Nepal: The Lure of Funding Neuters LGBTI Activists

We’ve all seen it. Activists seeking to serve the LGBTI community chase after the government, corporate or charity dollar, but once they become enmeshed in the system, they end up serving those who fund them more than the communities they started out trying to serve, Sunil Pant was the founder of Blue Diamond Society, the first LGBTI organization in Nepal, and the first gay Parliamentarian in Asia. Thanks to his efforts, Nepal was the first country in Asia to grant LGBTI rights in the constitution. He offers others the benefit of his experience. His advice: stay grassroots. stay raw. Don’t chase professionalism and efficiency.

How a Human Rights Movement gets Disempowered

Activists from the ‘global south’ hear, far too often, from our donors that we should ‘Learn how to become professional, make your NGO management efficient’.

Let’s decode what “becoming professional” means and what “efficient management means”:

1) Professional means a person engaged or qualified in a profession. ‘Profession’ is the key word here, and donors would like to make sure that you become a ‘professional’ activist, and want to see you taking it (human rights work) as a profession.