Our Approach

“The Fund’s approach is driven by its professionalism and its staff members’ deep understanding of the difficulties that human rights defenders face in undemocratic countries.”
Mamadou Boussouriou Diallo, Youth Coalition for the Defense of the Rights of Victims of Violence in Guinea

The Groundwork

The way we identify and work with human rights groups is critical to their success, as well as ours. Using their deep knowledge of the region, our staff members work closely with the local activists who are accelerating progress on the ground. We embrace their agenda, while sharing our considerable in-house expertise and experience, along with our financial resources. We do not impose our own agenda as a condition for our support. This builds stronger organizations and movements and gives our donors the opportunity to get their contributions closer to the ground in a strategic, relevant, well-informed way. It’s an on-the-ground, grassroots approach that gets results and sets us apart from other organizations.

In our grant-making, the Fund strives to be flexible, courageous, and responsive to needs on the ground. We give general support grants whenever feasible because we believe that activists themselves know best how to allocate their resources. Roughly half of the Fund’s board members are activists to ensure that perspective is embedded in decision-making. Fund staff reflect the courage of the activists we support through a willingness to take calculated risks in supporting emerging organizations or untested, but innovative approaches.