Changing Minds

Using videos to raise awareness of women’s and family protection law against domestic violence

Enough Violence and Exploitation is a Lebanese organization that fights all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse against women and children. The organization focuses on issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking (women), protecting the children, and giving psychological, social, and legal support to women who are victims of violence.

Developing a linguistic code to circumvent and challenge internet censorship

In order to circumvent internet censorship in China, bloggers have created a lexicon which makes puns out of words and phrases in the Chinese language to talk about forbidden topics. It started with the 'grass-mud horse' – a mythical creature which sounds nearly the same as a dirty insult – as a tool to ridicule the government's blocking of vulgar content online.

Using social media to engage supporters in documenting their acts of solidarity

Men submit photos of themselves dressed as women to the “Kurd Men for Equality” Facebook page to support women’s rights.

The police forces of Marivan, Iran, punished a criminal convicted of domestic abuse by forcing him to wear traditional Kurdish women’s clothing. This punishment was meant to be a form of public humiliation. However, many men felt that the punishment was derogatory towards women and began a Facebook campaign to tell the Iranian authorities that “being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish anyone.”

Pairing police with refugees and migrants to develop understanding and reduce discrimination

In 1999, the International Centre for Cultures and Languages (Internationales Zentrum für Kulturen und Sprachen) in Austria developed a program that pairs police officers with an immigrant or refugee to foster positive relations between the police force and the foreign-born population. While educating the officers about citizens who they may have held negative stereotypes about, this program also gives the refugees and immigrants an opportunity to communicate with the officers about racial profiling and other racial issues.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using petitions to gain public support for a government peace process

Beginning in 2001 Elkarri held a massive signature drive in which they asked people to sign a document demanding the initiation of a dialogue of peace between all parties in the Basque region. Since its inception, Elkarri had been building a database of people who wanted to be involved with their activities, so in addition to collecting signatures at their events, they also contacted these people for their support. Elkarri also asked each person for a donation of about US$7 and to volunteer their time. To date 123,000 citizens have signed the petition, 10,000 people have become Elkarri volunteers, and over US$200,000 has been donated. In addition, representatives of all political parties, except the Partido Popular of Spain, have signed the document.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using participatory research to advance children’s social and economic rights

Wona Sanana was established in 1999 to protect children’s rights by compiling information on the condition of the children of Mozambique after the 16-year civil war. The project combined data-collection on the welfare of children with community education to empower local people to take action and to promote improved policies addressing children’s rights. Through participatory research, communities learned about the problems facing their children and were encouraged to develop unique responses appropriate to the needs or their community.

For more information on "participatory research" tactics, read our in-depth case study.

Engaging local leaders to use their influence to help end abuse

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana solicits the support of respected commu­nity leaders — chiefs and queen mothers — to address the problem of trokosi, a system in which women and young girls are kept in fetish shrines without their consent. Families give their girls to the shrines to atone for the sins or crimes committed by a family member, and to thereby end or reverse a family’s bad luck.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

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