The Community Lab provides services that empower the community to become stronger and vibrant by focusing on cultivating deeper trust relationships, improving knowledge share and collaboration, and supporting and diversifying the next generation of leaders.
We believe that as the global network grows and diversifies to meet more complex challenges, the need to collectively build a collective vision and strategy becomes even more important.
Goals of the Community Lab
Building Community Networks
By nature, the Internet freedom community is global and cross-cultural. We help the community build spaces that empower individuals to network, collectively address existing and emerging needs and opportunities, share resources and knowledge, build synergies, and collectively strategize.
We believe the community should determine the greatest challenges and their needs. Generating collective intelligence about the state of various segments of the field, enables OTF, other funders, partners, and projects better understand how to support the ecosystem, while gaining insight into where and how to target future investments.
As challenges become more localized, it is important to identify and help develop the next generation of leaders within affected communities and relevant areas of expertise.
Diversifying the Internet Freedom Space
All voices should be properly represented in the Internet freedom community, and everyone should feel welcomed and empowered within community. We believe that bringing cross-cultural communications and diversity building strategies to the community is essential for their sustainability.
Project and individuals of the Internet freedom community, regardless of whether they are an OTF awardee, can benefit from the various services.
We can provide consultation to projects on variety of topics ranging from outreach, event management, facilitation, community building, leadership mentoring, situational troubleshooting, business modeling and more.
If you are you working on Internet freedom issues in your local community but need help connecting to the global community, we can help you.
In coming months, OTF will be publishing content pieces that feature various topics relevant to the Internet freedom community.
We facilitate numerous targeted research and development gatherings designed to improve collaboration and knowledge share between projects in specific technology practice areas. In addition, we support a variety of community organized events through monetary support, travel grants, event management, outreach consultation, and with any other event-related needs as they may arise.
The following are things we look for in Community Lab supported events:
- Bring in new voices not well represented in current conversations.
- Improve the knowledge and information available about the current needs of individuals experiencing repressive censorship or surveillance.
- Help create collaboration and intersectionality, including the sharing of resources.
We prioritize new projects that have not received funding in the past, as well as those being organized by the communities most affected by censorship and surveillance. All proposals must go through an internal review process, and funding decisions are left to OTF’s discretion.
NOTE: Please only apply for events that are unscheduled or with a schedule date that is more than 90 days away from the date you request support from OTF. If your event is within 90 days from your request, you should expect us to decline support, as we may not have enough to time to both review and issue a contract for support before the events start date. If the review process has not concluded at least 2 weeks before the event's schedule, you should expect us to decline support, regardless of the submissions current status, again because we may not have enough time to finish our review and issue a contract before the events start date. OTF does not provide support for events that have already happened.
OTF’s Community Lab aims to continue supporting the Internet freedom community build deeper trust relationships and share knowledge. However, given the magnitude of the global COVID-19 crisis, we are taking steps to limit/minimize support for travel and in-person events taking place before July 31, 2020.