Commissioned by a group of donors and activists, We exist: Mapping of LGBTQ organizations in West Africa is in an explanatory and participatory process to initiate the creation of a new funding mechanism led by LGBTQ activists West Africa. A group of funders and activists came together in 2013 to propose the creation of a bilingual fund managed and led by West African LGBTQ activists. The creation of such a fund would not only provide emerging leaders with the tools and spaces they need to build a more effective, inclusive movement for LGBTQ rights in West Africa, but also serve as a much-needed activist-owned platform for social change.
It would provide international donors with a safe and trusted mechanism to invest strategically in the region and to ensure their resources were reaching the grassroots with accountability. It would introduce a mechanism through which local strategies could be shared and regional strategies developed collectively, both proactively and in response to crises. Finally, it would provide a point of coordination in a region of Africa where both organizing and donor engagement on LGBTQ rights remains uncoordinated, uneven, and linguistically divided.
The work of setting up such a fund requires a deeper understanding of LGBTQ activism in this vast and diverse region, as well as of the past and current funding landscape and the additional support available for the emerging movement, especially in Francophone countries, where organizing is still largely underground. Therefore, an exploratory and participatory process was undertaken to enable activists, funders, and allies to map the state of LGBTQ organizing in West Africa and gather data to help determine the appropriate initial structure and priorities of the fund. Read more via Qayn