The year 2021 was a year of growth on many levels for ISDAO. We grew from a staff of three to a staff of eight, including staff based in countries where we previously had no staff. As an entirely remote and linguistically diverse team, this has meant that we have had to innovate and adopt new ways of working, and learn as we grow. We share some of our learnings in this report.
Secondly, in 2021, ISDAO had its largest grant portfolio to date, awarding 101 grants totalling $1,452,480 in our nine focal countries, including grants from our 3rd regional round, resilience grants and Love Alliance grants. We funded more LBQ and trans-led groups/organisations and other emerging voices in the movement in 2021 than in previous years.
In addition, in 2021, the West African LGBTQI movement began to breathe easy after the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to anchor the movement through our first national fora in Benin and Togo and our visits to grantee partners in all nine countries, including our first visits to Mali and Senegal, we continue to be inspired by the resilience and vitality of the movement.
Looking back at our growth in 2021, we are reflecting on ways to engage other donors through philanthropic advocacy to increase the resources of the West African movement and provide more sources of funding, particularly to new and emerging voices.
Just as ISDAO's origin story is a collection of diverse stories and multiple paths that came together to build ISDAO, 2021 is also a collection of stories for us.
Mosaic of Stories is our recounting of 2021. Enjoy reading it!