U.S. Department of State Internet Freedom Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) has released two internet freedom funding opportunities: (1) DRL’s Internet Freedom Annual Program Statement and (2) a DRL solicitation for “Business and Human Rights in the ICT Sector to Advance Internet Freedom.”

  1. DRL Internet Freedom Annual Program Statement
    Deadlines: July 24, 2017 and February 12, 2018

DRL’s annual call for Statements of Interest (SOIs) encourages applicants to “prioritize work in Internet repressive environments” and focus on developing technologies that have “clear regional human rights use-cases or plans for deployment.” Four funding “themes” are prioritized: technology, digital safety, policy and advocacy, and applied research.

  • Theme #1: Technology: Uncensored and Secure Access to the Global Internet - Support for the “development of and support for desktop and mobile technologies that counter censorship and/or enable secure communications.”

  • Theme #2: Digital Safety - “Support, training, and information resources that contribute to greater digital safety for users in Internet repressive societies, including civil society, human rights defenders, journalists, and other vulnerable populations.”

  • Theme #3: Policy and Advocacy - “National, regional, and international policy and advocacy efforts that empower civil society to counter restrictive Internet laws and support policies to promote Internet freedom in countries where the government has adopted, or is considering adopting, laws or policies that restrict human rights online.”

  • Theme #4: Applied Research - “Research efforts to inform and benefit Internet freedom globally.”

There are two deadlines for this request: July 24, 2017 and February 12, 2018. According to the solicitation, SOIs should not request less than $500,000 or more than $3,000,000.

More information and application instructions can be found here: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/271495.htm

  1. Business and Human Rights in the ICT Sector to Advance Internet Freedom Deadline: September 25, 2017

DRL is also seeking applications for “collaborative policy advocacy initiatives to coordinate and amplify existing business and human rights efforts to advance Internet freedom.” This solicitation focuses on advocacy-based efforts led by civil society to promote policies that emphasize human rights among businesses in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, especially among small and medium-sized “tech companies in the start-up phase and in developing countries.”

DRL expects to support “1-2 successful applications” with an anticipated available support pool of “approximately $2,000,000.” According to the solicitation, applicants should not request less than $500,000 or more than $2,000,000. The deadline for this request is September 25, 2017.

More information and application instructions can be found here: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/p/271909.htm

Additionally, a list of other alternative funding sources can be found here: https://www.opentech.fund/apply/alternative-sources-support