TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly |Violence is the whole essence of authoritarianism

By TAI (Role at TAI)

February 14, 2023


Violence is the whole essence of authoritarianism

What is the state of civic space in West Africa? A new report from Spaces for Change (an attendee at TAI’s recent Learning Days) looks at the trends, threats and imagines future scenarios. We specifically note the recommendation for fostering new forms of civil society cooperation.

Turning to Sri Lanka, where the International Federation for Human Rights has documented the relentless repression of nationwide protests that began in early 2022.

A new NGO law in Venezuela threatens to further reduce already limited civic space in the country. In Nicaragua the government released 200 political prisoners but only on condition they go into exile.

Poonam Joshi and James Savage explore where they see the use of the security playbook by governments across regions and lay out what donors need to know about civic space in 2023.

“Even in authoritarian regimes, where the government controls the critical resources, the certification process helps nonprofits signal legitimacy and attract donors,” says Qun Wang as he reviews the links between the certification of NGOs in China and their ability to receive funds.


What makes the local level unique in open government circles? This webinar recording will explain.



Highlights anti-corruption auditing by ICPC Nigeria. The audit triggered 15 articles in Nigerian media and journalism outlets, highlighting how citizens can hold their government accountable.


Joined with Ariadne and EDGE funders networks on a new campaign on the need for more flexible funding! Follow the hashtag #FlexibleFundingWorks to join the conversation!


Is joining Open Society Foundation and Capitalism Studies to sponsor a panel at The New School with scholars from around the world to discuss the economic consequences of rising illiberal regimes & alternate economic frameworks to help strengthen democracy.


Is inviting interested people to register to join Africa Media Fest which will bring together leaders in the African media ecosystem.



What makes the local level unique? Francesco Saija (Parliament Watch Italy), Hon. Christopher Maikalangu (Abuja, Nigeria) and María Cecilia Jiménez (Peñalolén, Chile) tell us


 Can we reimagine civil society collaborations in development, but starting from the South?  A whole new book tells us how. You can download for free here

How can foundations and philanthropic organizations apply a systems change lens to their work, and what is the unique role of philanthropy in bringing about such change?

An interesting thread from Walter Kerr on the challenges of localization at big donor agencies (in this case USAID.)

Themrise Khan, Kanakulya Dickson and Maïka Sondarjee highlight the dangers of white saviorismin global development.


Exploitation Unchecked?

Costa Rica pulls back on U.N.-backed climate agreement named in its honor. The Escazu Agreement provides a sweeping framework to impose requirements regarding the rights of environmental defenders, but also on transparency, participation and access to justice. Now the majority of Costa Rican lawmakers argued the treaty's mechanism gives too much power to those who accused companies of environmental harm.
Renewable energy project deals are now part of the Open Land Contracts database pooling documents from 69 countries. Recent uploads include contract summaries and environmental assessments of investment projects, ranging from wind and solar energy farms in India to eucalyptus plantations in Paraguay.
PILnet’s Co-Executive Director, Andrej Nosko, talks about the important role pro-bono can play in climate litigation to make it easier for victims to access justice. “There is a lot of opportunity in using the law in creative ways.”
Greenwashing alert. Shell claims to spend 12% of its annual expenditure on “Renewables and Energy Solutions,” but Global Witness claims that in reality the company only spends 1.5% of its overall expenditure on solar and wind power generation.  They have filed a complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showing how Shell overstates its investments in renewables by including gas-related activities.
What of government claims to shift from fossil fuels? China continues to invest heavily in its Belt and Road Initiative - a further USD67.8 billion in 2022. Yes, green energy investment went up but remains a small fraction of overall energy investment of which 63% went to fossil fuels.


 Researchers find that devolution has significantly transformed sub-national health management in Kenya with longer-term potential for greater accountability and health equity. However, short-to-medium-term challenges persist in developing efficient systems for engaging a diverse array of stakeholders in planning and budgeting.


Taxing transactions made via digital financial services differently from those made via traditional banking services can have unintended consequences as Hannelore Niesten explains.

The UK commits to keep its beneficial ownership register open despite the European Court of Justice ruling creating problems for open registers in the European Union.

Numbers matter. Read how in this example from the Philippines statistics authority on centralizing data governance. Also, Alan Smith  Financial Times flags links between well-resourced and independent statistical agencies and defending against authoritarianism.

TAI is on the waitlist for Artifact, the new AI driven platform for news that might do a better job on screening out misinformation - or so we hope!

Ana Patricia Munoz takes over as the new Executive Director of the International Budget Partnership and will be based out of Quito, Ecuador – a further sign of decentralization among INGOs.



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


Summer Intern-  Ford Foundation
Intern – Transparency International US
Civic Engagement and Government Technology Fellow- Ford Foundation
Program Associate - Ford Foundation
Consultant to update the safety and security strategy - Global Greengrants Fund
Lead Program Officer, Community Resources (North Western Europe) - Wikimedia Foundation
Management Assistant- Porticus
Grants Management Associate - Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
Grants Officer - Media Defence
Programme Associate for Red Umbrella Fund- Mama Cash

Communication officer, Hivos, Kenya
International Program Tech Fellow, Civic Engagement and Government International team, Ford Foundation
Learning and Impact Lead, Natural Resource Governance Institute


Free online courses for Campaigners and Activists Organizing People Power for Justice 

UNESCO’s MOOC on Access to Information is now available free of charge in French.

Open Government Partnership – your last chance to add your comments on the draft 2023-28 strategy until the 15th of February.
Apply for mini-grants on the use of data from Databarometer. This call is open to governments, civil society, academia, the private sector or individuals from the Global South. Deadline 15 February, 2023.
Contribute to the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples funding trend analysis on indigenous peoples and philanthropy. (Survey in English, Español, Francais, Português)


From Research to Action: Indirect Costs and Financial Resilience, Ariadne and EDGE Funders Alliance Webinar, February 16, 2023, 3pm UTC

Internet for Trust: Regulating Digital Platforms for Information as a Public Good, UNESCO Global Conference, February 21-23

Skoll World Forum, 12-14 April, 2023

Rights Con 2023, June 5-8, 2023

EITI Global Conference, Dakar, June 2023

OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, 29-30 March, Paris, 2023  

Summit for Democracy, 29-30 March (multiple locations)

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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