What we do

We are a committed team that strengthens the fight for social justice by supporting civil society to use technology and data in strategic, effective and responsible ways.

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 500 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 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.

Read our updated strategy

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 build evidence, strengthen capacity, and connect movements

  • Building evidence: We identify trends at the intersections of tech, data and justice-focused activism.
  • Strengthening capacity: We work closely with organisations who want guidance on their tech and data strategies.
  • Connecting movements: We connect diverse communities and movements, and hold spaces for knowledge exchange and organising.

What we don’t do & who we don’t work with

  • 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 on projects that don’t contribute to advancing social justice in some way
  • 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

Read our annual 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.
2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016

Our partners

We’ve built strong relationships with high-impact organisations over the years. These are some of those we have worked with.

What our partners say

"In addition to helping us develop a microtasking platform, The Engine Room connected us with the world. Now we know organisations and people in other countries that are interested in our project!"

- Elidet Soto, ¿Quién Compró?

"The Engine Room have worked with great integrity and commitment to maximise the impact of their research in influencing positive change in the world."

- Duncan Edwards, Institute for Development Studies

The Engine Room was hugely important in helping us strike the right balance between ideas, wishes and reality. The diversity of their expertise really made DataCentar.io shine.

- Raša Nedeljkov, CRTA

I am forever grateful to The Engine Room team for helping take Amnesty Decoders off the ground.

- Milena Marin, Amnesty International

"Thanks to the Engine Room's Matchbox process, we understood that strategic planning is fundamental for the creation and implementation of a strong project."

- Elidet Soto, ¿Quién Compró?

The Engine Room’s strength was on the effort put into understanding what we are about and what we really want to achieve.

- Ellen Riotte, Asylos

The Engine Room staff are great custodians and inspirators. They provide solid structure, support and creativity to the organisational security community of practice.

- Woytek Bogusz, Front Line Defenders

Our funders

We receive grants and earned income from a diverse range of sources. You can see a detailed description of all of our funders here. Donors have included, among others: