Clear all

344 results found

reorder grid_view

Funding for a healthier civil society: Lessons from an OSF program

January 19, 2022

The Economic Justice Program (EJP) of the Open Society Foundations ran from 2018 until the end of December 2021. During this time, and building on the work of its two parent programs (Fiscal Governance and Economic Advancement), EJP developed the Foundations' first-ever strategy dedicated to fighting economic injustice and pioneered approaches to good grantmaking for social change.This brief summarizes early successes and lessons from EJP's pilot Organizational Health Fund, the first such fund at OSF. Our hope in sharing these insights is to equip grantee partners seeking OHF-type support and to inspire funders looking to develop similar practices.

Looking in the equity & inclusion mirror: Lessons from an OSF Program

December 1, 2021

The Economic Justice Program (EJP) of the Open Society Foundations ran from 2018 until the end of December 2021. During this time, and building on the work of its two parent programs (Fiscal Governance and Economic Advancement), EJP developed the Foundations' first-ever strategy dedicated to fighting economic injustice and pioneered approaches to good grantmaking and investing for social change.This learning brief provides an overview of EJP's internal review of its own practices and culture in relation to intersectional equity and the lessons learned along the way. The aim is to share insights and resources for funders and grantee partners who are considering undertaking a similar equity-focused review and to encourage action on intersectional equity within the field.

Stand Together: Cash Assistance Funds for Undocumented Immigrants in a Time of Crisis

October 1, 2021

Open Society Foundations and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees commissioned this report as part of a larger effort to make resources, knowledge, and infrastructure developed during the pandemic known to grantmakers responding to future economic disruptions. Stand Together describes Covid-19 direct relief funds for undocumented immigrants and records promising practices for crisis grantmaking in immigrant communities.

How to Make Tajikistan's Drug Laws More Effective and Humane

March 4, 2020

Tajikistan's current laws regarding drug users and drug policy are a cumbersome mix of recently adopted international obligations and regressive provisions dating back to the Soviet period. With support from the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Tajikistan, representatives from the country's Ministry of Health, Drug Control Agency, and civil society organizations analyzed existing drug legislation and bylaws with the aim of identifying areas for improvement.

Roma Early Childhood Inclusion Overview Report

February 24, 2020

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI) studies and reports aim to build a comprehensive and detailed picture of the extent of early childhood provision and services, available to Romani families. The studies have been carried out in five countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia—and  endeavour to identify the major obstacles that Romani families face in accessing high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood care and education. More generally, the studies and reports deliver data and information about communities that are often ignored or misrepresented by official statistics, government policies, ministerial strategies and plans for spending.As previous studies carried out by Open Society Foundations have shown—No Data—No Progress, 2010—the lack of reliable data hampers any attempt to measure the impact of government or international NGO intervention. Planning services and allocating resources to Romani communities are the consequence of "guesswork" rather than knowledge and careful study. The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion reports present a distillation of the most recent and reliable data to be had, in these circumstances, drawn from the actual communities themselves, through interviews and focus groups. Government strategies, policies and action plans are all assessed in this context; what has been the effect of the initiatives aimed at improving the economic and social position for Romani families, in these countries?This Overview Report draws upon data from the five country studies, carried out by Romani and non-Romani researchers working together, to present what are the themes and topics of most relevance to families and young children in settlements and neighbourhoods across central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. A profound lack of equality of access and services, beset by numerous obstacles, characterizes the overall picture, for Roma. The numbers of Romani children that have access to good quality, early childhood education and care provision or who can participate in community and home-based learning programmes, remains minimal in comparison with the surrounding, majority populations.The desperate need for Romani children to be able to access, at least for two years, high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood education and care services and benefit from effective home visiting and community-based early childhood development (ECD) programmes, is a particular theme throughout the report. This is a minimum requirement that the partner organizations (UNICEF, Open Society Foundation's Early Childhood Program and Roma Education Fund) advocate for at national and international levels, if progress is to be made in improving education outcomes for Romani children.The scale of the changes that need to be undertaken in order to provide equal opportunity for Romani children and families requires that national governments and international institutions (such as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Union's Parliament) act, following the recommendations that these reports deliver.

