Ariadne’s Thread – May 2015

Ariadne’s Thread – May 2015
May 14, 2015 Sarah Pugh

May 2015

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

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Ariadne News & Events

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 16.54.06SAVE THE DATE: ARIADNE UK GRANT SKILLS-DAY: Ariadne UK will hold its annual Grant-Skills Day and Networking Dinner on September 23rd 2015. We invite all Ariadne participants to come to either or both events. This year’s Grant-Skills Day will focus on ‘The Digital Dividend for Social Change and Human Rights Funders’. The speed and scope of social change brought on by digital and mobile technology is becoming a daily reality; technology is redefining the way grant-makers work, communicate and engage with grantees, communities, civil society organisations, governments, and other funders. This day will give grant-makers an understanding of how these technological developments will shape the philanthropic sector in the future. The event will be held at the Victorian-era London Museum of Water & Steam based in a 19th century pumping station. Registration opens shortly.

TELE-BRIEFING: THE FUTURE OF HR PROTECTION IN THE UK AFTER THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION: This tele-briefing will be the first opportunity to consider the potential implications of the UK election result, with John Wadham, who is carrying out analysis and engagement with political parties for the collaborative fund, the Thomas Paine Initiative. The tele-briefing will be a closed event for funders only on Wednesday the 20th of May from 9:00 – 10:00 EST, 14:00 – 15:00 BST, and 15:00 – 16:00 CEST. The issues discussed and the views expressed will be strictly off the record and participants must not report, publish or broadcast what’s said beyond their own organisations. The event will be moderated by Ariadne’s Director, Jo Andrews. To register please email 

WOKRSHOP ON THE DISABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR CIVIL SOCIETY: Ariadne, the International Human Rights Funders Group and the European Foundation Centre are jointly organising a two day Funders’ Workshop on the Disabling Environment for Civil Society on 11-12th June 2015 in Berlin. The event will take place largely in closed session with funders and civil society experts; it is open to Ariadne participants by invitation. The objective of the workshop is for funders to develop concrete strategies to address the disabling environment for civil society, not to discuss the problem. If you would like an invitation to this workshop please email

TELE-BRIEFING ON THE EARLY ACTION FUNDERS ALLIANCE: Ariadne and the International Human Rights Funders Group invite you to take part in a tele-briefing on Wednesday the 3rd of June at 16:30 CEST, 15:30 BST and 10:30 EST to explore a new funding model. The Early Action Funders Alliance (EAFA) aims to create an active community of funders from different sectors who use, or would like to use, early action approaches in their work to support activity to pre-empt crises in people’s lives. Join Matthew Smerdon and Debbie Pippard, members of the EAFA Steering Group, and others for an introduction to the Alliance’s model, a look at one of the first projects – the Neighbourhood Fund, and an analysis of what the approach can achieve. To RSVP please email

NEW ARIADNE COMMUNITY – SUPPORTING TRANSITIONS: Human rights funders have a long history of supporting democratic and post-conflict transitions around the world. Although the record of success and failure is mixed, the lessons for funders are many. What has been missing is a space for funders to talk with each other and with leading experts on the subject of transitions; it is to fill this gap that Ariadne will launch a new online community next month on the topic of Supporting Transitions. Moderated by Mark Freeman (Institute for Integrated Transitions), Barbara Ibrahim (American University in Cairo), Esther Hughes (Global Dialogue) and Walter Veirs (Mott Foundation), the community will be open to all Ariadne members, as well as a number of invited philanthropy professionals and transition experts. If you are interested in joining the community please email


New Research, Articles and Judgements

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 18.20.16Europe’s Migration Crisis: An alternative view from Central Europe: Benjamin Tallis, Co-ordinator of the Centre for European Security of the Institute of International Relations in Prague, has written on the need for a European Union debate on migration. He claims that in the Czech Republic, the argument against common action on the migration crisis seems to be caused by signs that it could actually work, leading to increased immigration and a new ‘pull factor’. He compares this ‘faulty logic’ to that which was behind the decision to cancel the Mare Nostrum SAR operation. He writes that “Disguised as a defence of Europe, this position effectively argues that letting people drown is warranted because it provides a powerful deterrent… Underneath this premise there is a worrying assumption about the innate xenophobia of the general public… if such xenophobia exists, then, in accordance with European values and the history of the EU, it should be challenged rather than simply accepted or, worse, instrumentalized for ignoble purposes.”

Who’s afraid of the activists?: The Economist has reported that hostility to NGOs, though neither new, nor unique to Asia, is getting more intense and pervasive in that region, including among democracies. Tighter regulation is leading to a clampdown on outfits that governments dislike. For example, in China, a new law restricting independent organisations is being drafted, as activists are hounded, including five women recently detained for more than a month for campaigning against sexual harassment. Officials state that charities are often proselytisers of unwelcome religions, that NGOs promote Western values – including the idea that power should be monitored and shared among many actors and institutions, and that NGOs are fronts for leftists and environmentalists set on “weakening Asian powers and scuppering development”.


UK: What David Cameron’s victory means for the rest of Europe: The Conservative Party has won an unexpected majority in the British General Election. According to Mark Leonard, writing for the European Council on Foreign Relations, the issue of Britain’s relationship with the EU will loom large in the first two years of Cameron’s new term – he has promised to make a public referendum on EU membership a central plank of his first Queen’s Speech. In this article Mark examines the following questions: when will the referendum happen; what will be in the renegotiation; will there need to be treaty change; and will Cameron’s campaign succeed? The final question is whether other EU member states can do anything to prevent a Brexit; Mark looks at this in a paper on ‘The British Problem and what it means for Europe‘, suggesting that other states can play a bigger role than they may think.

Hello Conservative majority – Goodbye Human Rights Act?: The UK Conservative Party’s promise to replace the Human Rights Act (HRA) with a UK Bill of Rights is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. There has been a great deal of coverage on this issue in the UK media, with different press outlets either celebrating or lamenting the potential scrapping of the Act. Reports are being featured on the potential difficulties of repealing and replacing the legislation: The Telegraph has reported that any attempt to repeal the HRA “faces almost insurmountable odds“, whilst The Guardian has reported that scrapping the HRA would “breach the Good Friday agreement… and significantly roll back the peace settlement in Northern Ireland” and that Scotland “will not consent to Tory plans to scrap the Act“. Keep up to date with these developments by joining the specialist Ariadne community on the HRA.

Consultation – How to create and maintain civil society space: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is drafting a report of practical recommendations on how to create and maintain the space for civil society to work freely and independently. You can share your examples, challenges and useful resources by emailing by June the 30th. Learn more from their recent report on civil society space here.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 18.09.02RightsInfo: RightsInfo is a new project which aims to bring human rights to life using beautiful infographics, stories and social media. As the project explains, “human rights in the UK have an image problem. The public debate is based on misinformation and lack of understanding. Laws and judgements are aimed at specialists. This means that most people are ambivalent or negative towards human rights”. RightsInfo believes that there is the potential to better explain why human rights matter and how they can change people’s lives. The project uses social media to find new ways to talk about and deliver human rights stories and information.

PODCASTS: Transgender rights in Europe: At a recent Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly side event, activists came together to discuss the prejudice that still confronts transgender people across Europe and the legal and social changes needed to overcome widespread bigotry. In a series of podcasts, Kemal Ordek, of Red Umbrella Turkey (a sex-worker led organisation), offered his analysis of the situation facing transgender people in Turkey, which according to research, has Europe’s highest murder rate of transgender people; whilst Sam Blanckenese, of Transgender Equality Network Ireland, described the torment of not being able to be himself and his decision to transition as a teenager.

VIDEOS: Elder rights and Women’s rights: Equally Ours, a UK-based campaign set up by eight national charities to talk about the importance of human rights in the UK, has been working in partnership with Women’s Aid and Age UK (two well-known UK-based charities) to produce films promoting rights. Women’s Aid, in partnership with the Football Assocation, launched a powerful film on the right of women to be protected from domestic violence. As well as its release via social media, the film was shown in football stadiums across the UK. Age UK produced a film regarding the importance of human rights to older people, which was also released over social media.

