With over three decades of experience, we know what we’re talking about when we tell funders that feminist activism works. We urge other donors to join us in providing more and better funding for women’s, girls’, trans and intersex rights activism. As both a grantmaker and a grantee, we use our knowledge, experience and credibility to influence our peers in the donor community, including private foundations and governments.
We participate in collaborations and networks to encourage peer funders to recognise the vital importance of women’s, girls’ and trans rights organising. Together, we aim to put more power and resources in the hands of the women, girls and trans people who are building and leading collective efforts to defend and advance their human rights.
Access to funding
Worldwide, women, girls and trans people lack both the quantity and quality of funding they need to put their plans in action. Funders are not doing enough to ensure that small, community-led feminist activists can access resources. Application processes are complicated and time-consuming. Funding decisions are usually made by people far removed from the injustice at hand. Funders place a premium on short-term, quantifiable results, even though deep and lasting social change takes time. What funders think is important may not match the priorities of the people they aim to support.
Funding more and better
Mama Cash knows that change starts with bold groups of women, girls, trans people and intersex people who collectively organise to address the injustices they face. They are the experts. Sex workers know best how to ensure that their own working conditions are safe and decent. Indigenous women have clear solutions for protecting their territories and livelihoods. Girls have solid strategies for defending their sexual and reproductive rights. These groups are already bringing about transformational change. With more and better funding, their achievements can be amplified. And that is exactly what is needed to address the colossal problem of inequality and injustice.
What do we mean by better funding? We mean application and reporting processes that are accessible and manageable for smaller organisations. We mean grants that support an organisation’s regular work and internal capacity building, not just a stand alone project. Better funding means grants that are multi-year and flexible, allowing groups and movements to experiment, try new strategies and decide for themselves how best to pursue their goals.
Sharing lessons learned
Mama Cash invests in forging and strengthening relationships within the donor community. We use our access and networks to create opportunities for the groups we fund to speak to donors directly. We support them to tell their stories in their own words and on their own terms. To inform donors about the strategies they know from experience work to achieve lasting change.
With research, analysis and evaluation, we are always learning more about the impact and effectiveness of funding feminist activism. We document and share these lessons and experiences with our peers in the donor community – so they too can fund the feminist activism that works.