FemFund Mini-grants (Poland)
1. Who they are
FenFund is a Polish organisation whose aim is to strengthen women-led, local and grassroots activism. They organise mini-grant calls for proposals that provide implementation funding to all kinds of ideas and concepts. They consider participatory grant-making as an important tool for building community and women’s rights movements, where the process has both an educational and integrational dimension. They have been supported by seven different organisations (including FundAction with a #Renew and a #Rethink grant) and they also have 300 individual contributors, of which 60 are regular donors.
2. What they did
FemFund applied to a FundAction #Renew grant with the proposal Resisting backlash and amplifying feminist impact in Poland. The grant helped to finance half of the grants in the second call for feminist groups and NGOs that was launched in October 2018. It also covered several months of a part-time mini-grants officer that has worked in the preparation, information and promotion of the call, as well as the outreach activities, and the organisation of a final evaluation meeting (here the full evaluation report, in Polish).
These mini-grants were available to non-governmental organisations and also to self-organised informal groups, particularly those operating in smaller locations, where women vulnerable to cross-discrimination and violence, may become decisionmakers. Through this call, they have supported 21 projects that promote access to sexual information and support in special education, skill workshops for Travelling Women, mobile embroidery units, an informal group of pensioners working on healthcare and access to culture or the meeting and networking of sex workers.
3. Why is this relevant for the FundAction community?
One of the main aspects of this micro-grant scheme is their will to reach different territories and organization. For the second edition, FemFund organised in-person meetings in five different cities and they made a video in deaf-signs that encouraged two organisations to apply and one of them organised the first campaign on women’s rights within the community of deaf persons in Poland. As a result of their efforts on the diversity, they have received 348 applications from 125 different location so that less than 40% of the grantees from any of the six major cities in Poland, a third are located in smaller cities and towns and almost another third are from villages. This territorial diversity is also reflected in the grantee partners, mainly self-organised groups of underrepresented and vulnerable groups such as migrant and ethnic minority women, LBTQ persons, women with functional diversity, sex workers, prisoners and detained women, or from the countryside, of which only a small part (3 out of 20) is from Warsaw.