Mapping Digital Media: Nigeria

February 24, 2020

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.Nigeria has a relatively high internet penetration rate, driven primarily by a rapid expansion of mobile platforms. Recent figures suggest that over a third of the population have access to the internet and there are over 50 mobile phones per 100 Nigerians. However, internet access is concentrated geographically within just 16 percent of the country, and overwhelmingly within urban areas. Access to digital broadcasting platforms is largely contained within pay-TV networks, and free-to-air digital broadcasting is still embryonic.Regarding free-to-air, there are currently no legal requirements on broadcasters to facilitate citizen access to digital platforms, nor any measures to ensure its affordability. Regulatory pressure has been applied to commercial broadcasters, but state broadcasters have been criticized for failing to take a leadership role in driving the switch-over.The report suggests that the development of the mobile sector offers the best hope for bridging regional and social divides in the medium term. But the enduring significance of these divides presents the most profound obstacle to Nigerian society reaping the benefits of digital media in terms of increased diversity, openness, and access.

Mapping Digital Media: Colombia

February 24, 2020

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.In Colombia, analog free-to-air television is still by far the most influential source of news. Digitization seems to be increasing both the quantity and range of news and the total public consumption of media as many traditional outlets now have online versions, while some new online only outlets have been born in recent years and gained recognition as news providers. Internet use is increasing very fast in urban areas and higher socioeconomic groups.Public media have been strengthened in recent years and public service provision is considered an important issue in Colombia. The transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT) is seen as both a challenge and an opportunity to public media. Digital activism too has grown in Colombia, and active internet users have proved the power of social networking, which has become very popular. Political debates and hostage rescue operations have, among others, triggered big digital mobilizations, especially on Facebook and Twitter.The policy and regulatory framework for digital media is still being defined as the media regulatory framework itself is functional, but there are several procedural flaws in the implementation.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: What Can It Do?

February 20, 2020

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is a legally binding document that contains a list of human rights recognised by the European Union (EU). It could become a powerful tool available to influence policy makers or serve as a basis for litigation. Individuals can use judicial and political mechanisms to hold EU institutions, and in certain circumstances member countries, to account when they fail to comply with the Charter. The Charter can also be used to pressure decision makers to bring policies and legislation under development in line with human rights standards. This background paper explains when and how the Charter can be used by advocates at national and EU level.

A Balancing Act: Policymaking on Illicit Drugs in the Czech Republic

February 1, 2020

In the early post-Soviet period, Czech authorities, unlike their counterparts in some former Eastern Bloc countries, turned away from repressive drug policies and developed approaches to illicit drugs that balanced new freedoms with state authority. The end of Soviet rule meant that drug markets and the use of a wide range of new drugs attained a magnitude and visibility not previously known to Czech society.From an early stage, some pioneering health professionals with expertise in drug addiction saw that the new drug situation would require greatly expanded services for drug users and collaboration between civil society and government to achieve this expansion. They were able to influence the new government and steer it toward drug policy that would define drug use as a multisectoral problem, not an issue for policing alone.The report A Balancing Act: Policymaking on Illicit Drugs in the Czech Republic traces the development of drug policy in the Czech Republic from the post-Soviet period to the present day. The report examines the impact of the Czech Republic's evidence based approach to drug policy, compares the country's path on drug policy to that of its neighbour Slovakia and discusses challenges to maintaining this approach in the future.Watch a video produced by the Rights Reporter Foundation based on the fin

Civil Society Organizations and General Data Protection Regulation Compliance

February 1, 2020

Civil Society Organizations and General Data Protection Regulation Compliance: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices, a new report from the Open Society Information Program, looks specifically at the ways that the world's most comprehensive data privacy law impacts nongovernmental organizations.It examines, in practical terms, what these kind of organizations have done to comply with the law. It also presents research showing ways that governments, businesses, and some powerful individuals have tried—so far unsuccessfully—to use the law to prevent these organizations from pursuing public interest research and reporting.Finally, the report provides a best practices guide that can be used to ensure compliance and limit risk.

Amplifying Voices: Decade Edition 2005–2015

January 22, 2020

This is a special edition of Amplifying Voices that includes highlights of the Open Society Initiative for East Africa's work from 2005 to 2015. Amplifying Voices documents different journeys the foundation has traveled with its partners since its launch in 2005 and the collective efforts to realize human rights and freedoms for all.Amplifying Voices pays particular attention to those on the margins of society, including stories of working on the forced sterilization of HIV-positive women or those with mental health illnesses, promoting the rights of sex workers, or addressing the question of human rights and counterterrorism.The Open Society Initiative for East Africa started as a one-program initiative in 2005 in Kenya and today has grown to include eight programs in the region. Geographically, the foundation now works in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Sudan. It addresses issues including health and rights, disability rights, and food security.

Armed Drones in Europe

November 1, 2019

The use of armed drones in the European Union has become a topic rife with controversy and misinformation. This report gives a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the approach to, and use of, armed drones in five European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. Further, the report is intended to start a wider debate about armed drones in Europe and to serve as a guide on this topic for the European Parliament.