Empowering Civil Society

ISD is proud to work with partners in government, business and charities to deliver funding to community organisations at the front line of combating extremism, hate, polarisation and disinformation.

We believe that only through creating partnerships between the private sector and civil society organisations can we effectively challenge rising hate, extremism, polarisation and disinformation in society.

After a decade of engaging with grassroots initiatives, we know that civil society organisations have the power to build hyper-local solutions. Our collaboration with Google.org has allowed us to strengthen civil society across the UK and now in Europe.

Shared Endeavour Fund: The Mayor of London’s Shared Endeavour Network connects businesses, the public sector and civil society actors with cultural, sport and grassroots organisations in order to jointly stand up to hate, intolerance and extremism across the capital.

Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety: In 2019-2020, we launched a €10million European fund to support NGOs and expert groups across Europe working on internet safety topics. The NGOs that applied came from a range of backgrounds and either focused on tackling hate and extremism in their communities or helping young people stay safe online.

Google Innovation Fund: From 2017-2019, ISD ran the Google Innovation Fund, a £1m fund open to UK organisations tackling hate and extremism in their local communities. Read the impact report to find out more and read the inspiring stories from our grantees!

Google Africa Online Safety Fund: Since May 2020, ISD has been supporting Google.org and Impact Amplifier to deliver $700,000 of funding to projects that seek to address online safety issues across Africa, focusing especially on South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Cote D’Ivoire.

Campaign Toolkit: Since early 2019, ISD has worked with Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Facebook, the founding members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter-Terrorism (GIFCT), to coordinate the redesign and relaunch of the ‘Counter-Narratives Toolkit’, which is a collection of free resources intended to support non-profit organisations in the development, launch and delivery of counter-hate and extremism campaigns.

Education programmes

Our online campaign toolkit helps civil society organisations create and implement impactful campaigns

  • Participants at a Google Innovation Fund event,
    London, UK, 2019

  • ISD CEO Sasha Havlicek with attendees at
    the Shared Endeavour Fund launch, London, UK, 2020

  • Education programmes

    Google Impact Challenge on Safety workshop
    Berlin, Germany, 2019

ISD’s Civil Society team

Zahed Amanullah
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Zahed Amanullah

Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach

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Zahed Amanullah
Zahed Amanullah

Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach

Zahed Amanullah is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD and leads on ISD’s civil society engagement, communications, and partnerships, coordinating the public and private sectors with activists, frontline workers, and relevant civil society networks to counter disinformation, hate speech, extremist propaganda and recruitment. Zahed has worked recently on research and capacity building for NGOs in Kenya, Europe, and the Middle East. He recently co-authored The Impact of Counternarratives, a cross-platform study on counternarrative messaging impact and Between Two Extremes, a study of extremist messaging during the 2017 Kenya elections. Along with Google.org, he has helped oversee a £1m innovation fund for UK civil society organisations. He has given testimony to the UK and European parliaments and has been featured at the BBC, NPR, Channel 4, Sky News, the Guardian, CNN International, The National, The Daily Star, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Newsweek, among others.
Kelsey Bjornsgaard
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Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Senior Youth Advisor

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Kelsey Bjornsgaard
Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Senior Youth Advisor

Kelsey Bjornsgaard is a Manager, Technology, Communications & Education at ISD focusing on counter-narrative development and delivery as well as youth engagement and education. Kelsey is responsible for running the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and organising ISD’s Youth Innovation Labs. Kelsey is developing new strategies for enhancing peer-to-peer messaging and works closely with young activists internationally to develop innovative youth-led initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism. Kelsey also works closely with the Strong Cities Network to amplify youth voices amongst government and policy-makers at a city level. Kelsey previously managed marketing and social media strategy for an independent US-based IT company. She holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelors in European Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Cooper Gatewood
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Cooper Gatewood

Manager, Digital Research

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Cooper Gatewood
Cooper Gatewood

