Internet Freedom Festival Diversity and Inclusion Fund

Giving voice and bringing underrepresented groups into the larger Internet Freedom community

The Internet Freedom Festival Diversity & Inclusion Fund is a shared funding program designed to give voice to underrepresented groups and give them more presence within the larger Internet Freedom community, providing them with the means to attend the Internet Freedom Festival in Spain, in March 2017.


Moses Karanja

Research Fellow at Strathmore University (Kenya) and 2016 IFF Diversity Track Lead

The Internet Freedom Festival is doing a great job in one, bringing together Internet freedom warriors from the South to meet, share experiences and forge working alliances and two, work closely with the global North to scale solutions that make the Internet more open and secure for all. Most of the linkages made in Valencia have grown to stronger projects and partnerships.

This regional diversity is key in enriching our understanding of what works for Internet freedom – one byte at a time – and importantly, to create trust in this sensitive community.

The fund is designed to tackle those issues that make participation in the Internet Freedom Community difficult for underrepresented groups. It allows these groups to not only take part in important conversations at IFF but, most importantly, design programs and agendas that provide space for these groups to collectively address the inequality and regional issues that have gone unaddressed by the community. The fund will be used according to recommendations given to us by these communities, providing:

Travel assistance for session hosts from underrepresented groups

This was identified as one of the biggest challenges in IFF 2016 by diverse individuals who were part of the “The South” conversation series, many who noted that a high percentage of speakers from the African continent were not able to join for this reason. In 2017, we are specifically providing travel assistance to groups from Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, MENA, Eastern Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Hiring inclusivity professionals

These individuals will improve the culture of the IFF by bringing in best practices related to inclusivity and providing support to groups and individuals while at the event. Specifically, they will help craft a code of conduct, provide mentorship to track leads on how to ensure their track is more inclusive, research and share tools for the community to avoid common pitfalls, and create a safe space for conflict resolution. At the end of the event, a document including the learnings, best practices and success cases will be shared to move forward for other events, and provide a roadmap of key challenges in diversity and inclusion in the Internet Freedom community.

The 2017 IFF Inclusivity Professionals are:


Gabriela Rodriguez

Gaba is one of the software engineers at The Coral Project, building tools for inclusive communities in online journalism. She is an activist and hacker who loves the intersection between media, community and technology. She co-founded the non-profit DATA, which works with open data and transparency in Uruguay, and still collaborates with the implementation of the open contracting data standard in Mexico City. Gaba has been co-facilitating the Internet Freedom Festival in the past and is quite excited of helping the festival to be a much better space this year.


Valerie Aurora
Frame Shift Consulting

Valerie Aurora is the founder and principal consultant of Frame Shift Consulting, a diversity and inclusion in tech consulting firm. She is the lead author of the Ally Skills Workshop, which teaches people with more power and influence how to support people with less. She is the co-founder and former executive director of the Ada Initiative, a non-profit that supported women in open technology and culture. Prior to that, she worked as a Linux kernel and file systems developer at Red Hat, IBM, Intel, and other companies.

Diversity and Inclusion Fund Benefits

Improved Mapping

Improve the mapping of various communities and their needs, and how they fit into the Internet Freedom community.

New Synergies

Explore new opportunities to better engage underrepresented groups, and identify possible synergies.

Awareness Raising

Raise awareness about the challenges various underrepresented groups face in getting more involved in the Internet Freedom community.

Augmented Diversity

Cultivation of more diverse collaborative spaces by bringing in new voices and fresh perspective to the various events taking place in IFF 2017.

Impactful Development

Improvement of region-specific services, strategies, and circumvention technology tools.

Regional Challenges

Better understanding, strategizing and documenting of regional challenges that can be shared with the Internet Freedom Community.

Capacity Building

Empower people to improve region-specific capacity building.

Funding Opportunities

Discovery of new projects available for impactful funding.

Fund Contributors










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Contact: team [ at ] internetfreedomfestival [ dot ] org