[ABA – ROLI Project] Request for Applications from Civil Society for Small Grants to Support Internet Freedom

    Apply by: June 1, 2015
    Organization: American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)

    The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is an international development program that promotes the rule of law by working with in-country partners to build sustainable institutions and societies. ABA ROLI is currently implementing a two-year program to protect Internet freedom in Southeast Asia. In close collaboration with Internet freedom advocates and local partners, ABA is working in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand to enhance legal capacity on online freedom of expression. ABA ROLI also works with civil society organizations and has a small grants program to support Internet freedom advocacy campaigns.

    American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)

    Request for Applications from Civil Society for Small Grants to Support Internet Freedom

    Posting Date: 7 April 2015
    Application Deadline: 1 June 2015
    Eligible Applicants: NGOs and CSOs in Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia
    Grant Funding Maximum: $12,000


    ABA ROLI is seeking applications from civil society organizations for small grants to support Internet freedom initiatives in Southeast Asia. In May 2014, ABA ROLI began implementing a program entitled “Empowering Internet Freedom in the Global Information Age: Advancing Legal Protections and Challenging Restrictions in Southeast Asia.”

    Across Southeast Asia, a variety of methods are being used to restrict Internet freedoms and repress expression online, including national security regulations, vague language in Internet laws, broad investigatory powers, excessive bail, harsh sentences, defamation and libel claims, content restriction, and surveillance. Lawyers and civil society organizations in the region can play a critical role in challenging these restrictions, advocating for stronger legal protections, and defending human rights online.

    With this small grant opportunity, ABA ROLI welcomes applications from civil society organizations in the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia.

    ABA ROLI expects to offer six grants.

    Project Eligibility:

    Successful applicants must seek to promote human rights online, and develop and implement strategies for civil society to advocate for Internet freedom. Any proposal that will achieve these objectives is encouraged.

    ABA ROLI especially welcomes initiatives that encourage collaboration between the legal community, the private sector, and civil society.

    ABA ROLI encourages applications which include one or more of the component activities below:

    • Engagement and education of lawmakers on issues of Internet freedom.
    • Information and dialogue with judges on principles/standards for Internet freedom.
    • Outreach to raise advocacy and awareness and engage the general public on their human rights online and existing protections.
    • Policy and/or legal advocacy on Internet freedom, including constitutional principles and legal reform.

    How to Apply:

    Projects should be three to six months in length. All successful grantees will be expected to attend a regional training workshop on Internet freedom to take place in July/August 2015. The implementation period should begin no earlier than 1 August 2015 and end no later than 29 February 2016.  

    The maximum for any single grant is limited to $12,000, but a grant application can include a request for any amount less than this. Funds will be disbursed as advance payments on a quarterly basis and will then be reconciled based on actual expenses.

    Successful applicants will describe how they will work to achieve the component activities, and will propose creative efforts to achieve and maximize impact for the component activities.

    Applicants should submit an application by completing the two attached forms (subgrant application form and budget template) and provide the requested attachments as indicated in the subgrant application form (registration certificate, organization charter, etc.). Only forms that are submitted in English will be processed. Once your application has been received, you will get an email confirmation. ABA ROLI may contact you via telephone or email should they require more information about your proposal.

    Applicants under consideration for an award may be subject to pre-award inquiries to determine fiscal responsibility and ensure adequacy of financial controls. Applicants will be informed of the success of their application by end June 2015.

    ABA ROLI reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. Issuance of this small grant opportunity does not constitute an award commitment on the part of ABA ROLI, neither does it commit ABA ROLI to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of applications. 

    Applications must be submitted in electronic form to the attention of Rachel Chhoa-Howard [email protected], CCing Mark Wallem [email protected]. Receipt of the application will be confirmed via email. If you need additional information or have any questions during the application process, please email Rachel Chhoa-Howard.

    Every page of the proposal must be numbered. Large graphics files are discouraged. Attached file format must be Microsoft Word and Excel. Applicants must submit the subgrant application form in Microsoft Word format, and the budget in unlocked Microsoft Excel format. Budgets must be in the approved ABA ROLI Excel format (template attached), and must show all formulas to demonstrate calculations.


    Applications must be received by 1 June 2015 to be considered for funding; late applications will not be considered for awards.


    ABA ROLI will use the following general criteria for evaluating submitted grant proposals:

    • feasibility to implement activities
    • demonstrated need for the activities
    • past performance of the applicant
    • reach and impact
    • cooperation and coordination between and among other sectors, including civil society organizations, the business community and/or legal practitioners
    • participation of and impact on marginalized and underrepresented groups

    Download the subgrant application form and budget template.

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