The Wellbeing Project is launching the Defenders Wellbeing Collective with support from Ford Foundation


Are you a human rights or social justice activist who cares about wellbeing at the individual, organizational and movement levels? The Wellbeing Project, in partnership with Human Rights Resilience Project, is launching its Defenders Wellbeing Collective.

Social justice and human rights advocates often face stress and trauma, but frequently lack tools to support  resilience at the individual, organizational, and movement levels. These stressors can be amplified among the  leaders of grassroots, community, and survivor-led human rights groups. Often, such leaders are grappling with  significant trauma themselves, while trying to advocate for their own rights, as well as the rights of their  communities. Despite these challenges, many community-based organizations are also at the forefront of  advancing and innovating wellbeing practices within their movements, and across the human rights field.  

The Defenders’ Wellbeing Collective aims to facilitate a unique space for leaders of grassroots, community,  and survivor-led human rights organizations globally to reflect, experiment, share, and learn together about  how best to support greater wellbeing and resilience within their organizations. The collective will serve as an  environment for reflection, innovation, and honest exchanges, in which human rights leaders can have the  flexibility to learn, make mistakes, iterate, and deepen their inner wellbeing and organizational practices in  dialogue with each other. We propose to bring together an initial group of 20-25 leaders from grassroots,  community, and survivor-led organizations. This can include, but is not limited to, individuals working to  advance racial justice, indigenous rights, LGBTQI+ rights, the rights of immigrants and refugees, the rights of  incarcerated persons, the rights of persons with disabilities, the rights of religious minorities, survivor-led  feminist organizations etc.  

Purpose: to understand the unique impact of human rights work on people who are from or directly  working with communities to address human rights violations around the world  

Aims of the group:  

o To create structures to support wellbeing among individuals and within  organizations/movements; 

o To create a space for experimentation, reflection, and learning; 

o To share lessons across organizations/movements and create peer support among leadership; o To learn what empowers organizations and movements to embrace and advance the wellbeing  of human rights advocates; 

o To understand the impact of human rights work on the wellbeing of leaders of community based organizations and movements. 

Core activities: 

The Defenders’ Wellbeing Collective will take place over two years. During this time, participants will: ● Join quarterly remote meetings;  

● Participate in an in-person convening (COVID-19 permitting); 

● Receive support to engage in, pilot, and research programs for wellbeing and resilience within the  organizations where they are working; and ● Receive access to resources around wellbeing for their organizations. Additionally, we will aim to  conduct research with the collective, to use this space as a means to advance broader learning for the  human rights community as a whole.

This will be a unique space for human rights leaders to innovate and advance wellbeing practices within their movements. Find out more and apply here:

Deadline for applications on the 20th of September.