Coming soon! The Earth Defenders Toolkit

Today, in tandem with the Indigenous Mapping Workshop, the Digital Democracy team is excited to announce the Earth Defenders Toolkit, a collection of open-source tools and training materials for communities on the frontlines of the struggle to defend critical ecosystems around the world.

How does it work?

The toolkit will contain mapping, monitoring and digital-storytelling tools that can be used by communities to:

  • Document & understand rapid changes & threats to territory
  • Create maps to communicate history & connection to land
  • Document human rights & environmental abuses
  • Reinforce local advocacy with concrete evidence
  • Tell their story to the world

Our Approach

A Cofan monitor in Ecuador using Mapeo Mobile

While distinct in functionality, all of the tools are value-aligned and have the following in common:

  • built in partnership with frontline communities,
  • entirely open-source,
  • work offline,
  • allow communities to own & manage their own data.

In the coming months, we will use tried and tested approaches to develop training materials that leverage technology to support local autonomy and ownership over data, and avoid creating dependencies on outside support.

In addition to providing a channel for tool access and training support, the Earth Defenders Toolkit will also build a collaborative platform for local community organizations and their allies and partners to co-create the toolkit and share digital knowledge. Join the Earth Defenders Toolkit community by signing up for the mailing list, and we’ll keep you posted on how to get involved.

Why now?

A close up view of Mapeo Mobile in someone's hands

The Earth Defenders Toolkit is the result of over 15 years of work with communities facing urgent threats of environmental and political abuses. The comprehensive toolkit will collect critical tools and connect users with the appropriate technology for their particular needs. The collaborative platform will cultivate knowledge sharing and ensure ongoing improvements to the toolkit.

The toolkit was conceived long before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the rapidly changing global context has made the need for such a resource all the more evident. While travel has been restricted and many projects have been halted, unchecked resource extraction continues to threaten the lives of Indigenous peoples and the future of the entire planet. The Earth Defenders Toolkit is a critical channel for ensuring that frontline communities have access to effective tools to defend their homes.

To learn more and sign up to the mailing list, visit: