A selection panel will now review all the applications. In making final decisions about the selection of the panel of peer reviewers, the selection panel will try to reflect the necessary geographic, gender identity, sexual orientation, skills, sectorial and other demographic criteria that will ensure a good mix of knowledge, networks, and perspectives in the peer review panel.
Decisions about successful applicants will be announced within a week of the closing date for applications.
Grant Proposal Peer Reviewers, November 2015
We asked our peer reviewers what they thought about the Foundation’s grant making process and what their experience of being a peer reviewer has been like. Here’s what they had to say . . . [click on any thumbnail below to play a video clip]
Thanks to Liesl Theron for helping our team to select the peer reviewers. Liesl is also serving as a specialist advisor for this round of grantmaking.
Liesl is the founder and former executive director of Gender Dynamix, which was the first organization in Africa to focus its work exclusively on transgender people. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Liesl initiated a number of projects that contributed to the growth of a transgender movement in South Africa and the region. Her research on transgender issues is widely published in academic journals.
For this special call for grant applications to combat discrimination against lesbian and transgender people, we looked to the expertise of self-identifying lesbian women and transgender people to help make decisions about grant allocations.
From the 21 applications received from seven countries, we selected the following peer reviewers:
Natasha Francis Natasha is the South Africa programmes manager of Iranti.org. Based in Johannesburg, she previously worked on capacity building and advocacy for groups like the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and on research with organizations like the Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA). She also ran a ‘Football 4 Youth’ initiative for the Seriti Institute. Natasha holds a postgraduate qualification in public and development management.
Farisai Gamariel Farisai is the head of the languages department at the Catholic University of Mozambique. She is also a board member of Mozambique’s LGBTI association, LAMBDA, based in Beira. Farisai has for a long time been active in organizing theatre competitions and has been involved in conducting research on the incidence of HIV amongst men who have sex with men.
Trymore Gendi Trymore is a young transwoman based in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is the Harare coordinator of the newly formed trans unit at Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), advocating for transgender and intersex people. She began working at GALZ as a volunteer in 2013, and has been actively involved in the organization’s administrative and programming work.
Nyx McLean Based in Cape Town, Nyx is a doctoral student working on queer identity and Pride in post-apartheid South Africa. A board member of Gender Dynamix, the first transgender organization to be established in Africa, Nyx was also a member of the working group for Johannesburg Peoples’ Pride. Having previously been the national print and digital communications manager of LoveLife in South Africa, Nyx now teaches multimedia studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Thuli Mjwara Thuli is the programmes manager at the Pietermaritzburg Gay and Lesbian Network, of which she was a former board member. She is also actively involved in the Pietermaritzburg Gender Forum and in South Africa’s national task team to combat hate crimes against LGBTI people. Thuli is trained in psychology, business administration, and project management and has a depth of experience in working with marginalized people, including juvenile offenders, people with disabilities, and LGBTI groups – most notably through the Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative.
Lineo Mothopeng Lineo is the community facilitator and LGBTI specialist at Sesotho Media and Development in Lesotho. The first born in a family of four females, two of whom identify as trans men and are known lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists in Lesotho, Lineo joined an LGBTI activist grouping in 2008 as a peer educator, quickly becoming the organization’s president until its legal registration. Lineo joined its secretariat as its dialogue and advocacy program manager until earlier this year.
Lame Olebile Based in Tonota near Francistown in Botswana, Lame is an Africa advisor to FRIDA, the international young feminist fund. She is active in LGBTI movements in Botswana and the southern Africa region and is experienced in advocacy including litigation, community mobilisation, and media campaigning, as well as in conducting research, facilitating organizational development, and monitoring and evaluation – especially relating to the feminist movement and LGBTI groups.
Grant Proposal Peer Reviewers, August 2015
Final decisions have been made about our August 2015 grant peer reviewers, by a selection panel that included members of the Other Foundation team and an independent panelist, Zwelijongile Gwebityala.
Zweli is a 28-year-old black gay businessman in Johannesburg. He grew up in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa where his own experiences as a young gay man influenced his drive to live out and proud in order to provide other young gays with a template of how life can “get better”. He holds a degree in applied maths from WITS university and prior to opening his own company, he worked in corporate South Africa including McKinsey, where he led corporate initiatives aimed at making work places more LGBTI friendly. He is an avid supporter of the Other Foundation and is actively involved in philanthropic work in the education field.
We received 17 applications from 6 countries. The following peer reviewers were selected:
Majo is a married father of two girls. He is an English teacher at a primary school in Chimoio, Mozambique. He also runs a company that provides translation and interpretation services. In addition, he volunteers in the Youth Parliament of Mozambique and is an online accountability advocate with Youth in Action, a network of young people that is promoting greater accountability for the implementation of the post 2015 development goals. Majo shared his thoughts on the difference this peer review process makes in the selection of grants.
Solum is a human rights activist and a program officer at Malawi’s Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP). His work involves research, education and training, and advocacy to create an enabling environment to end stigma and discrimination, particularly focused on men who have sex with men and LGBT people. He was involved in the production of the publication Queer Malawi, A Collection of LGBT Stories. Solum spoke about his role and the insights gained from participating in the peer review process.
Humphrey is a public health practitioner. He is the Director of the Sexual Rights Centre in Zimbabwe and has been active in a wide range of human rights advocacy efforts for many years. He previously worked as an occupational therapist and a trainer in field epidemiology at the University of Zimbabwe. He is currently doing research on the intersection of religion, culture and human rights for sexual minorities.
Lineo is the community facilitator and LGBTI specialist at Sesotho Media and Development in Lesotho. The first born in a family of four females, two of whom identify as trans men and are known lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex [LGBTI] activists in Lesotho, Lineo joined an LGBTI activist grouping in 2008 as a peer educator, quickly becoming the organization’s president until its legal registration. Lineo joined its secretariat as its dialogue and advocacy program manager until earlier this year. Lineo gave advice to prospective grant applicants, on the key ingredients for a succesful grant application.
James Katlego Chibamba
James is an assistant student counselor at the University of South Africa [UNISA]. He founded and is the current president of Gays and Lesbians of Rustenburg [GLOR] in South Africa’s North West province, which does LGBTI psychosocial support, educational and advocacy work. James was also an intern at the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action [GALA] library and archives at WITS university in Johannesburg. James took a moment to give insight on what makes a good proposal for a grant.
Thandeka is the founder of Thanda Afrika, a LGBTI human rights activism and arts trust. She identifies as a lesbian woman. As a social entrepreneur in Zimbabwe, she provides arts and cultural spaces for people to exist freely without facing harassment, threats, or violence for not fitting into traditional gender categories. Thandeka shared her reflections on the peer review process and her thoughts for the future.
Liesl Theron is the founder and a former executive director of Gender Dynamix, which was the first organization in Africa to focus its advocacy and outreach work exclusively on transgender people. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Liesl initiated a number of projects that contributed to the growth of a transgender movement in South Africa and the region. Her research on transgender issues is widely published in academic journals. Liesl shared her thoughts on what makes our grant making so unique.
Born in Uganda, Dolar has worked on international development programs for over 20 years, including at the United Nations, VSO, and Oxfam. Dolar joined Iranti.org in May 2014, supporting the director with organizational and programme development. She is the author of the book, Not Yet Uhuru – lesbian flash erotica. She also works as an independent consultant from Johannesburg.
Based in Kitwe, Zambia, Reuben is an examiner in science and mathematics in the Zambian educational system. Reuben is an active member of the Zambia Progressive Teachers’ Union and a member of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants. He is also involved in the LGBTI advocacy group Friends of Rainka and is part of the Zambia SOGIE Advisory and Research Team. Reuben shared his thoughts on the value of having an open call for peer reviewers to review our grant applications.
Dumisani is a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. A former high school teacher in Bulawayo, he is actively involved in religious ministry to LGBTI people in the Catholic church in Johannesburg – mostly those who have moved to Johannesburg from other countries in the region in search of greater social acceptance. He works as a communications and advocacy consultant.
