The story of the Doria Feminist Fund: de-colonising the funding narrative in the MENA region
International funding has played an important role in the struggles of women in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, directly and indirectly. In this article, we reflect on the narratives and processes that influence and oftentimes determine the funding accessible to the MENA region, which have often excluded those emanating from local feminists. We then trace the emergence, rationale, and journey of the Doria Feminist Fund against the background of the oppressive politics of the region, and the obstacles facing emerging local feminist groups, especially queer groups, that demand ‘radical system change’ rather traditional ‘reforms’. In addition to examining the processes behind the creation of the Doria Feminist Fund for the MENA region, we highlight the ways in which it proposes to address gaps in funding, and to engage constructively with the international donor community to amplify the voices from the region. In essence, this article sheds light on the extensive and diverse struggles of grassroots-based intersectional feminists as well as on the importance of the availability of sustainable and flexible resources rooted in the perspectives and needs of feminist movements of the region.
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