This guide starts with the "common questions" - those are the questions we ask on every proposal. Further below you can find the project specific questions. Depending on what kind of project you submitted (Applied Research, Technology Development, Digital Security or Community Convening), you will receive questions specifically for your category of project.
In this section, we would like to understand clearly, what problem you are trying to address, what you are intending to do and what impact your work will have. You can copy and paste text from your concept note, but we would like to see more details provided, also relating to the questions and feedback we might have had at the concept note stage.
In addition to a general description of your project, we are also looking for the following:
The political and regional or technical context of your work and how it relates to freedom of expression.
What are the needs or problems that exist and how will your project make an impact as it addresses those challenges? How is this done today?
A more detailed description of the approach you chose and why you think this is the right approach.
We also want to understand better what potential challenges might exist and how you intend to address those.
Who will care and what will the positive effect be if you are successful?
Similarly to the Concept Note, we would like to understand what you intend to do, but if necessary, you can provide more details or respond to the questions and feedback we had at the concept note stage.
You can provide a narrative and/or a list of project activities that you plan to conduct during the funding period, grouped under your project’s objectives.
Project objectives describe what you plan to achieve by the end of the project. Well-written project objectives are specific, attainable, and time-bound. Please note that we also ask you how you measure and evaluate progress toward these objectives later in the proposal, and the responses should be aligned with each other.
Project activities are the individual tasks that your project will undertake to achieve each objective. These activities may be paired with certain outcomes, or deliverables. It’s important for us to understand as well who will be carrying out each task. You can also include a narrative description in your own words of each activity. We welcome diverse forms of storytelling to help us understand your work.
As the contracts that OTF provides are deliverable based, the deliverables listed here will also form the basis for the budget and invoices you can send our way.
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you can choose how much you want to break those activities down, as long as the description provides a good overview of what types of activities will be carried out. You may optionally include a timeline of when the activities will occur relative to the start date of your project, or if there are important time considerations (such as upcoming elections, events, etc.) associated with those activities.
Here are two examples that you can use to respond to this question. Please note that this is intended to be a suggestion from us, we don’t expect you to use this format and we understand that there are different ways to plan and explain a project’s activities.
Objective 1: Prototype Development - in this objective we plan to create the first running prototype that is ready for testing.
Activity 1.1: Update and rewrite existing codebase Activity 1.2: Further developments to create a first prototype.
Deliverable 1: Prototype is ready for testing Estimated Time: 20 days
Or it could look like this:
Objective 1: We are planning to create the first working prototype of the application that can be used for testing. For that, we need to revisit the code and implement a number of feature requests from our forum.
Objective 2: In the second objective, we plan on testing the prototype to gather feedback from selected users.
List other similar efforts to this proposed project. OTF expects this to include a review of any available technologies or programs and events that are similar to the project described. We want to understand how your project relates to others or how it can be distinguished from those that already exist. We are also looking for proof of the applicant's understanding of the current landscape in the domain this project is situated. In addition, we are interested in understanding how your project leverages existing resources or technologies.
OTF is interested in learning more about how you measure the progress of your project and the impact it has on your local community and the Internet freedom ecosystem. In the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning section, please describe how major milestones and activities will be documented as this project progresses.
We are looking for a clear set of evaluation criteria and milestone metrics against activities, objectives and deliverables. We want to understand how the project's success will be evaluated and any metrics that will be collected related to the project's outcomes and impact.
We understand that every project is different, not every project can name quantitative metrics, some are more outcome focused. Some guiding questions:
By what metrics will you define the successful completion of the project?
By what means will you determine that the project was successful in reaching its goals?
How are you planning to collect that information? And how will you document it?
How will you collect and share learnings from this project?
Do you expect any major milestones during this project? What is your plan for achieving these milestones?
How will the project document any changes caused by this project’s activities? What instrument or process will you use to document the impact of this project on your local community, beneficiaries, or Internet freedom ecosystem?
How will you share the results, lessons, stories after the completion of this project?
In this section we would like to understand how this effort will achieve sustainability over the funding period and beyond. This can include funding received from other funders or other revenue models. We are also interested in collaborations with other organizations and your role and relation to communities around your project. We would also like to understand how this project provides resources to others or how others can reuse the resources you develop.
In this section, we would like to learn more about your experience and qualification to do this work. Responses could include a track record of your organization in implementing similar projects, or - if you are applying for a community convening - your expertise in organizing this convening, and your connection with the participants and beneficiaries.
