What we do

Global Programmes

The context

We live in an interconnected world. Authoritarian leaders borrow legislation, policy, and tactics from each other's playbooks. We see greater restrictions on civic space, growing repression, more barriers to political participation, and widespread distrust of the media. Disinformation is rife and independent journalism struggling to survive. These trends make meaningful civic and political participation tougher, especially for those underrepresented historically.

Our strategic focus

The Global Programmes team tackles these challenges at a transregional level by supporting organisations whose work transcends borders. By doing this, we aim to increase the impact of Luminate’s regional partners across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Together, we can increase meaningful civic and political participation and help create an environment where independent media thrives.

Our current priorities

Making political power more inclusive

Underrepresented groups are often excluded from decision-making in institutions of power at the national or international level, even though they can be disproportionately affected by these institutions' decisions. Globally underrepresented groups don't get the say they should have in the transregional policy decisions that impact them. To change this, we work to challenge discriminatory legislation and policy and change global and transregional norms on who gets to sit at the tables of power.  

Building resilient, inclusive media organisations

Accurate, independent information that includes underrepresented perspectives can help shape well-informed public opinion. We fund transregional journalism and cross-border investigative journalism that holds power to account and highlights critical issues for the public to consider. We care about newsroom diversity. We partner with organisations that protect journalists and activists from violations and those who take legal action against persecutors.  

Creating strong information ecosystems

The increase in misinformation and disinformation has significantly contributed to polarisation and distrust of media, even of facts themselves. We want to support healthy public debate, helping people to be well informed and making content less polarised. We do this by supporting global mechanisms, including technology and journalism standards that counter mis- and disinformation. This includes funding organisations that set high global standards of accuracy in independent journalism and block advertising to disinformation sites.

Ensuring those who challenge power can do so safely and effectively

With civic participation and dissent under threat in many countries and regions, there is an urgent need to counter state-sanctioned repression. To do this, we support social movements and activists and improve the environments in which they operate, so they can be more effective in creating reform. We do this by supporting global organisations that enable social and political movements, providing them with vital resources such as training, networking, and funding.  


Enabling media markets to work for democracy

In recent years, independent media has faced increasing political attacks and financial challenges. The International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) helps to support investigative journalism, sustain independent media – especially in low- and middle-income regions – and build exit strategies and enable their sustainability. Luminate provided the first start-up capital for IFPIM and is a founding partner. After more than two years of development, the fund is now able to accelerate its efforts to raise a billion dollars from governments, Big Tech, and other private sector companies, development agencies, and philanthropists. It opened its first call for grant applications in 2022.

Supporting human rights defenders

The Fund for Global Human Rights provides funding and training to grassroots activists, helping them remain agile in the face of crackdowns on activity and restrictions on civic space. The Fund supports organisations in more than 20 countries, particularly places experiencing high rates of poverty and those recovering from war or building democratic governments. With support from the Fund, activists develop new ways to become more effective in defending the rights of children, migrants, women, and other underrepresented groups.

Defending the human rights of LGBT people

More than 70 countries still criminalise LGBT people simply for engaging in private, consensual sexual intimacy with a partner of their choosing. Stigmatising and discriminatory legislation can be a significant barrier to meaningful participation in civic and political life, with such laws limiting rights to equality, dignity, privacy, expression, and association. The Human Dignity Trust (HDT) is the only organisation working globally to challenge the criminalisation of LGBT people, as well as related forms of discriminatory treatment, by providing technical legal assistance to human rights lawyers and activists to overturn these laws through the courts. The Trust also provides technical legal assistance to governments wishing to voluntarily pursue human rights compliant law reform.