Rainbow Advocacy Program


Rainbow Advocacy Program (RAP), implemented with kind support of ILGA World and Sida, is a 13-month-long training and mentoring opportunity for LGBTIQ+ activists from Global South and East to affect change at home through UN advocacy. The program is visionary as well as unique in its approach to combining both the human rights and the development frameworks, especially the Agenda 2030. Participants will gain hands-on advocacy experience by engaging with UN processes, learning from experts and peers, and by implementing an advocacy project in their constituencies.

Rainbow Advocacy Program – RAP 2018


First Phase: September 5 – 14, Geneva, Switzerland

Second Phase: October 2018 – July 2019

Third Phase: One week in July 2019, NY, USA


Deadline to apply: May 15th, 2018


Please go through this document carefully and make sure to refer to the participant check-list before applying.

Over the years, the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) persons have gained substantial progress at the United Nations, thanks to the brave and tireless works of activists, civil society, diplomats and other individuals. LGBTIQ activists have also been utilizing various UN mechanisms to push for changes in the ground. However, there exists a considerable gap in terms of access, capacity, skills, resources and participation of underrepresented LGBTIQ activists from Global South and East when it comes to UN advocacy.

With this situation in mind, RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer rights, has initiated the Rainbow Advocacy Program (RAP) aiming to address some of the manifold gaps and challenges. The program is informed by the results of the pre-study, which included an online survey, desk research and in-depth discussions with Global South and East LGBTIQ activists and other relevant actors.

  1. The Program

Rainbow Advocacy Program (RAP) is a unique opportunity for underrepresented LGBTIQ activists from the Global South and East to learn, network, collaborate and gain hands-on experience on UN advocacy.

Each cycle of the program is divided into three phases: an intensive training coinciding with a UN advocacy forum, a follow-on advocacy project and a final convening during another high level advocacy forum. A mentorship component of the program will enable participants to have continuous access to expertise during the implementation period of the advocacy project. Moreover, a small-scale financial support will ensure that the participants have the necessary resources, along with the network and skills gained through the trainings, to implement the project. A digital learning platform will work as the go-to knowledge hub enriched with relevant contents for the program.

  • Objectives

The main objective of the program is twofold: strengthen advocacy capacity of LGBTIQ organizations from Global South and East and facilitate participation of underrepresented groups in the international advocacy forums. In doing so, the program aims to:

  • Provide learning-by-doing opportunity to activists
  • Share knowledge, information, resources, network and contacts
  • Provide access to UN advocacy spaces
  • Sustain UN engagement in an informed, effective and safe manner
  • Secure more spaces for the civil society at UN forums
  • Create a pool of community experts to engage in international advocacy


  • Content

The training program is visionary as well as very unique in its approach to combine both the human rights and the development frameworks. In the survey carried out during the pre-study, almost 70% of the respondents suggested including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the course content. They emphasized on merging the tried and tested human rights mechanisms with the potential of the SDGs to push for LGBTIQ rights globally. A dedicated team of consultants researched, mapped and analyzed Agenda 2030, SDGs and other development frameworks and their application to the lives of LGBTIQ people in Global South and East. Based on this, they developed the structure and content for a comprehensive and easy training module.

A very important aspect of RAP is the hands-on advocacy experience. Each cycle of the program is planned to coincide with the Human Rights Council (HRC) session and the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development Agenda. Participants will be spending a good portion of their training period by being present in those forums and by actively engaging in a manner that suits their needs and context best.

In addition to the specifically designed theoretical and practical contents, participants will be learning from their peers with mentors honing their knowledge and skills.

The training and all the materials will be in English.

  • Cost

RFSL will bear all the costs related to the training for all the selected participants, except local travel within participants’ own country e.g. to and from the airport. Moreover, a small financial support will be provided to participants to implement their advocacy projects. Adequate per-diem will also be available for the duration of the training.


  1. The Participants

The targeted participants of RAP 2018 are LGBTIQ activists from countries in the Global South and East as listed by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Applicants who are from DAC listed countries but living/working in another country are also welcome. You are eligible to apply for the Rainbow Advocacy Program if you:

  • Are ready to commit to the full 13-months period of the program
  • Are from a country in Global South and East according to the list of Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Click on this link to see if your country is listed under DAC: https://goo.gl/kF4cqr
  • Self-identify as part of the LGBTIQ+ community
  • Have 1-3 years of advocacy experience, locally, nationally, regionally or internationally
  • Have basic knowledge about international human rights mechanisms
  • Belong to an LGBTIQ organization
  • Have a role in the organization which includes advocacy work
  • Your organization is working, or planning to work, with international advocacy as part of its strategy for the coming years
  • Can freely communicate in English, both in written and oral form

Priority will be given to underrepresented groups, especially women of color, trans, and intersex individuals from the regions.


  1. The Application Process

Eligible applicants are welcome to fill out the online form, which cannot be saved but can be worked on for as long as the tab is open. So please make sure you have a stable internet, power connection and other documents ready before starting to fill out the form.

Initial screening will be based on the quality of the application. Make sure to submit a complete application package including:

  • the completed form, CV,
  • one recommendation letter from the organization head and
  • a proposal for the Learning on the Spot Advocacy project.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applicants selected during the initial screening will go through an oral interview in May 2018 before they are informed about the final selection in June 2018.


About the Learning On The Spot (LOTS) Advocacy Project

Selected participants will have the opportunity to plan and implement a LOTS advocacy project that they think would best fit their local context. Rainbow Advocacy Program will assist the participants with mentoring and small-scale financial support for the project.

The idea behind the LOTS Project is to enable participants to employ their newly learned knowledge and skills in a practical setting. It is up to the participants to decide the kind of project they want to implement but ideally the project should be connected with the theme of the training i.e UN advocacy to push for change. It should be a small one lasting for 10 months with achievable activities and objectives. Participants should be able to work on the project while continuing the regular work with their organization. A LOTS project could help participants attend some UN events, prepare original resources or translate resource materials into local language, provide trainings to local activists, launch advocacy campaigns, hire a part-time advocacy personnel, create or update organization’s existing advocacy strategies, create advocacy materials, and carry out data generating activities etc. The options are limitless!

The proposal for the LOTS Project will determine a participant’s selection to a significant extent. In order to submit the proposal, applicants should download the template (link below), fill it up and upload it to the application form.


  1. The Timeline

The first phase of the first cycle will take place from September 5 – 14, 2018 under the auspices of the 39th HRC session in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants are expected to arrive on September 4 and depart on September 15. The following 10 months will be the second phase i.e the implementation period of the advocacy project. And the participants will convene again for the third phase during the HLPF in New York, USA in July 2019. The final report on the follow-on project and other necessary documents are expected within September 2019. Participants are required to remain available and engaged for this entire period in order to be eligible for the certificate of completion.


Different phases of each cycle


  1. The Organizer

RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights, is a non-profit organization founded in 1950.

RFSL works locally, nationally and internationally and is an ever-growing organization with about 7000 members and 38 branches all over Sweden. Internationally, RFSL is recognized and respected as an experienced and accomplished organization. Our international work has been built upon more than 35 years of experience and lessons learned from our commitment to global LGBTQ rights when RFSL joined ILGA in 1979.

Some of the core values of RFSL’s international work are meaningful participation by rights holders, gender equality, non-discrimination, transparency, and sustainability.


Click on this link for the Application Form: https://goo.gl/forms/jmUlEb3VjijRBrju2


Click on this link to download the template for Learning on the Spot Advocacy Project: RAP Project Template


For more information, please contact: rainbow.academy@rfsl.se