The Fund is pleased to re-launch the open call for grant applications to support all human rights issues in the Arab region.
The AHRF grantmaking program will strive to provide long-term, sustainable support to the region’s human rights actors while simultaneously pursuing thoughtful, timely interventions to meet emerging needs on the ground.
In doing so, the Fund, aware as it is of the work of other large funders in the region, positions itself to complement their work instead of duplicating what they do. The Fund retains a high level of flexibility, outreach and mobility that a lot of large funders do not necessarily have. As such, the Fund has devised a Grantmaking strategy focusing on the following:
Who We Fund
The Fund supports primarily actors who would elsewhere be ineligible for funding or for reasons of capacity or otherwise have difficulty securing funding from sources outside the region. The Fund will extend support to the widest range of actors involved in the human rights. Our grantees can be (non-exhaustive list):
- Non-governmental human rights organizations, networks, and coalitions
- Human rights programs and initiatives by other actors’ i.e. local development and other civil society groups, educational institutions, national human rights institutions, duty bearers, professional associations…etc.
- Nascent civil society organizations
- Well-established civil society organizations with a demonstrated record of outreach to emerging actors
- Informal groups that show potential to carry out important initiatives
- Organizations and individuals carrying out human rights work in enforced exile
- Individuals working in the public sphere (on a case-by-case basis).
Where We Fund
The Fund will make grants to support human rights work in the Arabic-speaking region and Arabic-speaking communities in adjacent countries. The Fund defines the “Arab region” as the 22 members of the Arab League. It is understood that the Fund will support the human rights of all in the region, including non-Arab minorities and communities, without any discrimination whatsoever; the “Arab” in the Fund’s name is intended to designate the geographical scope of the Fund’s operations and not the ethnicity of rights-holders.
What We Fund
In order to remain open to the needs of the human rights actors on the ground, and in order to respect the vast differences between the human rights situation in the many countries within its geographic scope, the Fund will support the promotion, protection, and advancement of the full spectrum of human rights – civil, political, economic, social, and cultural – and the human rights of all constituencies, e.g., women, children, minorities, persons with disabilities.
The Fund will not prioritize any human rights issue or constituency in its Grantmaking. Instead, the Fund relies on the local knowledge of the grantseekers to get a clear understanding of the needs and make a decision based on the justification provided by the grantseeker and other knowledgeable sources.
Moreover, the Fund will actively encourage projects that develop new ideas or that take advantage of new opportunities, including: the emergence of previously excluded communities, the relaxation of government restrictions in a particular country, increased public engagement and demands for respect for a particular human right, the formation of networks to work on a specific human rights issue, coalition building, and other developments that provide defenders with a chance to move a human rights matter forward
In its effort to make a difference and fill in the gaps, the Fund will look positively at projects adopting one or more of the following strategic approaches:
- Support to underfunded and new issues/constituencies/actors/methods,
- Support to grass root interventions aiming at mainstreaming human rights within social norms
- Support to long-term investment in human rights work
- Enhancing capacity of civil society’s human rights infrastructure
As a matter of policy, the Fund will support the full range of methods, including (but not limited to):
- Documenting and reporting on human rights violations
- Advocating for government adherence to human rights standards
- Public education to inform people about their human rights and how to exercise them
- Networking and coalition building to carry out human rights campaigns
- Litigating human rights cases before domestic, regional national and/or international courts.
Such flexibility will allow the Fund to remain at the forefront of the needs of human rights actors.
The Fund will award grants up to $40,000 per grant and not per grantee. The Fund will also make multi-year grants for up to three years. The Fund recognizes the difficulties faced by many human rights defenders in securing funds to cover basic operational costs or to invest in capacity building schemes. Thus, AHRF will award grants to support the institutional capacities of the groups (e.g. developing strategies, setting up policies and procedures, etc.). Additionally, it will provide core (operational) support to help groups maintain their core activities or secure part of their running costs.
The Fund’s latest grants were aimed at:
See Our Grantees
The Arab Human Rights Fund will have one funding program that encompasses the criteria established above.
Despite the fact that long term, sustainable sources of funding is a priority for most regional organizations and activists, many human rights actors also require substantial programmatic support in everything from drafting proposals to designing rights-based projects. This is of particular need amongst emergent actors who have no prior human rights experience. Thus, in addition to its grantmaking, the Fund will provide, within the available resources, technical assistance to its applicants and grantees.
Countries in Transition Initiative
Although it does not prioritize any single human rights issue or constituency, the Fund recognizes that the Arab uprisings of the past year and a half have produced unique needs among the countries undergoing a transition. In response to the substantial challenges faced by nascent actors, the Fund focuses on identifying opportunities in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen where timely interventions can have real impact. More specifically, based on consultations with groups in the region, the Fund has identified several areas where there is distinct need for serious work, a good potential for significant impact, and a vital role for human rights initiatives and organizations.
First and foremost there is a need to ensure the direct participation of previously excluded or marginalized communities (women, minorities of all kinds, rural populations, etc.) in the work of reforming, reconstituting and restructuring government, and the institutionalization of that participation moving forward. Second, as policies in all areas of government are revisited, and constitutions rewritten, an extraordinary opportunity exists to advocate for and draft rights-based policies that affirm governments’ obligations in areas of civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Third, substantial investments in human rights training and technical assistance will be needed to reconstitute government institutions to make certain that human rights principles and standards are upheld in their content and operations. Finally, a well-developed civil society with the commitment, capacity and know-how to carry out effective and ongoing monitoring of all government functions is vital to ensuring accountability and protecting what is achieved.
WHAT THE FUND DOES NOT SUPPORT
The Fund’s grants policy excludes the following from eligibility:
- Purchase of real estate or construction of buildings
- Partisan politics
- Religious activities (understood as promoting or negating religion; projects looking at religious conception of human rights are not excluded)
- International organizations directly (can fund local partner organization)
- For-profit activities or enterprises, unless related to organizational sustainability.