Meet the IGNITE Empowerment Grantees

By YVC Secretariat – Wednesday, April 8, 2020

From December to mid-February, Youth Voices Count opened application for their IGNITE! Empowerment Grants. Following the vision of Youth Voices Count in supporting LGBTIQ youth-led initiatives in the region, this small-scale grants program hopes to support youth-led projects working around LGBTIQ+ in countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

In total, YVC received over 40 applications from across the Asia and Pacific region. YVC’s partner organizations CIVICUS, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Asia and the Pacific, UNAIDS Asia-Pacific, ILGA Asia, Youth LEAD, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, and APCOM formed the selection committee. This April, Youth Voices Count finally announces the grant awardees coming from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, and Philippines.

EQUITE SRI LANKA 

Équité Sri Lanka comprises a closely-knit team of multi-disciplinary experts experienced in research and advocacy in a range of development and humanitarian specialties. It was formed (unofficially but with a social media presence) in May 2017 and operated by a group of enthusiastic human rights activists in Sri Lanka. Since then, Équité has been forming a strong network with young volunteers who have roots in various regions across the country, with national organizations such as Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission and Legal Aid Commission and with a range of LGBTIQ NGOs. With a strong grassroots presence, Equité aims to involve community members in the planning and implementation of efforts aimed towards ensuring that LGBTIQ rights are respected and assured in the Sri Lankan context. Internationally, Équité Sri Lanka represents its membership for Men Engage Alliance Global Network to work in Sri Lanka under their SRHR youth project. Additionally, Equité Sri Lanka takes part in Asia Pro bono consortium to report and file the cases against stigma and discrimination face by the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka.

Learn more about their work here: https://www.facebook.com/equitesrilanka/

YA_ALL

Read as “Yawol”, Ya_All in Manipuri translates to Revolution. They are the first youth-queer-led and focused registered Youth Network in the North East Region of India having 8 states and based in Imphal. All the board, staff, and volunteers are under 35 years of age.

Ya_All provides a safe space through their initiative called “Meitram”, the first co-working and networking space run by queer individuals in India. Meitram acts as the Free Resource Hub and supports young and queer persons through free peer counseling, free peer-to-peer training, capacity building, and advocacy to educate, equip, and empower young people and destigmatize the conversations around Sexual & Reproductive health and rights (SRHR), Mental health & well-being, Substance use & Harm Reduction of adolescents, youth and LGBTI+ individuals.

It was formed on May 17, 2017 on International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia as a secret WhatsApp group to discuss personal issues faced by queer youths in Manipur, but due to the increased stigmatization and violence, and the need to create a visible support system for each other, Ya_All came out openly as a collective and now work all through the year as a registered inclusive youth network since June 13, 2019.

Learn more about their work here: https://www.facebook.com/manipur.youthnetwork/

INCLUSIVE BANGLADESH

Inclusive Bangladesh is a non-registered local non-profit and voluntary-based community youth organization run from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Its mission is to construct an inclusive culture through ensuring quality education, addressing hate speech and violent extremism, promoting interfaith dialogue and gender diversity with active participation of youths across Bangladesh.
Its coherent vision is to promote an egalitarian society where the local youths will be in the leading function to empower each other, become future leaders, ensure human rights, and play an active role in constructing a sustainable, efficient, equitable, and peaceful society.

Learn more about their work here: https://www.facebook.com/INCLUSIVEBD/

BAHAGHARI CENTER

Established in 2010, Bahaghari Center contributes towards eradicating discrimination within and against the LGBTQIA community. Their efforts include: 1. LGBTQIA-related studies (e.g. “Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report” for UNDP and USAID, journalistic stylebook for media practitioners covering LGBTQIA issues, and #PreventionNOTCondemnation to identify HIV-related efforts of faith-based organizations; 2. Giving trainings/workshops to LGBTQIA communities on SOGIESC and HIV (e.g.it is the only organization that gives community-based HIV screening training to Deaf Filipinos); and 3. Organizing LGBTQIA gatherings – e.g. in 2017, it oversaw the 4th LGBTQIA National Conference.

Learn more about their work here: http://bahagharicenter.org/

UNIGEN

UniGEN is an LGBTIQ community-based grassroots organization in Ho Chi Minh City. UniGEN’s vision is to promote inclusivity and diversity within and outside Vietnam LGBTIQ community. Since 2015, UniGEN has organized and developed multiple projects to break down stereotypes about the LGBTIQ community, raise visibility, and awareness of minority groups within the LGBTIQ community, promote freedom of love and pride of self. Their values include: Embrace the Diversity – Tolerate & Empathize – Leave no one behind.

Learn more about their work here: www.facebook.com/unigen.lgbtiq

Each grantee will receive financial and technical support from COC Nederlands and Youth Voices Count to implement their projects for LGBTI youth. As the safety of partners is a prime concern, YVC is working closely with these grantees to identify the most feasible and effective way to implement their projects amidst the current health emergency.

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