Thomas Paine Initiative

Strengthening support for human rights in the UK

The Thomas Paine Initiative was a collaborative grant-making programme, active 2009-2019, with the aim of strengthening support for human rights in the UK.


The Thomas Paine Initiative combined strategic grant-making and commissioning with convening and networking to support activities that demonstrate the value of human rights to everyone. Through this, the Thomas Paine Initiative sought to:

  • Change the way we talk about human rights: supporting the development of evidence-based messaging capable of reaching and building support among the public. Initiatives supported through the programme include Equally Ours and Rights Info.

  • Strengthen links between human rights and related fields to build a common vision for a better future. Key insights are captured in the report More Than Words, commissioned to foster stronger and more collaborative communication on issues that cut across multiple sectors.

  • Explore opportunities to democratise human rights: supporting local initiatives using human rights as a tool for social change and finding new ways to make human rights relevant to people in their day to day lives.


With thanks to: The Barrow Cadbury Trust, Oak Foundation and Open Society Foundations for funding the Thomas Paine Initiative.


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