VIDEO: Wedding confetti made from anti-gay leaflets: As the Republic of Ireland gears up for its May referendum on marriage equality, Daintree Paper, a paper company in Dublin, has publicly taken on the negative output of anti-gay campaigners with their ‘Shred of Decency’ campaign. The company is taking leaflets containing misleading and damaging anti-gay rhetoric, aimed at persuading people to vote against the legislation of same-sex marriage in the referendum, and turning them into wedding confetti “made from 100% recycled lies”. The packets of heart-shaped confetti cost €5 and the money is donated to the Yes Equality Campaign.


Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 14.58.33Supporting Social Change: A new funding ecology: The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Big Lottery Fund have published a new paper on what they have called the funding ecology for social change, which is intended to challenge all funders. The Foundation states that understanding the wider funding ecology and finding one’s unique place within it is essential if funders are to collectively stretch their tangible, and intangible, resources in an era of great social need. The report was produced by the community interest company Collaborate; it says that funders should see themselves more as partners, and that there should be more use of information-sharing, co-development of strategy and the development of a more holistic understanding of the broader drivers of social change.

Atlantic Philanthropies – Laying Foundations for Change: Atlantic Philanthropies have worked with the Magnum Foundation to make accessible the lessons they have learned about capital giving and to give visual form to the “giving while living” philosophy of Atlantic’s founder. Together they developed a plan to document the impact of Atlantic’s more than $2.5 billion of charitable capital investments on five continents. Part of this plan involved supporting regional photographic communities. By engaging 25 emerging photographers from South Africa, Vietnam, Northern Ireland and the United States, the foundations sought to make a human capital investment in regional photographic talent that mirrored Atlantic’s history of philanthropic support in the areas of education, health, youth, and ageing. The resulting two-volume book, Laying Foundations for Change, is designed to function as a starting point for conversations about effective philanthropic practices, and an online version of the book is downloadable for free.

Not Fit for Purpose: Why I’m done with the foundation world: Jake Hayman, a trustee for the LankellyChase Foundation, has written about the top ten things foundations do that they shouldn’t, and about why he is ‘done’ with the foundation world. Jake says that he has “been working for too long with people trying to achieve great things for the world and watching them degrade themselves at the feet of foundations whose structures turn brilliant thinkers into fundraisers and who reduce a highly complex world into amateur box-ticking”. He states that there needs to be a new model for funding charities that is “better than Victoria style-philanthropy excused by reductionist, un-benchmarked and often corrupted ‘impact assessments'”. Jake has said he would welcome any responses, either by comments here or by peers registering their agreement/disagreement with his ideas on this short survey.

Advancing Human Rights – Knowledge Tool for Funders – Call for Grants Data: Ariadne, the International Human Rights Funders Group, the Foundation Center and the International Network of Women’s Funds have been collaborating on a unique multiyear effort to track and analyse the state of global human rights and social change funding. So far the details of over 90,000 grants in the fields of social change and human rights have been uploaded, contributing to a powerful tool that benefits the entire sector, enabling funders to see what areas are being supported by which of their peers, to map specific issues or areas, and to plan their own strategic interventions to complement existing funding. The detailed online map can be accessed via the password protected Ariadne portal, free of charge to all Ariadne members. The accuracy and reach of the project depends completely on the information that is provided for it. We are now compiling information for the next edition of this project and would like to invite grants data for 2013 and 2014. To find out more and request a template for submitting your data, please email The deadline for submitting data is Tuesday the 9th of June 2015.


Jobs and Tenders

fundforglobalProgramme Officer for North Africa – The Fund for Global Human Rights: The Fund for Global Human Rights (which offers grants and facilitates technical support to ensure the long-term effectiveness and viability of frontline groups working in challenging conditions) is seeking a highly qualified applicant for the position of Programme Officer for North Africa. Within North Africa, the Fund’s most developed grant-making programmes are currently in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. The position reports to the Programme Director and will work as an integrated part of the full Programme team. Closing date for applications: 1st June. Preference will be given to candidates who are based in North Africa, London, or the Washington DC area. More details here.

