About Us

We are a non-profit organisation with a distributed global team of experienced and committed activists, researchers, technologists and community organisers.

Our vision is for social justice movements to use technology and data in safe, responsible and strategic ways, while actively mitigating the vulnerabilities created by digital systems.

Since 2011, we have supported more than 800 organisations, big and small, from different corners of the globe, through pro bono partnerships and paid consultancies.

As a result of our work, humanitarian organisations have reconsidered using questionable technologies, more funders are managing grantee data in responsible ways, and many more activist groups have developed robust technical infrastructures and data management practices. 

We build evidence, strengthen capacity and connect communities & movements

What We Do

We work to shape the ways civil society uses and thinks about technology and data, in spaces like social justice movements, digital rights advocacy and humanitarian work. We also directly support individual practitioners and organisations:

We identify trends at the intersections of tech, data, and justice-focused activism, we work closely with organisations who want guidance on their tech and data strategies, and we connect diverse communities and movements, holding spaces for knowledge exchange and organising.

Who we work with

We partner with groups whose work confronts power imbalances, injustice and rights abuses. Our partners vary widely and can include associations, foundations, small volunteer-based activist groups, umbrella organisations, humanitarians, movements, collectives, and more.

What we don’t do: 

  • We don’t work in contexts we know nothing about
  • We don’t build software. We may support partners in their efforts to build new tech, but we are not tech service providers.
  • We don’t work with groups who support violence, who are against the promotion of human rights, or who are explicitly or implicitly racist, homophobic, or xenophobic.

Our focus is on civil society and activism. We may collaborate with other sectors, but only if our partnership advances social justice.

Our core values

To achieve our mission we are:

  • Rooted within the problems that we’re trying to address – we don’t parachute in to do research, we have staff who are from many of the contexts we’re working within, and we conduct participatory research  together with the communities we’re supporting.
  • Critical optimists – we believe tech and data can increase impact and strengthen work, but we also see the potential problems that could arise and work to develop proactive ways of mitigating these challenges.
  • Trusted within many communities – our team engages with a range of communities, not just the ones within which we play a key role.
  • Committed to equity and wellbeing  – we prioritise staff well-being, acknowledging that wellbeing needs evolve because needs and our team  are not static
  • Attentive to systemic injustices that shape the world around us – we start our work by thinking about how power is operating on a macro and micro level.
  • Collaborative and open – we share what we’re doing – the good and the challenging – openly and often; we work to advance the work of our allies; and we see our work as a  contribution to the bigger movements we’re rooted within.

Read our annual impact reports + retrospectives

Each year, The Engine Room publishes an annual retrospective, highlighting the work of our partners, our team and the field. Explore years past below.

2023 |  20222021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016