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DefendDefenders’ strategy 2021 – 2025

The DefendDefenders Strategy 2021-2025 has been developed through a process that included a review of the organisations identity; philosophy and theory of change; strategic focus areas, organisational roles; corresponding goals, interventions, and approaches. The strategy builds on the previous work done by DefendDefenders to deepen and consolidate its mandate in supporting and responding to Human rights Defenders (HRDs) at risk, by reducing their vulnerability to persecution and enhancing their capacity to effectively protect human rights. The strategy is a guide for DefendDefenders operations in the East and Horn of Africa as well as AfricanDefenders, at the Africa region level.DefendDefenders has over the years offered platforms for championing the safety, security, and wellbeing of HRDs, knowledge sharing, and opinion shaping with a niche on protection of HRDs using capacity development, advocacy, knowledge management, and networking tactics

DefendDefenders recognises the need for regular strategic (re)positioning to enable better alignment within a shifting external environment. This Strategy outlines DefendDefenders strategic direction for the period 2021–2025. The strategy is the outcome of a collaborative process that entailed thorough analysis, consultations, and reflections between DefendDefenders and HRDs, National HRD Coalitions, partners, peers, and various other stakeholders. The Strategy has been affiliated to applicable global and regional protocols and development priorities. It is considered to be a broad framework document that sets comprehensive parameters to our programs and operations over the next five-year period.

The strategy is anchored on four key pillars. These are: Protection Support for HRDs, Advocacy and Research, Capacity Development, and Institutional Development. Four overarching strategies partnerships development, knowledge management, capacity strengthening and harnessing Information and Communications Technology (ICT have been adopted), while gender equality will be integrated across all our focus areas and or interventions.

DefendDefenders will further its present commitment towards a collaborative approach with key stakeholders. We will thus pursue a system orientation, in which we will work with multiple actors operating at various levels including individual HRDs, their organisations, women HRD coalitions, national coalitions and sub-regional networks. We will deliberately work with and through partnerships including collaborating with non-traditional allies like the private sector.

We are grateful to the process facilitators, Board, management and staff of DefendDefenders and other key stakehold- ers who participated in shaping this Strategy and providing feedback. We are equally grateful to our constituents, partners, peers, and other stakeholders who have and continue to support our cause and its actualization. We call upon these stakeholders to join hands with us as we venture into this exciting, ambitious and yet, equally challenging phase of our journey.

Cognizant of the agile context, DefendDefenders will responsively position itself to better serve the needs of HRDs and enhance their resilience, safety and well-being to enable them continue delivering their mandate. We shall strengthen our fundraising and manage relations with funding partners who graciously supported the development of this Strategy. We believe that with your confidence and support, we shall attain our goals, and make meaningful difference in the security, capacity, and wellbeing of HRDs, as well as the effectiveness of their work.