The digital world is part of our daily life. Digital issues are affecting us every day,’ says Laura Aristizábal, Progamme Weaver at Numun Fund. ‘But if you look at what donors are funding, feminist tech is not there. We’re working at the intersection of feminism and digital rights. We want to problematise the digital world we are working in and highlight the importance of the feminist tech movement.’ 

A key objective of the new fund is to make the existing ecosystem of feminist tech activists more sustainable. Numun Fund’s three types of grants – Seed, Grow and Sustain – are designed to support feminist tech groups and collectives at different points in their organisational trajectories, from exploration and experimentation to growth, to consolidation as ‘anchors’ in the feminist tech community. In 2023, Numun Fund completed its first grantmaking cycle. The fund received a remarkable 800 applications for its first call for grant applications. It awarded grants to 43 ‘nodes of organisers’, the term the fund uses to reflect its funding philosophy. ‘We see the groups we fund as nodes in a network,’ explains Aristizábal. ‘They can connect and intersect across various lines with other nodes in the community.’ 

The nodes of organisers are working on diverse issues, including digital infrastructure, digital rights, online genderbased violence, connectivity, and experiment and play – all with a feminist approach. The fund focuses on organisations from the ‘larger majority world’ – the term they prefer over ‘Global South’, and also signals to Indigenous and diaspora communities anywhere in the world that they are eligible for grants. 

Connecting women’s funds and feminist tech activists 

In 2023, Numun Fund gave a lot of thought to additional strategies, beyond grantmaking, to support the feminist tech movement. ‘We are working to get to know the nodes better,’ says Aristizábal. ‘A lot of the nodes are facing very challenging contexts. We are trying to better understand our role as a fund and how to best support them. We want to be flexible and enable the nodes to respond to their contexts.’ As part of their goal to strengthen the wider feminist tech ecosystem, Numun Fund also teamed up with several women’s funds to organise an in-person exchange with feminist tech activists. ‘We wanted to explore and share our understandings of feminist technology. We wanted to bring together women’s funds and feminist tech activists working on diverse issues – such as LGBT rights and climate,’ explains Laura 

A Solidarity Fund grant served Numun Fund to cover part of the costs and to leverage additional resources for the exchange, which they called a Trueque (meaning ‘exchange’ in Spanish). Some 30 people participated in the exchange, which was held prior to the digital rights community’s 2023 Global Gathering in Portugal, the first time since the pandemic that the gathering took place physically. ‘It was really interesting,’ says Aristizábal. ‘We discussed a lot of topics that interact with technology – climate justice, crisis response, gender-based violence, digital grantmaking platforms, how and where we store information.’ Numun Fund is now exploring the possibility of a second encounter in 2024. ‘It’s a conversation that a lot of people are interested in, and we are excited to grow the conversation,’ explains Aristizábal.