This year we are introducing a new focus area of the Mozilla Fellowship Program for tech + society strategists in the Global South.
Critical civil society organizations fight inequality, protect the public, and partner with the public sector to serve its citizens. In the era of ubiquitous technology, it’s paramount that civil society also work to address societal issues, as they converge with the digital world. Building capacity at the intersection of technology and society will help ensure the relevance and sustainability of these institutions.
The Ford Foundation and Mozilla are partnering to strengthen organizations in the Global South by layering technology strategies into their work. This will help create a ‘third space’ where key civil society organizations and tech-focused individuals address issues at the intersection of technology and society. This will also seek to address the political element of technology -- that technology as a neutral tool is affected by its creators and their biases. Benefits, harms and side effects come from how systems are designed, what data is selected to train them and what business rules they are given.
We envision that, in 10 years, this collaborative ‘third space’ will flourish in the Global South in which civil society organizations demonstrate strong capacity to address major issues at the nexus of social justice and technology. These organizations will leverage technology to promote these issues while preventing or mitigating their risks.
At the program level, Ford and Mozilla will place senior technology strategists as Fellows within select organizations and coalitions that are foundational to the strength and capacity of regional civil society.
Fellows will help increase the impact of the organization’s work by supporting them to recognize, design, and implement a strategy that accounts for the impact of technology on the organization’s mission.
UPDATE: Applications are currently closed to anyone who did NOT register by June 4, 2020 12pm PT. Those who DID register before deadline must submit their full application by Tuesday, June 9, 2020 12pm PT
The application for a Mozilla Fellowship is a two part process: 1) registration and 2) full application. The registration form and full application must be submitted in English using Mozilla’s Fluxx portal.
Check out further Application Guidelines.
The following organizations are looking to collaborate with experts with relevant experience and knowledge in the regions:
In recent years, Brazilian society has witnessed the growing consolidation of power and political strengthening of conservative groups that oppose human rights. Authoritarian discourse has seized the public debate with its increasing presence on the internet, and at the same time private companies are becoming more influential in shaping everyday life. Expanding the technical capacity of the digital rights space, as well as deepening collaborations between tech activists, traditional peoples’ and indigenous rights defenders, racial and gender justice advocates, and others to defend against encroaching surveillance and control has never been more urgent. The following civil society organizations look to collaborate with experts working at the intersection of digital rights and violence in Brazil, and are interested in expanding their knowledge about human rights in the constituent communities.
Ação Educativa | São Paulo, Brazil
Ação Educativa’s mission is organized around three programmatic units: Youth, Education, and Culture. The organization develops several social projects and works in some networks of youth collectives, associations, and culture producers in its mission to defend educational, cultural and youth rights. Through its work, Ação Educativa look to promote democracy, social justice and socio-environmental sustainability in Brazil.
Ação Educative is looking to collaborate with a Fellow with extensive experience in upholding privacy and security in the digital rights space. There is opportunity for the Fellow to research and design data security practices that promote digital rights in Ação Educativa and its other partners, in the field of defending human rights, focused on culture, education, and youth.
Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE) | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
FASE’s mission is to contribute to building a democratic society that actively promotes alternatives to today’s dominant development model. They look to uplift the large portion of the country still subjected to conditions of inequality, poverty and discrimination, starting with environmental justice and universal social rights.
FASE believes that in this day and age, technical capacity cannot be separate from the promotion of social justice. To that end, they are looking to collaborate with a Fellow who is interested in conducting an evaluation of existing technical resources, and has experience providing suggestions and advice for how civil society could better implement privacy and digital security technologies, especially around communication technologies. There is opportunity for a Fellow to examine major questions at the intersection of technology and social justice, and to help improve digital security skills and practices across 6 FASE offices in Brazil.
Justiça Global | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Justiça Global is a human rights organization focused on strengthening civil society and democracy. Their three thematic areas are: 1) indigenous peoples, quilombolas, and other traditional communities; 2) reducing mass incarceration and violations of human rights in spaces deprived of liberty; and 3) strengthening the actions of their Human Rights Defenders program.
