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As the realities of COVID-19 began to unfold in early 2020, it became clear that girls and young women, trans and non binary people – already battling the compounding effects of patriarchy, white supremacy and imperialist extraction – would be the very worst affected. Like any other crisis, the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the existing systemic oppression and violence that positions girls and young people as particularly vulnerable, especially girls who face multiple forms of oppression.


The Global Resilience Fund was born in May 2020, by those across the funding ecosystem committed to resourcing girls and young feminists’ activism, who recognised that something bold and propositional was required in this moment. Set-up as a temporary, experimental, and rapid response fund, housed and facilitated by Purposeful, it brought together the resources and intellectual energy of 25 funders from a diverse range of institutions, including women’s funds, private foundations, INGOs, multi-laterals, and bilateral agencies. Rooted in the principles of trust, solidarity and reciprocity, they stepped out of the business-as-usual models to find new ways to move flexible resources to girls and young activists and directly support their brave and transformative strategies. The Global Resilience Fund demonstrates that it is not only possible to fund girls and young activists now, but that to do so is essential for our collective liberation.

Women working together in solidarity


The humanitarian sector is divided by siloes that are focused on immediate response needs and are often top-down in their approach, leaving little room for community-based work and much less work led by girls, trans youth and young feminists. Furthermore, traditional humanitarian response efforts often fail to reach adolescent girls and young women and make invisible their incredible work during crises.


In the midst of the pandemic, girls and young activists have demonstrated the transportative power of this moment to visibilise, name, challenge, and re-imagine the root causes and corrupt social contracts, structures, and policies that currently define so much of our world.


Moving resources to young activists is full of complexity, tension, and the profound possibility for transformation, and the Global Resilience Fund demonstrates that a new kind of humanitarian response is possible. It has created a more democratic model of philanthropy by its pooled funding mechanism, shared governance, participatory grantmaking and a rich environment of respect and learning for all stakeholders.

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