Kenya is set to benefit from a USD 1 million (Sh110m) grant for fighting modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
The funds will be disbursed through local survivor-led organisations that are established in the country by The Global Freedom Fund, a leading global movement that promotes abolishment slavery.
Each interested organisation will access an unrestricted USD15,000 (Sh1.7 million) after successful application through The Global Freedom Fund’s official website.
Applications for the first round of grants are open to organisations in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia that have one or more persons with lived experience of exploitation, including human trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour or forced marriage, in a leadership position.
Thereafter, the fund will expand to other regions, including Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America, in future rounds, with the aim of distributing more than USD1 million in total.
The Global Freedom Fund’s North America Managing Director Amy Rahe noted that organisations with survivors of modern slavery in key leadership positions are too few and far between.
Consequently, small survivor-led organisations tend to be locked out by the demands of traditional donors and denied the funds they need to build and grow.
“This grant puts the power and leadership where it belongs, with those most impacted by modern slavery and leading on the frontlines. We hope philanthropists and other donors will feel as excited as we do about ensuring survivors are at the heart of the global movement to end slavery, and that other funding organisations will be inspired by this model,” she said in a statement.
The Survivor Leadership Fund aims to uplift and support survivor-led organisations by providing them with the freedom to choose how best to build internal capacity.
“We aren’t setting rules, conditions, outcomes or objectives. We trust them to use their grant in the ways they think best to achieve the aims of their organization,” said Ms Rahe.
The Freedom Fund’s deputy country representative for Ethiopia Meseret Bayou noted that nurturing and supporting survivor-led groups and female leaders is crucial to the work the organisation was doing in Ethiopia with young girls and women likely to migrate.
“They and Ethiopians who have already returned from exploitative work in the Middle East are more likely to listen to other returnees about the risks of exploitation. Flexible funding empowers survivor-led organisations to make quick choices about how best to help, choices those on the frontlines and as survivors themselves are best placed to make,” she said.