Until a few years ago, there were no legal firms in Brazil that offered free services to people in need. The Pro-Bono Institute has created a new legal tradition in São Paulo, convincing major law firms to donate their legal services and connecting them with NGOs in need of legal services. The Institute has recruited about 140 lawyers and is offering a variety of free services to all kinds of NGOs, including support for important human rights cases. It has achieved a rapid change in attitude in the legal community and pro bono work has become steadily more popular.
The League of Human Rights Advocates in Slovakia (LHRA) helps to bridge the gap between the locus of abuse and policies, laws and treaties that have been created to prevent or stop a violation. Often the discussion of these abuses and the laws or policies to prevent them exists only in high-level political and diplomatic forums.
Citizens’ Watch, a Russian nongovernmental organization, uses a collaborative tactic to engage governmental officials, who in many cases are seen as the adversary and not considered as partners. Citizens’ Watch recognized the potential for engaging bureaucrats who illustrated a level of interest in significantly advancing human rights. The author describes the unique uses of this tactic and highlights examples of cross-sectoral cooperation between a nongovernmental organization and the Russian government to advance human rights.
Nigdy Wiêcej (Never Again) uses a number of tactics to carry out its work in Poland. Two of the tactics explained in this case study are the use of cultural resources in the community to recruit activists and the organization of activists into an information-gathering network.
Forum Asia worked with the Royal Thai Police to promote community-oriented and human rights friendly policing in Thailand and other countries in Asia. They utilized the introduction of a unique, computer based police training education program to engage and enlist the support of key leadership of the Royal Thai Police to champion the training tool. The computer-based police training program was a valuable tactic within their strategy serving to build mutual trust, acknowledgement and support while also helping police to more effectively address their immediate day-to-day policing challenges making the police better aware of human rights as well as more professional.
The National Working Group for Human Rights Dissemination and Promotion (NWG) in Indonesia developed a human rights education curriculum for all age levels in both public and private schools. In order to create support for instituting such a human rights curriculum that also encompassed religious educational institutions, an effective tactic was to engage key and respected agents of change—community and religious leaders as well as teachers—in the development and training of a human rights curriculum.
The Korean Women Workers Associations United (KWWAU) effectively engaged the media in their efforts to make changes to the minimum wage system in Korea. The low minimum wage had become an urgent problem, particularly among subcontract workers in South Korea. KWWAU organized a nation-wide campaign in nine cities, resulting in the first challenge to the Korean minimum wage system since its inception in 1988.
CARE-Bangladesh, through its NGO Service Delivery Program, recognized that a critical stride in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh relied upon the engagement of key stakeholders—particularly transport workers themselves, their unions, and the trucking companies which employ their services. As a result, CARE-Bangladesh was able to establish partnerships, particularly with the transport workers’ unions, in order to initiate a behavioral change program to prevent a possible HIV epidemic while also providing quality health care services to transport workers throughout the country.
Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) has been deeply involved in a collective process which has shaped and influenced the Campaign for the Right to Information in India. MKSS makes the case that without access to information and transparency there can be no genuine participation from all members of society, particularly the poor, in democracy.
Thank you for joining the Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) and the New Tactics community for an online dialogue on Engaging Youth in Nonviolent Activism. The role of youth in starting and leading nonviolent uprisings has received a lot of attention in recent months, sparked by the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements. As history has shown before, the energy of young people is crucial to create the spark that can ignite into a vibrant movement for change. It is WPP’s experience that all over the world, young people are working to make a difference. These young women and men not only question the world around them, they are also creative in formulating new and daring responses. They do so, using their own language and strategies as to reach out to as many people as possible.Activism is often presented as age-neutral. However, it is important to explore further who is actually ‘doing’ the activism. Often, an important proportion of social change movements is made up by young people. What motivates youth to go out on the streets? What obstacles do they face? Where do they go after the change is achieved? This dialogue was an opportunity for youth and activists of all ages to explore the powerful role of youth in nonviolent activism.