Founded in 2009, Filipino Freethinkers is an Associate of Humanists International since 2019. In 2021, with this new Development Grant Filipino Freethinkers aims to scale up their organizational skills and campaigns, relaunching their websites and creating three different modules to assist humanist activists in the country.
Filipino Freethinkers has been advancing humanism and secular values since it was founded in 2009. In 2019 Filipino Freethinkers has been awarded with a Regional Hub grant to produce a travelling vodcast called “Hello Humanists!“, interviewing humanist activists from South-East Asia. Between 2019 and 2020, Filipino Freethinkers organized five Café Humaniste events on the following themes:
Through its advocacy of progressive causes — feminism, LGBT and sexual and reproductive health and rights, freedom of speech, and secularism — Filipino Freethinkers has shown Philippine society that nonbelievers can make positive contributions, contrary to the immoral and even evil depiction they receive in the conservative mainstream. But although Freethinkers have done both public advocacy and community building — through meetups, forums, social media, and other member platforms and activities — it has mostly operated as a volunteer organization. Although the organization has regularly participated in consortiums funded by grants and received grants directly, most of its activity publicly and for the community have been executed and funded by volunteers, thus not reaching its full potential.
With this Development Grant, Filipino Freethinkers can build on its 12-year foundation and take things to the next level.
The organization can now take steps to create a more formal and sustainable structure that ensures efficient and effective action as it scales both its membership, activities, and advocacy. Aside from scaling ongoing campaigns and activities, it can start venturing into areas previously uncharted for the organization — working with secular foundations and educational institutions, challenging violations of secularism with legal action (although we have done this once already), and doing more activities for the community (including officiating weddings and other secular versions of religious ceremonies). This foundation will also allow us to start paying volunteers, and work on making secular advocacy and community-building a viable career path for some in the secular community.
On top of relaunching the website, Filipino Freethinkers will create three new toolkit modules tailored to support the work of humanist activists in the Philippines: