Ford Global Fellowship, Ford Foundation’s initiative to end COVID-19 disparities

Ford Global Fellowship, Ford Foundation’s initiative to end COVID-19 disparities

IO – Ford Foundation launched Ford Global Fellowship in 2020. It is a
global program initiated in New York, the United States, with the purpose to identify, connect, and support the visions and missions of social justice oriented leaders with innovative solutions to end the impact of sociocultural disparities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was created based on the theory of change management in Ford Foundation, who believes in investing in the 3I to bring about change: Ideas, Institutions, and Individuals. In the end, these solutions will also
help Indonesia mitigate its own economic, gender, socio-cultural, literacy, and climate change disparities.

A SMERU Institute study found that the projection of the increase in our poverty level thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic is 0.5%, or more than 1.3 million Indonesian citizens will become newly-poor thanks to the disease. Indonesia’s Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani further reports that disparity between genders, between tribal and mainstream communities, majority and minority races and religions, and between physically able and disabled people become more pronounced since COVID-19.

“Ford Global Fellowship encourages its beneficiaries to grow leadership skills together, to help each other, and to reach towards audiences that they may have not reached out to before, including in philanthropy. Each of our Fellows will receive a grant of USD 25,000.00 to support the success of their program to mitigate disparity,” said Alexander Irwan, Regional Director of Ford Foundation Jakarta.

This year, Ford Global Fellow ship presents 48 selected Fellows, twice the number in the previous year. This increase is Ford Foundation’s strategic response in its effort to mitigate the continued increase of disparities thanks to the pandemic, including disparity of vaccine access, job uncertainty, climate change intensity, narrowing of civilians’ movement space, and the disparity between races and genders in all regions.

“We sped up the development and expansion of the Ford Global Fellowship program because this moment of crisis requires stronger, braver commitment to the creation of a fairer and equal future,” said Adria Goodson, the Fellowship’s Director. “Those who live in constant touch with injustice can generate better solutions for local challenges caused by
global disparity. Even more than before, these new social leaders from all over the world need each other to speed up and strengthen the implementation of their ideas. Our purpose is to support them by
helping them build the necessary institutions and networks so that
they can implement their actions sustainably.”

In response to the crisis situation, 24 Ford Global Fellows from 2020 will extend their intensive participation period and join this year’s 48 Fellows, making a wider, stronger network and community of 72 Fellows in social justice that can better push for the implementation of ideas and solutions for various issues, obstacles, sectors, and situations.

“The Ford Global Fellows come from different social background,
scientific fields, and use different approaches in their effort to mitigate disparity – by advocating the rights of girls and women, securing the
rights of tribal and traditional communities, raising the political and economic power of disabled people, along with others. They are the
selected leaders who know how to take what they need from their life experiences to better mitigate disparity,” Alexander Irwan said.

This year, six of the Fellowship’s members come from Indonesia: Aisyah
Ardani, Dicky Senda, Aristofani Fahmi, Dhyta Caturani, Devi Anggraini,
and Sely Martini. With their fellow equality activists from various countries, they will share their experiences in mitigating disparity:
the situation and challenges faced by their respective communities, as
well as their innovative solutions.

With a reserve of USD 50 million until 2030, the Ford Global Fellowship means to establish a strong network comprised of 240 new generation members. “We hope that the meetings and talks between these innovative leaders can help their success in mitigating the deepening disparity thanks
to COVID-19,” Alexander Irwan said.