Ariadne’s Thread – March 2015

Ariadne’s Thread – March 2015
March 5, 2015 Sarah Pugh

March 2015

Ariadne’s Thread is a monthly update of events, briefings and research for social change and human rights funders. 


Ariadne News & Events

budapestARIADNE POLICY BRIEFING 9th – 11th March 2015, BUDAPEST: Next week Ariadne’s annual policy briefing will take place in Budapest. 77 people have registered – if anybody would like to try and join at the last minute please contact Lori Stanciu. The policy briefing plenaries will be streamed live, and we will post details of this on Ariadne Central.

ARIADNE FORECAST 2015: Ariadne’s first forecast will be available for public download on the landing page of the Ariadne website from March 9th onward. 90 participants took part in the forecasting process. Summaries will be available in French and Dutch.

SAVE THE DATE: HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE UK AFTER THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION – PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: You are cordially invited to participate in a non-attributable discussion regarding potential scenarios for the future of the UK’s human rights protections following the 2015 General Election.  The session will be an opportunity to discuss future scenarios analysis commissioned by the Thomas Paine Initiative, to consider its implications for action and to share and discuss plans. The afternoon of 14th April 2015. Location: NCVO, London. Please contact Sarah Pugh to reserve a space.

SAVE THE DATE: Workshop on Shrinking Space for Civil Society And Networking-Dinner: Ariadne, the International Human Rights Funders Group and the European Foundation Centre ask you to save the date for a Workshop on Shrinking Space for Civil Society on 11th – 12th June in Berlin. The workshop is aimed, not a describing this widespread problem but, instead, at developing specific remedies. It will provide insight for funders into strategies, solutions and ways of moving forward, and useful areas for cooperation between funders and civil society.



SAVE THE DATE: Ariadne Tele-briefing on Post Charlie Hebdo: What responses do funders have to the social crisis in France?: 77% of French people think Islamophobia is increasing and 68% think anti-Semitism is growing (Odoxa Survery 27.02.2015). Racism, stigmatisation of part of the population and social inequality: French society is facing huge challenges brought to light by the terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Casher supermarket. Which actions can we use to fight against racism and discrimination? How can we promote equality of opportunity? When and where can we help to train and include the younger generation? Do funders have a specific role to play in this context? The tele-briefing is aimed at discussing these social challenges in France. It will provide insight for funders on some current initiatives and explore the strategic role of funders. Please note the event will be held in French. 16th April, 12:00- 13:00 CET.

FEATURED COMMUNITY: 2015 Policy Briefing: This is the Community for all those coming to the 2015 Ariadne Policy Briefing on 9-11th March in Budapest. You can use this community to upload and share background resources and view the agenda and the current list of participants. You can also sign-up for Break-out Sessions, the Informal DinnerLemon Dinner and site-trips. If you can’t make it to the Policy Briefing, then this is where you will find notes of each session.

NEW PORTAL MEMBERS: Ariadne welcomes Carola Carazzone from Assifero (IT), Laure Chaudey from Admical (FR), Artemis Papatheodorou from Bodossaki Foundation (GR), Ekaterine Gejadze from Women’s Fund in Georgia (GE), and Annemieke Tsike-Sossah from IKEA Foundation (NL). If you are an Ariadne member and would like to join the Portal too, please contact Community Host Kenneth Hill.


New Research, Articles and Judgements

gaggingLoss of an independent charity sector puts society at serious risk: The Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector, established by the Baring Foundation, has recently published its fourth and final report, which suggests that the independence of the third sector in the UK is being reduced by the Government, on the one hand imposing gagging clauses in contracts and on the other openly dismissing the contributions the voluntary sector has to make. The report claims that it is time for a new settlement between government and the voluntary sector, to rebuild trust. This means government working with the sector, listening and involving it in decision-making through genuine consultation and creating new platforms for public dialogue. It also means charities and the Charity Commission taking the lead and ensuring that legitimate freedoms to speak and to act are protected. You can access the report here, and read a commentary in UK newspaper The Guardian here.

The Society We Want: Research commissioned by the Webb Memorial Trust, by leading pollster YouGov on attitudes to poverty in the UK, has shown that the qualities that people most treasure are social ones such as fairness, security, safety, freedom, compassion and tolerance. According to the results of the polls undertaken, economic indicators mattered far less. The research also revealed that persistent repetition of bad news and framing the poverty debate in negative terms means that people turn off from the problem, thinking that ‘this is too big for me to deal with’. The report suggests that rather than beginning with the problem, we should identify the solution we want and put our efforts into obtaining it. Access the full report here.

Amnesty International Report 2014/15: The State of the World’s Human Rights: Amnesty International have released their annual ‘State of the World’s Human Rights’ report, which documents the state of human rights in 160 countries and territories during 2014. On the issue of legislation on surveillance and access to justice, they noted that “The UK and Switzerland led the charge, with ruling parties in both countries openly attacking the European Court of Human Rights and discussing withdrawal from the Convention system. In short, at no time since the fall of the Berlin Wall had the integrity of, and support for, the international human rights framework in the Europe and Central Asia region appeared quite so brittle”. Access Amnesty’s summary here, and the full report here.

Slovenia Same-Sex Marriage Vote Successful: The Slovenian Parliament has voted, with an impressive majority (51 for, 28 against) in favour of marriage equality. The vote may still be challenged by the Senate, but it demonstrates significant political support for same-sex marriage. It is even more significant, given that this is the first Central European country which would enact full marriage equality. The news source Reuters has reported that The Civil Initiative for Family and Children’s Rights (a Slovenian civic group), which opposes the changes, said on Wednesday it would push for a referendum on the law, which is similar to one rejected by Slovenians in a popular vote in 2012.

#idefend – Making sure civil society has its voice: A new initiative has been launched by the Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Tunisia to the UN in Geneva. The #idefend campaign takes a firm public stance to support the voices of civil society.#idefend aims at expressing solidarity with all those human rights defenders and civil society actors, whose dedication and everyday work improve the human rights of people in every corner of the world. Read more and join the campaign here.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

immigrant‘I am an immigrant’ Poster Campaign: Immigration is a key issue in the forthcoming elections in the UK, where public attitudes to migrants and refugees have hardened in recent years. Against this background a new poster campaign will highlight the positive contributions made to British society by migrants. Fifteen migrants, including celebrities and ordinary people from all walks of life including health professionals, teachers, cleaners, entrepreneurs, journalists and lawyers will be photographed by a Vogue photographer, with the message ‘I am an immigrant’, and a simple line that illustrates their contribution to British society such as ‘I am a brain surgeon and I have saved 6,000 lives’. The posters will be up in tube and train stations around the UK in the last few weeks before the General Election in May, with a website and social media support, showing that immigrants not only contribute but are part of the fabric of British society and a vital part of multi-cultural Britain.

Hate Poetry – Getting laughs out of Islamaphobia: Hate Poetry is a night where a group of German journalists with “vaguely Muslim-sounding names” read out some of the despicable emails that regularly appear in their inboxes. Rather than suffer such indignities in silence, the writers have banded together to form a kind of slam-poetry series, where the most imaginative and eloquently abhorrent diatribes are read out as “mesmerising, high-concept theatre”. Germany is home to around 4 million Muslims, less than 6% of the population, but unease about Islam appears to be growing in the country. In a November survey by pollster Emnid, 61% of Germans said Islam doesn’t fit in the western world, while 40% said the presence of Muslims made them feel like foreigners in their own country. You can read a description of the poetry evenings here from The Guardian, and find out when the next shows are here.



Environmental Justice Foundation Report: Pirates & Slaves: Environmental Justice Foundation have released a report and film which both explore how international demand for cheap seafood is fuelling a brutal trade in vulnerable people and the collapse of entire marine ecosystems. The foundation states that overfishing, pirate fishing and modern-day slavery in the Thai fishing industry must be addressed as interconnected issues. Read the report here and watch the video here.

34 Countries in Europe Make this Nightmare a Reality: Transgender Europe, a Berlin-based organisation working on Transgender discrimination in Europe, have released a new video, highlighting the nightmare of legal gender recognition for trans people in Europe. For most trans people in Europe, it is either impossible or humiliating to get a passport or other identity documents with their correct name and gender. In fact, 34 countries in Europe still do not allow a trans person to change their name and registered gender without invasive and abusive requirements that violate their human rights. 3 of the worst requirements are: being forced to undergo sterilisation and other medical interventions; being forced to get a divorce (if married); having to receive a diagnosis of mental illness, despite not being mentally ill, or a “psychological opinion”.

Pussy Riot releases first English song ‘I can’t breathe’, inspired by Eric Garner: Ariadne members who attended last year’s briefing with Nadya and Masha from Pussy Riot might remember that they mentioned they were working on some new music. They have now released their first English song, ‘I can’t breathe’, inspired by the final words of New York police choke-hold victim Eric Garner. Pussy Riot have dedicated the song to all those “around the globe who suffer from state terror — killed, choked, perished because of war and state sponsored violence of all kinds,”. The punk-duo is fiercely critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repression of dissent and support for rebels fighting in Ukraine. “We really could not breathe for this whole last year,” they said.


nominet pic2014 Nominet Trust 100: The Nominet Trust 100 is a list of innovators using technology to drive social change around the world. Nominet Trust, a UK social tech funder,  has compiled the Social Tech Guide to recognise the pioneers who are using digital technology to make a real difference to millions of lives. It offers an up-to-date collection of the world’s best applications of digital technology for social good. The list (and interactive map) features projects ranging from 3D print-on-demand houses to disease diagnosis by smartphone, children’s codingclubs and a citizen-science project to cure cancer. See a commentary from the Financial Times here.

Maximising Impact: How philanthropists can do the most on the ground: Online forum Philanthropy Impact has written on the issue of how funds are often lost on the way to their causes due to a lack of strategic currency insight and limited expertise in moving funds to those in need overseas. They highlight that failing to plan international operations, be it financial or otherwise, may seriously hinder the impact of work on the ground. It is something NGOs and philanthropists should pay special attention to. In their article they give advice on philanthropy and financial risk management, that will help make sure that the individual can have as much impact as possible with their individual funds.

Supporting Grantee Capacity: Strengthening Effectiveness Together: In this guide the online service Grant Craft looks at how funders approach building capacity with grantees. Through examples from foundations ranging in size, mission, and geography, they explore various strategies for capacity building and the types of awareness that funders can choose to incorporate in their decision making to facilitate informed, thoughtful judgments about strengthening organisations. Grant Craft have also put together a range of podcasts, case studies, illustrations, and survey results on this topic.


Is “social justice philanthropy” an oxymoron?: Fatima van Hattum and Arianne Shaffer have written for the online forum openDemocracy concerning the difficult discussion that needs to take place on money, wealth, privilege and power, given that “most of the money that’s sitting in the bank accounts and endowments of large philanthropic foundations originates from the same mechanisms that caused the problems their giving is meant to fix”. They suggest that first, every funder should embody the changes they want to see in the practice of their giving, second, funders should mirror the kind of economic system they want in the ways they manage and spend their money, and third, spaces have to be carved out for a much more honest and equal discussion of philanthropy and its future.

Collaborative and Systemic Philanthropy: Small, tailored workshop for funders: An increasing number of foundations are exploring more collaborative ways of working to reach greater impact and effectiveness. Yet there are many questions about why and how to work this way, and no single best approach to do so. This workshop will provide a space for funders to share ideas and experiences in a studio-type setting around such questions as, ‘How do we increase our effectiveness through collaborative and systemic programmes?’ The aim of the workshop is to help each other develop more impactful programmes, fit for the systemic issues of our times. It will be led by three facilitators with decades of combined experienced in organisational learning and social change. For more information, see this flyer and contact Andres Roberts to register. The event will take place in April or May in or near Central London.


Jobs and Tenders

Hivos-logoAdvocacy Officer – Hivos: Hivos is searching for an Advocacy Officer to manage and implement advocacy in all its projects and programmes. Candidates must bring with them a relevant, well-established international network and an ability to translate their analysis of themes and actors into concrete strategies and programmes. Deadline for applications: March 13th. Location: The Hague. More details here.

Grants Manager – Sir John Cass Foundation: The Sir John Cass Foundation is looking for a full time Grants Manager to help implement their new vision and associated grants strategy. Through building and developing effective relationships you will lead the Foundation’s grants team in one of the oldest endowed educational grant making charities within the City of London. Building on the Foundation position as a key contributor to educational policy, practice and research, you will work closely with key partners to meet the evolving educational needs of London’s young people. Location: London. Deadline for applications: Monday 16th March at 12pm (GMT). More details here.

