Community Updates

Our approach to community support for RightsCon 2025

► Community support over the years

► Strengthening our model of community support

► Our timeline for important dates

Today, we are launching applications for travel support, as part of our Community Support Fund initiative for RightsCon 2025, taking place in Taipei and online from February 24-27, 2025. As part of the launch, we’re sharing more information about our approach and timeline for the Fund, as well as outlining the changes that we’re incorporating this year based on the valuable feedback from our community.

Community support over the years

As our community grows, we have been continually learning, evaluating, and refining our support initiatives. Before the COVID-19 pandemic when RightsCon used to be an exclusively in-person summit, we provided funding for flights and accommodation to a select number of participants to enable their participation at the summit. In years where RightsCon was held fully online (2020, 2021, and 2022), we pivoted to providing direct financial support for additional bandwidth, increased connectivity, translation, and other services through our Connectivity Fund to facilitate online participation.

In 2023, for our first hybrid summit, we combined both travel and connectivity support, and streamlined it into a single holistic Community Support Fund intended for members of civil society who would not be able attend the summit, whether in-person or online, without our support. Over the past six years, we have supported over 597 participants from more than 80 countries, distributing a total of USD $324,710. In addition, more than 35,200 free tickets to RightsCon were also provided during this period, as part of our inclusive ticket policy.

While we’re proud of the support we’ve provided over the years, we recognize there are areas where we can expand and strengthen our support. From October 2023 to January 2024, we turned to our community for input on redesigning RightsCon’s core elements through a series of open consultation calls, including two on our approach to community support (read the full report from the consultation calls here). Based on the feedback we received, we have spent the past few months conducting a thorough review of our existing community support model. Below, we outline the specific steps we will be taking, while also balancing the realities of our budget as an NGO and team capacity.

Strengthening our model of community support

In the past, we have focused our efforts on facilitating the participation of as many participants as possible, sometimes stretching our limited resources too thin, and unintentionally impacting the quality of the participant experience. Learning from this, we are shifting our approach this year to offer more holistic support to funding recipients, including through non-financial means of support.

In addition, we are broadening our support, and have prioritized and redirected our resources to double our Community Support Fund budget from 2023. While a bigger budget will allow us to increase the level of support provided to each funding recipient, we must acknowledge our limitations in meeting the high demand for funding. Last year, we received over 900 applications but could only support 86 applicants. This year, we anticipate supporting a similar number of individuals.

At a glance, these are the specific steps we are taking this year to improve and expand our community support model:

Allowing more time for participants involved in the RightsCon program to apply for travel support after receiving their proposal notifications;

Releasing travel support decisions much earlier than last year (5 months before RightsCon) to allow more lead time for travel and visa planning, and to ensure those who aren’t successful with their applications can seek funding elsewhere;

Expanding our scope of travel support – in addition to flights and hotel accommodation, full travel support will include a stipend, and reimbursement for visa application fees;

Revising and publishing our eligibility criteria and selection criteria for travel support – recognizing that the demand for funding will far exceed what we can provide as an NGO with limited resources, we have fine tuned our criteria to offer greater clarity for applicants in assessing their suitability for the fund;

Strengthening the support we provide participants in navigating the visa process to Taiwan – we have recently shared visa information on our website, and will continue to provide more guidance on this front in the coming months;

Building safety practices during travel to and from RightsCon – we are in the process of putting in place mechanisms to support participants in the case of any incidents or escalations during border crossings, including but not limited to immigration, legal, and psychosocial support; and

Launching applications for connectivity support separately, and closer to the RightsCon date to offer greater flexibility in confirming and planning online participation.

We recognize the demand for funding will far exceed what we can provide as an NGO with limited resources. We want to be transparent in our decision-making process – while all participants are welcome to apply, we will prioritize applications from session organizers, speakers, and facilitators. We ask those who have access to other sources of funding, to secure funding independently or only select partial support when applying for travel support.

To learn more about what’s included in the Community Support Fund, as well as eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit our website or application portal.

Our timeline for important dates

Don’t miss out, take note of the following key dates:

June 19, 2024: Travel support applications launch

August 13, 2024: Registration launch

August 13, 2024: Visa application invitation letter requests & Taiwan’s eCode eVisa process launch

September 2, 2024: Travel support applications close

September 12, 2024: Travel support notifications released

October 8, 2024: Connectivity support applications launch

October 28, 2024: Connectivity support applications close

November 4, 2024: Connectivity support notifications released

January 31, 2025: Platform opens

February 24-27, 2025: RightsCon

Be sure to check out our website for more details on travel information for Taipei and visa information for Taiwan. And stay tuned as there’s much more to come!

We recognize that being able to effectively support our community is an ongoing process, and are always open to feedback so that we can continue to refine and strengthen our model of community support. As always, our team is available to support your participation. If you have any questions, the Frequently Asked Questions section on our website is a good starting point, or you can reach out to us at [email protected].

We can’t wait to welcome you online and in Taipei (February 24-27, 2025)!

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