Launching the RightsCon Connectivity Fund
As the RightsCon community has grown, upholding its diversity and representation has remained our highest priority. Involving a wide range of regions, gender identities, and perspectives is essential for facilitating and building a shared agenda for our human rights in the digital age.
Every year, we’ve worked toward this goal with a few different initiatives, including through an inclusive ticket discount policy, by offering travel support funding to session organizers and speakers, and facilitating often burdensome visa application processes.
Transitioning RightsCon online this month offers an unparalleled opportunity to expand representation – it’s one of the reasons we’re offering free registration – but it also requires participants have access to a quality internet connection to meaningfully engage.
For RightsCon Online, we’re launching a new Connectivity Fund to provide direct financial support for participants to connect and engage.
Session organizers, speakers, and participants can apply for three levels of funding support ($50 USD, $100 USD, or $150 USD), which they can use for:
- Direct connecting: Purchasing data top-ups or contributing to the cost of internet use;
- Support connecting: Travel to internet cafes or community centers to access computers;
- Secure connecting: Supplementing secure participation, by purchasing privacy screens or VPNs;
- Other support: Cost of childcare or other services enabling active engagement.
How it works
The Connectivity Fund is application-based and, as always, we will make funding decisions with a focus on amplifying the participation of underrepresented communities. In recognition that there is no one-size-fits-all model for supporting connectivity and in an effort to support as many participants as possible, we’ll ask those applying to identify the areas of support they need and the level of funding they require. Selected recipients will receive an update and request for further information to support the delivery of funds.
Beyond the connectivity fund, we’re taking a number of steps to ensure RightsCon Online is accessible, including by scheduling across time zones, providing lower bandwidth options for engagement, and uploading pre-recorded content that allows for flexible and asynchronous participation.
We recognize that our efforts to support connectivity will not serve everyone. There are many around the world who live in areas where proper infrastructure is limited or nonexistent; or places where authorities have chosen to restrict or shutdown the internet. These barriers are systemic and part of a larger reality that makes it nearly impossible for certain communities to fully enjoy their human rights – online and off. We remain committed to centering these experiences across our programming.
Applications are now open until July 21, 2020.
Participants can apply to receive funding by signing in to our RightsCon Program Platform and submitting their application before July 21, 2020 at 11:59pm PST.
This is our first time offering a fund of this nature as we transition RightsCon Online and we welcome your questions and feedback. You can reach out to our team by email at [email protected].
Support the community, donate to The Connectivity Fund, and help us reach more participants.