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Survivor Leadership Fund

The Survivor Leadership Fund is a ground-breaking new fund for survivor-led organisations working to tackle modern slavery.

The Survivor Leadership Fund aims to uplift and support survivor-led organisations by providing unrestricted grants. Organisations can use their grant however they think best to build their capacity and improve their impact. An unrestricted grant from the Survivor Leadership Fund is one step towards shifting the power back to those most impacted – and enabling them to make a real difference in the fight against modern slavery.

Applications for the first round of grants are now invited from survivor-led organisations in Ethiopia, Kenya or Uganda (see below for more details of how to apply).

About the fund

The Freedom Fund believes we have a responsibility to support the leadership of those individuals who have experienced exploitation and oppression. We recognise that initiatives led by those with lived experience play a vital role in meeting the needs of victims and survivors of exploitation. Survivor-led organisations are also ideally placed to provide expertise and leadership in tackling the systems and practices that allow modern slavery to persist.

Yet organisations with survivors of modern slavery in key leadership positions are few and far between. Those organisations which do exist often struggle to access the core funding that enables them to become sustainable and impactful organisations. Too often, they are locked out by the demands of traditional donors, and denied the space to build and grow as an organisation. That’s why the Freedom Fund has created this new, innovative, trust-based approach to funding for survivor-led organisations.

We set up the Survivor Leadership Fund because we believe that survivor-led organisations can – and should – lead the way in the global movement to end modern slavery. Survivors with lived experience of exploitation (including human trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour or forced marriage) know what is needed to support people at risk of exploitation, victims and survivors. They have the legitimacy to advocate for the changes in policy and practice that can bring about an end to modern slavery.

How it works

Each grant will be $15,000. The grant is meant to support the organisation as a whole and can be used wherever the organisation has decided it needs funding. This can be operations, programs, office payments, technology purchases, etc.

This is a new and exciting way to get funding direct to survivor-led organisations – and then trust them to decide how best to use it. We will not require organisations to set outcomes or objectives before receiving the grant, or to submit a formal report. All we ask is that after six months, each organisation lets us know where the funding went and how it supported their mission.

Who can apply and how?

In this first round of grants, survivor-led organisations located in Ethiopia, Kenya or Uganda are welcome to apply. The goal is to expand funding to other global regions in the future.

Organisations that have one or more person in a leadership position who has lived experience of exploitation are eligible to apply. Leadership positions can include directors, deputy directors, senior management and heads of department.

Applications will open 21 September 2021 and will close on 31 October 2021.

Anyone in the organisation can fill out and submit the application – it does not have to be a person who identifies as a survivor. Applicants who meet the grant criteria will be invited for a discussion about their work with a panel of Freedom Fund staff.

If you’re having trouble accessing the application online, please email [email protected] and we will send you an alternative application option.

Click here to view frequently asked questions

For any additional questions or to inquire more information about the fund, please email [email protected]

Additional Resources:

  • Find out more about this program in our Survivor Leadership Fund brochure.
  • Survivor Leadership Fund leaflet.


Photo credit: Jessica Lea for UK Department for International Development, 2014; UK DFID Flickr photostream; Creative Commons License. All photos modified from original colour photo. This photo is intended to be generally illustrative of leadership. The individuals pictured do not specifically represent survivors and/or the activities of survivor-led organisations.

Freedom Fund