Annual Report 2009-2010
In 2008, we launched Digital Democracy (Dd) inspired by a simple but powerful idea:Technology should be used to empower even themost marginalized groups to engage in democraticaction, on a local, national and international scale.
In January of 2011, we watched people in Egypt’s Tahrir Square and throughout the Middle East andNorth Africa raise their voices and call for a more just political system. Using technology to share theirstories and coordinate the protests, we were remindedof the work of our Burmese friends, who in 2007 alsoused mobile phones and internet tools to coordinatea hundred-thousand nonviolent protesters in Burma’smajor cities. The Burmese military ended this hopefulcampaign with guns and shutting down internetand mobile phone services for ve full days. The twinpotentials and dangers of new tools became clear to us,and in that moment, the idea for Digital Democracy was born. We launched as an organization one year later,and in the past two years we have worked in over21 countries, strategically employing technology toenhance the work of our partners addressing humanrights. From Burma to Indianapolis, Haiti to Zimbabwe,Bangladesh to Kazakhstan, Dd works with localpartners to activate change and empower communities. Working with local tech companies and communityorganizations, Dd’s model focuses on human-centered,innovative collaboration to amplify local voices. Whereconditions are the worst, where work is hardest, whererepression is strongest, where voices are the mostsilenced, that is where our work begins.But it is not where it ends. Two years into our launchas an organization, Digital Democracy is just gettingstarted. The lessons we have learned about digitalliteracy, organizing and governance are lighting the way for an approach which focuses on nimble, strategicopportunities, using limited resources to make hugestrides. We are humbled by the ght that our partnersaround the world take on each day and inspired by ourcollaborations and the success we have had helpingthem build better futures. With deep gratitude to our global communityof supporters who have made this work possible, we are thrilled to launch our rst annual report.Covering the period from November, 2008, when weincorporated under the auspices of the Institute forMulti-Track Diplomacy until the end of 2010, when weled for our own independent non-prot status, thereport documents our work to empower marginalizedcommunities around the globe, and the inspirational ways they are using technology to build theirown futures.Sincerely,
Emily Jacobi & Mark Belinsky
LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS