Join the Democracy Defenders Network!

Do you care about democracy and want to make a difference? Eager to learn from other civic activists and join forces to create a bigger impact? This call is for you! Initiated by the Citizen OS Foundation, the Democracy Defenders Network is our new global participatory network for activists who have taken part in Citizen OS civic engagement programmes, and like-minded individuals working to promote democratic values. We invite you to become part of it!

Citizen OS project participant

This is what your mood will be when being part of the Democracy Defenders Network. Photo: Citizen OS.

This volunteer-driven network aims to help build skills, foster cooperation and launch new projects to enhance democratic participation and boost the impact of civil society leaders across the world. Membership is free of charge and the initiative is fully non-profit.

Why does democracy need defending?

In 2023, civil society is under serious threat. Not only are activists increasingly being persecuted for monitoring and advocacy (both vital third-sector functions in a democracy), but the role and reputation of civil society are also being diminished, according to the CIVICUS 2023 Civil Society Report. We need to grow our positive impact and coordinate efforts to stand up against the shrinking of democratic space.

We need a coordinated effort!

  • Build civil society resiliency.
  • Improve the quality of civic space (safeguarding civic freedoms, raising democratic awareness, increasing the impact and quality of civic society initiatives, etc).
  • Encourage young people to lead and take initiative in designing and delivering civic engagement processes.
  • Harness the power of technology to make participation more accessible, deliberative and outcome-oriented.
  • Initiate strategic and international cooperation to tackle civic society challenges together.

Ready to join the Democracy Defenders?
Apply now by filling in the short form!

Who is this network for?

  • Activists. Civil society activists, both individuals or representatives of groups or organisations.
  • Participants & partners. Participants, partners and volunteers of initiatives run by the Citizen OS Foundation.
  • Researchers. Researchers who are focused on democratic participation.

In this phase we are most eager to welcome network members between the age of 18–35.  However, if you felt a calling, don’t hesitate to apply! We would love to consider your application.

After you have submitted your application, our team member will contact you to schedule a short video call where we can get to know each other better and discuss any questions you might have.

Worth to know

  • Citizen OS – we are a civic tech non-profit organisation established in 2015. By harnessing the power of technology and co-creation, we help to empower as many people as possible to participate in respectful, meaningful discussions. So that everyone, everywhere, can decide together on issues that affect their own wellbeing.

  • The Democracy Defenders Network has been initiated as an outcome of our international programme Democracy Defenders Accelerator. The network is being built in cooperation with longstanding Citizen OS volunteer Rajashekhar V and Democracy Defenders Accelerator participant Luthfy Ramiz. The network will be developed in a co-creative and participatory way, engaging and consulting a wide range of civil society actors across the world.

  • The Democracy Defenders Accelerator and the work of the international network is financed by the Active Citizens Fund and the Citizen OS Foundation. The Active Citizens Fund operator in Estonia is the Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with the Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO).

The participants of Democracy Defenders Network. Photo: Meelika Hirmo.

Picture of Meelika Hirmo

Meelika Hirmo

Communications Lead

Shaping strategic communication and giving more momentum to the mission and initiatives of Citizen OS.

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