Programme Director – The Bernard van Leer Foundation: The Bernard van Leer Foundation (a private foundation that makes grants, shares knowledge and conducts advocacy to improve the situation of young children growing up in social and economic disadvantage) is currently seeking an exceptional individual to take the role of Programme Director. The main responsibilities will be to lead and manage a global team whose work currently spans eight countries and involvement in a variety  of international partnerships, and to act as one of the Foundation’s principal advocates, responsible for brokering and leading a set of strategic partnerships that help leverage Foundation knowledge for impact on children around the world. Closing date for applications: 9am (BST) on Wednesday 20th May. Location: The Hague. More details here.

Grants Executive – The Bromley Trust: The Bromley Trust makes grants to UK registered charities working within three designated focus areas; Human Rights, Prison Reform and Environment. The Grants Executive has responsibility for the assessment of grant applications, the preparation and presentation of those applications for consideration by the Trustees and the on-going management of the portfolio of grants. This role also has line management responsibility for the Grants Officer and their workload. Closing date for applications: 29th of May. Location: London. Part-time role. More details here.

Trustees – The Peter Minet Trust: The Peter Minet Trust is an independent grant-giving charitable trust founded in 1969 by Peter Minet, whose family had long-standing connections in Camberwell, London. The Trust is looking for at least two new Trustees to join them in their work to help people and communities in need in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, through its local grants programme to charities in the area. They are looking for Trustees who have experience of and an insight into the needs of diverse inner city communities. They would particularly welcome applicants with a knowledge of the charitable and voluntary sectors in Lambeth and Southwark, but also Trustees who can add to the existing management and financial skills. Closing date for applications: Monday 1st June, 9:00 BST. Location: London. More details here.

England Grant Making Director – The Big Lottery Fund: The Big Lottery Fund is strengthening and reshaping its Senior Management Team who, working closely with Chief Executive Dawn Austwick, will lead the organisation in the delivery of the recently launched 2015-2021 Strategic Framework ‘People in the Lead’. The England Grant Making Director is a newly created position, responsible for developing and delivering grant making operations, building the capability of the England division to meet the Framework’s aspirations and bringing ‘People in the Lead’ to life. Closing date for applications: Friday 22nd May. Location: Birmingham/Newcastle with other locations within England considered. 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.


May 18th – May 24th
Syria: Third Space:
An opening reception is being held by the British Council for the exhibition of Syria: Third Space, which showcases artwork by displaced Syrian artists. There will be the opportunity to meet Syrian artists at this event. Tuesday 2nd of June, 18:30 CEST. Location: European Parliament Building, 3rd floor of the Altiero Spinelli building, Brussels. To RSVP email by Sunday the 24th of May. If you do not have a badge to access the European Parliament you will also need to include your full name, nationality, place of residence, date of birth, type of ID and number of ID in your RSVP.

November 17th – November 18th
Save the date: European Environmental Funders Group 5th Annual meeting:
 The 5th annual meeting of this network will bring funders together with diverse stakeholders (NGOs, policy-makers, think-tanks, business, and others) to discuss systemic issues affecting the environmental agenda. This is an opportunity for networking, intelligence sharing, and strategic reflection on funding opportunities and start-ups. The event will take place on the 17th to the 18th of November, in Brussels. More details will follow soon.


May 18th – May 22nd
Justice matters for women: Time for action: Following a call to action to ‘empower women, resist injustice and transform lives’, Women in Prison and the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies are hosting a one-day event on Wednesday the 20th of May to turn shared concerns into collective action to challenge criminal justice failure and build social justice alternatives. Sessions will cover: setting the context; where have we been and where are we going; where do we want to be; what can we learn from other campaigns; how can we work together to challenge injustice? Location: Human Rights Action Centre, Amnesty International, London. Register here.

