Most applicants described their patricipation in decisions about which groups should receive funding as something that made them feel included, recognized and accountable – to other groups and to broader young feminist movements.
Unlike submitting an impersonal application evaluated behind closed doors with no clarity about the selection process, engaging with FRIDA’s PGM made groups feel part of something greater.
Groups regarded the opportunity to read and discuss the work of peers in their region as a learning experience; for this reason, most groups decided to engage with the participatory voting process as a team. They experienced it as a collective process.
Most of the groups also shared that they value including their entire collectives in the decision-making process. They believe that the people in their communities should have a say in how funding is distributed, and consider this a contribution to the transparency of grantmaking processes.
The fact that all the participating groups were asked to vote means a lot to us, and shows us the intention for community based decision making.
[the process] gives feminists an opportunity to improve their proposal writing skills, be aware of the work other organizations are doing and building a sense of solidarity
Groups also shared that they experienced a great sense of responsibility when engaging with the voting process.
For most applicants, FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking process was the first (and for many the only) opportunity to participate in a voting selection process and be part of deciding how funds should be allocated to young feminist movements. For many groups, this experience was both rewarding and challenging.
It was exciting and novel for the groups to be recognized as experts in their work and context. All participants expressed that after their involvement in FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking process, they would be willing and eager to participate in other similar processes, thus further demonstrating that the experience was positive and valuable for them. In fact, several groups also participated in other participatory processes with FRIDA, which they also described as valuable and inspiring. This strengthened their belief in FRIDA’s work and its participatory approach. They encouraged other donors to experiment with more participatory voting initiatives.
Actually, as feminists, we felt empowered to be part of the decision-making process on issues relevant to us as feminists. It is a good practice we have always advocated for, and we plead one day our local/national decision-makers will appreciate and adopt it.
As young feminists we know better our needs and struggles so maybe we can appreciate better than the donors which groups should be supported. It brings ownership of the process and results are definitely around feminists.
Making sure the approaches/strategies are set in Feminist principles and values. Those who know the issues on local grounds are involved in the decision making process.
It was very inspiring and we were very curious to see what other feminist groups in the region were doing. Apart from that, we honestly felt like we were important and contributing towards something that we were not given the chance to contribute to before. We took a lot of time to really review the groups as we deemed it a task that took great responsibility
When asked about challenges and concerns, most of the groups shared that it was very difficult to pick just five proposals. They felt that most of the groups were deserving and in need of funding.
The greatest challenge was choosing just 5 projects because all of them were inspiring in one way or another and had an important message/activity planned.
The voting process was the most difficult and responsibility demanding – we felt that a lot depends on us and we had to face an ethical choice – we wanted to support the groups whose work was the most important according to our opinion, though we did not want to disappoint other groups who were not able to receive funding.
The greatest challenge was choosing who to vote because in deep down we wanted all feminists to have access to the sources they need. It was hard to decide.
Our greatest challenge was having to pick from a number of very good applicants and summaries. The decision was tough because of course every process has a limit requirement and in an ideal world, every summary would be picked. However, we had to pick 5 and hope we made the right choice and that the grant was used effectively and impactfully. The most rewarding process was feeling the sense of participating and contributing to a globally impactful outcome.
First of all, we were interested and scared that we were taking part in the voting, this is a great responsibility, at the same time, it is trust and honor for us. It was not easy, because 5 organisations out of 11 or 12 were needed, and the organizations of the participant in the selection were all worthy and it was very difficult to choose someone from them.
The process generated in young feminist collectives a sense of confidence, sparking reflection and inspiration.
Most were impressed by the work other young feminists in the region were doing and many reported that participating in the process invited internal reflections on their own work. In some ways, being exposed to other proposals improved their work. For example, several groups mentioned that reviewing the proposals of others encouraged them to discuss within their groups how to move forward with their work and explore different ways of organising.
When we were voting, we did not really feel the significance of our votes as we have never faced such a system before and we did not fully understand how this process works. At the end of the voting, we understood how the voting system works and fully realised that our votes were taken into account. We saw that the two groups we voted for have received the grant.
It was very helpful and inspiring to know more about the works and future plans of other feminist groups. There were some proposals after reading which we knew so many new things about different issues in some regions that we have not even heard before.