Check out the 2018 IFF Fellows and the 2017 IFF Fellows

The 2019 IFF Community Development Fellows Program


Become an IFF Community Development fellow and be part of a pioneer program to inspire and empower the voices of Internet Freedom throughout the world!

At the IFF, we believe that the Internet is a community of communities. As the global community of Internet Freedom defenders grow, so does their demand for community development initiatives. Connecting, and empowering diverse and inclusive communities is a fundamental aspect for the defense and promotion of Internet Freedom globally.

That’s why we are launching the new Internet Freedom Festival Community Development Fellowship – the first fellows program in the Internet Freedom field focused on community development.

In the 6 months of the program, fellows will identify, connect, and grow local communities working to defend a free and open Internet. In addition, fellows will play a key role in the Internet Freedom Festival, curating the programming that inspires and empowers the voices of the Internet Freedom communities throughout the world.

The IFF Community Development Fellows Program is a great way to contribute your expertise, meet incredibly people from around the world working on Internet Freedom, empower your local community, and learn from individuals in other regions working on similar issues.

The IFF Community Development Fellowship is possible thanks to the generous support of:

A Pioneer Program

The fellows program will serve as a foundation for future community development initiatives to build upon. It represents a next step in Internet Freedom community development, as a pioneer initiative with the potential to influence community work globally, thanks to the highly diverse IFF networks.

The IFF Community Development Fellows Program aims to:

Identify, empower and connect new and existing local groups to cultivate a vibrant network of Internet Freedom defenders.

Gain a detailed understanding of local needs and challenges.

Understand how local networks form and how to connect them globally.

Elevate voices of underrepresented communities.

Provide support and professional development for young emerging leaders.

Curate the most impactful, diverse and inclusive program for the global IFF, and establish strong local networks for regional IFFs and permanent local workgroups.

The 2019 IFF Community Development Fellows

On the Frontilnes Fellows





Khin is a feminist, digital rights activist and digital security trainer. She works with Phandeeyar as a Digital Rights Manager. She wants to make the internet safer and open for people in Myanmar and in particular activists, human rights defenders, investigative journalists and lawyers who are taking on sensitive issues.

Alaa Ghazal


Alaa Ghazzal


Alaa believes in the impact of voluntary and collective action. He is also interested in raising awareness of the importance of digital security and safety, privacy and open source. Alaa works to support institutions, groups and initiatives that are active in the fields of human rights, feminism, labor rights, sexual rights and civil society, for them to be able to work in a technically safe environment. He works as a security and technical consultant to a number of women’s organizations and groups, as well as human rights and civil society in the Middle East. He develops training manuals and digital security policies, and prepares trainings and awareness sessions on digital security and privacy. Alaa studied electromechanics, then systems engineering and computer networking in Syria.

The Next Net Fellows


Digital Grassroots



Esther is a youth leader passionate about gender, digital literacy, and grassroots advocacy. She is Founder of SAFIGI Foundation, and President of Digital Grassroots. She is a 2019 Engineers Without Borders CA Kumvana fellow, a Mozilla Open Leader, Internet Society Youth@IGF fellow, an open knowledge advocate, and a champion for capacity building of youth and girls. Esther graduated Summa Cum Laude in Multimedia Journalism, and is a contributor on and She is an upcoming African female novelist, working on her debut fantasy novel and does photography in her free time.

Pellaeon works to promote information security and digital rights at Open Culture Foundation. He has contributed to local FOSS and infosec communities, such as COSCUP (Conference for Open Source Coders, Users and Promoters), SITCON (Students’ Information Technology Conference), HITCON (Hacks In Taiwan Conference). He also contributes code to many FOSS projects, such as Nextcloud and bsd-cloudinit.

Training and Best Practices Fellows

Sophina Kio-Lawson




Sophina Kio-Lawson is a researcher and security professional who has worked on providing digital and holistic security support to various communities and organizations in Nigeria. She has collaborated on writing the guide SafeOnline and localizing SafeTag for Nigerian auditors and researchers. She is focused on enhancing and engaging human rights activists, civil societies and media organizations with best digital security practices. Through her passion for cybersecurity and knowledge sharing, She co-founded an initiative called SheSecures which empowers young African women to pursue careers in digital and cybersecurity.

Mykola Kostynyan




Mykola Kostynyan is a digital security consultant, auditor, trainer and community engagement manager based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mykola is currently working with organizations in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine. Mykola is a member of the FreeNet coalition which promotes Internet Freedom in Ukraine. Mykola believes in organizational security and the risk mitigation approach.

Hacking the Net Fellows

Yomna Nasser

EFF + Berkman Klein Center



Yomna is a technologist at the EFF, a research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center, and a lifelong activist. Previously she worked on Certbot (formerly known as the “Let’s Encrypt client”) and is now focused on cell phone surveillance research.

Community Resilience Fellows

Colores Mari




I’m a social communicator-journalist in Latin America (from Medellín, Colombia). I’m interested in the convergence between narratives and communication tools that facilitate the development of social processes and the reduction of inequality, from the perspective of protection and promotion of human rights.

Tamika Lewis is an organizer and artist dedicated to advancing Queer People of Color and marginalized communities. Originally from New York City, they currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they coordinate various statewide initiatives that focus on collaborative efforts, youth, movement mapping and data collection, civic engagement, and community development within an equity and social justice framework. They have an overall passion for supporting local initiatives, develop local youth leadership, and securing resources to help unify and advance the efforts of marginalized community members. Tamika has a degree in Social Work and an MS in the Science of Creativity, with a concentration on Program Development from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Policy, Privacy and Advocacy Fellows

Laura Schwartz-Henderson

Internet Policy Observatory


Laura Schwartz-Henderson manages the Internet Policy Observatory at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Through the IPO, she works with a diverse group of researchers, activists, lawyers, technologists, designers, and policymakers to produce innovative and impactful internet policy research and create trainings and in-person events meant to build research capacities and facilitate collaboration between scholars and practitioners. Her research interests are related to the mechanisms through which technology mediates civic engagement and activism in diverse political systems; the effects of international aid processes and priorities on civil society outcomes; and the role of art and design in political change. She received her Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor’s degree in International Development and Culture from McGill University.

Maya Kamble

Equality Labs


Maya Kamble is a seasoned technologist with 15+ years of experience in AI, Machine Learning, Computational Vision and Augmented Reality. She is also passionate about Human Rights, especially Dalit Women’s rights. She has been instrumental in leading educational workshops in India to Empower Women. She has also been learning and attending conferences like WSIS in Tunis since 2005. With the current trends and looking at how technology has influenced and shaped democracies, she wants to share her expertise to protect human rights and democracy.

Journalism and Media Fellows

Don Evans works on independent media projects in China. Their main project is iYouPort, created in 2015 to cover current affairs news. They soon discovered that the biggest problem in China is that people don’t understand the importance of privacy and the best way to use the Internet. iYouPort now focuses on providing privacy security knowledge and technology information.

Arzu Geybulla

Freelance journalist



Arzu Geybulla (Kurtulus) is Azerbaijani columnist and journalist, with special focus in human rights and press freedom in Azerbaijan. Some of her work has been featured on Al Jazeera, Open Democracy, Eurasianet, Foreign Policy Democracy Lab, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty as well as Meydan TV, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso and Global Voices. She is the recipient of the 2014 Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In 2014, Arzu was featured on BBC 100 Women Changemakers. Arzu recently completed her research on information controls in Azerbaijan at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard and is currently working on her book about Azerbaijan’s political dissidents, documenting their stories and struggles.

Why become an IFF Community Development fellow?

Becoming a fellow, you will play a significant role in working towards these goals, and ultimately impact the health of the community, which is a fundamental element in the defense and promotion of Internet Freedom globally.

Full travel support will be provided to all the fellows who do not have access to other resources to attend the Internet Freedom Festival. Please note that we do not provide monthly stipends.

Naomi Fontanos
Transgender Rights Activist.
“Internet Freedom: Present and Future” 2018 IFF fellow

As someone who advocates at the intersection of gender, sexuality,technology, internet and human rights, the Internet Freedom Festival’s fellowship gave me a deeper sense of community by connecting me with so many like-minded people. Being a fellow, I was able to work with a diverse group of people from all over the world and gained new friends and comrades in the process. The fellowship also gave me a chance to have a more meaningful understanding of internet freedom issues outside the Southeast Asian/Asia Pacific region and equipped me with a clearer social justice lens with which to view issues surrounding the digital rights space.

The fellowship for me was a good experience overall because it gave me a chance to intellectualize and think more analytically about the internet freedom movement, but also brought me out of my comfort-zone to study more technical issues like artificial intelligence, digital security, net neutrality, internet shutdowns, among others, and how these intersect with issues of access, privacy, freedom, personhood, and liberation.

As a feminist, it also gave a me a platform to call people’s attention to issues close to my heart such as gender-based violence, movement building, and working towards a feminist internet.

Dalit Dhamma
Human Rights Activist, Digital Security Trainer.
“On The Frontlines” 2018 IFF fellow

“The IFF Fellowship allowed me to develop my leadership and expertise skills in the International space, as well as learn from others in different regions who have gone through similar challenges. I feel much more confident in my role and knowledge within the Internet Freedom community thanks to this experience. I think this fellowship is a good stepping stone for emerging leaders who are working to ensuring that the voice and perspectives of their community is represented in the larger Internet Freedom community and, most importantly, start exercising more ownership over the solutions, strategies and vision.”

Time Commitment



IFF Fellows are known for being good listeners and strong bridge builders. They serve the IFF in the same way they serve community, bringing the desires, topics, and goals they think about and work on throughout the year in concert with festival participants.

As a team, you will review all incoming session proposals, help guide presenters before and during the IFF, work towards creating stronger bonds between their communities and other global ones, and make sure the constantly evolving set of individuals and organizations working for Internet Freedom around the world are well-represented at the gathering.

Selection Criteria

Every year, the IFF team receives a list of potential nominees from two sources: an open call where people can nominate themselves and others, and recommendations from past fellow cohorts.

The IFF team will select a group of 12 individuals representing specific countries, regions, and/or underrepresented communities, and assign them to one of the programmatic themes. Fellow selection will reflect proper regional and gender diversity.

Fellows may bring different specialties, including, but not limited to: in data visualization, design, software development, storytelling, digital security training, journalism, activism, research, and policy analysis. While they may not have a long previous experience with Internet advocacy, policy or activism, they should have a spirit of solidarity and community health, and displaying a collaborative and fair approach in their interactions, and a willingness to go above and beyond for the members of their communities.

The main requirements to become an IFF Community Development Fellow are:

  • Commit to be at the 2019 IFF (April 2019).
  • Enjoy helping people and seen as trusted node in their community.
  • Strong sense of equality, and a passion for community building and collaboration.
  • Dedicate a minimum of 3 hours a week for the length of the program.

Core Responsibilities

  1. Community building by establishing connection with the different groups working in the field in their specific region or community, creating and leading a local IF Community Group, and arranging monthly meetups.
  2. Collaborating actively with the 2019 fellowship cohort peers, following the direction of the fellowship lead, and participating in monthly calls and other community events, as needed.
  3. Helping design and curate the IFF program by reviewing and rating the sessions submitted through the IFF call for proposals, and providing guidance to session and workshop presenters as needed.
  4. Attend the the 2019 Internet Freedom Festival and showcase the initiatives developed during the fellowship program, and serve as a point-of-contact for presenters of sessions and workshops.
  5. Be an active contributor to the work, culture and mission of the IFF. This includes communicating and sharing their work on an ongoing basis through things like blog posts, and promoting IFF updates through local networks, such as the call for proposal and the Diversity and Inclusion Fund.
  6. Write a final report encompassing theme-related outcomes and stories to be shared with the community. This includes setting up data capturing processes, and capturing outcomes and stories during the IFF.
  7. Share feedback about the program to improve the 2020 fellowship program.