Apply Now: Digital Action Lab (DAL) Program

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Applications are now open for the Digital Action Lab (DAL) Program, a unique opportunity for pro-democracy groups in challenging contexts to receive funding and non-financial support for using digital technologies to strengthen their work.

CIVICUS is placing a specific emphasis on ensuring participation from underrepresented or marginalised actors, including women, youth, and informal civil society.

Digital Action Lab (DAL) is a program focused on supporting civil society partners in countries with restricted civic space. It aims to collaborate with organizations actively engaged in promoting inclusive democracy, with a particular focus on historically excluded groups such as rural communities, indigenous peoples, women, youth, and the LGBT+ community. DAL aims to develop and test various digital support and interventions, aiming to strengthen organizing, advocacy, and campaign capacities of the participating partners. The selected organizations will receive a grant to contribute to the expansion of civic and democratic freedoms, both online and offline.

DAL’S Mission
  • To cultivate real-world pilot projects that strengthen the organising, advocacy, and campaign capacities of participating civil society groups in the Global South, including via enhanced collaboration with local allies. By doing so, they will develop the knowledge, approaches, and tools needed to support even more pro-democracy organisations.
Why You Should Apply?
  • Create and control your DAL experience:
    • Participate in an initial in-person co-creation workshop to define your DAL cohort’s joint priorities and ways of working together, along with a discovery process to identify the focus of your specific pilot project.
  • Tailored skill enhancement and confidence building:
    • Seize the chance to improve your skills through tailored workshops and training plans which address the unique needs and challenges of your organisation. DAL is committed to building your confidence, empowering you with the knowledge and expertise to leverage new digital opportunities for your work.
  • Take existing work to the next level:
    • Rather than start from scratch, DAL projects will focus on enhancing your current strategies and approaches, to maximise impact and sustainability. You already know what is needed to deliver real change for inclusive democracy. The DAL will simply help you to unlock your digital potential.
  • Explore and test digital solutions:
    • Receive funding and support to find the digital tools and approaches you need to overcome persistent challenges or turbo-charge your existing practices. This could be directly related to enhancing your organising, advocacy, and campaign work, or strengthening the organisational systems and capacities these activities depend on.
  • Financial support for participation and implementation:
    • Access a grant ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 USD to fund both your costs of participating in the DAL and the implementation of your DAL pilot project.
  • Structured format for meaningful engagement:
    • Participate in the DAL via online collaboration platforms, virtual workshops, localised implementation activities, and at least one in-person workshop. This combination of settings and formats aims to maximise opportunities for engagement with the DAL team, peer-learning, and community building.
  • Documentation and knowledge sharing:
    • Contribute to the creation of case studies, infographics, videos and other knowledge products that document your approaches, successes, and lessons learned. Your experiences will be shared through the DDI knowledge hub and broader CIVICUS strategic networks, aiding other civil society actors in their efforts to expand civic and democratic freedoms.
  • Showcase progress and networking opportunities:
    • Participate in a DAL achievement summit at the end of the initiative, along with additional opportunities for engaging wider networks, including communities and events like I4C, Vuka!, RightsCon, and more. Connect with like-minded peers, share successes and challenges, and foster collaborations to further enhance your work.
Eligibility Criteria
  • The Digital Action Lab is open to civil society organisation (CSO) staff members, or volunteers and individual activists if they are formally affiliated with a civil society organisation or group and have received written approval from the relevant decision maker(s) to apply for this opportunity.
  • They define CSOs as one of the following: non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society coalitions and networks; protest and social movements; voluntary bodies; campaigning organisations; charities; faith-based groups; and trade unions. Both formally registered and informal groups are accepted. 
  • Preference will be given to underrepresented or marginalised actors, including women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, LBGTQI+, and grassroots/informal civil society.
  • Applicants must be based – and working at the national or local level – in OECD DAC ODA countries (these are “Global South” countries receiving Official Development Assistance from countries part of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee), with preference being given to actors from “obstructed” or “repressed” CIVICUS Monitor countries. Centrally funded local offices of international or Global North-based organisations are ineligible. 
  • Applicants must be working to protect or enhance inclusive democracy and/or civic space

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