Call for Proposals: Tech for Democracy - Ensuring Digital Responsibility and Resilience
Global Focus is pleased to announce this call for proposals as part of the newly started “Tech for democracy: Ensuring digital responsibility and resilience” initiative. Global Focus is inviting proposals from Danish civil society organisations, in collaboration with partners in the Global South, for a total of 4 grants of up to 175,000 DKK for projects meeting the criteria described below. The project timeframe is from October 2021 – May 2022 (8 months).
Applications are due by September 14, 2021.
All grants are funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and administered by Global Focus.
For years, civil society, including protest movements and human rights defenders, have used digital tools to mobilise globally, yet struggled to sustain the pressure on those in power and create lasting democratic advancements. Civil society actors, politicians, and others who publicly express their opinions, are increasingly facing disinformation and hate speech online, and particularly women and LGBTQI+ people, are targets of discriminatory online attacks.
At the same time, governments have become more calculated in their digital crackdown methods, taking inspiration from each other on how to best suppress peaceful voices of dissent, and use restrictive legislation, surveillance, internet shutdowns, state-sponsored trolling, etc. Around the world, human rights defenders face imprisonment for expressing themselves online, and government surveillance is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and involves planning and executing phishing attacks against civil society. Internet shutdowns are being used to control democratic involvement during elections and other major political events, and as a tool to silence and exclude specific groups from public involvement. Censorship is also widespread, and especially targets independent media websites.
Large tech companies have developed into major global powers, and subsequently bear a great responsibility to ensure that their platforms are embedded in human rights and democratic values. This applies to both regulating and limiting hate speech and the spread of disinformation, but also taking responsibility to rethink their own algorithms, which currently prioritizes profit over democracy and privacy. Additionally, tech companies are inconsistent in determining which actors they censor and which they do not, sometimes allowing for authoritarian governments and other actors to misuse platforms to spread disinformation and incite violence. At the same time, many human rights defenders have had their accounts closed and their content taken down – oftentimes content which could serve as evidence of human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings.
In the face of these negative trends, civil society is exploring different strategies for using digital tools to fight back against attacks and exclusion, such as developing apps that enable HRDs to alert colleagues in case of kidnapping or unlawful arrest, increasing the reach of advocacy campaigns through social media, or coordinating joint actions through collaborative online platforms. To support these efforts, Global Focus is inviting applications that aim to address the negative trends and further explore joint strategies for civil society to use digital solutions as a means towards a more open and inclusive digital space.
To apply for a grant, applicants must submit the following items in English:
- Application cover sheet and applicant data
- Proposal (see instructions below)
- Line-item budget (totaling no more than 175,000 DKK).
Content of Proposal
In three pages or less describe your proposal. The proposal should address the following topics:
- Identify a clear challenge to democratization in a partner country that the project will be addressing using technology. The challenge must be related to one or several of the following sub-topics:
- Digital mobilisation
- Digital resilience
- Digital responsibility/accountability
- Digital divide (issues surrounding access to digital space)
- Emphasise how the project will be of value to the participating partner organisation. The partner organisation must be situated in an OECD/DAC country.
- Describe how the project aligns with the applicant and partner organisation’s existing line of work/existing project portfolio.
- Provide an overview of the proposed initiative to overcome or ease the identified challenge. Include specific activities and anticipated outcomes.
- Identify which organisations, institutions, and individuals that will be engaged in the activities outlined in the application.
- Provide a proposed activity plan with specific goals and a timeline recognizing that all grant activities must be completed no later than May 31, 2022.
The call is open to any Danish civil society organisation collaborating with at least one local partner organisation situated in an OECD/DAC-country, who is already engaged in activities focusing on either democratization, technology, or both.
In order to be eligible for a grant, the Danish CSO must meet general eligibility requirements as defined by the Danish MFA.
Applications will be evaluated based on the following factors:
- Compliance with eligibility requirements and application instructions.
- Demonstrated need and thematic relevance of the proposed activities to the overall engagement of the “Tech for democracy: Ensuring digital responsibility and resilience” initiative.
- Direct involvement of Global-South partner(s) in the project implementation and direct benefit of expected project outcomes to the Global-South partner(s) and the local, national, or regional CSO environment in general.
- Proposed budget and the apparent value of costs.
- Applicant’s and partner organisation’s demonstrated experience and commitment to the issues and proposed activities, as well as alignment with existing focus areas and activities.
Deadline and How to Apply
Applicants should submit their application no later than September 14, 2021.
Please complete and submit all application documents to
The grant recipient will be required to submit a final report on the activities conducted, outcomes of their project, and use of funds no later than two months after the end of the project period. All grant activities must be completed no later than May 31, 2022.
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