Senior Program Officer – Open Society Foundations Arab Regional Office (ARO): OSF are seeking a rights and governance senior program officer to spearhead a progressive and lively program in support of open society and reform in the Arab Region, through a multitude of collaboration with civil society, media, and governments. In addition to providing leadership, content, and direction, the senior program officer will be responsible for ensuring the program’s effectiveness and impact, as well working closely with ARO staff to support civil society more broadly in the Arab region. Candidates must have a minimum of five years of relevant experience in the Arab region. Location: Tunis or Amman. Deadline for applications: Until filled. More details here.


Public Meetings


June 29th – July 3rd
African Grantmakers Network (AGN) 3rd Biennial Assembly: “Philanthropy in Africa 2015: People, Policy and Practice”: The previously postponed 2014 African Grantmakers Network (AGN) 3rd Biennial Assembly will now be held in Arusha, Tanzania on the 1st – 3rd July 2015, and will be hosted by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS). Leading thinkers in philanthropy will join delegates in discussing the growth of African economies through philanthropy development. More details here.


March 16th – March 20th
EFC European Environmental Funders Group Spring Meeting: Hosted by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation, this learning and networking event will give funders the opportunity to understand the philanthropic and NGO landscape in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) with a focus on capacity and work in the environmental field; meet guest speakers and learn more about environmental policy priorities of CEE countries, the European Union and economic approaches towards better environmental sustainability; reflect on opportunities for future interventions; and learn from the experiences of peers and identify opportunities for collaboration. 18th – 19th March 2015. Location: Open Gardens Education Centre, Brno, Czech Republic. Read more here.


March 9th – April 23rd
Cartoon Art for World Peace Exhibition: Using black humour and satire – ‘Cartoons for Peace’ is a collection of political cartoons created over the past three decades from numerous countries to convey the absurdity of war and conflict through the eyes of award winning cartoonists. This exhibition invites you into the minds and emotions of artists from around the world whose drawings were selected as part of an international competition that has been run for 32 years by the Aydin Doğan Foundation from Turkey. The exhibition will run from the 9th of March to the 23rd of April. Location: Philanthropy House, Brussels.


September 28th – October 2nd
Save the date: Grantmakers East Forum 2015: This year is the 20th anniversary of the Grantmakers East Forum, which is due to take place from the 30th of September to the 2nd of October.


March 9th – March 13th
London Funders: Early Action and Intervention: This Learning from Funders event will provide an opportunity for funders to consider recent developments within the area of Early Action and Intervention. This meeting will feature contributions from members of the Early Action Funders Alliance, which is building on the work of the Early Action Task Force, and will discuss the funder collaboration that is supporting a number of pilot initiatives across the country. The work of the Southwark Early Action Commission, being led by Community Action Southwark, will also be discussed. The commission, which is the first of its kind, will look at how the council, NHS, police and voluntary sector can work together to prevent problems that damage people’s lives and trigger demands for expensive services like hospitals and prisons – with ultimate savings for the taxpayer. For more details and to RSVP please contact Becky Green. 15:00 – 17:00 GMT, March 10th. Location: London Funders, 314 – 320 Grays Inn Road.

EFN Spring Lunch: Toxins – A Cinderella Issue?: Join the Environmental Funders Network for lunch with Elizabeth Salter Green, author of The Toxic Consumer and Director at CHEMTrust, which works to prevent man-made chemicals from causing long term damage to wildlife or humans, by ensuring that chemicals which cause such harm are substituted with safer alternatives. As successive editions of Where the Green Grants Went have highlighted, the pervasive issue of toxins is significantly underfunded in the landscape of environmental funding. Come and hear Elizabeth’s take on the key leverage points for funders in terms of reducing chemical burdens on humans and wildlife at the UK, European and international levels. 12:00 – 14:30, March 12th. Location: Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, 5 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1AP. Contact Florence Miller to RSVP.

March 18th – March 27th
Human Rights Watch Film Festival: Tickets are now on sale for the 19th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London, including 16 award-winning documentary and feature films from across the globe. The line-up includes the first UK screening of ‘The Yes Men are Revolting‘, which sees notorious activists the Yes Men tackle the issue of climate change. There will also be a masterclass in partnership with the Guardian offering the opportunity to learn the essentials of international crisis multi-media reporting from leading Human Rights Watch investigators, emergencies director Peter Bouckaert and photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale. The festival runs from March 18th – March 27th. Location: selected cinemas in London. More details and tickets here.

