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VNC Strategic E-Campaigning Workshops: Women Re-claiming Culture through Tactical Technology

In 2010, the Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) Campaign hosted two Strategic E-Campaigning workshops, based on the expressed needs and desires of our partners in the Asia and Africa regions, with the intention of enhancing the effectiveness of our advocacy and communication strategies for our networked campaigns in their local contexts. 

Underpinning these workshops is the reality that today information communication technologies (ICTs) have emerged as a key arena and platform through which the human community shares information and the creation of knowledge. The proliferation of social media has created new forums for transnational solidarity and mobilization. Moreover, the sharing of experiences and resources across vast geographic spaces, which has always been integral to building solidarity across borders, has never been so accessible to such a diversity of communities as it is today. Particularly given the importance of media in shaping and influencing the ways in which we define, create and celebrate our cultures, enhancing our understandings of how to effectively use ICT tools, such as social networking sites, digital story telling, documentary film making, internet and radio, amongst others, is key to the VNC campaign’s transnational advocacy efforts.

The workshops were co-designed by the VNC campaign in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Program (APC-WNSP).  The key question kept in mind throughout both trainings was how we can ensure the application of feminist and gender–sensitive practices and politics when using information and communication technologies. Given the sensitive nature of political work on violence against women and human rights advocacy, and the threats women’s human rights defenders face in their courageous efforts, it was also particularly important to assess issues and tools on security when using new media.

The African regional training took place in Lagos, Nigeria from June 7-10, and was hosted by BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights. The workshop brought together fifteen women activists from countries as diverse as the Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, and the Sudan. The Asia regional training was held in Bali, Indonesia from August 1-4, and hosted by Solidaritas Perempuan, with participants from Pakistan, Iran, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Indonesia.

Both sessions unfolded over four days in which participants learnt how to plan detailed communication  strategies targeted to specific audiences, the importance of selecting appropriate and accessible communication tools to increase outreach, as well as practical hands on tips on tools such as blogging, social networking, and listserves.  Additionally, mobile technologies and video tools were demystified with practical trainings. For example, one session was held on using video cameras to capture and document HR violations, how to use free video editing software, and online platforms for dissemination. Another session examined the use of audio recorders and audio editing software, to create podcasts and radio broadcasts. Similarly, we examined the possibilities of mobile phones and mass texting to enable rapid mobilization and “flash actions”.  

The outcome of these workshops was the creation of new local campaign communication strategies, a Strategic E-Campaigning Toolkit for women’s rights advocates, and the creation of an online platform for our networked campaigns. The workshops have also resulted in the global collaboration between VNC partners with Take Back the Tech's "16 Days of Activism" campaign. 

On November 29th, 2010 – the international day for women’s human rights defenders – the VNC Campaign, APC, and Take Back the Tech will launch concerted actions around the globe on the issue of culturally justified violence against women and girls.

Visit  our 16 Days 2010 Action Page to learn more about the actions taking place in your context, and join us in this endeavour!