Digital Defenders Partnership

Towards centring feminism and decoloniality.

Illustration of a hummingbird.

DDP is an international programme that contributes to strengthening the resilience of HRDs by increasing their digital security through a holistic and sustainable approach.


DDP envisions a world in which HRDs contribute to social justice while enjoying safety, well-being, freedom, and dignity.


DDP contributes to strengthening the resilience of HRDs by increasing their digital security through a holistic and sustainable approach.

Our Guiding Principles


A strong commitment towards fostering solidarity, connection, cooperation and a sense of community in convening spaces. DDP understands that epistemic violence and injustice are barriers to true collaboration. We value different knowledge, aim to decentre dominant discourses and encourage the inclusion of marginal modes of knowledge production and consumption.


For us, the well-being, autonomy, empowerment and dignity of the people and communities we work for and with are of the utmost importance. In all our activities and engagements, we want to create safe and respectful spaces where people can engage the personal and the political, and feel safe and empowered in doing this.


A commitment to handling all incoming information responsibly and protecting it against inadvertent disclosure to unauthorised parties. In any remote coordination or online initiatives, secure and encrypted channels running on free and open-source software are a priority. Commercial or proprietary tools will be avoided as much as possible, especially if they have a history of violating users’ privacy.


Encompassing individual uniqueness and distinctions within communities and groups, diversity spans attributes such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, and every facet that contributes to one’s identity, values, and experiences.


As a measure of justice, it refers to the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and protection of all people. DDP is committed to a feminist and intersectional approach as the epistemological basis for our analyses and the development of our programmes. Our approach to digital security and the overall protection of human rights defenders is developed through a lens which seeks to make visible the various layers of structural and discursive discrimination based on gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race identity, ethnicity, geography, language, culture, religion, caste, socioeconomic status, employment, age, dis/ability, and neuro(a)typicality, among other things.

Not claiming but facilitating

Encouraging individuals, organisations and networks to have and take ownership of their own interventions and activities while supporting their strategies and efforts.


The understanding that our programmes are not neutral in the contexts within which they are implemented, which are invariably characterised by injustice and conflict in various forms. Our goal is to prevent or limit unintended negative outcomes through a decolonial approach that, through DDP’s regionalisation, centres and prioritises the knowledge and solutions of the communities we work for and with.


Attitude of curiosity, innovation, reflective, and transparent learning in our individual and collective work. It is a position against the extraction, exploitation, privatisation, control and restriction of resources and knowledge, emphasising the political dimension of making information accessible to the public and of adopting, developing and maintaining free/libre and open-source tools that adapt and align with the evolving needs of the communities utilising them.

2024 – 2027 Strategic Plan: Towards Centring Feminism and Decoloniality

Cover of the Digital Defenders Partnership 2024-2027 Strategic Plan with an illustration of people in front of a globe.

DDP’s 2024-2027 Strategic Plan is shaped by its commitment to centre feminist and decolonial practices across all of its work through a holistic approach that goes beyond recognising and addressing surface-level issues to delve into the systemic injustices that threaten the digital security of HRDs. The strategy begins with a refreshed vision, mission, and guiding principles that steer DDP’s endeavours and trajectory during this phase of its work.

Strategic Objective 1

Increase flexible and relevant resources for holistic digital security for HRDs at risk (mitigate).

Strategic Objective 2

Strengthen and support HRDs’ digital security knowledge, capabilities, and practices through a holistic approach (prevent).

Strategic Objective 3

Support the strengthening of digital security knowledge, capacities, and practices within networks and communities at the local, regional, and global levels.

Strategic Objective 4

Strengthen DDP’s infrastructure, resilience and sustainability.

Our history

In 2011, several governments established the Freedom Online Coalition who, a year later, launched the Digital Defenders Partnership (DDP) Fund; an emergency grant mechanism towards digital activists under threat.


DDP operates in a manner that is independent from its donors and is managed by Hivos, a non-profit organisation headquartered in the Netherlands that provides funding and implements programmes to innovate for social change worldwide.

From 2012 to 2022, DDP received its funding from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom; along with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the United States Department of State.