Vibrant, diverse, and robust civil societies are essential to achieving peace, human rights, and environmental justice. But only 3.1% of the world’s population lives in countries with open civic spaces and last year was the 16th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.
Courageous people and communities around the world are fighting to make rights and justice universally possible within this context. But they face attacks and reprisals from powerful vested interests. Many pay the ultimate price. At least 358 human rights defenders, 129 aid workers, and 45 journalists and media workers were killed last year. Many others were arrested, kidnapped, or forced to go into hiding.
About Open Briefing
Open Briefing is a vital part of the response. We provide holistic security support and resources to empower people and communities to agitate and advocate without fear of attacks and reprisals. As a social enterprise, we also provide consultancy and retained support to help high-impact nonprofits and foundations understand and meet their risk management and duty of care commitments from the grassroots to the global.
We support many well-known organisations and high-profile defenders at risk; you will know them and their work. But you will likely never hear of most of our partners: human rights defenders in Yemen, women’s rights activists in Afghanistan, environmental defenders in Mexico, peacebuilders in Myanmar, pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, LGBT+ activists in Sri Lanka, community leaders in South Africa, indigenous defenders in Ecuador, journalists in Russia, and humanitarians in Central African Republic. Their work is the very heartbeat of civil society.
By enhancing their self-protection efforts, Open Briefing empowers those targeted for their advocacy to remain in the struggle for peace, human rights and environmental justice, both in their countries and internationally. For 10 years, we have stood together with those speaking truth to power. And we are just getting started.
Read more about our values and team.
“Open Briefing’s holistic approach to security has enabled Goldman Environmental Prize winners to continue their work. They go far beyond what is expected to provide excellent support. Open Briefing is a trusted partner that we depend on to support our most at-risk activists, organisations and partners.”
Goldman Environmental Foundation
We provide holistic security capacity building and mentoring to civil society organisations and activists under threat.
We build multilingual tools and guides to strengthen the individual and collective safety and resilience of civil society organisations and activists around the world.
We collaborate and advocate to defend civil society and protect civic space wherever it is threatened.
We provide consultancy, training and retained support to help charities and foundations meet their risk management, duty of care, and data protection commitments.
Cutting across our four programmes are our three holistic security workstreams:
- Safety and security
- Digital security
- Wellbeing and resilience
Last year, we answered more calls for assistance across more countries than ever before. Our international teams of protection specialists, digital security consultants, and counsellors and psychologists provided nearly 6,000 hours of direct support to civil society organisations and activists under threat in 68 countries.
Last year was a time of violent conflict, climate chaos, and closing civic space, not least of all with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the violent crackdown on protests in Iran. The number of calls for our assistance increased again compared to the previous year, to 30 new cases a month. The situations were complex and involved state security forces, corrupt corporations, and organised criminal gangs acting with increasing impunity. Despite the challenges, those we supported reported a 10% increase in capacity and a significant 12% decrease in risk following our work with them.
Find out more in our 2022 impact report, with supplemental information for grantmakers or major donors .
From every £1 you give us, we spend 84p protecting defenders at risk and 15p on organisational management and governance. The remaining 1p is used to raise the next £1.
“Open Briefing supported me to understand the threats I face in my complex security situation. They collaboratively developed strategies to improve my physical and digital security and personal wellbeing. This enables me to make practical decisions around my security and resilience, while continuing to advocate for the human rights of women in a difficult and high-risk environment”.
Human rights defender, Afghanistan
We are supported in our work by Oak Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a community of major donors and smaller trusts and foundations.
These donors support the fight against authoritarianism, environmental destruction, and social injustice. They understand that local organisations and activists have the radical solutions that the world needs at this time. And they seek through Open Briefing to defend, strengthen, and empower those groups in the face of attacks and reprisals.
As physical and digital civic space closes around the world, Open Briefing is experiencing a surge in the scope and scale of the demand for our holistic security support. We find ourselves standing against powerful state-level adversaries and organised crime gangs. But we are poised to make a major step change to meet this challenge responsibly and sustainably. We must move from a lean start-up to a global organisation. We just need the resources.