“The Lifeline team heard our voice at a time when hope was dying for us to continue efforts for human rights especially for women’s rights and their empowerment in our project operation areas. Lifeline encouraged and enabled our organization’s staff to continue its mission”
-Pakistani CSO representative
WHAT IS LIFELINE?
The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund is a consortium of 7 INGOs that provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack, and rapid response advocacy grants targeting broader threats to civil society and freedom of association and assembly. Lifeline supports CSOs that protect human rights or act in a watchdog capacity.
WHO IS THE LIFELINE CONSORTIUM?
• Freedom House (Consortium Lead)
• Asian Forum for Human Rights & Development
• CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
• Front Line Defenders
• International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
• People in Need
• Swedish International Liberal Centre
WHO SUPPORTS LIFELINE?
Lifeline is supported by 17 governments including: Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.
WHAT CONSTITUTES AN EMERGENCY?
An emergency is an urgent need for assistance arising from threats to a CSO or its staff on the basis of the organization’s human rights work.
Factors considered include: need, urgency, and whether the CSO faces significant security risks, loss of property or equipment, injury or imprisonment of staff, and/or prosecution or other legal proceedings.
Through Freedom House and Front Line Defenders, Lifeline provides small, short-term emergency grants to CSOs threatened because of their human rights work. These grants can address:
- Security / Security Training
- Medical Expenses
- Legal Representation
- Prison Visits
- Trial Monitoring
- Temporary Relocation
- Equipment Replacement
- Other Urgently Needed Expenses
Long-term support, core costs, and programmatic expenses are not covered.
Eligibility Check List
- CSO has a track record of human rights work
- Threat occurred in the last 3 months
- Threat related to human rights work
- CSO is completely non-violent
- Means to independently verify details of the threat and CSO’s human rights credentials (one international and one in-country reference)
- CSO confirms they request assistance
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR SUPPORT?
Established CSOs with at least two or more activists that are threatened as a result of their human rights activities are eligible for assistance. CSOs need not be officially registered but must be able to document a history of activism. Beyond traditional NGOs, this can include journalist associations, network organizations, community-based organizations, student groups, labor unions, think tanks, and other associations.
HOW TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION
Emergency Applications can be made in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, Farsi, and Amharic. To request an application, write
to the following address, and let us know how we can communicate securely:
Applications can also be made directly at:
HOW TO APPLY FOR ADVOCACY GRANTS
All Lifeline partners (except Front Line), provide advocacy grants. Each organization has its own selection criteria and should be
For general inquiries and applications, contact:
Alternatively, apply online at:
(search “Crisis Response Fund”)
RESPONDING TO A GLOBAL CRACKDOWN
According to Lifeline consortium partner ICNL, since 2012 over 50 countries have considered or enacted repressive civil society legislation, including legislation prohibiting foreign funding, invasive, burdensome, and/or restrictive NGO laws, and loosely interpreted Information Communications Technologies and anti-terror laws. Combined with direct attacks on civil society and other restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, and expression, this wave of legislation has led to the criminalization of dissent in many countries
WHAT ARE LIFELINE ADVOCACY GRANTS?
Lifeline rapid response advocacy grants give local CSOs the resources to push back against these closures of civic space as they arise.
Lifeline advocacy grants are highly flexible, and can support a wide variety of activities, such as:
- Community Mobilization
- Policy and Legal Advocacy
- Civil Society Coalition Building
- Strategic Litigation
- Awareness Raising Campaigns
- Advocacy Capacity Building
- Security and Protection Training
LIFELINE JOINT INITIATIVES
In recognition of severe restrictions on civil society in 6 key countries, the Lifeline consortium works with its Donor Steering Committee (DSC) to facilitate dialogue between representatives of civil society and the local embassies of the DSC.
Recommendations for diplomatic engagement are drafted by CSO representatives of each joint initiative country and presented to a working group of Embassy representatives.
The 2014-15 Joint Initiative countries are:
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burma, Egypt, Uganda and Ukraine.