Grantmaking Practice / IHRFG Events

Let’s Be Innovative: Radical Thinking and Action

Contributed by Claudia Samcam, Development and Strategic Alliances Coordinator, Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM)-

I attended my second IHRFG conference from January 20-21 and, as in my first experience, I had the opportunity to share, learn, meet and connect with a diversity of people working in the philanthropic sector. This year, the theme of the conference was “innovation,” which I found particularly pertinent because we have been struggling with the notion of “innovation” for years. We have been asked to be innovative in our proposals, approaches and work; we are constantly asking our partners to be innovative and to think “out of the box.” Times are hard, resources are scarce, and there is still so much to do to achieve social justice. So, of course, one of the solutions is to be innovative, right? After this conference, one of my takeaways is that the meaning of innovation basically depends on your own definition and context.

Workshop on Human Rights for children
During the session, “Deepen Your Impact Without Deepening Your Pockets: A Workshop on Funding Across Movements,” organized by our allies Global Greengrants Fund and Both ENDS, with the participation of the Central American Women’s Fund and Mama Cash, a comment from one of the attendees resonated with me. We were discussing examples and cases of cross-movement collaboration as an innovative approach, particularly the intersection between the women’s and environmental movements. The participant asked for advice, as she has been charged in her organization to be more “radical,” to make “radical” proposals, to “radicalize” their work. Her examples didn’t seem radical to me! She was asking about bold actions to advance the mission of the organization – such as partnering with others toward a shared goal – and respond to the needs of the community they serve.

In current times, we are seeing growing problems – old and new – challenging what humanity has achieved in development, human rights, inclusion and recognition. Given this context, radical thinking and actions are innovative. Many rights that we might have taken for granted are endangered today: the right to basic services such as drinking water; the right to freedom of expression and association; the right to freedom of movement; and the right to life, liberty and security of person. And these are not problems exclusive to the Global South anymore.

So let´s move from our comfort zones and support courageous actions and initiatives! Let´s walk alongside the communities and populations on the margins that are still fighting to gain recognition as full citizens! Let´s challenge the power relations and inequalities that are doing so much harm to people and the planet!

Let´s be radical and innovative!

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