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Digital Rights Fund for WANA (DRF) 2024

Digital Rights Fund for WANA (DRF) 2024

Country: Africa
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Digital Rights Fund for WANA (DRF) 2024

Over the years, Digital Rights Fund (DRF)  for WANA supports SMEX in documenting and reporting online human rights violations in West Asia and North Africa, advocating for internet freedom. As they anticipate further challenges in the region in 2024 and beyond, they recognize the need to adapt and intensify our efforts to support digital rights.

In response to these evolving challenges, they are launching the Digital Rights Fund for WANA (DRF). This initiative aims to empower individuals, informal groups, and entities to effectively counter digital rights threats and violations online. Through grants and support (a maximum of $10,000), we seek to foster a more inclusive and equitable digital society, united in protecting digital freedoms even amidst adversity.

Grant Focus Areas

Applicants working on topics related to the below focus areas are encouraged to apply to the Digital Rights Fund for WANA.

  • Surveillance, Spyware and CybercrimeSurveillance has a chilling effect on the work of social justice organizationss.
  • Cybercrime is also on the rise with frequent incidents of hacking, phishing, identity theft, and ransomware attacks.
  • Internet censorship and content moderation: While most countries in the region have constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression, in practice, such guarantees are restricted by vague and broad legislation that violate international human rights standards and criminalize peaceful and legitimate speech.

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  • Supporting Human Rights Defenders: We provide sub-grants to individuals, informal groups, unregistered organizations, and entities working in the WANA region. They are aiming to strengthen human rights defenders and empower them to continue their vital work in the face of digital threats.
  • Promoting Digital Rights: Their sub-grants are designed to support projects that defend digital rights and protect individuals and communities from online threats. they believe that safeguarding these rights is fundamental to achieving social justice.
  • Building Cybersecurity Resilience: In the WANA region, there is a shortage of cybersecurity infrastructure and skilled professionals. Their  initiative seeks to bridge this gap by providing resources and training, enabling organizations to better protect themselves against cyber threats.
  • Advancing Freedom of Expression: They actively support those fighting against internet censorship and content moderation that stifles freedom of expression. By promoting open dialogue, we aim to create a more inclusive and equitable digital society.

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Eligibility for Digital Rights Fund for WANA

To ensure a fair and transparent selection process for the Digital Rights Fund for WANA, they have established clear eligibility criteria and assessment factors. Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements to be considered for the grant:

  • Geographic Focus: Applicants must be based in the Southwest Asia and North Africa (WANA) region, including countries in West Asia and North Africa.
  • Project Alignment: Proposed projects should align with one or more of the specified focus areas, including surveillance, spyware, cybercrime, internet censorship, and content moderation within the SWANA region.
  • Entities: Eligible entities include individuals, informal groups, unregistered organizations, and established entities committed to digital rights in the WANA region.
  • Commitment to Digital Rights: Applicants must demonstrate a genuine commitment to advancing digital rights, protecting freedom of expression, and addressing online threats in the WANA region.

Assessment Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility: The practicality of proposed project implementation strategies and alignment with available resources.
  • Efficiency: The effectiveness and efficiency of proposed activities in achieving project goals.
  • Relevance: The direct relevance of proposed projects to addressing digital rights issues in the WANA region.
  • Effectiveness: The potential of projects to drive meaningful change and foster a more inclusive digital landscape.
  • Sustainability: The long-term sustainability and impact of the proposed initiatives.
  • Alignment with SMEX’s Vision: The alignment of proposed projects with SMEX’s overarching program objectives, emphasizing the protection of digital rights and equitable societal development.


Type of Opportunity Scholarships and Fellowships



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