Work against Discrimination

Work against discrimination and marginalisation of vulnerable individuals and groups is at the core of the NHRF’s mandate and overall objectives.

The NHRF gives priority to projects where vulnerable or marginalised groups themselves mobilise and take the lead in the struggle for their own rights. In many contexts, these groups are subject to multiple forms of discrimination where both social and economic factors come into play. These factors relate to issues such as gender, work, income and descent, among others.

Challenging the status quo and existing social, political, and economic hierarchies in order to create change requires perseverance, courage, and long-term engagement. Through almost three decades of providing support in this field, the NHRF has seen that positive and progressive change is possible and that local human rights defenders can make a real and meaningful difference. Through this kind of support, the voices of marginalised individuals and groups are lifted and amplified to help them claim the rights to which they are entitled.

“Again, the contribution received from the NHRF helps RWRS get grounded at the grassroots working with the very target groups and communities, taking the projects as their own and living with the knowledge acquired over the period of time. As the result of the cooperation between the NHRF and the RWRS over the years really elevated the activities of RWRS in terms of governance, policies, advocacy strength, etc.”

For Grantseekers

Projects that work against discrimination must be within one of our nine priority countries in order to receive support from the NHRF. In the assessment of applications, the NHRF will prioritise projects using one or more of the following methods:

  • Advocacy towards decision makers
  • Access to justice
  • Competence building which equips vulnerable groups to make better use of existing legal frameworks to defend their rights.

Projects can use other methods as well, but it must use one or more of the methods above. The NHRF does not support projects limited to general awareness-raising.

NHRF's support to Work Against Discrimination


NHRF's grantees provide direct and sustainable support to many different groups who are targeted for discrimination in their countries and in the larger global contexts (e.g. women and LGBTQ+). Some of them work with particular areas of discrimination for vulnerable groups, such as the protection of land and environmental rights for indigenous peoples, and the rights of women at work. Some of our grantees are the only organizations working on specific issues with these groups in their region. Their support is vital and has made significant and tangible differences for the communities they work with.

Our grantee partners work to secure a future of equality for marginalized and vulnerable groups by working to end discrimination against them. Many of these groups face multiple forms of discrimination based on the intersections of their identities. This compounds the dehumanizing impacts of discrimination and our grantee partners know best how to work against such forms of discrimination. Examples of areas of discrimination that our grantees work can be found in the chart below.



NHRF grantees work by using innovative, thoughtful, and adaptable methods. The work of our grantees demonstrates the range of methods that can be used to tackle discrimination and teach us that there is not one right way to promote and protect human rights.



Much of the work in this area requires capacity building to improve and enhance methods of awareness raising and human rights education (e.g. what are your rights and how to claim them). Our grantees working against discrimination have expressed that support from NHRF towards project management and administrative and fundraising help is the most valuable. NHRF will continue to focus on providing this support to organizations working within this strategic area while also keeping in mind the varying needs of individual organizations.

“NHRF is very supportive donor and has supported us through providing capacity building trainings for organizational development and sustainability and build linkages with other international organizations as well as forums/alliances. The work against child marriages with NHRF remained key component and SSO is now recognized as working against child marriages in Sindh, Pakistan as well as international.”