Transformative Shifts: From Capacity to Movement Power

The following paper, offered in English, Spanish, and French, explains our approach to "accompaniment," which is an alternative to what funders traditionally call “capacity building,” and helps us build strong partnerships and create lasting impacts with our grantees.

AJWS partners with leaders and organizations in the Global South by providing financial grants as well as what we call “accompaniment”—which means cultivating trusting relationships with grantee partners that foster mutual learning in support of stronger communities and social movements. We have re-envisioned this practice in order to depart from a hierarchical power dynamic between funder and grantee, and instead serve as a partner in community-led change.

AJWS and Accompaniment

Guided by feminist principles and values, we develop collaborative relationships with our partners that are founded on mutual trust and respect. These relationships allow us to accompany partners in a flexible, responsive and ongoing manner that supports their self-identified needs and priorities, as well as contributes to AJWS’s own learning and growth. Acting in solidarity with our partners and respectful of their autonomy, we strategically offer our insights, experience, and resources, and facilitate access to expertise from both within and outside of AJWS. Our long-term partnerships support organizations throughout their evolution to achieve impact, leading to sustainable social movements working toward progressive and deep, lasting change.

As part of our commitment to centering learning in everything we do, we have documented some of the lessons from our experience in this paper. We are piloting measurement approaches that center grantees’ agency and power and are designed to support and strengthen our accountability to them.

For more information about this research, please email