June 1st – June 5th
Environmental Funders Network (EFN) Summer Lunch – Post-Election Policy Briefing: Join EFN to hear how the election results are likely to affect environmental policy (and perhaps the UK’s relationship with the EU) in a talk from Ruth Davis, writer, campaigner and Political Advisor at Greenpeace UK and Associate Fellow at E3G. Ruth has worked on environmental policy for nearly 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on when it comes to understanding the political context for environmental progress. She’ll bring her insights into what we can expect in the coming year as a result of the election results, including policies connected to climate change, energy and COP21; nature protection; green spaces and oceans/fisheries. Tuesday the 2nd of June, 12:00 – 14:15 BST. Location: Charities Aid Foundation, 10 St. Bride Street. Please RSVP to

June 8th – June 12th
Rhetoric and Reality: From Magna Carta to human rights today: The Magna Carta has come to stand for the rule of law, curbs on executive power and the freedom to enjoy basic liberties. When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, it was heralded as ‘a Magna Carta for all human-kind’. Yet in the year in which this medieval Charter’s 800th birthday is widely celebrated, the future of the UK’s commitment to international human rights standards is in doubt. In A Magna Carta for all Humanity: homing in on human rights, Professor Francesca Klug invites us to consider what is distinctive about the ethic and practice of universal human rights. This event celebrates the launch of this publication, and brings together Francesca Klug and Shami Chakrabarti in a public conversation, chaired by Jane Gordon. Wednesday 10th of June 2015, 18.30-20:00 BST. Location: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, London

June 29th  – July 3rd
SAVE THE DATE: Early Action Funders Alliance Lunch: The Early Action Funders Alliance (EAFA) invites you to its next quarterly lunch which will feature a presentation by Nick Pearce, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), on the implications of the General Election for early action work, followed by a discussion amongst those funders present. EAFA aims to create an active community of funders from different sectors who use, or would like to use, early action approaches in their work to support activity to pre-empt crises in people’s lives, taking inspiration from the metaphor that it is better to build fences at the top of the cliff than run ambulances at the bottom. Early Action points to ‘readiness’ rather than ‘prevention’- readiness for opportunities and challenges such as education, jobs, relationships, and old age. Attendees will hear an analysis of the new Government’s general receptiveness to the principles of Early Action, and what might be expected of it. July 2nd 2015. Location: Comic Relief, London. To register your interest please email


May 18th – May 22nd
Supporting Civil Society in Syria: Join this discussion with prominent Syrian civic leaders and active donors to learn more about the resilience of local efforts to rebuild communities, establish inclusive citizenship, and broker peace. You will hear what the headlines miss about opportunities to support Syrian women’s groups, education efforts for refugees, and emerging civil society organisations. Speakers include Bassma Kodmani, winner of the Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy, and Rim Turkmani, founder and president of Madani, an organization that supports emerging Syrian civil society groups and peacebuilding, Marie Camberlin, Syria Expert at the European Endowment for Democracy, and Thierry Grandin, an architect based for many years in Aleppo who is documenting protection and incidences of destruction of historical and cultural sites. Moderated by Barbara Ibrahim of the American University in Cairo. Tuesday, 19th of May 2015 from 13:00 – 15:00 CEST. Location: MiCo Milano Congressi  Yellow 2, Milan. Register here.

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
IHRFG’s 2015 New York Conference and Pre-Conference 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. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘The Rights-Based Approach: The Right Approach?”, and the pre-conference institute on the 13th will explore tools and strategies for communicating human rights to build a broader global constituency for human rights around the world. Registration is now open.


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.


June 7th – June 17th
The Spirit Level Documentary:
The Spirit Level Documentary, called ‘The Divide‘, will have its world festival premiere at this year’s Sheffield International Documentary Festival. The film, presented by Dartmouth Films, depicts seven characters battling to cope with the consequences of growing inequality, and interweaves this with charting the growing income gap, to demonstrate how economic division creates social division. The film, directed by Katherine Round and crowd-funded over the last 4 years, is inspired by the book ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. 7th and 10th June. Location: Venues around Sheffield, UK. The film will also have its London festival premiere at Open City Documentary Festival on the 17th of June, where it is nominated for Best UK Film.


May 25th – May 29th
Film and Conversation – Behind the Frequency:
 Humanity House will be showing the film ‘Behind the Frequency’, which explores what happens when the media is controlled by powerful individuals with certain interests and agendas. The film focuses on Indonesia, where Luviana, a journalist with Metro TV is dismissed after speaking up for her rights and her freedom of expression. The film demonstrates that, following the political reformations in the country in 1998, Indonesian media is not as free as it seems. Thursday the 28th of May, 19:00 CEST. Location: Humanity House, The Hague.

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

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