Funding for human rights

Global FundingHuman rights work depends on the voluntary efforts and goodwill of activists, concerned citizens, and government personnel. Big transformative ideas, however, also need an organizational infrastructure, and that infrastructure requires resources to thrive. How do human rights groups around the world mobilize the money and other inputs they need? What impacts do these methods have on the work of human rights organizations, and on their relations with governments, the general public, and others? Read on...

Universal values, foreign money: local human rights organizations in the Global South

Despite enjoying a fair bit of local support, local human rights organizations (LHROs) in the Global South are still largely dependent on foreign funds. To better tap into local resource pools, LHROs will have to rethink their funding strategies, and perhaps reconsider some of their activities. עברית, Türkçe, Español, Português, Français, العربية

Latest responses:

Government repression and bureaucratic hoops spell gloom for rights groups in Bangladesh

Mubin S. Khan

Do-It-Yourself-Aid: alternative funding sources for rights work?

Anne-Meike Fechter

Human rights and results-based management: adopting from a different world

Vincent Ploton

Beyond foreign funding – selling human rights in Africa

Charles Kojo Vandyck

Focusing on women and transgenders in LGBT rights

Nicola Desouza

A tax on texting? Getting creative with funding human rights in Africa

Selemani Kinyunyu

Pure hypocrisy: India’s fear of foreign funding for NGOs

Medha Patkar

In India, a pervasive paranoia blocks progress on human rights

Lenin Raghuvanshi

The hypocrisy of foreign funding laws in Ethiopia

Tor Hodenfield

American Jews, money and the Israel-Palestine conflict

Benjy Cannon

Turkey, the EU, and civil society: An incomplete revolution

H. Selen Akçali Uzunhasan

Funding for human rights: the BRAC experience

Ian Smillie

In for a bumpy ride: international aid and the closing space for domestic NGOs

Saskia Brechenmacher and Thomas Carothers

Kenyan rights groups under fire: are officials abusing the “Beijing Consensus”?

Melaku Mulualem

An alternative to international aid

Nora Lester Murad

Exploring local possibilities for local rights

Okeoma Ibe

Brazil needs new public mechanisms and laws to fund human rights domestically

Eduardo Pannunzio

Local funds for local issues: raising the bar

Osai Ojigho

To raise funds, Indian rights groups must emulate the country’s newest political party

Ajaz Ashraf

What's a funder to do?

Rachel Wahl

In defense of 'professional' human rights organizations

Fateh Azzam

Funds and civil liberties

V.Suresh

Can corporate campaigners tap corporate largesse? Unlocking millions for human rights advocates

Chris Jochnick

In Kenya, averting a move to strangle civil society with the financial noose

Maina Kiai

Turkey's human rights groups in a funding squeeze

Murat Çelikkan

From aid to investment: funding women's rights groups

Angelika Arutyunova

Going local

G. Ananthapadmanabhan

Mismatch: why are human rights NGOs in emerging powers not emerging?

There is a perverse see-saw effect in place within the BRICS countries. In Brazil, as the government grows in prominence and companies become more global and voracious, human rights NGOs face a sustainability crisis and find their budgets shrinking. Are these two developments connected? EspañolPortuguês.

Latest responses:

As the world’s eyes turn to Brazil, local rights groups must seize the day

Patricia Mendonça

Brazil needs new public mechanisms and laws to fund human rights domestically

Eduardo Pannunzio

Can corporate campaigners tap corporate largesse? Unlocking millions for human rights advocates

Chris Jochnick

Human rights in Brazil: international funders must empower David against Goliath

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

Funding cannot stop rights abuses

The work of human rights organisations in the occupied Palestinian territories can never end abuses. Only a political solution that ends the Israeli occupation can do that. In the meantime, donors supporting Palestinian human rights work should reduce their bureaucratic demands. עברית ,العربية, Español, Türkçe.

Latest response:

Disputes over foreign funding in Israel mask much deeper issues

Dimi Reider

American Jews, money and the Israel-Palestine conflict

Benjy Cannon

An alternative to international aid

Nora Lester Murad

No shortage of complicity with Israeli occupation

Nora Lester Murad

Time to challenge India for its stranglehold on funding for rights organizations

One of the country’s most informed human rights experts explains how India blocks foreign funding for rights work it doesn’t like. Philanthropists avoid supporting work that will anger the state so the only organizations able to tackle the most sensitive rights issues are those funded by small contributions from ordinary citizens. हिंदीالعربية, Español.

Latest responses:

Modi government cracks down on green NGOs

Praful Bidwai

Pure hypocrisy: India’s fear of foreign funding for NGOs

Medha Patkar

To raise funds, Indian rights groups must emulate the country’s newest political party

Ajaz Ashraf

What's a funder to do?

Rachel Wahl

Funds and civil liberties

V.Suresh

Building a domestic human rights constituency in India

Rita Jalali

Going local

G. Ananthapadmanabhan

Will foreign funding last for those inside Israel who defend the Palestinians?

Israel’s human rights organisations depend on foreign funding to defend the rights of the Palestinians. But as the Middle East is increasingly torn by new conflicts, foreign funding may shift to wider regional and global rights issues. العربية ,עברית   

Latest responses:

Anti-ngo legislation in Israel: a first step toward silencing dissent

Daniel Sokatch
 hspace=

Human rights, democracy, and development: partners at last

The human rights movement, the democracy-promotion community, and development donors have common goals, but they have not always seen themselves as allies. It is quite possible that the three groupings have found more common ground around the concept of a “rights-based approach” to development. Français,  العربية, Español.

Latest response:

Rights-based approaches to development: from rights 'talk' to joint action

Hans Peter Schmitz

Now is the time to invest in China’s nascent rights groups

Even as China grows in wealth, it has yet to fully develop a culture of philanthropy – one that is free and clear of government influence and able to effect real change in human rights. Large donors and Western organizations would do well to pay attention.

The state of global human rights philanthropy

Using the first-ever data-driven effort to track global human rights funding, representatives from two major global funding networks based in the U.S. and Mexico respond to James Ron on the current trends and opportunities of grants for human rights initiatives around the world Españolالعربية, Português

In the Arab region, barriers abound to giving locally

It’s time for a paradigm shift in the Arab region, where local human rights groups are negatively perceived and donors still resist supporting right based initiatives. Españolالعربية, French.

New directions in Southern human rights funding

Too few foundations support human rights in the Global South, and many of those northern funders who do support rights continue to make old mistakes. There are new players in unexpected places, however, who offer promising examples. EspañolFrançais, Português, العربية

Latest response:

Exploring local possibilities for local rights

Okeoma Ibe
 hspace=

The challenge of finding funding for gay rights in Cameroon

When the EU awarded a large grant to Alice Nkom for her work defending gay people in Cameroon it was attacked for encouraging illegal activity. Here Nkom describes the reality of trying to find funds for rights work that the government – and most people in Cameroon  - deplore. Español, Françaisالعربية.

Human rights funding in Brazil

Brazil’s economic success has led to foreign funders pulling the plug on human rights groups but a major education campaign is needed before Brazilian donors will take their place. Español, Portuguêsالعربية. 

Latest responses:

Human rights in Brazil: international funders must empower David against Goliath

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

Introducing this week's theme: Funding for human rights

Human rights work depends on the voluntary efforts of activists, concerned citizens, and government personnel. Big transformative ideas, however, also require organizational infrastructures, and these require resources to thrive.


All articles and responses in date order:

Government repression and bureaucratic hoops spell gloom for rights groups in Bangladesh

Amidst tighter donor budgets for human rights, NGOs in Bangladesh are also grappling with increasingly intrusive governments. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, funding for human rights.

Do-It-Yourself-Aid: alternative funding sources for rights work?

Is “Do-It-Yourself-Aid” the answer to funding rights work? Anne-Meike Fechter describes this model, its funding and related implications, as a contribution to openGlobalRights’ funding for human rights debate. Español

Human rights and results-based management: adopting from a different world

Human rights groups are understandably reluctant to use “results-based management”, but embracing this approach can boost their impact. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Funding for Human Rights.

Disputes over foreign funding in Israel mask much deeper issues

If Israeli human rights groups are labeled fronts for foreign interests due to their funding, what does that make Israel itself? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Funding for Human Rights. العربية  עברית

Modi government cracks down on green NGOs

India’s new Modi government trains its guns on environmental activists. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Funding for Human Rights.

Beyond foreign funding – selling human rights in Africa

Human rights groups can survive in the current funding climate if they shift their focus towards locally driven funding resources. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, funding for human rights. Español, Français

Focusing on women and transgenders in LGBT rights

Nepal is the most open country in South Asia for LGBT rights, but even here, patriarchal biases exclude women and transgenders. Can foreign funding change this? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Funding for Human Rights.

A tax on texting? Getting creative with funding human rights in Africa

For too long, the African Union and its human rights bodies have depended on foreign aid. If the Union implements a radical new financing tax on airline tickets, texts and hotel stays, however, its human rights work might finally become self-sufficient. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Funding for Human RightsFrançais