People all around the world face human rights violations due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and so much work remains to be done to enhance the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights and socio-economic outcomes of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, queer, two-spirited and intersex (LGBTQ2I) persons. ACTIF was created specifically for this purpose: to support projects designed by Canadian civil society organizations that aim to address these important LGBTQ2I issues in the Global South.
In partnership with Dignity Network Canada and funded by the Government of Canada, ACTIF is guided by principles of intersectionality, inclusion, indivisibility of human rights and ‘do no harm’. The Fund will disburse over $10M over the span of 7 years and will support a range of activities to meet the needs of local populations, such as capacity building, advocacy, mobilization and awareness raising activities, amongst other activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Act Together for Inclusion Fund (ACTIF)
What is ACTIF?
The Act Together for Inclusion Fund (ACTIF) is being established to enhance the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of, for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, queer, two-spirited and intersex (LGBTQ2I) persons and enhance their socio-economic outcomes  in countries eligible for overseas development assistance (ODA). Implementation of ACTIF will be guided by principles of intersectionality, inclusion, indivisibility of human rights and ‘do not harm.’ To do so, ACTIF will support projects designed by Canadian intermediaries – civil society organizations (CSOs) with a proven track record of working on LGBTQ2I issues and established connections to local LGBTQ2I CSOs and movements in ODA eligible countries. ACTIF is managed by Equitas in collaboration with Dignity Network Canada. This innovative model will enable Canadian organizations working to further the human rights of LGBTQ2I persons, with new opportunities to implement programming in ODA eligible countries. ACTIF is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.
 Equitas and Dignity Network Canada recognize the limitations of using the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirited and intersex. There is a spectrum of gender identity and sexual diversity both in Canada and around the world and there are many other words in various languages to describe this diversity, reflecting the culturally and historically-specific ways in which sexual and gender identities are recognized and expressed. For example, in Canada, the term “two-spirited” is used by and within Indigenous communities, reflecting the history among some peoples of describing those who differed from gender norms and crossed gender boundaries as carrying both male and female spirits.
How was ACTIF conceived?
In February 2019, the Government of Canada announced a new $30m initiative to support the advancement of human rights and socio-economic outcomes of LGBTQ2I people globally. This commitment is the culmination of several years of efforts by Canadian organizations involved in Dignity Network Canada with the Canadian government. This new funding includes an amount that will allow Canadian CSOs to support LGBTQ2I human rights at the international level. Equitas and Dignity Network Canada will work in close partnership to implement the Act Together for Inclusion Fund (ACTIF).
What principles will guide the implementation of ACTIF?
Implementation of ACTIF will be guided by principles of intersectionality, inclusion, indivisibility of human rights and ‘do no harm.’
How much funding is available and over what period of time?
An amount of $10,300,000 is available for disbursement to Canadian CSOs for projects to be implemented by January 31, 2027. There will be at least two calls for proposals for multi-year projects.
What activities will ACTIF fund and how much are grants?
ACTIF will support a range of activities to meet the needs of local populations. These could include capacity building, advocacy, mobilization and awareness raising activities, but the full criteria have not yet been determined. The estimate of the total number of projects that ACTIF will support and the range of budgets to be covered will be developed and shared in fall 2020 after consultation with the ACTIF Advisory Committee. The set up of a transparent rigorous grant submission process necessitates significant preparation in order to ensure the parameters respect the requirement of all stakeholders. All the steps of the process including monitoring and evaluation need to be outlined prior to the launch of the call for proposals.
When will a call for proposals be made?
It is expected that the first call for proposals to be made before the end of 2020, once the governance structures have been put in place and the team has been hired.
When will decisions be made about applications?
It is expected that the final decisions for the first call for proposals will be made around March 2021.
Who is eligible to apply to ACTIF?
Based on the terms of the agreement with Global Affairs Canada, ACTIF will support projects designed by Canadian intermediaries – civil society organizations (CSOs) with a track record of working on LGBTIQ2 issues and established connections to local LGBTQ2I CSOs and movements in ODA eligible countries. The full criteria for the fund will be finalized and shared after consultation with the ACTIF Advisory Committee in fall 2020. However, it is expected that the criteria will also consider:
- Legal status and governance of Canadian applicants – Is the applicant a registered non-profit organization in Canada?
- Credibility of organization – track-record working on LGBTQ2I issues, participation of LGBTQ2I persons in project design and delivery and experience overseas. Does the organization have a mandate or board authorization for working internationally?
- Capacity of organization – Does the organization already have internal capacity to deliver what they are proposing?
