The Other Foundation is an African trust that advances equality and freedom in southern Africa with a particular focus on sexual orientation and gender identity. It gathers support to defend and advance the human rights and social inclusion of homosexual and bisexual women and men, as well as transgender and intersex people in southern Africa – and it gives support to groups in a smart way that enables them to work effectively for lasting change, recognizing the particular dynamics of race, poverty and inequality, sex, national origin, heritage, and politics in our part of the world. It does this by working both as a fundraiser and a grant maker.
The Atlantic Philanthropies has provided a generous grant over a five-year period to cover all operational costs, subject to The Other Foundation being able to raise additional funds from other sources. In the longer term, we hope to be supported primarily by African-based philanthropy.
It’s an odd name! Why are you called The ‘Other’ Foundation?
Across southern Africa, we have a common history of achieving political liberation from colonialism, apartheid and slavery. Yet, discrimination, fear, prejudice, stigma and hatred of difference – of ‘the other’ – continue to fester in all our countries, cities and communities. Currently, LGBTI people are particularly under attack, in the same way as immigrants, foreigners, people who have a different colour, ethnicity and/or religion have been in the past, and in many places continue to be today. Our contention is that we need to assume a united stand against all kinds of violations if we are to achieve meaningful social and political transformation.
What’s the aim of The Other Foundation and where is it located?
Currently, our primary purpose is to expand resources available for defending and advancing the rights of LGBTI people in these 13 southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We do this by working both as a grant-maker and a fundraiser.
As a grant-maker, we support change through others, rather than directly ourselves. So we provide direct support to partners, while facilitating the building and sharing of knowledge.
As a fundraiser, we focus on raising resources from a wide range of potential givers – particularly from within the region. One of the ways we intend to do this is by supporting campaigns to build awareness and reinforce appreciation for LGBTI people to enjoy their rights within a broader human rights framework.
At present, we are located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
So what’s this grant-making initiative about and who is driving it?
The Other Foundation’s grant-making initiative is about providing an opportunity for organisations and individuals in southern Africa to submit their ideas about work that they would like to do to advance the rights and/or well-being of LGBTI people in the region.
Grants from the Other Foundation are awarded in a two-step process. The first step starts with the announcements for an open call for concept grant applications and also for peer reviewer applications.
Upon closure of the call, the Other Foundation recruits between 10 and 14 suitable individuals from our 13 southern African countries or operation to participate in a two day peer review workshop taking place in Johannesburg. All concept proposals will be assessed by a panel of peers of grant applicants. These peer reviewers recommend concept proposals to be taken to the second stage of the grant making process.
In the second stage, the recommended grant applicants will be invited to submit full grant proposals. The board of trustees of the Other Foundation then makes the final decisions about grant allocations.
Ok, so who can apply for a grant?
The Other Foundation considers applications from Individuals or organizations that do work that advances advances or defends the human rights, wellbeing, and social inclusion of homosexual and bisexual men and women, as well as transgender and intersex people.
We also invite applications from individuals or organizations for work that challenges homophobia and transphobia within religious communities, and that promotes a more inclusive and just faith-based response to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The thirteen eligible countries from which grant applications are accepted are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
But my organisation is not registered. Can I still apply?
Yes! Although registration is a necessity for most donors, the Other Foundation is aware that some organisations may have difficulty registering because of the type of activities they are involved in.
Unregistered organizations awarded grants under the Honey Bee and Fish Eagle grant categories will be required to have a fiscal sponsor organization that is willing and able to receive and manage the grant funds. If your organization is not yet registered, you can submit a grant concept proposal before securing a fiscal sponsor organization. However should your concept proposal be approved to go to the next stage of the grant application process, you will then be required to have secured a written agreement with a fiscal sponsor in order to submit a full proposal.
Unregistered groups are not eligible for the largest grant that the Other Foundation awards – the Mosu grant.
Can individuals apply as well?
What kind of work will you be funding through this initiative?
Our grant-making initiative looks for proposals for work that will advance the rights and improve the well-being of LGBTI people in southern Africa.
While we will consider all proposals that meet this general requirement, we are especially interested in supporting the following areas of work:
- Working with progressive faith-based groups to be more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTI people;
- Extending and improving legal and psycho-social aid to LGBTI people;
- Enabling national medical or psychological associations to review available evidence around sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and to use science as an entry point into national/local debates around SOGI;
- Engaging popular culture to challenge myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and to celebrate our place in our communities and families in Southern Africa;
- Innovative public education around SOGI, especially with specific communities such as teachers, the medical fraternity, members of parliament, police, parents and so on;
- Building alliances, understanding and bridges between those affected by and working on SOGI with those working on other social justice issues;
- Advocacy and organising around improving the lives and well-being of LGBTI people, including challenging discriminatory law and policies, and responding to human rights violations through grants for documentation, strategic litigation and research;
- Strengthening institutions through activities and programmes that build organisational skills and systems, including activist exchange visits and internships.
You should not feel limited to submitting proposals for the activities listed above. Be innovative!
I’ve got some great ideas – but how much can I apply for?
There are four levels of support you can apply for:
- The Namaqualand Daisy grants are intended for individual activists, artists, researchers, and others. The maximum award under this grant is ZAR10 000 for work over a period of up to 12 months;
- The Inyosi or Honey Bee grants are intended for smaller organisations that are seeking support for a project or to get started. The maximum award under this grant is ZAR50 000 over 12 months;
- The Hungwe or Fish Eagle grants are intended for more established organisations that are seeking either core support or project-based support. The maximum award under this grant is ZAR200 000 over 18 months;
- The Mosu or Umbrella Tree grants are for core support to anchore organisations working at a national or regional level. The maximum award under this grant is ZAR500 000 over 24 months.
How are you going to select which ones to fund? How will I know that you have been fair?
Our grant application process has two steps. The first step is the submission of a concept proposal. Then, there is a peer review system of all grant concept proposals to identify which applications to invite to submit a full proposal.
Reflecting all the necessary geographic, gender identity, sexual orientation, skills and sectorial diversities that will ensure a good mix or different knowledge, networks and perspectives in the peer review panel, between eight and twelves peer reviewers are selected to review all grant concept proposals received by the Other Foundation in an open and transparent process. In this way, individuals who are also eligible for applying for grants, will be the ones recommending to the Other Foundation which concepts should be taken the next step of the grant making process. We believe that this gives real expression to the identity of the Other Foundation as a community foundation.
The second step of the grant making process is where the recommendations made by the peer reviewers are submitted to our board of trustees. The Other Foundation’s board of trustees will make the final decision about what projects should be supported, with selected concept proposals being invited to submit full proposals for funding.
Ok, so who can be a peer-reviewer?
To be eligible as a peer reviewer, you need to:
- be able to demonstrate that you have a track record of active engagement and interest in human rights and social justice in Southern Africa. We are particular interested in peer reviewers who have experience of working with LGBTI people and communities, or on HIV/AIDS, or gender-related work;
- be a citizen and resident in one of the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia or Zimbabwe. Your citizenship and place of residence can be different;
- be willing to commit to reviewing at least 20 proposals and be able to attend the decision-making workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa;
- have regular access to the internet and be able to send and receive emails.
All peer reviewers must be available for a two-day workshop that will be held in Johannesburg. Peer reviewers will not be paid for their time, but the Other Foundation will pay all expenses for participation in the peer review workshop.