The digital world is at our fingertips, and we now rely on technology to go about our daily lives. The internet has become so integral to the world, that switching it off would be more than just an inconvenience.
Without the internet, families are torn apart without any contact; emergency services can’t share vital information; and businesses lose money. In dangerous situations people can’t find out the latest information; journalists can’t share important news; and whole countries are silenced.
The digital organisation Access Now has documented over 50 internet shutdowns in 2016 alone, and the number is only increasing. That’s why on Black Friday 2016 (25th November), Lush and Access Now launched the global #KeepItOn campaign against internet shutdowns and a limited edition Error 404 bath bomb.
All profits from the bath bomb are going into the Digital Fund, aiming to raise £250,000 to support Access Now and grassroots digital activism from around the world.
Why grassroots charitable giving?
The Digital Fund will support grassroots activists and charities protecting freedom of expression in the digital era and fighting to keep the internet free, open and safe.
Activists and organisations from anywhere in the world are invited to apply for grants. A panel will carefully decide where to allocate funds. Smaller organisations will be prioritised, particularly those hoping to create long-term change through education, advocacy and campaigning, or those tackling the root cause of the problem.
Grants will range from £100 to £10,000.
The open application process
The application process will start on 7th December 2016, and the deadline for completed applications to be submitted is 15th January 2017.
You’ll find the initial application form and useful information here.
For the first step, you’ll need to send a request and some basic information about you, your work and the country which you are in. If you meet the criteria for the Digital Fund, you’ll then be given access to the full online application form.
During the application process, you’ll need to give references for your work, and if your application is successful, bank details will be required.
Although English is the preferred language, you can apply in any language (and applications will of course be handled internally and confidentially).
Our forms are sent over an encrypted connection, our systems are secure, and all data is encrypted. However, if you are at risk or if you think your emails, devices or internet connections may be at risk, please contact Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline, a free resource offering real-time, direct technical assistance and advice to activists, independent media, and civil society organisations.
We accept third party applications from groups that might be at risk due to their location. If you are in a position of risk and have already worked with another organisation to provide funding, ask them to apply on your behalf.
The Lush Charity Pot scheme also continuously supports local and global organisations fighting for human rights.