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Open Briefing publishes its 2016-17 annual report

by Chris Abbott

Refugee camp
During the five years after we launched Open Briefing in 2011, our team concentrated firstly on scrutinising the actions of governments and militaries and generating alternative, sustainable security policies, and secondly on using our experience in intelligence and research to help other progressive organisations do the same.

However, on several occasions over the last couple of years, our team of former intelligence, military, law enforcement and government professionals has been asked to assist NGOs working in challenging environments with risk assessments and security advice.

This work led us to identify an urgent need to take the best practice from the humanitarian aid sector and adapt and develop it for the rest of the NGO world in order to help keep human rights defenders, peacebuilders, environmental activists, researchers, campaigners, independent journalists and others safe and secure within an increasingly restricted civic space.

Over 2016, we worked hard to develop and formalise this work, and in October 2016 we launched a range of new security, training and equipment services to complement our existing intelligence work. Each of these new services has taken a considerable investment of time and resources to research, develop, launch and promote.

Undertaking such a diverse range of new activities in such a short amount of time has required a considerable degree of internal organisational focus. We are proud that during this time we have managed to maintain the level of external activity that we have – particularly given the size of our budget and the fact that we only have one full-time member of staff.

We have expanded our work over the last 12 months with the help of core grants from Oak Foundation, the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation and the Philamonic Trust, and project grants from the Remote Control Project and Network for Social Change. We greatly appreciate the financial and moral support that our funders and other supporters have given us during this demanding, but exciting, period – we could not have achieved what we have without them.

Please read the full report for details of our successes over the last 12 months.