Call For Applications: Africa Digital Rights Fund
With a quarter of Africa’s population using the internet and with 76 mobile phone connection for every 100 individuals, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has become pivotal to improving livelihoods and promoting human rights on the continent. However, with rising digital rights violations such as arrests and intimidation of internet users, network shutdowns, and a proliferation of laws and regulations that hamper internet access and affordability, the potential of digital technologies to catalyse free expression and civic participation or to drive innovation is under threat in Africa. Yet many organisations working to defend and promote digital rights face limitations of reach, skills, resources, and consistency in engagement in this area.
To address this, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) has established the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) to offer flexible and rapid response grants to select initiatives in Africa to implement activities that advance digital rights, including advocacy, litigation, research, policy analysis, digital literacy and digital security skills building.
Assessments have found that whereas digital rights advocacy in the region has a large pool of interest, ”it is very shallow, spread very thinly and difficult to sustain”. The policy and practice developments in the region, coupled with the challenges faced by civil society organisations, necessitate partnerships that bring together various competences for advancing digital rights. The ADRF has been developed to strengthen local capacity in evidence-based research, collaborative advocacy and impactful policy engagements responsive to regulatory and practice developments that affect internet freedom in the region.
The ADRF grant amounts will range between US$ 1,000 and US$ 10,000 based on the need and scope of the proposed intervention. The grant period will not exceed six months with an average of 15 grants to be awarded per year.
The Fund will benefit small organisations, including those that do not qualify for support from most funders for lack of registration and institutional capacity to develop applications and manage big projects. It will also benefit organisations and initiatives that need rapid response support to respond swiftly to emerging issues that can not wait for many funders’ lengthy application procedures.
Applications are now open for the period July-December 2019. The deadline for submissions is Friday May 31, 2019. Read more about the Fund and the eligibility criteria here. The application form can be accessed here.