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Introducing our first Partnership cohort

AmplifyChange is delighted to announce three new partnerships with Conseils et Appui pour l’Éducation à la Base (CAEB) in Mali, Gender Links in South Africa, and UHAI EASHRI in Kenya.

As part of our commitment to strengthen grant-makers in the Global South to bring about positive change in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), we launched our first Partnership funding round in April 2021.

Partnership grants are a new funding mechanism aimed at embedding locally driven advocacy. The support enables grant-making to smaller groups through established organisations based in the Global South, alongside organisational strengthening tailored to smaller civil society organisations within their local movement. It will strengthen solidarity and linkages between groups working on the same topic in the same region.

Building a network of dynamic regional and global SRHR leaders

Partnership grants are a critical component to build more resilient movements for the most challenging issues or in countries with closing civic space.

The partnerships will strengthen the capacity of a growing constellation of organisations in the Global South to be dynamic regional and global leaders in advocating for SRHR. They will ground advocacy and grant support decision making in the Global South directly within countries where civil society seeks to bring about positive change.

Announcing the new partnerships, AmplifyChange CEO, Grethe Petersen, comments:

“We saw an enormous interest with 651 applications which shows such a vibrant SRHR movement in Africa and South Asia. After a thorough review process, we are delighted to announce the new partnerships with CAEB, Gender Links, and UHAI EASHRI who each will be awarded £1,500,000 to carry out their work supporting and funding local movements.

We are excited to learn to be better grant-makers and advocates ourselves from these three amazing organisations who in their own right are leaders in the field of SRHR in their regions”.

We invite each organisation to speak about their partnership projects. Meet the partners below:

Conseils et Appui pour l’Éducation à la Base (CAEB)

by Sory Ibrahim Monekata, Ph.D., Grant Director

Over the past decade, CAEB has been leading the efforts of many networks and consortiums promoting SRHR in Mali and West Africa, including through a recent AmplifyChange Strategic Grant project which focused on advocacy, networking, and capacity building at municipal, national and regional levels with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and West Africa Health Organization (WAHO). Despite political instability and electoral-related troubles in Guinea, coupled with the challenging COVID-19 environment, the consortium successfully implemented the project in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Our Consortium (CAEB and Ebenezer International) envision a long-term partnership with AmplifyChange in which we have access to resources to provide smaller CSOs with resources and technical support they will not otherwise access. Our commitment with AmplifyChange is to stay the course no matter what challenges we face and to deliver resources and the mentorship that smaller CSOs need to adequately respond to the SRHR needs of vulnerable groups in West Africa.

We will implement our Partnership grant in four West African nations: Mali, Guinea, Senegal and Niger. The Partnership grant will focus on better sexual health for young people, family planning, civil society empowerment, gender based violence and safe abortion. Smaller CSOs working with women, young people, and people with disabilities in cities and rural settings will be our priority because of their vulnerability regarding SRHR issues.

Through the Partnership grant, we will work on three main objectives: provide grants to 30 civil society organisations supporting locally-driven SRHR advocacy initiatives; to provide knowledge and facilitate joint advocacy initiatives of smaller CSOs; and to facilitate organisational strengthening support to smaller CSOs in terms of institutional, managerial, resource mobilisation and networking capacity building.

We are excited about the implementation of this Partnership grant as it will allow us to ensure the inclusion of our support to CSOs in West Africa. We will provide smaller CSOs with resources to make sure their voices are heard in the SRHR advocacy process, and on-granting will allow smaller CSOs to be included as key stakeholders of SRHR decision making, not merely beneficiaries of services. Women, young people, and people with disabilities in smaller organisations are full of ideas and energy, and we will make sure they are included in our activities across the four countries.

Additionally, we will ensure the participation of smaller CSOs in rural settings that are willing to take the lead in SRHR advocacy in their local contexts. Special attention will be paid to the needs of populations displaced or affected by conflicts in our countries of intervention.

Empowered smaller CSOs will be able to establish and maintain long-term partnerships with SRHR networks and donors to provide needed SRHR services and products to vulnerable groups. With SRHR advocacy and lobbying capabilities developed within smaller CSOs, they will be able to continuously influence SRHR policies and decisions.


Gender Links

by Kubi Rama, CEO

Gender Links (GL) is a 21-year-old Southern African Women’s Rights Organisation (WRO) headquartered in Johannesburg with offices in eight of the 16 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. GL’s vision is a region in which women and girls in all their diversities are able to realise voice and choice in accordance with the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, SDG 5, and other African and global instruments for the attainment of gender equality. GL provides the secretariat for the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance, a network of WRO networks in 15 SADC countries that produces an annual Barometer to track progress launched each year at the SADC Heads of State summit.

