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Working for civil liberties in Iran


What is IranCubator?

IranCubator is a global project making cell phone apps, web resources, and other tools that promote social good in Iran.

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Launched in 2016, the first IranCubator project led to the creation of multiple mobile applications aimed at developing Iranian civil society. These included projects like Hamdam, a one-stop shop for information related to the reproductive and legal rights of women, Haami, which helps Iranians struggling with addiction to dial back temptation and buffer themselves from relapses, and Michka, which teaches children how to identify and report sexual abuse. Together, these round one Iran Cubator apps were downloaded over 700,000 times and were used for over 250,000 hours. The apps were featured in prominent media outlets including Forbes, WIRED, Fast Company, and Voice of America.

The second round of the IranCubator project (IranCubator 2.0) was launched in 2020. It connected skilled app developers and Iranian civil society leaders living in Iran and the diaspora to create an all-new suite of apps and web resources designed to empower Iranians and advance civic engagement. These include projects like Cheragh Academy, an educational online platform and a social media movement focused on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, and Nahoft, an offline encryption app made for Android mobile phones. More apps are coming soon, including Mandasian Land and Meidoon

Our App Incubation Process

For both IranCubator 1.0  and IranCubator 2.0, we first conducted a community needs assessment. We reached out to the leaders in a variety of Iranian communities to find out what kind of political, social, and logistical difficulties they were facing. Using our results as a guide—as well as input from journalists, community leaders, and other experts—we gained a better understanding of what kinds of app-based services and projects would best serve Iranians’ needs.

We then launched a contest and invited Iranian civil society activists, human rights and civic tech organizations, and the general public to submit their ideas in a proposal format. The submissions were carefully examined by IranCubator judges. Selected teams and individuals then received financial and institutional support to create their apps and web resources. See how the contest worked in 2020 and learn about our community assessment.


The positive change IranCubator seeks to achieve is possible only through a wide network of supporting partners. Below are our partners–organizations we work with to campaign, research, and build technology.

ASL19 is a technology lab working on access to information solutions, ASL19 will develop multiple apps, and ensure their sustainability by providing hosting and maintenance beyond the project’s end.

The Operator Foundation promotes internet freedom, open communication, and global internet security through technology development, deployment, and education. They develop technologies to facilitate access to credible and relevant information and open communication around the world.