It should also be noted that part of the rationale for creating the fund was to overcome barriers that Canadian LGBTQ2I organizations face in accessing funding for international programming. As such, priority consideration will be given to projects submitted by Canadian LGBTQ2I organizations. Attention will also be given to ensuring that there is an appropriate balance of projects funded in the francophone world.
How will ACTIF ensure inclusivity?
Adopting an intersectional and human rights-based approach (HRBA) in tandem with the application of gender-based analysis (GBA+) in all stages of fund development, governance, implementation and evaluation, will ensure that groups that experience the greatest marginalization within the broader LGBTQ2I community have access to the benefits of the Fund. Current evidence demonstrates that lesbian, bi-sexual, intersex, trans and 2-spirited people often have less well-structured organizations and therefore greater difficulty accessing funding. For this reason, special attention will be paid to developing inclusive processes and mechanisms that ensure equitable access to the benefits of the Fund and associated opportunities for capacity building and knowledge sharing.
What are the roles of Equitas and Dignity Network Canada in ACTIF?
Equitas has lead responsibility for managing ACTIF and is accountable to GAC for the achievement of the project’s results and for the effective administration and financial management of the funds provided, including regular reporting to GAC. Equitas will host the ACTIF secretariat and coordinate the work of the Advisory Committee and Project Selection Committee.
Dignity Network Canada is an implementing partner in ACTIF and will lead activities related to community outreach, engagement and consultation, convening stakeholders and knowledge-sharing activities. Equitas and Dignity Network Canada will co-lead communications and capacity building activities. Dignity Network Canada will receive funding through ACTIF for its expenses related to delivering these activities.
How is ACTIF managed and governed? Who makes decisions about funding?
An international Advisory Committee made up of 10 individuals with lived experience, skills and expertise in LGBTQ2I-related international grant making provides program advice, oversight and guidance. A separate Project Selection Committee will be established with responsibility for making decisions around the fund applications. The Project Selection committee will include individuals with deep experience in LGBTQ2I human rights work globally. There will be a bilingual program team of four people at Equitas responsible for program management, including a Fund Director and a Financial Manager.
What is Equitas?
Equitas is a charitable Canadian non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1967 that works to advance equality, social justice and respect for human dignity through transformative human rights education programs in Canada and around the world. Equitas’ programming contributes to the empowerment of individuals and groups that are subject to discrimination, exclusion and other forms of human rights violations to challenge inequality and discrimination and take action to respect, protect and defend human rights. Equitas programs have been building the capacity of LGBTQ2I human rights defenders globally, particularly in East Africa and Haiti, and in Canada over many years. Equitas has been collaborating with Dignity Network Canada since 2016.
What is Dignity Network Canada?
Dignity Network Canada is a coalition of voluntary, non-profit sector organizations and individuals located in Canada, working locally, nationally and globally to advance human rights around the world related to sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or sex characteristics (SOGIESC). Members of the Network pursue these goals through supporting programs and participatory projects with each other and international partners. The Network’s goal is to support the work of its members through networking, leadership, information sharing, training and coordination, community engagement, public education, supporting research and government relations.
Where does the funding for ACTIF come from?
The funding for ACTIF comes from Global Affairs Canada’s Partnerships and Innovation Division through a contribution agreement signed by Global Affairs and Equitas on May 27, 2020.
Is there a capacity building and knowledge generation component to ACTIF?
Grantees will participate in a number of knowledge sharing, capacity building and training initiatives to share their work and learn together. To capture the lessons learned from this work, the project will document good practices as well as challenges and create opportunities to share knowledge gained through the design and implementation of the Fund. Capacity building activities will include strengthening the capacity of recipient organizations in such areas as project management and integrating a human rights-based approach into programming.
How does ACTIF relate to Global Affairs Canada’s other LGBTIQ2-related funding programs?
In February 2019, Canada announced $30m over 5 years for the advancement of LGBTIQ2 human rights globally. ACTIF is part of the first ’tranche’ of this funding. Global Affairs Canada is currently engaged in consultations the remainder of the funding.
What are the next steps before the first call for proposals?
- Recruitment of Fund Project Director, Fund Financial Manager, Program Officer and Administrative Officer
- Recruitment of ACTIF Advisory Committee
- Validation of Fund priorities, project selection criteria and recruitment of an independent selection committee
- Development of tools and processes to manage project selection and monitoring
- Outreach of key stakeholders
- Development and approval by GAC of the Project Implementation Plan (PIP)
- Launch of the call for proposal