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5 February 2018

Stonewall UK

Advocating for inclusion of the needs of LGBTI communities across the UK's international development agenda.
International Development

About the project

The Baring Foundation’s International Development programme aims to empower locally based civil society organisations to address discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or gender identity in sub-Saharan Africa. Local civil society activism for LGBTI rights is growing in strength but is severely underfunded. A key aim of our International Development programme is to build the case for new funding to the region in support of LGBTI rights from individuals, governments, trusts, foundations and other philanthropists in the UK.

In 2017, the Foundation gave a grant to Stonewall for a dedicated post to advocate for the mainstreaming of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) LGBT approach across its new funding programme, UK Aid Connect.

Paul Twocock, Max Riley-Gould & Kit Dorey

Stonewall UK

Stonewall has been working for many years to advocate for LGBT inclusion in the international development agenda.

The guiding principle of the global UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – ‘Leave no one behind’ – is especially relevant for LGBTI people who have been repeatedly left behind by development initiatives. The impact of discrimination and neglect are felt by communities all over the world who experience lower income, worse health and less education, all of which are areas that SDGs are meant to address.

This grant from the Baring Foundation enabled us to advocate for LGBT inclusion in the UK Government’s major new international development mechanism, UK Aid Connect, working with the Department for International Development (DFID) during the development of the mechanism, and once it was launched, with potential bidders for both the LGBT specific funding stream and other funding streams (for example: faith, sexual health and rights and inclusive societies).

The Baring Foundation’s support allowed us to extend our network of international development stakeholders, for the purpose of sharing information about LGBT inclusion and best practice. It also enabled us to feed into DFID’s broader work on gender equality, ensuring that lesbians, bi women and trans people are represented and included in their approach. To support the production of bids, we produced a LGBT inclusion checklist, which was disseminated through BOND, Civicus and Scotland’s International Development Alliance.

We believe it is vital that LGBT inclusion is addressed across the other non-LGBT UK Aid Connect funding streams. Once the successful bids are announced, we plan to continue working across UK Aid Connect and more widely to enable international development organisations to fully include and support LGBT people in poverty.

This is the first time that DFID has launched a specific funding stream for LGBT inclusion and it is a significant step forward. Stonewall advocates for most of the funding to benefit organisations in the global south directly. This funding is an important precedent that will provide robust evidence and justification for continued funding of LGBT communities across international development programmes.

Photo credit: Lauren Barkume