I was in Amsterdam recently at the first meeting of donors setting up Ariadne Netherlands – five Dutch grantmakers who fund in the fields of human rights and social justice. We looked round the table. ‘I expect you all know each other extremely well,’ I said. ‘No’ came the answer. ‘Some of us have never met’ – which in a nutshell makes the case for Ariadne, the European Human Rights Funders Network, a place that funders supporting a wide variety of rights-based and social justice issues can meet, access information and knowledge, and exchange views and experience.
The question we have been puzzling over is how to enable this to happen across Europe’s borders and linguistic and cultural differences? The answer, after much thought, is to combine face-to-face meetings with an extensive online portal. It has taken months of development, but the Ariadne portal is now online. It offers a new way of working and supports donors of all kinds, from the smallest individual grantmaker to the largest foundation, to access support and specialist knowledge on a daily basis.
The portal is a donor-only community, fund-seekers have no access. It is a professional networking site to which members can post, comment, upload and download. It has a series of communities, created by members and tailored to their interests. There are, among others, communities focusing on trafficking, migration and integration, Roma rights, and environmental justice. There is also Ariadne Francophone, moderated by French-speaking donors, and Ariadne Netherlands for Dutch speakers. Each community has a library, a calendar for uploading global events, and a blog for news and problems.
Ariadne Central is where all members network together. At present the portal is in its first months, and some of this is trial and error, but we now have around 150 members in eight European countries. Curious?
For more information
Jo Andrews is Ariadne coordinator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org