Renald is a project manager at the Synergos Institute’s Johannesburg office, responsible for a multi-stakeholder network established to improve services to children in South Africa. He previously worked at the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, the Open Society Foundations, and the Community Dispute Resolution Trust. Renald is a board member of Sophiatown Community Psychosocial Services, an inner city agency in downtown Johannesburg that provides counseling and other support services to refugee and other migrant communities in the city.
Grant Proposal Peer Reviewers in 2014
Twelve peer reviewers were appointed for the Other Foundation’s 2014 round of grant making. The group represented a geographic and demographic spread, as well as a wide range of expertise, which are essential for a good grant proposal review process. The peer reviewers were selected from 32 applications received from 7 eligible countries. The peer reviewers, working first individually and then in four teams, assessed 98 grant applications that qualified for consideration, in order to recommend to the Other Foundation’s board of trustees which applicants should be given grants. This was done during a workshop in Johannesburg in April 2014. The peer reviewers were Muhshin Hendricks, Florence Khaxas, Ishmael Makhuludzo, Patience Mandishona, Zethu Matebeni, Pilot Mathambo, Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Nolene Morris, Chan Mubanga, Jabu Pereira, Janet Shapiro, and Marinus Uys.
To understand a bit more about some of our peer reviewers, we wanted to tell you a bit more about Chan Mubanga and Muhsin Hendricks.
What it feels like to inhabit a body whose sex is at odds with one’s gender identity, is a psychological pain Chan Mubanga, a trans man in Zambia and one of the Other Foundation’s grant proposal peer reviewers is familiar with.
In a moving self portrait, Chan says he was 10-years-old when he became aware of his attraction to girls but it was only when he begun menstruating that he realised he was not like the other boys, or his two older brothers. At the time, the word transgender was unknown. People were either gay, lesbian or bisexual.
“Night after night I prayed to god to stop the periods, to stop these breasts that had begun to grow where my proud chest used to be. But when these changes carried on, I began asking myself – Who am I? What am I?”
Misunderstood and confused, Chan tried to ignore what was happening to his body and found refuge in sex with other girls. Eventually under pressure from his mother, combined with the predominant Christian norms in the household, he had sex with a boy at age 17, an experience during which he says he cried throughout.
“People who are transgender in Zambia need to feel a sense of belonging and worth.”
Years later, after qualifying as an electrical engineer he struggled to find employment as he is viewed as a woman in a male-dominated culture. Chan says he is “passionate about driving big trucks across borders, discovering far and remote places”, but often encounters resistance from family, partners, and society when he tries to pursue his dreams.
But Chan says he is beginning to see change occurring, partly as a result of the work the group TranGend that he established with a few friends.
“I see TranGend growing over time, offering a safe space for sharing, research and character building. People who are transgender in Zambia need to feel a sense of belonging and worth, we need to know that there are others like us, and there are people who understand and accept us as we are without second thought. Only when this initiative has a solid foundation, can we look to improve our social environment by community organizing and information dissemination and begin to influence policies. Our major challenges for now are ignorance about gender identity, colonial laws that criminalize homosexuality, gender inequality and traditionalist customs that forbid sex/sexuality education,” he says.
As a devout Muslim “innately attracted to the same sex”, Imam Muhsin Hendricks, who is a grant proposal peer reviewer for the Other Foundation, has had to struggle with the cultural and religious pressure that forces people to conform to social gender roles.
This pressure resulted in him marrying a woman he would never be able to fully satisfy, and with whom he would not be able to satisfy his own personal and emotional needs. Hendricks says that during the time he was was doing Islamic studies in Pakistan, to numb the pain of being married to someone he knew he could not physically and emotionally bond with, he immersed himself in his work.
However, after six years of marriage he decided to divorce, and his coming out led to him facing rejection by his family and community, resulting in him losing his job as a religious teacher and assistant Imam. With no support, he lived in a small room next to horse stables on a friend’s farm.
This painful experience led him on a journey of reconciling his faith with his sexuality. A few years later, he founded the Inner Circle, an organisation providing support to Muslims who feel marginalised and victimised because of their sexuality and gender.
The Inner Circle, based in Cape Town, offers social and spiritual programmes to enable people to reconcile their Islamic faith with their sexuality, to help people reach a point of self actualisation.