Call for Action: Invest in A Feminist, Collective Approach to Build a World Beyond Crisis

Our world is in crisis.

There are more intersecting crises in the world today than we have ever witnessed. The rise of authoritarian, extremist, and fundamentalist governments has increased, and political emergencies, militarism, conflicts and civil wars amplified. Significant climate crises and disasters have multiplied while climate change deniers’ privilege corporate profit over our future generations. And when global and regional health crises and infectious disease outbreaks arise, such as Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19, many governments are ill prepared to respond and carry out repressive responses that repudiate human rights. Finally, the vast majority of humanitarian aid is top-down and rarely put in the hands of impacted communities — 94% of relief aid flows to international NGOs and only 0.4% goes to local and national groups. This model is broken.

If we are to survive and thrive, we need a radically transformative and coordinated response grounded in intersectional feminist principles that center justice, healing, and liberation. And as we grapple with the concurrent crises in Haiti, Afghanistan, Lebanon and beyond, we needed to speak out louder than ever before about our radical approach.

Feminist Alchemy: Building a World Beyond Crisis is a collective of 14 feminist funds from around the world, with the support of the international network of women’s funds, Prospera. As a community of practice, we share knowledge and best practices to strengthen our institutional capacity and impact during crisis, and we aim to leverage our expertise and networks to influence and transform the global humanitarian sector. Some of us specialize in immediate crisis response and can get funding to the ground in under 72 hours, while some of us invest in decades-long funding to lay the groundwork for social change before a crisis even occurs. We respond to immediate needs while fueling gender justice movements for the long term.

As feminist funds, embedded in feminist movements, we center those most impacted by crises not only to respond to and repair their communities, but to reimagine and recreate a new world.

Feminist funds, in deep relationships within local communities, have the visibility, influence, and social networks required to rapidly mobilize during a crisis. And in many circumstances, we can foresee a crisis brewing and can raise the alarm before others can. The feminist and gender justice movements and groups we work with are unapologetically committed to the rights of people who have experienced heightened marginalization and oppression. They ensure inclusive, culturally relevant and gender transformative work that has been proven to lead to long-term changes in cultural norms, increased services and better policies for those most impacted. Humanitarian and disaster response needs a feminist and grassroots approach. Period.

The cornerstone of our work is to follow the leadership of local feminist activists and communities to understand the needs and respond with flexible funding – both immediate and long-term – directly to them. We urge other funders toward cooperative, responsive, and responsible resourcing to local activists and groups who continue to defend their rights, resist violence and oppression, and reimagine their futures.

We are horrified at the injustice and harm of current crises. Most of which are not accidents but borne out of colonial practices, greed, exploitation, and a rise in regressive authoritarianism. Our response must counter these practices. Please read a Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action to Support the People of Afghanistan from our friends at Musawah. 

To support feminist activists in Afghanistan, please fund Urgent Action Fund – Asia and Pacific, a feminist fund that is responding directly. Also, please read Prospera’s Call to Action on Funding Activism in Afghanistan and other Humanitarian Crises and visit their website to learn about other feminist funds responding to global crises with long-term support to feminist groups.