Changing Minds

Organizing a large-scale petition drive to pressure the government to change

In 2002, Poder Ciudadano (Citizen Power) collected signatures on a petition that, under a constitutional provi­sion, the Argentine congress was then obligated to consider. The constitutional provision requires the congress to deliberate any proposed legislation brought before it by community members or organizations, as long as that legislation bears the signatures of 1.5 percent of Argentine citizens in at least six of 24 districts.

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

Using a right to food framework to influence investment decisions and operations of financial institutions

FoodFirst Information and Action Network International (FIAN) uses a human rights based approach to engage investors in recognizing the negative impacts and human rights violations caused by companies with loans or equity investment by the investors. The tactic is especially used in a campaign on violations of the right to food by large surface gold mines. The goal of the tactic is either to prevent investments in new mines or to mitigate the impacts of existing mines. The tactic relies on the assumption that investors are very sensitive to image threats – often more sensitive because they have more relations to consumers than a mining company.

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

Engaging key and respected agents of change in the development and training of a human rights curriculum

In order to create support for such a human rights curriculum that also encompassed religious educational institutions, the National Working Group in Indonesia engaged key and respected leaders–community and religious leaders as well as teachers–in the development and training of the human rights curriculum. By taking the time and effort to engage opinion and religious leaders in the process, the NWG was able to develop their critical support and integrate their needs and concerns in order to overcome barriers and challenges to human rights education.

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

Developing pro bono services in the professional legal community

A small group of people from the legal community organized a seminar in 2001 to discuss how to promote pro bono legal services in Brazil. Taking inspiration from Daniel Grunfeld, then president and CEO of the Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles, this group undertook a variety of steps in order to create an organization that would work to legalize pro bono activity, to institutionalize the ethic within the legal profession, and to create an efficient system for bringing together pro bono lawyers with clients in need. In order to accomplish any of their goals, this small group knew they needed to gain the support of leading members of the Brazilian legal profession. Thus they invited top lawyers and professors to join in their effort. Eventually, 37 legal professionals joined together in 2001 to create the Instituto Pro Bono of Sao Paulo.

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

Building public and media awareness to change the minimum wage and policy for sub-contract workers

In 2001, the KWWAU conducted a nation-wide campaign to raise the minimum wage by making recommendations to the South Korean government and prosecuting the businesses that violated the minimum wage system. During June and July of that year, over 15,000 people signed the petition. The KWWAU conducted a survey on the condition of 528 subcontracted women working as cleaners in 107 companies in nine cities. Through the survey, it emerged that 23% of the workers surveyed received less than the minimum wage (421,490 KRW /$409 US per month).

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

Data gathering to address child labor, sexual abuse and trafficking in the entertainment industry

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) conducted an undercover survey of all circuses in India to discover the magnitude of child labor and trafficking in the circus industry. There is a serious problem of trafficking of young girls between Nepal and India (both countries are on the Tier 2 Watch list in U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report). The girls are trafficked for the purposes of slavery, including sexual slavery and prostitution.

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

Using popular culture to engage young people in human rights reporting

Nigdy Wiecej (Never Again) is using pop culture to build an anti-racist youth network in Poland. At rock concerts and soccer matches the group reaches out to large numbers of young people and makes them aware of the prob­lem. It then recruits some to join a network of correspondents who monitor and report on the activities of neo-fas­cist and racist groups in their hometowns.

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

Action Theatre to mobilize communities for change

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) in Bangladesh works to address numerous human rights problems, including gender equality and access to justice. Their approach is to form small local Action Theatre groups, or Manobadhikar Natya Parishad (MNP), by building collaborative relationships with local non-governmental or civil society organizations, as well as with local individuals.

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

Using Living Newspapers to bring world events into the classroom

The Living Newspaper Project is an innovative program to reinvigorate civic education through the dramatization of contemporary human rights issues. The current project builds on the United States Federal Theater project, created under the 1930s New Deal to put unemployed researchers, journalists and performers to work creating theater pieces about events of the day.

Using interactive theatre and participatory video techniques to prompt community participation and social mobilization

The Interactive Resource Center (IRC) has created a strong network of grassroots theater groups as an alternate system of community participation and social dialogue. The essence of IRCs work is to use interactive theater to trigger community dialogue through direct community participation on human rights issues.

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