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We know from experience that change comes from the grassroots – progress for LGBTI+ rights is brought about primarily by brave activists and organisations working in their local communities. But bravery and dedication only get you so far: organisations also need the skills and capacity to rise to the challenges they face. That’s where Kaleidoscope Trust can help.  

Over the last few months, and building on previous experiences, our capacity development programme has provided tailored support to over thirty different organisations working to progress LGBTI+ rights in seventeen countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Many of these organisations are operating in countries where LGBTI+ people are criminalised just for being who they are. 

In accordance with Kaleidoscope Trust´s decolonial approach, the capacity building interventions focused on addressing areas of knowledge which partners themselves identified as a priority. Based on their needs, Kaleidoscope Trust matched them with a subject expert who was able to take them through a learning journey to improve their skills in one of the following areas:

  • Legal and policy advocacy
  • Public campaigns and communication
  • Preventing staff burnout
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning
  • Maximising research impact for positive change
  • Effective outreach to communities most affected by intersectional stigma and discrimination

This tailored approach that Kaleidoscope Trust is applying to capacity building has enabled international experts to work one-on-one with a selected group of organisations, meeting them where they are and delivering personalised training and mentorship to help participants get the most out of the programme – with very positive results. 

Participants told us how much the training had helped them and their organisations:

“The training was of great benefit to [our organisation] because it happened at a time when we were looking into shaping our online engagements in a way that would touch lives and be impactful. We are at this moment in [my country] facing anti-LGBT narratives and this has triggered conversations from the national to the local level on how folks can package information to counter-attack that anti-LGBT narrative and I guarantee you that a lot of the lessons/skills captured during this training will be in play.” 

For me it was very important to have capacity building on research because is very difficult for us to have quality data concerning LGBTI in our country. Now I think that we know much more about the different types of research, methodologies and goals. I think I know now how to choose the best type of method I can use when I conduct research.

“We did the wellness plan and we follow it, people have come in asking us about it, I think it will be good for us to have it as a tool to give to people we work with.”

Some of the trainers also told us how inspired they themselves were to work with grassroots organisations who are often operating in very hostile environments. The experts who delivered training on legal and policy advocacy told us: 

“The trainings have been rekindling memories of when we would take overnight bus rides to remote towns to provide civic education training to young LGBTQ organisations. Just like then, we have been leaning on our principled devotion to justice and the commitment to public service. As lifelong learners we have had to keep updating our content to suit local realities from different countries and regions. The engagements are deepening our knowledge of different contexts and varying strengths of our movements. We are inspired and fired up by the valiant activists we have met who are doing such important work in very perilous contexts and with such limited resources and expertise on legal advocacy.” 

This programme was made possible by funding from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and by support from our donors. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate here