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Pillars of Work

Pillars of Work

The strength of the Alliance for Feminist Movements comes from bringing together a range of stakeholders to tackle issues on funding and political support that are bigger than any single donor-grantee relationship or sector. The work of the Alliance will respond to significant opportunities and obstacles for resourcing feminist movements, as identified by its members where this multistakeholder approach can add value. The Alliance’s work will also ensure complementarity rather than duplication of existing efforts.

The Alliance’s work will be carried out through dialogue and collaboration among its members across all stakeholder groups with a focus on moving from dialogue to solutions and actions. The Alliance’s work will orient around the three pillars described below and guided by its Change Pathway. In addition to the Pillars of Work, members will also be able to self-organize using the Alliance as a platform. 

  1. Strategic Coordination

The scope of feminist funding  includes development assistance, domestic resource mobilization (local and national governments), private philanthropy, women’s / feminist funds, as well as autonomous resourcing by feminist movements themselves. There are few mechanisms where we can collectively examine how these various flows converge in particular contexts, strategize for more effective, coordinated resourcing, and plan for long-term stability within the feminist funding arena. In addition, many Global South governments face similar challenges in accessing development funding as civil society organizations; this can result in a situation where Global South governments and national civil society organizations are placed in competition with one another. 

The Alliance-supported coordination platforms will be places in which stakeholders come together to build deeper shared analysis of the resourcing landscape, map existing initiatives, share their barriers or restrictions on funding, and dialogue around shared and divergent priorities. 

Strategic coordination meetings will be open to all relevant members of the Alliance and supported by the Secretariat, as necessary. The Steering Group, with input from the Alliance membership, would be responsible for deciding the viable scope and frequency for convening Alliance Strategic Coordination efforts. 

  1. Learning and Solutions Hubs

Adequate, effective resourcing for feminist movements requires both political will and technical knowledge and understanding. Learning and Solutions Hubs aim to serve as spaces for exploring innovative solutions relevant to all the stakeholders related to funding and addressing concrete barriers by supporting experience exchanges, learning across different sectors, and creative experimentation. As a result of the Hubs, we will see shifts in practices and approaches that lead to more resources directly reaching feminist movements and greater quality (core, long term, accessible, and flexible) funding. Depending on the focus of the Hub, we may also see changes in other types of practices, such as monitoring and evaluation. 

Annually, we expect that the Alliance Secretariat will support 1 – 2 Hubs with themes chosen by the Membership and Steering Group. The work of the Hubs will be open to any member of the Alliance with a focus on creating a multi-stakeholder group capable of driving meaningful progress. This means that Hubs should not be so large that they are unwieldy. Participating civil society organizations and women’s / feminist funds would be eligible for some financial support to cover the costs of their engagement, if necessary.

Examples of potential topics for Hubs could include: 

  • Re-defining Risk: How institutional funders assess risk is often a major barrier to supporting feminist organizations who may not have the required systems that are perceived as necessary to minimize risk. Some funders have expanded their risk analysis frameworks in ways that shift this equation, including factoring in risks of not supporting the groups directly affected by the problems being addressed. This Hub would support funders open to shifting their risk frameworks to learn from existing experience as well as engage directly with feminist movement actors on how they understand and navigate risks.
  • Feminist Crisis Response: Feminists are frontline responders to crises, but humanitarian and other crisis funding tends to move big and fast, which generally means it reaches large international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and is inaccessible for local groups. In addition, feminist actors often feel that they are not part of decision-making and that they are not seen as legitimate humanitarian actors even though larger institutions extract valuable information from them. Even those funders motivated to directly resource feminist activists find there is often a chasm that emerges in crises – a sign of inadequate mechanisms and practices. This Hub could bring together analysis of past experience and explore concrete proposals for alternative mechanisms to see that feminist movements are recognized and resourced for their crisis response work. 
  • Impact Hub: Demonstrating impact is a challenge experienced by funders and civil society alike and was identified by the Alliance’s stakeholders as a key factor in generating new resources and support for feminist movements. Feminist movements and allied funders have long been pushing the bounds of monitoring and evaluation approaches that over-rely on quantitative measures of results. This Hub would bring together the wealth of experience and resources that help to reflect impact in meaningful ways to strategize how these insights can gain greater traction both among feminist organizations and funders.  
  • Enabling Environment Hub: Financial support is one piece of what feminist movements need to succeed – they also need an enabling environment in which to act. The Enabling Environment Hub could explore, document, and lift up good practices for engaging feminists in policy making, effective partnerships amongst stakeholders, or the protection of women human rights defenders. 
  1. Influencing, Advocacy and Strategic Communications 

The Alliance for Feminist Movements will rally its cross-sectoral membership to bring attention to the role of feminist movements as vital political actors and drivers of positive social change and uplifting the types of funding that are crucial to their success and impact: long-term, accessible, flexible. 

The Alliance will identify strategic opportunities where its platform can add value by complementing other advocacy efforts, and convening and engaging its members around its broad advocacy priorities, including by leveraging their high-level leadership. At the same time, the Alliance will facilitate more targeted mutual learning and influence to support funders new to the field as well as address concrete barriers to enhancing resourcing for feminist movements.  

The Alliance will have two standing Working Groups: one on Advocacy and Influencing and another on Communications. These Working Groups, which can include technical and high-level representatives, will be supported by the Secretariat and open to relevant members of the Alliance. The workload and mandate for each group is still under discussion.

Example of activities under this Pillar of Work could include: 

  • Public events and / or statements during important global or regional moments, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, Human Rights Council, or meetings of funders 
  • Coordinated messaging developed by the Communications Working Group and distributed to all Alliance members at key moments, such as the release of new reports or funding data 
  • “Supporting feminist movements 101” sessions for funders who are in the early stages of the journey to get to know and explore how best to support feminist movements as key drivers of change.