We would also like to learn more about the capacities of your team, who will be working on this project? What is their work experience and what will they be doing?
For those projects that are directly affecting at-risk communities, we would like to learn more about your experience in working with those.
Suggested information to include in an Applied Research proposal.
Please explain how your research methodology is most appropriate for your research question and anticipated outputs. How will your work build on the existing research in your area of focus? In what ways will this effort advance understanding in the relevant field?
How will the results of your research be accessible to a non-technical audience? How will your research inform further technology development efforts?
Please also include information on how these risks will be addressed or mitigated. How will the applicant protect their safety and security and that of any others involved in the project? Applicants have the option to include a more comprehensive risk assessment by completing and attaching the spreadsheet linked to below.
Suggested information to include in a Technology Development proposal.
In this section, we want to understand what the technical objectives of your efforts are, what technology design decisions you’ve made, and why you made those decisions. We also want to see that you are aware of known challenges you might face implementing those technical objectives, and that you have a plan to address those challenges, and how they may affect the output of the effort.
For OTF, we understand that it is not realistic for technology development projects to not encounter any known challenges, in fact, the most competitive applications will almost always have some associated technical challenge. Demonstrating that your technology solution is feasible despite those challenges, and that you have a plan to address them is what’s most important in this section. Feel free to point to any research or other documentation that has contributed to your technical understanding and design of this effort.
In this section, we’re looking to understand how you’ve thought about the security of your proposed technology solution, whether it’s by going through an independent audit, and/or by conducting an alternative analysis from the point of view of a capable adversary. An adversary in this context is a malicious entity that is trying to prevent you from achieving your effort’s goal. Alternative analysis in this context is analysing your proposed effort from the viewpoint of the adversary, and thinking about what vulnerabilities exist or what the best approach would be to undermine your effort. You may have heard it being described as “red teaming” in other contexts.
Please make sure to include the perspectives of your target communities and use cases for this, and explain if it may put your users under any additional risk based on their contexts, and how you plan to communicate any risks to your users.
Furthermore, we would like to understand from you in your own words on how your project minimizes any potential illicit uses.
In this section, we want to understand how your technology incorporates usability and accessibility practices. The most competitive applications have robust and inclusive usability and accessibility practices where input from affected users and practitioners is sought and incorporated throughout the technology development process. Please highlight what experience you have on the team in incorporating usability and accessibility input, and point to any documentation or research that you are relying on to inform your design processes. If you have undergone a usability and accessibility audit, or plan to do so as part of your plan, please elaborate on the goals of the audit and how you plan to incorporate recommendations.
Suggested information to include in a Digital Security proposal.
Please elaborate on the risks for the implementers and the participants in digital security activities and how you plan to mitigate them. What are the risks associated with your organization applying new security procedures and adopting new tools?
Provide detailed information on the proposed training (participants, number of training days, topics to be covered, etc.). Please elaborate on how you would factor in technical limitations (bandwidth, usability) and legal restrictions when designing interventions and training? Kindly upload a copy of the training schedule.
How would the proposed activities, including the training, give tool developers or digital security researchers feedback, and how would that ultimately advance these tools and research?
Suggested information to include in an Applied Research proposal.
Identify related current and/or future involvement and interactions with the Internet freedom community. This includes Internet freedom, human rights, ICT, information security, or cyber security research efforts, products, reports, tools, organizations etc. that have contributed to shaping the agenda, providing related expertiese and support to ensure that the convening will ahieve its desired impact. Provide brief descriptions of each organization/community/network and their roles.
Identify the underrepresented communities this event plans to include, how they would contribute to the discussion, and the efforts to reach out to these communities.
Please provide information around who the underrepresented voices are in the community, and why it is important for you to reach out to them. How would they contribute to the event, and how would they benefit from this event? How do they plan to reach out to them?
Please describe the threat model for organizing this convening, including potential threats associated with convening location, participants, organizers, as well as the promotion of the convening and results. Identify a security plan to minimize the attack surfaces and potential risks.
Please demonstrate how the learnings would be captured and shared with the larger community, particularly non-technical audiences, who are not able to participate in the conversation directly. Does the convening identify new challenges and needs in the internet freedom community? If so, how would the learnings feed into the development of internet freedom technology?
A Code of Conduct would ensure that the convening would provide an inclusive, safe, and collaborative environment for all participants. Here is an example of a Code of Conduct. Please also include mechanisms to enforce the Code of Conduct, including violation reporting mechanism and how violations would be handled.