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News & Blog > Blogs: "Perspectives, Provocations & Initiatives" > Young Feminists Blooming

Young Feminists Blooming

What must happen to shift the narrative around feminist funding to ensure YFOMs can access the resources they need? The Feminist Circle and IDS Alumni find out through participatory research.
Illustration by young feminist and artivist Ipsita Divedi (@ipsitadivedi)
Illustration by young feminist and artivist Ipsita Divedi (@ipsitadivedi)

A few words about us:

Daria Colella, Ipsita Dwivedi, Rebeca Moreno, and Tariro Masaraure (MAGen33) are part of a multicultural team of activists and development professionals interested in enhancing human rights, gender equality, and social justice. We graduated from the Master Program in Gender and Development of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. We founded and work together under the feminist collective ‘The Feminist Circle’, bringing our professional experiences as feminists living, working, and fighting for equality from different corners of the world. We believe in dialogue and co-construction. If you would like to reach us for feedback or ask us anything, please, feel free to contact us anytime at We will be happy to answer your questions and support you best.

Young feminist organisations and movements (YFOMs)[1] are drivers of change in building diverse feminist realities. Their meaningful participation is critical to support people from diverse identities and backgrounds to shift the balance of power within the human rights and development sector. Through their commitment to breaking unequal power structures, YFOMs are bringing transformative change in their communities in ways that adult-led or larger organisations cannot. However, power dynamics, including adultism and institutional barriers, often exclude and alienate YFOMs from accessing the support and resources they need.

Between May and July 2022, The Feminist Circle conducted participatory research for Plan International UK, engaging with YFOMs globally to shift the narrative around feminist funding. The objective was to provide insights to influence institutional donors to listen to the demands of young feminists and transfer resources in inclusive and accessible ways. Our strategy was to promote sustainable social change to achieve gender justice by amplifying the voices of the young feminists working at the forefront of mobilisation and stimulating a solution-oriented dialogue.

Through this research, we wanted all the actors involved in the funding process to engage and commit to sharing power and promoting sustainable change. To unpack the different challenges and opportunities in financing YFOMs, we analysed the existing context in which young feminists access funding by collecting evidence through desk review and primary research. To enhance young feminists’ participation and inclusivity toward people with diverse identities and backgrounds in donor’s mechanisms, we collected contributions of diverse girl-led, girl-centered, and YFMOs spread across different regions in the global South, including South and Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East Northern African region. We also interviewed bilateral donors, specialised funds, and research practitioners to incorporate different perspectives and gain insights.

The key findings from the report build on the insights and experiences shared with us by the research participants, drawing also on examples identified through the desk review and provide an overview of:

  1. The multiple barriers that young feminist organisations and movements face in accessing sustainable funding and resources, unleashing a conversation on how to overcome them.
  2. A range of good funding practices to replicate or learn from while shaping new ways of making institutional funding more accessible to YFOMs.
  3. Possible actions to effectively shift power and resources to local and national YFOMs, built around their demands.

Supporting inclusive youth-led and feminist collective action and movement building is key to gender transformation. Our research shows that it is urgent to review the existing funding modalities to make them more accessible to YFMOs, ensuring that people of diverse identities and backgrounds can access the direct and indirect financial and non-financial support they need. A more balanced international development and aid system, which shifts power to those closest to communities, will generate more effective development programs, human rights promotion and protection, and appropriate responses for people affected by crises.

The full research report, Young Feminists Blooming: A discussion on how institutional donors can effectively transform practices and transfer power and resources to young feminists organisations and movements, is for internal Plan International audiences. Plan International UK will use the research findings to shape and inform its policy positioning and advocacy agenda on this critical issue in the UK and globally. The Summary Report provides an overview of the key findings that emerged from the research and presents some ideas on what needs to change for a more inclusive funding ecosystem that supports resource mobilisation for girls’ rights and young feminist organisations and movements to promote gender justice.

Read the full Summary report: Young Feminists Blooming, Exploring how donors can better shift power and resources to youngfeminist organisations and movement here.

Follow The Feminist Circle 

Daria Colella @kidariwi 
Ipsita Dwivedi @ipsitdivedi 
Paola Rebeca Moreno Sandoval @rebeca_moreno 
Tariro Rachel Masaraure @tarierchie 

[1] We use the term YFOMs to identify feminist activism in all its diversity.  YFOMs include, but are not limited togirl-and-youth-led organisations working on gender equality. We have chosen to coin this terminology when referring to them to reflect and include the diversity of feminist youth organising.

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