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Freedom Rising

We believe that a powerful frontline movement led by women and survivors is key to advancing the fight against slavery.

Through the Freedom Rising program, we aim to equip and connect a new generation of frontline leaders to drive a stronger, more diverse and representative movement to end slavery.

The lack of female representation in leadership across anti-slavery organisations is glaring, given that women and girls comprise over 70% of those enslaved today. Discrimination based on gender is a key factor that drives exploitation. Yet very few women or survivors are supported to become leaders in the anti-slavery movement.

As a leader in the global movement to end modern slavery, the Freedom Fund recognises the need to incorporate marginalised voices and challenge unequal power structures. In order to ensure that the anti-slavery movement reflects the communities it serves, women, survivors and other underrepresented groups must have greater access to resources, support and leadership opportunities.

The power of Freedom Rising

Freedom Rising builds on the Freedom Fund’s existing programs and enables us to scale our impact by equipping individuals with the necessary skills, networks and support to lead more effective organisations and build collective power. It is unique for its:

  • Explicit focus on elevating emerging leaders, especially those who have traditionally been excluded from positions of leadership such as women and survivors
  • Grounding in local context, with local training in leaders’ own languages
  • Emphasis on building stronger and more strategic organisations
  • Ultimate goal of building a more effective and inclusive movement.

Program structure

The ultimate goal of this program is to create the conditions in which a powerful women and survivor led anti-slavery movement can take root and grow. To create these conditions, transformative change is required at three levels – the leader, the organisation, and the movement.

Each cohort of leaders will receive 12 months of leadership and technical skills training, focussed on personal growth and leadership development, organisational management, best practices in anti-slavery interventions, and movement-building. The training will be complemented by ongoing efforts to strengthen leaders’ networks and support them to play more active roles in the global anti-slavery movement. After completing the year-long leadership training, participants will be formally introduced to the program’s alumni network, enabling them to continue to build and strengthen connections at the local, regional and international levels.

Supporting and promoting women leaders

Freedom Rising aims to directly address the lack of support for and representation of women in the anti-slavery movement. The recruitment process will prioritise female candidates and focus on reducing barriers to their participation. Course content will highlight the experience of existing and emerging female anti-slavery leaders and cover issues such as bias, discrimination, diversity in hiring and succession planning. Both male and female participants will be equipped to identify and understand gender power structures and become advocates for gender justice both within and beyond their organisations.

Launching a global program

Following an initial pilot in South India in 2020, the Freedom Fund will roll out the program to other parts of India, Nepal, Thailand, Ethiopia and beyond.

The Freedom Fund is grateful to the following donors for their foundational support for the Freedom Rising program: C&A Foundation, Stardust Fund, The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and UBS Optimus Foundation.

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