Over the last twelve years, Kaleidoscope Trust has worked to ensure that organisations working to progress LGBTI+ rights in some of the world’s most hostile countries have the funding, skills and training they need to change hearts and minds and laws and policies. We are excited that the UK Government has now committed to a five-year investment in our work.
The SuRGE (‘Supporting LGBTI+ Rights and Growth Efforts’) programme, which we’ll deliver until 2028, is our first funding agreement of this length with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. We’re delighted by the Government’s vote of confidence in the capacity strengthening, movement building, advocacy and research we do to advance LGBTI+ rights across the Commonwealth and beyond. This long-term commitment will allow us to build on our successes over recent years, building partners’ capacities, supporting new intersectional movements and networks and bringing together leaders from different sectors to make change.
We have seen this success first-hand in countries like Mauritius, where we have worked with civil society for over five years and supported the foundation of an intersectional coalition of human rights NGOs and campaigners. Their increased advocacy and campaigning in the country has led both to a measurable change in public opinion, with many more Mauritians supporting LGBTI+ rights, and changes in the law. This paved the way towards the overturn of the country’s colonial-era anti-sodomy law in October last year and greater protections for children and women in all their diversities.
As in Mauritius, SuRGE will allow us to further deepen our partnerships with organisations advocating for LGBTI+ rights in a range of Commonwealth Global South and East countries. Over the next half decade, we’ll be working to ensure that these organisations are better resourced, connected and empowered to advocate for the rights of LGBTI+ individuals and communities.
Importantly, at a time when we are seeing increasing anti-LGBTI+ hatred around the world, SuRGE will also enable local LGBTI+ organisations to respond to emerging threats and the rollback of their rights. And it will enable us to connect activists, organisations, government officials and other representatives with one another, to learn, share knowledge, strategise and take coordinated action to combat the rising anti-LGBTI+ rhetoric and activity we are seeing globally.
We welcome the UK Government’s long-term commitment to our work progressing global LGBTI+ rights and look forward to a future where LGBTI+ people can live free, safe and equal lives everywhere.