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Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders initiative?

Human rights grantmaking empowers individuals, communities, and institutions to promote the protection and enjoyment of rights, including those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights treaties.

Explore Advancing Human Rights


What is the Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders initiative?

With limited resources and immense challenges, human rights grantmakers and advocates are increasingly recognizing the importance of understanding and building on the existing funding landscape and asking: Where is the funding? Where are the gaps? Who is doing what, where?

Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders was borne out of these questions. The initiative is an ongoing effort to track the evolving state of global human rights funding and to create a set of dynamic, interactive data and research tools to help human rights funders and advocates increase their effectiveness. This work is led by the International Human Rights Funders Group and Foundation Center, in collaboration with Ariadne – European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights and Prospera – the International Network of Women’s Funds.

Since this initiative launched in early 2010, we have released several tools, including:

  • The first-ever quantitative and qualitative analysis of the state of global human rights grantmaking;
  • Three annual follow-up analyses of the state of global human rights funding; and
  • This website, which enables grantmakers, NGO staff, activists, researchers, and academics to deepen their learning about the field of human rights philanthropy.
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How is human rights grantmaking defined?

The first step in analyzing the state of human rights funding was adopting a shared definition of human rights grantmaking. Under the guidance of an advisory committee composed of nine human rights funders and in consultation with other human rights grantmakers and leading human rights activists, we adopted a definition that emphasizes funding in pursuit of structural change to ensure the protection and enjoyment of rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights treaties.

The final definition encompasses 30 unique issue areas grouped into 13 overarching areas of activity, from access to justice to social and cultural rights. Because these rights apply to all populations, regardless of individual characteristics such as ethnicity or gender, particular identity groups are not explicitly referenced within the definitions for these issue areas. Nonetheless, the research does allow for examinations of human rights grantmaking through an identity-based lens, and these analyses are included both on this website and in our Key Findings reports.

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