Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 3/1/2022

DRL: Combatting Online Gender-Based Violence in the East Asia and Pacific Region

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces an open solicitation for organizations interested in submitting applications for regional projects that document and combat online gender-based violence in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region.

Online gender-based violence (GBV), including stalking, harassment, and threats of sexual and physical abuse, poses a grave threat to the wellbeing of women and their ability to freely express themselves online.  The EAP region has some of the highest Internet penetration rates, number of social media users, and time spent online globally.  However, faced with ongoing threats online, many women choose to withdraw from social media platforms or self-censor.  The problem is even more pronounced for women whose careers are in the public eye, such as journalists, activists, and politicians, or who are members of marginalized communities, such as ethnic and religious minority groups or who are LGBTQI+.  Online GBV not only has severe mental health effects, but can also jeopardize women’s physical safety, as threats often move offline.  In addition, doxing, or publicizing personally identifiable information, can place women in danger of physical violence and can inhibit their public participation.

Occurrences of online GBV are likely much wider than reported.  Survivors of online GBV face stigma, pressure not to report violence, and a lack of access to gender-sensitive law enforcement actors.  A large portion of online GBV occurs through private chats or “walled garden” social media spaces.  Systematic documentation of cases of online GBV, inclusive of bystander reporting approaches, is needed to better measure the scale and nature of how GBV manifests online and more effectively address the problem.

Solutions to this problem must be holistic.  Common programmatic approaches thus far have contributed to raising awareness around this complex issue, but gaps remain.  While social media platforms have the power to moderate discussion in online spaces, placing the blame solely on platforms reduces accountability of the perpetrators.  Increasing digital security skills for women activists, journalists, and politicians is a critical component of the solution, but this approach places the onus on the survivor to navigate platforms and report abuse, potentially reliving trauma.  Finally, promoting further legislation on this issue is risky, given the trend of governments across the EAP region in issuing broad-stroke laws that are used to restrict freedom of expression online in the name of promoting “online safety.”

DRL seeks program proposals to test creative community-based approaches to empower women and elevate their voices online, building on existing civil-society led initiatives in the EAP region.  Proposals should identify 2-3 pilot countries in the EAP region, with the potential to scale the program to other countries in the region in the future.

Primary organizations can submit 1 application in response to the NOFO.  Interested applicants from within Duke should contact dukeiln@duke.edu as early as possible.


Deadline: April 29, 2022

Eligibility Requirements

DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses.  DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited. 

Amount Description

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $450,000 to a maximum of $600,000

Funding Type