They address these issues through research and documentation strategies, litigation, advocacy, communication and training.
Justiça Global is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who is interested in how the Brazilian state is using technologies in nefarious ways, and what practices civil society could adopt to protect themselves and the rights of others. This research would support the Human Rights Defenders program. The Fellow would also have the opportunity to look at tools that would help foster public engagement to demand better policies and protections for the citizenry.
Redes da Maré | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Redes da Maré focuses on improving the lives of 140,000 residents in the 16 Maré favelas in Rio de Janeiro. They ensure effective public policies are in place, and support the residents through education projects and mobilization initiatives to strengthen local institutions and guarantee basic rights to local citizens. They focus on 1) education, 2) the right to public security and access to justice, 3) territorial development, and 4) arts, culture, memory and identities.
Redes da Maré is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who is interested in strengthening the institutions that promote the rights of hundreds of thousands of citizens living in favelas. As the Brazilian state engages in policing and censorship of these communities through technological tools, these communities urgently need interventions to protect their rights. There is opportunity for the Fellow’s research and work to also impact other favelas across Brazil.
East Africa is significantly affected by the positive and negative advancements in technology that impact both the fight against corruption and the push against constraints on civic space. Repressive laws are negatively impacting freedom of expression and the privacy of politically engaged actors while increased surveillance leads to more arrests and legal prosecution based on internet behavior. Current debates treat digital technologies as one of the many restrictive methods by governments and non-state actors, while largely ignoring how these technologies are intertwined in all social, political and economic interactions. There’s opportunity for smart data practices and technological innovation -- and better implementation of existing technologies -- to improve access to information and facilitate the fight against systemic corruption. The following civil society organizations look to collaborate with experts supporting human rights defenders to harness technology and push back against the constraints of civic space.
Katiba Institute | Nairobi, Kenya
Katiba Institute (KI) is a research and litigation institution established to promote the understanding and implementation of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. KI is committed to the national values and principles of the Constitution that emphasize equality, prohibit discrimination, and advocate for the protection of marginalized and vulnerable groups. KI promotes the rule of law, good governance and social justice through research; strategic litigation; policy and civic engagement and technical advice to implementing and policy-making agencies, on constitutional issues.
Katiba Institute is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who is interested in exploring opportunities to advance the rule of law with a myriad of technology tools, with the aim of enhancing the safety and security of human rights defenders, and everyday citizens in a world of globalized surveillance. Strategies to bridge the knowledge and capacity gap between traditional human rights organizations and technology would also be relevant and helpful.
PAWA254 | Nairobi, Kenya
PAWA254 is a youth-serving, art and culture collaboration hub whose mission is to awaken citizen consciousness for social change through the production of socially conscious art. PAWA focuses on leveraging the power of arts and community organizing to strengthen understanding and exploration of emerging issues in Kenya, and increase youth involvement in positive development processes.
PAWA254 is looking to collaborate with a Fellow experienced in working with youth at the intersection of art, social justice, and technology to increase citizen engagement. The Fellow would have opportunity to research and explore solutions that will contribute to citizen-led accountability processes, support the expansion of the democratic space for ‘dissenting voices’ that expose and address critical topics like corruption, extra-judicial killings, gender-based violence and discrimination.
Poverty Eradication Network | Nairobi, Kenya
Poverty Eradication Network (PEN) works to build the capacities of citizens to engage with various state and non-state actors within their communities toward the eradication of absolute poverty. They collaborate directly with citizens and their organizations to promote active participation in local governance especially on issues of accountability and transparency, promotion of people focused planning and budgeting, and advocating for an enabling environment for civil society actors.
PEN is looking to collaborate with a Fellow interested in enhancing information access and transparency for more engagement by citizens and better decision making in the civil society space, with the goal of poverty eradication. A Fellow looking to work with civil society to pressure the establishment to act against constraints on civic space with a technological strategic mindset would be a strong fit.
In recent years, censorship and oppression of the media has continued to increase, especially online. The closure of the public space has made information sharing difficult, and holding government institutions accountable to the public has not been possible. Digital technologies are treated as tools for the state to surveill and censor the public, instead of as extensions of the public space. The following civil society organizations look to collaborate with artists, media experts, and legal experts to ensure safe community and freedom of expression online.
Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) | Beirut, Lebanon & Brussels, Belgium
Culture Resource works to support artistic creativity in the Arab region and to encourage cultural exchange within the region and beyond. It aims to support artists, cultural actors and cultural institutions through grants, capacity building, publications and networking, to promote independent creative works outside the commercial mainstream on a regional and international level, and to improve the environment for cultural work through policy research and action.
Culture Resource is looking to collaborate with a Fellow with deep expertise in digital security, data management systems, and online collaboration networks; and who is interested in strengthening the civil society sector in a region hit by war, forced migration, and closure of the public space. A Fellow experienced in mapping technological needs of the artistic and cultural communities, and in proposing how they might bridge the gap between current capacities and future needs, would be a strong fit.
International Media Support, Febrayer Network of Independent Media | Amman, Jordan & Berlin, Germany
International Media Support (IMS) paves the way for good journalism through support to local media and human rights groups in countries affected by armed conflict, authoritarian rule and political transition. For this Fellowship, the Fellow would collaborate closely with the Febrayer Network of Independent Media based in Amman, Jordan and Berlin, Germany.
Febrayer furthers the work of critical independent media in the region in order to help hold people and institutions accountable. They leverage the collective power of media organizations in MENA to reach more people, produce better and more content, and to develop revenue opportunities. Working as a network allows Febrayer to work beyond geographic and philosophical boundaries and produce intellectually stimulating content. Febrayer are looking to collaborate with a Fellow who has a deep understanding of technology, journalism, and media in the region, and is particularly interested in addressing and circumventing censorship, as well as bolstering safety and security of civil society organizations.
Legal Agenda | Beirut, Lebanon & Tunis, Tunisia
Legal Agenda aims to lift the barriers between the law and society in the Arab region so that lawmaking is no longer monopolized by those in power, and can be understood and critiqued by ordinary citizens. They do this first through their alternative media which publishes their socio-legal analysis and research, policy monitoring, and journalistic investigations. Second, through strategic litigation and advocacy campaigning to advance socio-economic rights and liberties, particularly on issues that impact the environment, the rights and freedoms of women, refugees, workers, detainees, disabled people, and other vulnerable populations.
Legal Agenda are looking to collaborate with a Fellow experienced in digital security and safety practices with an interest in both the institutionalization and dissemination of knowledge and the understanding of the legal aspects of technological advances in the region. The Fellow will be collaborating with jurists, researchers, and journalists.
It is not uncommon for governments and non-state actors to target civil society organizations promoting human rights by using surveillance technologies in nefarious ways. These actions often have a chilling effect on civil society, and the challenges are only likely to grow. The following civil society organizations look to collaborate with experts who understand how technologies are being weaponized against the citizenry without accountability, and who are interested in strengthening civil society.
Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez | Mexico City, Mexico
The mission of Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez (CENTRO PRODH) is to promote and defend the human rights of excluded individuals and groups, in situations of vulnerability or poverty, to contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable, and demoractic society in which human dignity is fully respected. As one of the most well-established human rights organizations in Mexico, their work is critical for the ecosystem of human rights organizations and to promote structural changes in the country
CENTRO PRODH is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who is interested in exploring the use of technologies in the defense of human rights -- cases of torture, arbitrary execution, and enforced disappearance -- as well as to support communities fighting for their territories. An expert with a deep understanding of human rights, digital security, and state-sponsored violence in the Mexican context would be a strong fit.
EQUIS Justicia para las Mujeres | Mexico City, Mexico
EQUIS is one of Mexico’s foremost feminist organizations whose mission is to transform institutions, public policies and women’s leadership to improve access to justice for all women. Violence and impunity have a disproportionate effect on women, and there are structural challenges to ensuring that all women access the justice system without discrimination and obtain a high-quality service; thus EQUIS’ main goal is to foment structural changes in the justice system so that a cross-cutting gender perspective is included.
EQUIS has developed a transparency toolkit in a feminist setting, and is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who wants to develop a cross-cutting strategy for capacity building in civic technology with their target audience. Someone interested in developing innovative strategies for the dissemination of women's rights would be a strong fit. There is opportunity for the Fellow to collaborate with other organizations in this work.
Fundación Acceso | San José, Costa Rica
Fundación Acceso’s mission is to mitigate the increasing violation of human rights related to the physical, technological and psycho-social security of populations at risk or in vulnerable situations in Central America. They lead the Central American Observatory for Digital Security and have been a key actor in strengthening the Latin American COSIC network (Information and Communication Security Collective, in Spanish), and work with a broad network of individuals and organizations in the field.
Fundación Acceso wants to collaborate with a Fellow with expertise in digital security practices and is interested in evaluating the landscape in Latin America, in order to provide suggestions for civil society. A Fellow who has a holistic view of digital security and its relation to human rights, and wants to conduct malware analysis in this context would be a strong fit. There may be opportunities to collaborate with a variety of organizations across Latin America on these issues.
Advances in computing power, connectivity, artificial intelligence and geographic information systems (GIS) hold tremendous promise. Land rights, sustainable agriculture, rural growth and structural transformation can be accelerated, as technological change transforms individuals’ lives and enables progress at speeds and on scales previously inconceivable. At the same time, these changes have led to a loss of traditional commons based livelihoods and marginalization of some specific communities. The following civil society organizations work in various states across the country, and look to collaborate with experts with knowledge and compassion toward their constituent communities. Fellows who are interested in addressing social justice issues at the intersection of technology and non-traditional socioeconomic models are encouraged to apply.
Mahila SEWA Trust | Ahmedabad, India
Mahila SEWA Trust (MST) is an organization established to serve poor self-employed women and their families in the informal economy. MST works to facilitate full employment and self-reliance through capacity building and social welfare activities. MST’s vision is to create e-SEWA, digitally organizing over 1.9 million SEWA’s women members, building their capacities and facilitating access to appropriate, affordable and advanced technologies for full employment and self-reliance alongside preserving values, traditions, culture and environment. As such, MST looks to build the digital readiness and roadmap of SEWA's members, including adapting and adopting digital finance, digital training and capacity building and markets (platform economy) for a better future of work.
MST is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who can bring their organizing and community building skills, and are interested in developing their “Frugal Engineering” skills. There is opportunity to have large-scale impact, and work with various communities.
Sahjeevan | Bhuj & New Delhi, India
Sahjeevan’s Centre for Pastoralism supports marginalized communities to revive their traditional ecological knowledge systems, engage with relevant technologies and scientific methods to conserve their ecological resources, and strengthen their livelihoods. Changes in the wider macro-economic world has led to a breakdown of traditional economic ties within communities, and increasingly pastoral communities find their livelihood sources limited in number, size and scope.
Sahjeevan is looking to collaborate with a Fellow who is interested in finding innovative ways to marry familiar technology with largely unfamiliar socio-economic and political processes. An expert who brings analytical skills to determine needs and provide tech suggestions, with an interest in supporting pastoral communities, would be a good fit.
Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) | Raipur, Ranchi, Kolkata & Bhubaneswar, India
PRADAN works in the poorest regions of India to help vulnerable communities organize collectives that support people, especially women, earn a decent living. They connect people with government programs and other entitlements as citizens -- in this, technology occupies center stage, but it also drives increasing inequality and differentiated access. In the next two years, PRADAN will focus on rebuilding the rural economy that has taken a huge blow due to the COVID crisis and the resulting nation-wide lock-down. Millions of rural youth, as well as daily wage labourers, who had migrated to cities, have returned to the villages.
PRADAN is looking for a Fellow interested in enabling the poor access government programs, and strengthening connections between women’s institutions and the local economy. Expertise in conducting diagnostic analyses and evaluating how technology can serve these communities would be helpful.