Information is at the heart of human rights work, and the growing emphasis on evidence-based policymaking to support development and transition goals has changed the way human rights advocacy is constructed. As the human rights movement responds to new challenges, organizations monitoring and investigating human rights need the ability to understand and analyze large amounts of information easily. However, many organizations, large and small, lack both the systems and staff to manage their growing stores of information internally, and turn that well-structured information into powerful advocacy. In an age of rapid and pervasive information flows, human rights organizations are seeking to make their advocacy more resonant both for policymakers and for a broader public audience, and need the tools and skills to do so - but what is the appropriate technology, and how can a human rights organization turn that into a proposal for funding? The Information Program's Civil Society Communications Initiative and the Human Rights and Governance Grants Program (HRGGP) have jointly decided to address this ever-growing need in OSI's grantees and the human rights sector at large. This talk will discuss the new Human Rights Data Initiative at the Open Society Institute, our strategy over the coming years, and how donors can support the targeted, meaningful implementation of technology and data management in human rights organizations.
Elizabeth Eagen is the joint program officer at Open Society Institute in the Information Program and the Human Rights and Governance Grants Program. For HRGGP she covers Russia, Armenia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, and is the point person for human rights and information. With the Information Program, she works with the Civil Society Communications Initiative on databases and information management for NGOs, with a global remit.
Prior to joining OSI, she completed a Fulbright in the Republic of Georgia, where she researched national identity's role in regulatory decisions for historical and archeological sites. She holds a Masters of Public Policy and a Masters of Eastern European Studies from the University of Michigan. She also holds an undergraduate degree from Macalester College in Russian and International Studies. From 2000-2002, she was an associate at Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia Division.