We are truly grateful for the trust placed in us and the opportunity for further growth. We look forward to a mutually rewarding partnership in which the sum of the parts is much greater than the whole!

The Partnership project comes at an opportune moment. Since 2018, with the support of AmplifyChange, the Alliance adopted the Voice and Choice campaign for the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in line with SADC’s newly adopted SRHR strategy. Through the Partnership project, GL will complement the delivery of the Voice and Choice campaign through downstream partners in the Alliance with managing a grant portfolio that will seek out promising smaller, new, and community-based organisations that are often by-passed in mainstream funding calls. For greater impact we will encourage applications that build on the four priority areas identified by the Alliance: LGBTIQ, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, safe abortion, and child marriage. As fund manager, GL will provide support and capacity building to the smaller grantees; facilitate learning, sharing and joint advocacy campaigns; and coordinate the annual Voice and Choice Barometer to hold decision-makers accountable.

The Partnership grant will provide much needed financial support to WRO that have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help to grow and develop community-based organisations championing SRHR often against tremendous odds. These “voices from the ground” are critical to changing the narrative on voice and choice in the region. Building on the foundation laid by the Alliance over the last five years, the grant will also strengthen movement building on SRHR from local to national, regional and global level.

As an AmplifyChange partner, GL will be an intermediary for AmplifyChange funds. As such we anticipate engaging much more at a policy and strategic level in the critical issues on SRHR, as well as funding for civil society in the Global South, especially WRO. GL will also use its strategic vantage point as co-lead of Generation Equality Action Coalition Six (feminist leadership and movement building) to facilitate strong partnerships between WRO and health NGOs that are so crucial to making headway in this area.


UHAI EASHRI

by Mukami Marete and Dr Stellah Wairimu Bosire, Co-Executive Directors

UHAI EASHRI (the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative) was established in 2009 as Africa’s first indigenous activist-led fund supporting the human rights of sex workers and sexual and gender minorities in their diversities. Our mission is to be an innovative, accessible, inclusive, and responsive activist-led fund, working to achieve equality, dignity, and justice for sexual and gender minorities. We fund activist organising in seven countries across Eastern Africa — Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda—as well as fund and partner with Pan-African organisations. We are supporting the building of agency and leadership in our movements by ensuring that our communities are not just beneficiaries of our support, but decision-makers for the support.

Through flexible and accessible grants, capacity support, convenings, research, and partnerships, UHAI empowers its partners, challenges systemic barriers to equality, and helps to advance the civil and human rights of LGBTIQ+ people and sex workers across the region. We are looking forward to thinking radically with our movements to build agency, and reinvent and rethink SRHR approaches and programming for sustainable results. We can’t wait!

Through the Partnership grant, UHAI will continue to support organising work and enhancing advocacy capacities of activist organisations and activist leaders among LGBTIQ+ communities in the seven countries in Eastern Africa. UHAI will prioritise support for work themed around policy change, access to justice, access to better healthcare and information that advances SRHR, and to support linkages, collaboration and convening that facilitates exchange of learning and knowledge to inform concerted advocacy. Continuous analysis of programming and advocacy efforts as well as knowledge building and continuous learning will help attain the desired goals of our movements.

We are excited to work with our communities and pursue our vision to live and embody revolutionary love. We see this love in the bringing together of our movements in safe spaces to create common goals and approaches to SRHR advocacy and programming, and hopefully cascading into the other work that our movements do. We also see it in the efforts made by our movements to increase the quality of SRHR services in health centres and hospitals, strengthening community-led service delivery peer support, and advocating for progressive legislation.

The lessons learned from UHAI’s 12+ years of experience can inform the strengthening of Amplify Change’s programmes. UHAI EASHRI has a proven track record of supporting grassroots and Pan-African organising. We have built considerable expertise and an in-depth understanding of the Eastern African region in grant-making, capacity support, and movement building with LGBTIQ+ and sex workers.

We believe that our distinct strengths and repository of workable strategies would inform AmplifyChange’s additional resourcing and future investments. We see an opportunity to push for similar and continuing work within Eastern Africa and elsewhere with and by AmplifyChange as well as the co-creation of such work.


Looking to the future

AmplifyChange hopes to make these long-term partnerships for stronger and transformative movements a key approach to our grant making, centring the efforts and expertise of local movements.

As our new partnerships develop, we look forward to learning from these organisations about how the partnerships will shape SRHR advocacy across the Global South. Together, we will shape the future of grassroots funding and movement strengthening for SRHR advocates around the world.

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