CMI! recognises that challenging power imbalances in funding decisions and ensuring that donor resources benefit girls, women and trans people in truly transformative ways, entails seising opportunities to influence existing mechanisms, as described here. CMI! also perceives the need to go further. We believe that ensuring sustainable resourcing for feminist activism will require development of a stronger funding ecosystem, with funders acting in greater synergy to support the diverse needs and priorities of feminist movements.
In April, 2018, CMI! brought together activists and funders to strategise about the future of resourcing feminist movements and social change globally. The 100 participants in the Naivasha, Kenya meeting included women, girls, trans and intersex activists from around the world and funders from a variety of sectors (bilateral/multilateral, public and private foundations and women’s funds). The gathering succeeded in generating new insights,connections, and ideas among activists and donors alike.
One participant reflected:
An excellent safe space to have a rich, open discussion around the realities of funding for women's rights movements - between those that give and those that receive.
Another described the convening as:
Dynamic three days that brought together various activists and funders for dialogues, creative thinking, and brainstorming about how to create a more enabling environment for feminist movements.
Among all participants, 80% agreed that they made new connections and two-thirds of the funders said it had sparked new ideas about how their organisation could influence funding for feminist movements.
CMI! would like to acknowledge the role of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs not only in actively participating in the convening but in committing to the follow up actions. Since then the Ministry has been supporting CMI! in involving other peer government donors in this initiative. In the months following the convening, CMI! intensified its efforts to collaborate more closely with other activists and with funders to find new ways to reduce the barriers to increased and more accessible funding for women's rights organisations and movements. CMI! (through Mama Cash) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation discussed how to build the evidence base to demonstrate the transformative power of feminist activism. Building on the successful convening and these and other strategic conversations with donors and with other activists, CMI! began planning for future Money and Movements activist-donor dialogues and strategising meetings, for example, at the Commission on the Status of Women in April 2019 and the Women Deliver conference in June 2019. It is expected that through these planned engagements – both individual conversations and larger gatherings – and through building the evidence base and strategic communications, the Money & Movements initiative of CMI! will lead to increased and more accessible funding for feminist activism and movement building.
The role of CMI!
The Money and Movements initiative demonstrates why CMI! working as a consortium is a true value add – able to achieve results that no individual organisation could accomplish on its own. CMI! has taken the lead to create opportunities for funders and feminist activists to dialogue, learn from each other, and find new ways to work, so that transformative social movements and WROs receive the funding they need. Funders were also called upon to use their own power to shift the funding landscape by transforming their own institutions, influencing peers and advocating that other funders boost and improve funding for women’srights and gender equality.
The key take-aways from the convening have been captured in the graphic booklet here.