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Growing the global food sovereignty movement through the Nyéléni Process

May 2023

Resourcing and accompanying movements at the global level

The International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), a global coordination space led by social movements, was created in 2003 to make the participation of fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples, and peasants more effective in global policymaking. Through the IPC, social movements organized the groundbreaking Nyéléni 2007 International Forum on Food Sovereignty in Mali to define a collective strategy to advance the human right to food and food sovereignty globally. Grassroots International supported the organization of the event as well as participating directly as part of the North American delegation formed by farmers, farmworkers, and allies.

Following setbacks over the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, social movements are now striving to regain ground by organizing a new Nyéléni Process. This global process, coordinated through the IPC, includes regional consultations with different social sectors on strategies for addressing critical issues like hunger, patriarchy, climate change, and threats to the territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples, peasants, and other frontline constituencies. As with the first Nyéléni Forum of 2007, Grassroots International is again honored to accompany this process.

A key component of this accompaniment has been fundraising support. Grassroots International has been coaching the IPC fundraising and connecting them with other funders for the past two years. Stefano Mori of the IPC international secretariat shares how they approached us:

When we were looking to increase funding for IPC activities, we contacted Grassroots International because social movements that are members of the IPC were already working with them…Social movements rely on close allies to fund these kinds of events – big events like the international forums on food sovereignty in 2007 and on agroecology in 2015. Support from Grassroots International has enabled us to jumpstart the new Nyéléni Process.

Grassroots International stepped into this role, directly informed by the long-term relationships we have developed with global social movements. Our approach is based on the premise that we are building something together, with a clearly defined role as trusted allies and supporters.

Stefano explains:

[The Nyeleni Process] is a process led by social movements that are global and regional in scale. Grassroots International is one of the first funders that believed in this process. Beyond funding, they have supported us in two other key ways. One is to connect with other allies. This has enabled us to build with different constituencies beyond the existing ones inside the IPC – for example, those working on climate justice and racial justice issues. These other constituencies are relevant to food sovereignty, and Grassroots International already had those connections.

The other support is the connection with other funders, which is really important for us as we plan toward a global gathering in 2025.

As we think about “impact,” this complex picture of supporting social movements long-term comes to mind. Our relationships with social movements run deep and wide, as with our donors, funders, and allies. The “impact” of our work is demonstrated by how reliable and committed we are to fostering relationships between people and moving resources to social movements. And it is never a straight line between points A and B.

After two decades of the IPC and significant advancements in food sovereignty, social movements are still invisible in many philanthropy spaces. But this does not deter them from building relationships with funders who can respect their autonomy while building together – each one with a clearly defined role.

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