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.

Fellowship Applications Open
Through August 27th!

Apply to become a Fellow

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.

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.

Fellowship Applications Now Open!

Apply to become a Fellow

Core Responsibilities

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Share feedback about the program to improve the 2020 fellowship program.

Meet our previous fellow cohort

Training and Best Practices Fellows

Sergio Araiza

Sergio is a well-respected leader in digital activism and computer security for civil society organizations and activism groups in Mexico and throughout Latin America. An Internet Security consultant by trade, he is one of the founding forces behind SocialTIC A.C., a member of Internet Society Mexico and a trainer in Internet Security and Privacy for the Defense of Human Rights. Sergio is a graduate of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico.

Ramy Raoof

OnTheRocks: Tech+Privacy+Security

Ramy interacts with a wide spectrum ranging from NGOs, journalists, lawyers, politicians and artists on the intersection of tech and social causes mainly on privacy and security, by devoting his skills as a techie and passion for free/open culture. Ramy develops privacy protocols and in his research he focuses on surveillance patterns and holistic privacy. Among different hats, he is Senior Research Technologist at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Research Fellow with Citizen Lab.

Iryna Chulivska

Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine

Iryna Chulivska works as a project coordinator and campaign manager at Ukrainian NGO Institute of Mass Information, which protects freedom of speech and journalists’ rights. She works as a trainer on digital security for journalists, human rights defenders, activists and others. Together with other trainers and specialists she is a co-founder of Digital Security Lab Ukraine. Iryna has a degree in Journalism and graduated from the ISC Project ToT program on digital security.

On the Frontlines Fellows

Lobsang Gyatso Sither

Lobsang is a Digital Security Trainer working on increasing the capacity and awareness in the Tibetan Community both in Exile and inside Tibet. As the Director of Digital Security Programs at Tibet Action Institute, he has worked on developing community specific technologies and content for his community in collaboration with developers and researchers, and delivering them through customised training and public awareness campaigns.

Dalit Dhamma

Equality Labs

Dalit Dhamma is a Human Rights Activist, Digital Security Trainer, and a student organizer from India. Coming from a South Indian Buddhist family she resolved to work for the Dalit Bahujan liberation early on in her life. She has been involved with various Buddhist and Human Rights organizations on a voluntary basis since 2005 and trained many Dalits Bahujans, women, youth and children across India.

Dr. Oussama Jarrousse


Oussama cares deeply about democracy, civil society and human rights. He has devoted his engineering and technology skills to support peace-building efforts in Syria over the past three years. Working on capacity-building for fledgling Syrian civil society organizations, especially in the areas of information integrity, digital safety and security, and institutional policy development, he looks forward with hope to the day when these issues will be at the top of the agenda for Syrians writ large.

Policy, Advocacy & Research Fellows

Andreas Reventlow is the Programme Development and Digital Freedom Adviser at International Media Support (IMS) where he works with journalists and human rights defenders to promote standards of professional journalism, digital security and internet freedom. He is responsible for developing new programmes in countries in conflict and fragile states, with a focus on the MENA region. He has published on issues such as media and conflict, internet governance and free speech online.

Tawanda Mugari

Tawanda Mugari is a Zimbabwean based Digital Security Trainer and co-founder of Digital Society of Zimbabwe, a voluntary network of technologists and trainers that specializes in building the digital resilience of human rights defender communities at risk. He has a background in management information systems and is a researcher of ICT innovations for developing countries. Passionate about Human Rights & Gender issues, Tawanda also is a lecturer at a local women’s university covering Management Information Systems, and Internet Fundamentals.

Mahsa Alimardani

Mahsa is an Internet researcher focusing on human rights and technology in Iran. Mahsa did her undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Toronto, and her Masters degree on social movements and technology in Iran. She is currently doing her PhD at the Oxford Internet Institute, while working on digital rights projects in Iran with Article 19.

Making Better Tech Fellows

Jaume Cardona

Jaume Cardona has a background in software development and computer security. He is the chief technology officer at Huridocs, an NGO supporting human rights organizations in their information technology needs: data science, digital security, machine learning, websites and visualizations.

Paola is a self-taught systems programmer from Mexico City. She is a long-time advocate for public access to information, an open source veteran and community builder, and a talented programmer and data scientist with a history of work for social justice causes ranging from community over-policing to solving local transportation issues. Paola is originally from Mexico City and is currently based in Boston, MA.

Tom Ritter is a distinguished security engineer and recovering consultant now at Mozilla, working on anti-exploitation, Tor, and other new and evolving security features. Previously, he did all manner of security consulting and practice management at NCC Group and iSEC Partners. While consulting, Tom participated in numerous public audit reports including TrueCrypt and Tor Browser; and presented his research on NPR, CNN, and other media outlets.

Healthier Networks and Organizations Fellows

Cheekay Cinco



Cheekay Cinco is a feminist Filipino activist. She has been working in the area of strategic use of internet-based technologies for activist and their groups and networks since 1999. Currently, she is an independent consultant, designing and providing training for activists and their groups, and supporting groups to become more resilient in responding to and avoiding security issues. She also facilitates technology and activism focused workshops and events. She sees herself as a part of the women´s rights and feminist movements.

Riya Abraham

Riya is a project manager and user support engineer for the private messaging app Signal. She streamlines feedback from online channels on the user experience and advocates for design changes to increase adoption of privacy tools. Riya is a graduate of UPenn’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology and was previously an algorithmic derivatives trader.

Internet Freedom: Present and Future Fellows

Naomi Fontanos

Naomi Fontanos is a writer/educator, feminist and transgender rights activist in the Philippines. She is the co-founder and current Executive Director of Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and nongovernment organization advocating genuine gender equality for all Filipinos both offline and online. GANDA Filipinas advocates for a free, open, accessible, and feminist internet that promotes human rights, privacy, security, freedom of expression, and help builds the LGBTIQ+ community.

Shubha Kayastha

Shubha Kayastha is a sexual rights advocate and a feminist based in Nepal. She is co-founder of ‘body & data’ which works around the intersection of gender and digital technology. She has worked with many of national and regional (Asia Pacific) civil society organisations in the past as an employee and a volunteer.

María Juliana Soto

Maria is a journalist, free culture activist and researcher at the Karisma Foundation in the area of access to knowledge and culture. Since 2015 she has been the public leader of Creative Commons in Colombia. She is also a part of Noís Radio, a communications collective that works in radio art and collaborative media projects.

Journalism, Media and Communications Fellows

Rodrigo Baires

Rodrigo is a journalist with more than 18 years of experience in different Latin American and cross-border projects. For the past two years, he has been a S.A.F.E. initiative digital trainer for journalists from Central America. His work focuses around a holistic approach to privacy and security, which includes self care, training out bad habits and careful planning.

Constanza Figueroa

Constanza is an illustrator & designer specialized in humans rights and the internet. Focused on exploring technology related concepts with culture, art, humor and digital autonomy, she works to defend a more diverse and safe environment on the internet. She works as a communications officer at Derechos Digitales, Latin America, coordinating and producing graphics for developing methodologies to learn, share, communicate and co-create.

Don Le

Don is the Media Liaison for Viet Tan, an organisation promoting democratic change in Vietnam. He has helped connect grassroots activists with journalists to bring under-represented voices to the international community. Don has been involved in Viet Tan’s international advocacy efforts to promote internet freedom, increase access to circumvention technology and campaign for Vietnam’s many imprisoned freedom of expression advocates.