Hivos website

Digital Defenders Partnership

  • Digital Defenders Partnership


    To increase the safety of human rights defenders under (digital) threat or attack, and improve the effectiveness of the digital emergency response network.




    Internet has become an indispensable tool for citizens to express their views and fight for their rights, but online privacy and freedom are becoming part of the civic space we see shrinking worldwide. Technological advances can facilitate global collaboration and social innovation, yet also help states and groups to repress, survey, and censor human rights defenders in unprecedented ways. People are increasingly arrested for publishing, sharing, even “liking” content online, and authoritarian governments are using ever more sophisticated ways to curb freedom of speech. Those most at risk are often not well equipped to defend themselves digitally and have limited capacity to anticipate risks and know how to respond if a threat or attack occurs.


    Digital Defenders Partnership (DDP) takes a rights-based approach, focusing on the core values of transparency, human rights, inclusivity and diversity, confidentiality and freedom. DDP coordinates emergency support for journalists, human rights defenders, civil society organizations, bloggers and cyber activists through short and long-term grants, direct or brokered emergency support and the Rapid Responders Network – a global team of digital security experts. DDP’s Digital Integrity Fellowship conducts tailored digital safety and security training for selected organizations. DDP was initiated in 2012 by the Freedom Online Coalition and is managed by Hivos.

    Results so far

    Since its inception, DDP has supported multiple individuals and organizations in the MENA region, Sub-Saharan Africa, post-Soviet Union, Latin America, and Asia working on issues including environmental rights, LGBTI+ advocacy, gender equality, and election monitoring. For example: DDP supported the first transgender organization in Siberia in response to growing attacks against LGBTI+ communities in Russia; an independent media organization in Yemen received DDP’s support so they could continue their valuable reporting the realities of the conflict on the ground, and a women’s organization in Brazil received digital security training so they could continue to provide safe access to abortion.

    Period and budget

    2016-2020,  € 1.5 million


    The foreign ministries of the Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Canada, the US State Department, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).


    Media Legal Defence Initiative, Front Line Defenders and VirtualRoad.