The Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) for Digital Right Initiatives 2019, Deadline : 06 December 2019

The Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) for Digital Right Initiatives 2019, Deadline : 06 December 2019

The Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) for Digital Right Initiatives 2019, Deadline : 06 December 2019

About the Fund

The Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) offers 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.

Round two of the ADRF seeks to support initiatives in various thematic areas, including but not limited to the following:

  • Access and affordability
  • Access to Information
  • Cybercrime
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Digital economy
  • Digital Identity (ID)
  • Digital security
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • eGovernance
  • Freedom of expression
  • Hate speech
  • Innovation for democratic participation, transparency and accountability (civic and social tech)
  • Misinformation/Disinformation
  • Network disruptions
  • Strategic litigation
  • Surveillance

Preference will be given to initiatives with aspects of the above and the impact on marginalised/vulnerable populations including youth, women, sexual minorities, persons with disability (PWDs) and refugees. Grant amounts range between US$ 1,000 and US$ 20,000, depending on the need and scope of the proposed intervention. The grant period will not exceed 10 months. It is anticipated that around 15 grants will be awarded in this round.



Why the Fund
Digital rights are increasingly under threat in Africa, yet few organisations are working to defend and promote these rights. Moreover, many organisations active in this area face limitations of reach, skills, resources, and consistency in engagement in digital rights work. With a quarter of the continent’s people using the internet and with 76 mobile phone connection for every 100 individuals in Africa, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has become pivotal to improving livelihoods and promoting human rights. However, 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, undermine the potential of digital technologies to catalyse free expression and civic participation or to drive innovation.

It is crucial therefore to grow the number of organisations that are working to advance digital rights. This necessitates supporting established and emerging digital rights organisations, many of whom find it difficult to sustain their work as they face state repression, stagnant or declining funding, and capacity challenges. The ADRF thus benefits 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. The Fund also benefits organisations and initiatives that need rapid response support to respond swiftly to emerging issues that can not wait for many funders’ lengthy application procedures.

The Fund encourages partnerships between actors, to leverage their collective proficiencies and develop a wide network of active, regionally-based digital rights actors.

General Guidelines
Geographical Coverage
Round two of ADRF is open to organisations based and/or operational in Africa and with interventions covering any country on the continent.

Size of Grants
Grant size in round two shall range from US$1,000 to US$20,000. Cost sharing is strongly encouraged.

Eligible Activities
The activities that are eligible for funding are those that protect and advance digital rights. These may include but are not limited to research, advocacy, policy analysis, litigation, digital literacy and digital security skills building, and participating in digital rights legal and legislative processes.

The grant funding shall be for a period not exceeding 10 months.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The Fund is open to organisations and coalitions working to advance digital rights in Africa. This includes but is not limited to human rights defenders, media, activists, think tanks, legal aid groups, and tech hubs. Entities working on women’s rights, or with youths, sexual minorities, refugees, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The initiatives to be funded will preferably have formal registration in an African country, but in some circumstances organisations and coalitions that do not have formal registration may be considered. Such organisations need to show evidence that they are operational in a particular African country or countries.
  • The activities to be funded must be in/on an African country or countries.

Ineligible Activities

  • The Fund shall not fund any activity that does not directly advance digital rights.
  • The Fund will not support travel to attend conferences or workshops, except in exceptional circumstances where such travel is directly linked to an activity that is eligible.
  • Reimbursements for costs that have already been incurred.
  • The Fund shall not provide scholarships.
  • Fund recipients are excluded from receiving more than one grant at a time.

The Fund is administered by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). An internal and external panel of experts will make decisions on beneficiaries based on the following criteria:

  • If the proposed intervention fits within the Fund’s digital rights priorities.
  • The relevance to the given context/country.
  • Commitment and experience of the applicant in advancing digital rights.
  • Potential impact of the intervention on digital rights policies or practices.






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