April 16 2020 GM
Upcoming Community Knowledge Share Workshops:
- April 22: The Story of Diversity, Security & Love in Southern Africa. Lead by Natasha Msonza and Tawanda Mugari of Digital Society of Africa: https://internetfreedomfestival.formstack.com/forms/cks8
- April 23: Growing Privacy Concerns During COVID-19. Lead by Alison Carmel Ramer and Maria Paz Canales: https://internetfreedomfestival.formstack.com/forms/cks6
- April 28: Fireplace Chat with Funders in the Internet Freedom Space. Lead by Ciprian Ianculovici, Brenda Salas, Michael Brennan, and Nat Kretchun: https://internetfreedomfestival.formstack.com/forms/cks7
During this Glitter Meetup, we discussed two topics: Accessibility on online conference tools and sustainability and missing areas regarding to funders.
Accessibility on online conference tools
- This topic could be discussed better in Open Source conversations.
- People with disabilities that make using open source versions of software a challenge or impossible are rarely considered by developers
- With the focus on Zoom security issues, people say to use Jitsi, which is terrible for accessibility.
- Regarding to accessibility, Zoom Support for captions, video quality is good enough for lip-reading, keyboard shortcuts and screen reader compatibility
- Accessibility on Zoom: https://zoom.us/accessibility
- Accessibility on Jitsi: https://github.com/jitsi/jitsi-meet/issues/5308 and https://community.jitsi.org/t/accessibility-ranking-of-jitsi/27796
Sustainability and missing areas regarding to funders
Sustainability and improvements for funders:
- When asked about sustainability, one of the first examples that came during the GM was Wikimedia. They doesn't sell data, for instance. So asking for anything other than "you keep giving us money" makes very little sense. Funders could help Wikipedia to stop governments spreading misinformation through it. People when donating in Wikipedia, can ask for specific targets or large funders.
- We see that, sometimes, funders suggest to embrace venture capital models, and this is not possible if they want to fund NGOs
- One participant added that a lot of time, funders ask for sustainability but they give no examples or help with this.
- There’re needs to be a lot more importance placed on building organizational operations, HR, accounting etc as part of sustainably funding orgs.
- We agreed that if organizations have to wear multiple hats (HR, accounting, community management…) it’s very difficult to find time to create sustainability.
- This creates a lot of mental health issues and problems inside the teams.
- It would be great if the funders offer mental health support, and connect grantees with the right contacts.
- A lot of participants found that many funders don't think that follow up after projects is important.
- Funding for the Internet or and hardware is important for certain communities, and it should be discussed more often.
- Based on experiences outside of the US and Europe, a lot of funders prefer to fund large US and EU based orgs and then have funding trickle down to other orgs through subgrants and contracts instead of direct funding. This is a big point of frustration for these small organizations.
- Funders try to employ the same strategies around the world. And usually, developed countries' methodologies don’t work in developing countries.
- There shouldn't be a one-size-fits all approach to funding if you want to engage and involve diverse orgs around the globe.
- Specially in Southern Africa, you still find that the majority of funders still think mental health supports is for the elite and is a luxury.
- For organizations and individuals in the human rights activism context, is very hard to justify the needs of mental health support.
Differences between IF funders and other funders:
- Open Gov related work funders are better: IF funders put out requests for proposals which is nice. A lot of foundations have a "don't call us we'll call you" approach.
- IF funders are doing a lot of good and being responsive to community needs.
- DRL is one of the funders that cares about risk assessments of work and requires them, which also lets orgs put in direct costs of security needs based on the risk assessment.
- IDRC seems to understand the regional context and funding problems of SEA countries.
- The main feeling is that it looks like more traditional funders are beginning to understand and fund more digital security /tech stuff.
1. Will the spread of coronavirus have an economic impact on internet freedom funding? i.e. less USG funds available for internet freedom, delays to funding, funding priorities placed elsewhere?
2. Do internet freedom funding priorities change with the spread of the coronavirus? i.e. focusing funds on developing secure contact tracing apps instead of funding more anti-censorship tools?
3. In your opinion, will the support of internet freedom projects become more or less important in the wake of the coronavirus? There are already a limited number of funding options available - will these shrink as funds get directed to solve urgent health issues?
4. So much progress has been made over the last few years to bring the global internet community together, in person, so that we can all understand the challenges that others face. Now, it feels like it could be years before we are able to "get the band back together". What can we do in the meantime to ensure that our community stays strong and vibrant and life-changing, and ensure that the people who need help the most are getting it?