The Geneva Residency is a tailor-made program which offers Finalists to the Martin Ennals Award support in advancing their human rights work and personal resilience. During the semester long program, Finalists to the Award experience cutting-edge tools and learn skills while establishing connections at the heart of the world capital for human rights, Geneva. Whenever the Finalists are unable to join our Residency program in person, we extend the learning and advocacy opportunities to their closest circles. 

Winning the Martin Ennals Award was a tremendous gift in my life. The Award ceremony was marvelous and well organized, and the residency program assisted me to meet and learn from other people's experiences from Geneva and other countries.
Sizani Ngubane, Martin Ennals Finalist 2020


Together with our partners, the Martin Ennals Foundation facilitates learning of skills which our defenders consider important to their own effectiveness as professionals. During the Geneva Residency, defenders work with a communication coach to strengthen their ability to conduct interviews, give speeches, record videos, or develop impactful messages. To better protect themselves, their staff and human rights data in the online realm, MEF partners with other specialized organizations to equip defenders with digital security know-how and tools. Defenders can learn how to leverage technology for human rights documentation, connectivity and organizational efficiency. They can also benefit from specialized training by Geneva-based professionals on how to fundraise for human rights at the international level.


Since human rights defenders often work under tremendous pressure, many Defenders experience anxiety or burnouts. Many have been harassed, jailed, insulted, charged with crimes or suffered other traumatic experiences that require attention. The Martin Ennals Foundation teams up with professionals in Switzerland to craft a personalized self-care program that offers psychological support and self-care techniques to strengthen emotional resilience and well-being of the Finalists.


Every year the Martin Ennals Foundation develops a tailor-made advocacy program for each Finalist with public events and private meetings during their stay in Geneva. The Geneva Residency offers the Finalists several platforms to advocate for their causes at relevant international human rights institutions based in Switzerland, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and other UN agencies, or in additional European capitals.


The Geneva Residency is made possible thanks to the Foundation’s
numerous partnerships and sponsors


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