Date Extended: Applications Now Open for Round Five of the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF)

Call for Proposals |

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is accepting proposals for the fifth round of the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF).

In this round, ADRF seeks to support initiatives in various thematic areas including but not limited to:

  • Access and affordability
  • Access to Information
  • Cybercrime
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Digital economy
  • Digital Identity (ID)
  • Digital security
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • eGovernance
  • Freedom of expression
  • Hate speech
  • Innovation for democratic participation, transparency and accountability (civic and social tech)
  • Misinformation/Disinformation
  • Network disruptions
  • Strategic litigation
  • Surveillance
  • Technology and Covid-19

Grant amounts range between USD 1,000 and USD 20,000, depending on the need and scope of the proposed intervention. The ADRF strongly encourages cost-sharing. The grant period will not exceed 10 months. It is anticipated that around 15 grants will be awarded in this round.

Launched in April 2019, the ADRF supports organisations and networks to implement activities that advance digital rights in Africa, including advocacy, litigation, research, engagement in policy processes, movement building, digital literacy and digital security skills building. 

To-date, the Fund has awarded USD 418,000 to 33 initiatives across the continent. In the inaugural round of ADRF, initiatives with activities spanning 16 African countries received a total of USD 65,000. The second call for applications saw a total of USD 152,000 awarded to 14 initiatives that are advancing digital rights through various projects in 18 African countries. In its third round, the ADRF awarded USD 138,000 to 11 initiatives responding to the digital rights fallout from the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The most recent and fourth round awarded USD 63,000 to eight current or previous grantees to deploy six-months policy advocacy campaigns that further the conversation on internet freedom in Africa. 

Grantees have also received technical and institutional capacity building support to further enhance their digital rights efforts and ensure sustainability. In this regard, CIPESA partnered with the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) for capacity building support in impact communications. CIPESA also partnered with Data4Change on data literacy and advocacy support.

Application Guidelines

Geographical Coverage

ADRF is open to organisations/networks based and/or operational in Africa and with interventions covering any country on the continent.

Size of Grants

Grant size shall range from US$1,000 to US$20,000. Cost sharing is strongly encouraged.

Eligible Activities

The activities that are eligible for funding are those that protect and advance digital rights. These may include but are not limited to research, advocacy, engagement in policy processes, litigation, digital literacy and digital security skills building.


The grant funding shall be for a period not exceeding 10 months.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The Fund is open to organisations and coalitions working to advance digital rights in Africa. This includes but is not limited to human rights defenders, media, activists, think tanks, legal aid groups, and tech hubs. Entities working on women’s rights, or with youths, sexual minorities, refugees, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The initiatives to be funded will preferably have formal registration in an African country, but in some circumstances organisations and coalitions that do not have formal registration may be considered. Such organisations need to show evidence that they are operational in a particular African country or countries.
  • The activities to be funded must be in/on an African country or countries.

Ineligible Activities

  • The Fund shall not fund any activity that does not directly advance digital rights.
  • The Fund will not support travel to attend conferences or workshops, except in exceptional circumstances where such travel is directly linked to an activity that is eligible.
  • Reimbursements for costs that have already been incurred.
  • The Fund shall not provide scholarships.


The Fund is administered by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). An internal and external panel of experts will make decisions on beneficiaries based on the following criteria:

  • If the proposed intervention fits within the Fund’s digital rights priorities.
  • The relevance to the given context/country.
  • Commitment and experience of the applicant in advancing digital rights.
  • Potential impact of the intervention on digital rights policies or practices.

The deadline for submissions is now Friday June 25, 2021.  The application form can be accessed here.

CIPESA in 2014

In 2014, we continue to work to promote the inclusiveness of the information society. Under four thematic areas (Internet Governance, ICTs for Democracy, Online Freedoms and Open Data & eGovernance), our projects this year span 8 countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda).  Highlights of our focus, activities and partners are summarised here.


CIPESA, A Snapshot

In 2013, we continue to work to promote the inclusiveness of the information society. Under three thematic areas (Internet Governance, ICTs for Democracy and Open Data & eGovernance), our projects this year span 6 counties (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa and Uganda).  Highlights of our focus, projects and activities are summarised here.

Assessing Uganda’s Open Government Data Readiness

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is undertaking a study to establish Uganda’s Open Government Data readiness. The study, which will form the basis of advocacy, awareness raising, and network building activities, is gauging political willingness, public administration readiness, and civil society interest and readiness.
We are also assessing citizens’ perceptions on open governance. Please see for the online survey. For details about the assessment, email [email protected].

EGov Africa

Technology is becoming a key tool in the delivery of a wide array of government services and information. Today, eGovernance is a broad topic that deals with the broad spectrum of the relationship and networks within government regarding the use of ICTs.
While eGovernment programmes potentially have great benefits, many times they do not deliver the rosy results which their designers set out to achieve. For instance, some scholars have reported that “eGovernment studies consistently report a lack of the much hoped-for efficiency gains by reorganisation and cross-organisational integration, particularly at local level” (Grönlund, 2007). It is then important to explore the link between ICTs and successful implementation of governmental development programmes and improvement in efficiency and transparency of public sector operations. Besides, at CIPESA we view EGovernment programmes very much from the lenses of the citizen. Thus, we are keen to see how eGovernment directly involves and benefits the ordinary person.
CIPESA has started a programme to track developments in eGovernment in Africa, publish occasional papers and research highlighting success stories, advocate the adoption of inclusive and progressive eGov policies and practices, and offer advice to African governments in designing and implementing eGovernment plans and programmes.