TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly |Brazil: attack to democracy or coup d'etat?

By TAI (Role at TAI)

January 17, 2023



We start with a new analysis of beneficial ownership data from the UK’s Register of Overseas Entities. Spoiler alert - the British Virgin Islands top the list as the most popular destination.

Low-tax jurisdictions aren’t shy of incentivizing political backing. Sebastian Hervas-Jones detailshow UK parliamentarians accept expense paid trips to the Cayman Islands and in turn help push back against transparency measures.

Who owns your city? Beneficial ownership transparency is one tool to assure transparency and accountability in urban land ownership, but a lot of detective work is required, especially in a more restricted context. Read about who owns Cairo?

One of the most important positions for international tax reform – the Director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration – has been filled by Manal Corwin, who has served in two US administrations.

You might have missed it over the holiday period, but the US government has released its 5th Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. What’s in it?  Read all here.


European Civic Forum has launched a podcast on strategizing for an open civic space in Europe.



Victoria Dunning, Senior Program Officer, reflects on the learnings from the flagship Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) program that has been a showcase of unrestricted support. (Read some of the arguments funders still use to justify project support below.)


Highlights the Policy Link Housing Justice Narrative toolkit. The toolkit is the outcome of a 2022 collaboration between 56 grassroots organizers and housing activists to design and develop a housing justice narrative.


Condemns the anti-democratic attacks in Brazil on Sunday, January 8th and stands in solidarity with the journalists, civil society organisations, and all those who are working to protect the civic and political spaces in Brazil.



Funds are constantly flowing but are they reaching the people and initiatives they should be? Listen to this episodeexploring questions such as: how does funding reflect our priorities as a society; how can we build more trust between donors and grantees; and where do we need to be looking to ensure we are supporting feminist movements for social change?


Image by The Atlantic

Mike Scuatria argues that despite years of pleading from nonprofit staff, a global pandemic and once-in-generation racial justice awakening, some funders still question the utility of unrestricted support. But who knows? Maybe a growing body of data and some good old-fashioned collegial peer pressure will do the trick.

Right now, even as ideals like shifting power and localization dominate the debate in our sector, too many funding opportunities are opaque, or come with administrative hurdles. Clare Givson Nangle and Devon Kearney argue that the best way to use money to achieve social change is to put grantees, their knowledge, and their strategic vision at the heart of things.

The Baobá Fund for Racial Equity, the Brazil Human Rights Fund, and the Casa Socioambiental Fund detail how they have built a joint governance system and a joint vision that respects individual contexts and approaches. (Article in Portuguese)

Tom Steinberg and Gemma Bull offer some dos and don’ts for funders on connecting grantees.


January 8th in Brazil: attack to democracy or coup d'etat?

How would you define what happened in Brasilia on 8th January? Revolt or failed coup? A coup is defined by three main characteristics: 1) the target is the head of state or government, 2) the perpetrator is another state agent, 3) and the procedure is illegal. 1 and 3 are clear, 2, it is not.

Was it a spontaneous revolt or a well-defined action? Was Bolsonaro an irresponsible instigator or was he a conscious promoter, hoping to return to power? How much institutional and social support did the demonstrators have? Yanina Welp reflects on these questions.
If looking for more information on how to name constitutional or unconstitutional mechanisms employed to remove elected executives, TAI recommends Narratives of Executive Downfall: Recall, Impeachment, or Coup? by Anibal Perez-Linan, who offers a typology defining proceedings with stronger or weaker potential for democratic legitimacy.

Brazilian journalist Fernanda Seavon looks at the tactics Brazil's extremists used, including the spread of misinformation and disinformation on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Telegram to radicalize people.

That tactic is given global context in a new podcast Undercurrents: Tech, Tyrants and Us that tells stories of people around the world caught up in the intersections of tech, power, democracy and authoritarian rule. 



A new documentary details how the Pegasus spying software was used against civil society and those trying to hold powerholders to account. It has some new resonance this past week when the US Supreme Court allowed a case brought by WhatsApp to proceed against NSO Group, makers of the software.


Charles Kenny on why the World Bank should publish its draft Roadmap - it’s an “institution that champions transparency as a tool of good governance, and that should apply to itself at least as much as to borrower countries.”

Toby Nangle argues that global asset managers are going to have to rethink taking money from authoritarian governments or put their businesses at risk.

Insights on how France acted to combat foreign disinformation in last year’s elections.

Juliet Alohan Ukanwosu makes the case for why mainstreaming anti-corruption perspectives matters for a just energy transition.

Human Rights Watch’s 2023 World Report is out: "The time is now to reimagine how power in the world is exercised... In a world where power is shifting, there’s opportunity for new voices and coalitions to be heard."



Job postings at Hewlett Foundation - ONGOING

Job postings at MacArthur Foundation - ONGOING

Job postings at Open Society Foundations - ONGOING

Job postings at Luminate - ONGOING

Job postings at Ford Foundation  - ONGOING

Job postings at FCDO - ONGOING

Job postings at Skoll - ONGOING


Learning and Evaluation Senior Officer, Global Fund for Women

Civil Society and PO - Global Children's Rights, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund 

Legal Advisors - Eurasia, Asia, and Digital Rights, ICNL

Director for Freedom of Expression, Media Development and Information Literacy, UNESCO
Senior Legal Researcher, Climate Law & Finance, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment


Are you a funder of movements, campaigns or advocacy? Oxfam Novib wants towork with you (Up to EUR 150,000 available over 3 years)

Are you working in Sierra Leone on human rights issues, democracy, health and/or governance? USAID wants to know about you!

Do you have an inspiring story about how your community has demanded action from powerholders and solved local service delivery issues? Accountability Lab is looking for stories spotlighting how local communities across the globe come together to fix issues in their areas. 

Call for submissions to the thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to the UN Human Rights Council: “Freedom of Opinion and Expression and Sustainable Development - Why Voice Matters,” UN OHCHR


February 7-8, 2023, State of Open Conference 2023

Michael Jarvis,

TAI's Executive Director

We’d love to hear from you on how we can further improve TAI Weekly to better serve your needs in program management on the transparency, accountability, improved grantmaking and civic space. Please direct your feedback to  [email protected] or


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