A new collaboration has been formed to advance the cause of young women and trans youth’s rights and capacity for collective action. FRIDA: the Young Feminist Fund, Global Fund for Women, Oxfam and the Young Foundation have joined together in RootsLab, which will set up a social innovation lab on a two-year pilot basis in Lebanon to test how to incubate social change driven by young women activists.
The pilot is one of the first fruits of a project which has been in preparation for some time (for an account of its history see the story on the Alliance blog from June this year). Underlying it is the idea that young women and trans people are best placed to devise and develop initiatives to combat inequality and discrimination, but their movements and organisations are often starved of resources. RootsLab will offer a space for collective problem solving and structured support to develop and test ideas for change. One of the ventures is using comics to build a women’s movement, another is engaging women in conflict resolution in Tripoli, a third is building a ‘Geek & Queer’ network for women and queer communities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Though still a relatively niche sector, social innovation labs have become increasingly common – Rockefeller Foundation has a social innovation labs project, BRAC has a social innovation lab so does UNICEF – but RootsLab is nevertheless novel, in the sense that its partners are using social innovation tools as part of a feminist initiative.