March 23rd – March 27th
The life and times of the Human Rights Act with Jonathan Cooper: This event will provide an analysis of the UK Human Rights Act, looking at questions such as how do you guarantee effective human rights within the UK system of government; has the Human Rights Act struck the right balance; and why has the Act become a political football? Speakers will include Lucy Scott-Moncrieff CBE, Guy Black (The Telegraph), Jonathan Cooper (Doughty Street Chambers), and Philippa Drew (former director of custody, HM Prison Service, Home Office). 17:30 – 20:30 25th of March. Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL. More details here.


May 18th – May 22nd
26th EFC Annual General Assembly and Conference: “Philanthropy: Visions and Energy for Change”: The European Foundation Centre will convene its 26th Annual General Assembly and Conference in Milan. By choosing Milan with its coinciding EXPO 2015, EFC plans to create synergies between its flagship conference and the numerous events, organisations and people that EXPO 2015 will attract to Milan. Closely paralleling the EXPO theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, the EFC conference in 2015, entitled “Philanthropy: Visions and Energy for Change”, will embrace the challenge of the sustainable development of the planet and also focus on youth, corporate engagement in social equality and community resilience. 20th – 22nd of May. Location: Milan. Read more here.


July 13th – July 17th
Save the date: IHRFG’s 2015 New York Institute: The International Human Rights Funders Group annual New York institute and conference will take place this year from the 13th – 15th of July, at New York University’s School of Law, hosted by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. More details here.


March 23rd – March 27th
Good Pitch Europe 2015: Good Pitch connects the world’s best social justice films with new allies and partners. At this event in Oslo, seven film-making teams will pitch their feature documentary and its associated audience engagement campaign in front of a live audience of funders and change-makers. The line up of film-makers will be travelling from the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and Norway, and the projects feature take a look at the challenge of building the new rule of law in South Sudan and the experience of a trans-gender man in Turkey undergoing transition in the glare of public scrutiny, and more. Wednesday 25th March. Location: The Opera House in Oslo, Norway. Read more here.


March 9th – March 13th
Cercle Education – Sharing experiences of foundations’ working groups on education in Europe: Initiated by its members, Association Pierre Bellon, Apprentis d’Auteuil and Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, the French Foundation Centre has founded a new working group for foundations that act in the field of education, called “Cercle Education”, which aims to make them visible, via a mapping of French foundations. The next event “Sharing experiences of Foundations’ Working groups on Education in Europe” will be held on Tuesday the 10th of March, from 9:30 12:00 CET at: Association Pierre Bellon, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris. For more information please contact Andrea Schaefer at, Tel : +33 1 83 79 98 87.


November 9th – November 13th
Save the date: 2015 European Pro Bono Forum: The European Pro Bono Forum provides an international perspective on pro bono practice in Europe. By bringing together a growing and influential community of lawyers, individuals from the NGO sector, law professors and students that recognise the urgency of developing pro bono work, PILnet’s European Pro Bono Forum offers a setting where participants can explore how they can best collaborate to address critical social issues. 11th – 13th November 2015. Location: NH Collection Roma Vittorio Veneto, Rome. More details here.


March 16th – March 20th
Arab women resisting ISIS: Elisabeth van der Steenhoven, director of WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform will talk about activism in the Arab region and the importance of women’s participation in peace and transition processes at this lunch time session. WO=MEN is a network of Dutch NGO’s, diaspora, activists, military and entrepreneurs for cooperation and advocacy on women’s rights and gender equality worldwide. 12:00 – 13:30 CET, March 19th. Location: Humanity House, The Hague. More details here.

March 20th – March 28th
Movies that Matter Festival: Besides special movies and controversial documentaries, this festival will include an extensive in-depth programme, consisting of numerous talk shows and debates, introductions and discussions, as well as three exhibitions, the theatrical performance Closed Curtains and the marathon screening of the successful television series Bloedbroeders. Every night, there will be live performances by renowned musicians. The festival will run from March 20th – 28th. Location: venues around The Hague. More details here.

Ariadne is supported by Adessium Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust and Zennstrom Philanthropies.

Ariadne is also supported by voluntary contributions from its participants