Working « Hand in Hand » in Benin

Ensuring that decisions are made ‘as locally as possible, and as regionally/globally as necessary’ is one of the founding principles of the Power of Pride programme, and adds to the values ​​of transparency, flexibility and inclusion that guide its implementation.

In practice, this means that in each of the 22 countries included in the programme, a mechanism is put in place so that the local organisations can make the decisions concerning themselves, in accordance with the principle ‘nothing about us, without us’.

This translates in the fact that local activists and organisations themselves define the priorities for action at country level, as well as the indicators on the basis of which the programme will be evaluated. They also have a say in the allocation of funding between the various local partners. This system is generally referred to as “participatory grant-making” and can take more or less complex and/or thorough forms depending on the context.

In Benin, local LGBTI organizations, represented by the 4 existing networks in Benin (BESYP, Réseau Sida Benin, AFRO-Bénin and Hirondelle Club Bénin) met last November in the city of Bohicon to jointly design this system.

This is how the Beninese movement, represented by its national committee, decided to take a central role in the implementation of the Power of Pride programme, choosing to take charge of processes that were traditionally the prerogative of donors such as COC Nederland. They did this through:

– determining which organisations are partners of the programme and allocating each of them a share of the national budget. Each partner focuses on a mission (advocacy, well-being, response to violence) or a target group (LBTQ, trans, LGBTI people living with disabilities);

– designating the national LGBTQ committee as the prime interlocutor of the programme, in order to ensure coordination and cohesion between partner organisations;

– creating the Alôdo-Alômê emergency fund (“hand in hand” in the Fon-Gbe language), aimed at helping LGBTI people who are victims of violence/in danger. An emergency fund granting committee made up of 7 people from the various partner organisations is responsible for assessing emergency requests;

– creating an ad hoc monitoring committee, ensuring peer-monitoring of the interventions funded through the programme, and also in charge of pre-validating the programmatic and financial reports before transmitting them to COC Nederland.

Power of Pride firmly believes that these different mechanisms will enable to optimize the quality of interventions and lead to very positive results for the LGBTI community in Benin. These systems allow for greater ownership of programs by partners, who can ensure that resources are directed to the interventions most relevant for their communities. It also symbolizes a change of culture and paradigm in the world of philanthropy and development, which the Power of Pride alliance wishes to see strengthened.

If you want to learn more about the principles, benefits and challenges of participatory grant-making, you can find resources by visiting this page.