Mobilizing Allies

Using Social Networking for Innovative Advocacy

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Social networking tools have revolutionized the way that social movements and human rights advocates operate. In a world where the public creates the news in real time and information is readily available in a moment’s notice, the process of communication and dissemination has been largely democratized. Individuals can magnify their voice, not only through information consumption and generation, but through active engagement and organizing. For example, activists of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong used a mesh networking tool, traditionally used at music festivals, to communicate.

Principles of Persuasion: The Social Psychology Behind Change

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Ideas, and how they are expressed, define efforts to move causes forward, create change, and build consensus of opinion. Effectively influencing public opinion is a key component to successful social movements. Tomorrow's world is shaped by those who are most adept at impacting what people think and subsequently how they behave. But how do you influence people's opinions, mindsets, and preconceived notions?

Social psychology is the science of why people make choices and provides insights into how messaging shapes people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Understanding the science behind influence leads to more effective and lasting change. In this conversation, New Tactics In Human Rights explored the principles of persuasion politics; the development of messaging strategy; how mentality change occurs; and frames and values.

Engaging Non Traditional Allies

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Thank you for joining the New Tactics online community for a conversation on Engaging Non Traditional Allies from March 24 to 28, 2014.

In human rights work, sometimes the most impactful partnerships are with allies you wouldn’t expect. Allies outside of what we consider the traditional human rights community can provide additional networks, expertise and skills to your campaign. In Cairo, for example, Harassmap partners with local shop owners to create “safe zones” against sexual harassment. Human rights organizations in Thailand, Liberia and Austria work with police to promote human rights, professionalism and cross-cultural exchange. Partnerships with businesses and police are not traditional, nor are they easy. But the interdisciplinary nature of these partnerships can lead to successful campaigns.

Keeping the Momentum: How to maintain commitment and credibility

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Thank you for joining the Anouska Teunen of Amnesty International Australia and the New Tactics online community for a discussion on Keeping the Momentum: How to maintain commitment and credibility from February 17 to 21, 2014.

Human rights change can take many months, years and sometimes decades to materialize. It requires endurance, of the human rights defenders to continue their advocacy, while maintaining a strong support base with the general public. And even when objectives seem to have been achieved, for example once a country has adopted a new constitution or other legislation, actual implementation can still be a challenge, again requiring for sustained monitoring and scrutiny of civil society groups, who again have to be sure they can count on their support base. This is especially important in countries where authorities attempt to isolate human rights groups as if they no longer have the support of the people they claim to be representing.

This online conversation will be an opportunity for human rights defenders to share their experiences, ideas and challenges with their peers. How are groups maintaining and nurturing the commitment of their supporters over long periods of time? How are groups addressing frustration with their own colleagues, and lost faith, or simply indifference with the general public? How to deal with counter strategies that are used in order to discredit human rights defenders over time? Join us this week to participate in this important discussion!

Building strong human rights partnerships and coalitions

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In human rights work, collaboration is crucial. One organization will not have all the resources and skills to support a human rights movement. So it is necessary to build partnerships and coalitions in order to achieve your goals and build solidarity. However, there are many barriers to collaboration. Many human rights organizations have overarching common aims and visions, but when it comes to working together on campaigns, agreeing on the specific campaign outcomes can be difficult and ineffective. This often leads to fewer opportunities for partnerships and more competition among these groups for campaigning space. Furthermore, finding partners who have the expertise and skills that you need can be challenging (especially when you're not sure what you need!).

The Human Rights Education Program for Women in Turkey

Women participating in the human rights education programWomen for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR)-New Ways in Turkey gained the support and use of government resources for furthering human rights education of women at the local level. WWHR-New Ways developed a highly successful human rights education curriculum for women.  They developed a partnership with government run, local level community centers, these community centers offered not only professional social workers who could be trained by WWHR-New Ways in facilitating the human rights education curriculum, but also a safe and accessible place for women to learn about their rights.

Sending Out an SMS: A rapid-response mobile phone network engages a youth constituency to stop torture fast

Amnesty volunteers holding their cell phones at a concertAmnesty International-Netherlands recognized the power of text-messaging technology (also known as short-messaging service, or SMS) to attract new members, build awareness of the campaign against torture and engage new people - particularly YOUTH - in quickly responding to cases of torture through Urgent Action appeals. The initial result was 520 new members gained directly from SMS participation with over 5,000 additional people becoming active in the SMS urgent action campaign. This case study puts special emphasis on how Amnesty took advantage of SMS technology to build a new constituency among young people.

Popular Incentives

Young child suffering from malnutrition in ArgentinaCitizen Power Argentina promoted mass participation of citizenship in two popular initiatives that mobilized more than a million people to pressure the State into creating new legislation, in the first case against corrupt pension privileges in government and in the second case to promote a system of assistance in response to children affected by malnutrition and hunger.

Together We Are Stronger: Peru's National Coordinating Coalition on Human Rights

Protesters holding signsPeru’s Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH) is globally recognized as one of the most successful and effective coalitions in the world. The importance of bringing ourselves together in order to have more strength and greater impact is often discussed, but few have been able to achieve this as well as Peru.  The global experience of the human rights movement, unfortunately, is filled with coalitions that have failed both because of divisions as well as a lack of advocacy.

Taking on Our Own Defense: The Chiapas Network of Community Human Rights Defenders

Human rights practitioners are often located in the Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) of big cities, while most of the crisis situations, the need for monitoring and defense of human rights are located in rural areas.  In Chiapas, Mexico, the rural indigenous communities have been confronting years of repression and harassment.  This tactic case study describes the model of the Network of Human Rights Defenders, organized in Chiapas by Miguel Angel de los Santos.

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