Manager, Digital Research

Cooper is a Manager within ISD’s Digital Research Unit, focussing on quantitative research into the spread of hateful and polarising narratives online, and how they are leveraged by extremist actors. Cooper also develops monitoring and evaluation frameworks to measure the impact of a number of ISD’s intervention projects. Cooper is currently contributing to ISD’s research on disinformation campaigns, particularly those aimed to influence and disrupt election processes. He also manages on the Online Civil Courage Initiative in France, coordinating activities to support civil society’s response to hate and extremism online. In addition, Cooper conducts ongoing evaluation of a number of ISD’s programmes, including Be Internet Citizens and Young Digital Leaders. Prior to joining ISD, Cooper worked at Portland, where he advised clients from the non-profit and government sectors on their media engagement and social media strategies. Cooper holds a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University and a Masters of International Security from Sciences Po. He has a background in quantitative research and data visualisation. He also speaks fluent Spanish and French, as well as proficient Japanese.
Anisa Harrasy
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Anisa Harrasy

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

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Anisa Harrasy
Anisa Harrasy

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Anisa Harrasy is a Manager at ISD, where she works across ISD’s youth empowerment projects, including the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and Young Cities. Through these projects, Anisa delivers capacity-building workshops, oversees youth-led campaigns and initiatives and facilitates dialogue between youth and policymakers. Anisa also helps lead ISD’s strategic development in Sub Saharan Africa and specializes in promoting peace in East Africa specifically. Anisa has conducted significant research on the influence and effect of non-state actors in global affairs and politics. Anisa holds an MA in International Security from the University of Sussex and a BA in International relations with Arabic. She is bilingual Swahili and English, with basic Arabic proficiency.
Jennie King
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Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

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Jennie King
Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Jennie King is a Senor Policy Manager, supporting programme design, policy outreach and strategy across the organisation. Before joining ISD, Jennie served as MENA Regional Director Arts, Assistant Country Director Egypt and Co-Director Hungary for the British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations. In Egypt she coordinated a system reform programme with the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, including the most extensive policy dialogues in recent decades, and organised the country’s first ever Social Enterprise Week with 400+ stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors. In Europe she spearheaded the People-to-People Central Europe programme, an initiative to foster cohesion in the most deprived and marginalised regions of Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic, designing activities to promote inclusive economic growth and youth-based social action. Jennie read Arabic and Spanish at Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving a Foundation Scholarship and the Marie Shamma’a Frost Prize for Oriental Studies. She was awarded the Idle Scholarship on graduation, joining Occidental College’s Oxy-at-the-UN Programme in New York. At UNHQ she completed courses in Conflict Resolution and Human Development and led a task force for the Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Change. She also served as an Attaché for the Guatemalan Diplomatic Mission, covering modalities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, COP 20, and resolutions passing through the Security Council on ISIL.
Charlotte Moeyens
Charlotte Moeyens

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Josh Phillips
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Josh Phillips

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

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Josh Phillips
Josh Phillips

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Josh is a Manager working on the ISD’s Education Programme, where he supports the development, delivery and evaluation of key digital citizenship projects, Be Internet Citizens and Young Digital Leaders. Through these projects, he has written unique, accredited curricula, which have been used to teach thousands of students across the UK and Europe, as well as to train hundreds of teachers. Josh has also supported the Education team’s policy engagement, including having briefed the UK Home Secretary on ISD’s digital citizenship programming. He has co-authored and published impact reports, as well as a toolkit for NGOs to design their own digital citizenship projects. Previously, he developed his research and project management skills on Chatham House’s US and Americas Programme. A former teacher holding a PGCE, Josh also has an MSc in International Politics from SOAS University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Leeds University.
Jasmeet Sahotay
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Jasmeet Sahotay

Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education

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Jasmeet Sahotay
Jasmeet Sahotay

Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education

Jasmeet Sahotay is a Coordinator working jointly on YouthCAN and Young Cities projects, including supporting the delivery of the Youth Innovation Labs, managing the YouthCAN communication strategy, and developing new project activities and strategies. Jasmeet was previously a programme coordinator at PATRIR, an internationally recognised peacebuilding think tank which is based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. There he developed and managed a series of projects focussed on countering violent extremism, hate speech and polarisation. He also has extensive experience in training and implementing campaigns centred around youth empowerment. He holds a Masters in International Law, Security and Terrorism from the University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Politics from the University of Leeds.