Freedom in Harmony
Freedom in Harmony is a nonprofit in Uganda that aims to end discrimination against LGBTQI individuals, especially among refugees, by advancing social inclusion and economic empowerment. Freedom in Harmony’s advocacy centers around health, human rights, and gender-based violence. It is a grassroots volunteer-based organization with a membership structure that supports a network of primarily LGBTQI beneficiaries. Individuals can join through a lifetime membership or an annual subscription. Membership fees are used for security or crisis response funds, such as emergency resources for victims of attacks. Services and programs span mental and physical health support, legal referrals, economic empowerment programs, and environmental protection initiatives. Freedom in Harmony partners with allied organizations and pro bono experts and relies on volunteer participation of the network members to carry out vocational workshops and offer legal/mental-health consultations. Resources are also offered to non-members, such as access to general mental health information.
Theory of Change
Building self-organized communal support advances networks of solidarity, agency, and human rights.
Members can join health workshops on well-being, physical activity, STI management and HIV prevention/management. They can also receive one-on-one consultations on joining healthcare plans and access to medical care. Freedom in Harmony offers mental health services from certified therapists in their network or from partnering groups. Economic independence programming offers vocational trainings, such as arts and crafts tutorials. Members' revenue from craft sales is reinvested in the program for continuity. Members are provided legal referrals and emergency services. Freedom in Harmony helps survivors of attacks relocate to safety, such as transferring from refugee camps, and secure legal assistance. Freedom in Harmony runs awareness campaigns focusing on combating gender-based violence, transgender discrimination, and raising AIDS awareness to destigmatize testing. On a communal level, members and activist learn strategies for resistance movement building; nationally, Freedom in Harmony identifies and condemns anti-gay lobbying groups in Uganda. The climate justice projects involve clean-ups and sustainable agriculture activities, inclusive of the general community and LGBTQI refugee members. The diverse participation builds bridges across groups and breaks down stigma.
In less than a year, Freedom in Harmony has reached over 70 refugee members and 25 non-refugee members. They serve over 150 beneficiaries in addition to members. Individuals can access repeated services, continuously attain tailored assistance, and initiate programming within the established network.