Challenging the Closing Space for Civil Society

In June, TLP Principle Matty Hart – in his role as Coordinator of Global Philanthropy Project (GPP) – traveled to Berlin to attend the “Challenging the Closing Space for Civil Society” convening with other members of Global Philanthropy Project’s cohort. This private meeting focused on addressing the mechanisms, techniques, and trends that governments are using to restrict civil society life and progress. This space also worked to build solidarity across social movements.

Hart and UHAI’s Wanja Muguongo co-facilitated a session titled “Building Counter Narratives and Encouraging Resilience: Values and Frames.” This session explored the values that underlie these attacks, and the resulting frames we can use to counter them. Hart explains, “GPP and UHAI facilitated this conversation in a deliberate manner to integrate LGBTI work into the conversation about around the closing spaces for civil societies, and elevate LGBTI work into a broader context of Human Rights work. LGBTI issues are a critical piece of the conversation. LGBTI people are impacted in unique ways, and homophobia is used as political leverage because of the broad popular distrust and misinformation about our lives. Centering that experience at the meeting shifted the conversation in a fascinating way.”

The conference was attended by many GPP member foundation staff. Fund representatives also attended an informal cocktail hour to mingle and talk about their individual work in relation to GPP. The strong presence of GPP helped to establish initial relationships with government and civil actors. We will continue these relationships as we progress towards the Bilaterals Meeting (in Montevideo, 2016) and as we develop our new international LGBTI funding resource tracking document.

Alliance Magazine has posted a few reflections from the workshop in Berlin to share takeaways and next steps with the broader philanthropic community: