Location: Caribbean-based, working remotely
Duration: 3-4 months
Budget: $30,000 – $35,000 CAD
Reports to: Director, Women’s Voice and Leadership – Caribbean, Global Programs
Application Deadline: September 20, 2023
Reference Number: WVLC-2023-10
Caribbean WROs and LBTIQ groups are key to driving progress on gender equality in the region—contributing to wider progressive social change. Despite a thriving presence and rich history of feminist activism and social change, the Caribbean has long been one of the only regions in the world without a dedicated philanthropic fund focused on women’s and LGBTQI+ rights.
In September 2022, the Equality Fund and Astraea released the joint study, If not now, when? A Feasibility Study for a Caribbean Fund for Women’s and LGBTQI+ Rights: a report on the feasibility of establishing a Caribbean, activist-led, feminist fund. Rooted in engagements with activists, civil society leaders, donors and philanthropic organizations, as well as in a literature review on women’s rights and LGBTQI+ movements in the Caribbean, the report explored potential sources of funding; structure, management, and governance; mandate and location; financial requirements; and analyzed risk.
This initial phase of research was supported by Women’s Voice and Leadership – Caribbean (WVL-Caribbean) project: a five-year initiative supported by the Government of Canada, aimed at advancing women’s rights and gender equality in Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The project is supporting the capacity, leadership, and agendas of grassroots women’s rights organizations (WROs) and lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LBTIQ) groups in advancing their own solutions to improve women’s rights and gender equality in the Caribbean. The initiative is being implemented by the Equality Fund (EF), in partnership with the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea).
While this research determined that establishing a Caribbean fund for women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights was indeed feasible, the study also noted other challenges that should be addressed and researched more deeply. In particular, the recommendations called for an examination of the financial and legal environment in the Caribbean, and its impact on the creation of a Caribbean, activist-led, feminist fund.
Through the support of the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund (WPF), the Equality Fund and Astraea will advance the next steps for the establishment of a Caribbean fund, as recommended in the first study, by collaboratively leading the second phase of in-depth research, focused on financial and legal systems.
SCOPE OF WORK
The Equality Fund is seeking a consulting team or an individual consultant to conduct research on financial and legal factors that might affect the ability of the fund to move resources around the region, with the key aim of making recommendations on how and where to best establish the fund. The consultant(s) will build on the findings of the first phase of research referenced above, by exploring the current financial, legal, and institutional environment for funding and supporting WROs and LBTQI organizations across the Caribbean, providing informed projections for successful implementation. The study should cover the wider Caribbean region. At a minimum, it should include inputs from the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Suriname. It would be useful for this report to extend its research to financial systems in the Spanish, French, and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. Please note, applications submitted by a consulting team would only be considered if one of the team members is based in the Caribbean. As for individual applications, these would only be considered if submitted by a Caribbean-based consultant.
The consulting team or individual consultant will be responsible for conducting secondary research, and primary research, to provide recommendations based on the following guiding questions. The questions below are subject to change over the course of the study based on common agreement between the Equality Fund/Astraea and the consultant(s). Guiding questions:
Structure, Management, and Governance; Mandate and Location
- Geographically speaking, where in the region would it make sense to establish the proposed funding mechanism, not only strategically speaking, but also in terms of legal and fiscal requirements?
- What are the key areas/gaps/ambiguities impacting activist-led and feminist activist-led organizations in receiving the funds from donors, including correspondent banking costs/barriers?
- What are the legal and fiscal requirements of potential host countries for the proposed funding mechanism? Is there any potential for the proposed funding mechanism to exist regionally, or semi-virtually, and what would be the parameters?
- What are the challenges feminist activists and human rights defenders in the region (WROs, LBTIQ rights groups, disability rights groups, trade and labour groups) face when receiving funds from donors?
- What are the requirements from the financial institutions for these groups to receive/withdraw their funds? What are the requirements of current donors to the region?
- Should the proposed funding mechanism be an independent entity or should it be “hosted” by an existing organization that already provides support to human rights and gender justice groups in the Caribbean? What are the pros and cons of each option, from a legal and financial perspective?
- Building on the findings from Phase I of this research, are there any existing organizations in the Caribbean with the legal and/or institutional capacity to host the proposed funding mechanism? What are the different forms that hosting could take? This could range from opening a new “window” within an existing organization to establishing an autonomous entity with its own governance structures, secretariat, and operating procedures within a host organization.
- What are some evidence-based recommendations for the duration a “host” organization should support the fund, and what would a transition plan look like?
- What are the restrictions and impediments that are expected to impact the establishment and functioning of the Caribbean fund?
- What types of national and/or regionally operating financial institutions are ideal for supporting the movement of core, flexible funding, as well as immediate/emergency funding to WROs and LGBTQI activist-led organizations?
- What are the legal requirements and roadmap across the region, particularly within CARICOM member-states, for registering/establishing and operating funding organizations?
- Based on the question above, which challenges, impediments, or restrictions could a fund potentially face within the registration/establishment process, as well as in terms of operations?
- What are the key risks to potential donors/funders, in terms of moving large-scale resources into the Caribbean region?
- Work plan: Develop a detailed work plan based on the inception meeting(s) with the Equality Fund and Astraea, including specific tasks and timelines for the activities that will be conducted in the framework of this consultancy.
- Research: Collect key information through both primary and secondary research. This includes desk research to answer—at a minimum—the key questions above.
- Written report: Produce a detailed written report including an executive summary, background information, approach and methodology, findings, and recommendations based on the key questions above and annexes as needed.
- Research brief: Produce a research brief including the background, main findings, and recommendations of the study conducted, aimed at the main project stakeholders.
- Virtual presentation: Present, discuss, and validate findings with the main project stakeholders.
While working on the above-mentioned deliverables (especially the brief report and full report) the consultant(s) must take into account that these will be used by the following primary audiences:
- The Equality Fund and Astraea staff;
- Caribbean feminist activists, human rights defenders, and the initial steering committee of the Caribbean fund, to help inform and support their resource mobilization;
- Other donors, partners, and fellow members of the above organizations’ networks and alliances in support of potential resource mobilization; and
- Caribbean-based organizations may wish to host the fund for the medium to long term.
This consultancy, along with the work package, is to be completed by January 15, 2024, with an anticipated start date of October 15, 2023. A detailed timeline will be discussed with the successful candidate(s).
- Relevant education and/or tertiary qualification, for example, economics and finance, law, and women’s/gender studies, as core areas that are the subject of this consultancy. Examples of Consultant team composition: A team minimum of 2 with expertise in (a) Financial and (b) Legal/Legislation; or, (a) Caribbean & Gender and (b) Financial, Legal/Legislation; A 3-person team (a) Financial, (b) Legal/Legislation, both with understanding and experience of the Caribbean landscape as related to the subject areas and a Caribbean Gender Expert.
- Strong understanding of Caribbean women’s and LGBTIQ movements and experience working with grassroots/diverse organizations in the Caribbean — Essential.
- A strong understanding of feminist intersectionality and Caribbean feminisms is considered an asset.
- A strong understanding of Caribbean political economy, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and CARICOM free movement of factors is considered an asset.
- Track record of successful consultancies that have focused on women’s rights, gender justice in particular, and experience in resource mobilization and researching funding flows, preferably in the Caribbean region. Knowledge of philanthropy and donor spaces and policies is an asset.
- Based and working in the Caribbean or Caribbean Diaspora. In the case of applying as a team, at least one of its members must be based and working in the Caribbean.
- Proven written and oral communication skills in English.
- Excellent analytical, research, and report-writing skills (including the ability to understand, synthesize, and analyze large-scale qualitative and quantitative data sets).
- Experience conducting multi-country reviews.
- Highly efficient and flexible approach to work, with ease in collaborating with others.
- Highly organized, analytical, adaptive, and responsive to feedback and changes in direction when needed.
- Demonstrated commitment to intersectional feminist approaches and commitment to gender, racial, economic, and global justice.
- Experience working with international donors — Preferred/ not essential.
- Ability to work with limited supervision, as part of a small team, and independently.
Applications will be assessed on the above criteria in addition to:
- Compliance with these terms of references
- Ability to demonstrate an excellent understanding of the tasks involved.
- Realistic in defining the scope of work and approach.
- Proven expertise in conducting similar work.
- Acceptance of terms and conditions.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested candidates should submit their CVs (including all team members), cover letter, and proposal to [email protected] along with the REFERENCE NUMBER: WVLC-2023-10
Cover letters should include the following information:
- Why you are interested in the consultancy, including relevant experience.
- How the consultant(s) meet the required skills and experience outlined.
- Your rate for the consultancy package.
- Your proposed approach to the work, including contacts and networks you would draw on.
- Confirmation of availability in the time frame indicated.
- Contact details of two professional referees relevant to this consultancy.
The closing date to apply for this position is September 20, 2023.