatjana Nikolic , Deniz Nazarova, Aline Izaias Lucio, Dina Abdel-Nabi, Mona-Lisa Danieli Mungure FRIDA ADVISORY CO-RESEARCHERS: Twasiima Tricia, Hazal Atay, Jessica Gonzalez Sampayo LEAD DATA COLLECTION, ANALYSES, AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Recrear International FEMINIST PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH METHODOLOGY DESIGN: Jovana Djordjevic, Kavita Devadas

EDITOR: Kim Kaletsky
DESIGN: Marina Milanovic and Diana K Cury.
REVIEWERS: Mariam Gagoshashvili, Paige Andrew, Veronica Veloso
APPRECIATION TO FRIDA CURRENT AND FORMER STAFF FOR THEIR INPUTS AND FEEDBACK: Veronica Veloso, Paige Andrew, Khensani Charllote Nhambongo, Maria Diaz Ezquerro, Mayra Zamaniego Lopez, Di Wang, Saadat Bagazieva, Mbali Khumalo, Senda Ban Jebara, Marta Music, Maame Akua Kyerewaa-Marfo, Ro Ann Mohammed, Maryam Al-Kawaja

To learn more about the methodology and learnings from FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking process, as well as values and principles behind the model, please reach out to:
Jovana Djordjevic
Veronica Veloso