The Workshop

Conceptualised and organised by Tactical Tech and hosted at the community-run Feynan EcoLodge in a remote location in the Jordanian desert, the Visualising Women's Rights workshop brought together 44 activists working on a variety of women's rights issues in the Arab region for a 3-day adventure of skill-share and learning around the subject of visual advocacy. Here, participants were able to escape their inboxes and everyday commitments, and enter a space designed to inspire creative thinking and problem-solving around campaigning. They explored how information and data can be visualised, through images, animation, info-graphics, and maps to communicate their issues clearly and impact their target audience. They gained an exposure to and support in using visualisations in their advocacy and campaigns.

PARTICIPANTS

Tactical Tech had over 100 applications to attend this event, of which 44 were selected. To qualify, applicants had to be working on women's rights issues in the Arab world, with a proven dedication to this work, be using basic digital technologies in their work and have an idea for a campaign which they hoped to develop using visual advocacy tactics. The workshop was held in English, with limited Arabic translation support so participants had to be comfortable with English in order to qualify, too. The selection process was done by Tactical Tech and a 3-person group of external advisors with knowledge and experience of women's rights in the region. The workshop participants are working on various women's rights issues including: women's empowerment, gender-based violence, family law, disability rights, women in conflict and rights of the girl child in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Jordan. The OSI Women's Program funded the participants from Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon, AED Civil Society Program funded 10 Jordanians and those from other countries sourced their own funding to cover their attendance.

STYLE AND PROCESS

Tactical Tech's workshops are typically informal, friendly spaces where intensive hands-on skill development is key. Participation, sharing, interactivity and creativity are hallmarks of our workshops, with an emphasis on learning-by-doing rather than a lecture-style of teaching. We have developed this style over seven years of experience running workshops, events and learning camps.

At the VWR workshop, to immediately signal that this would not be a typical “conference” experience, participants were handed their welcome packs and invited to create their own “deconstructed conference name-badge”. These were badges made by Jordanian designer, Hana Faouri, out of recycled goods which participants could customise with beads, glitter, glue, ribbon and other craft materials from the “creative table”, which remained a permanent fixture throughout the workshop. While at first some participants were hesitant to get involved, the badges were soon a hit and rated by many participants as one of their top activities.  

The days began with a “sunrise circle”, an open forum for the group to come together, prepare for the day, and for announcements to be made. This was followed by the morning “plenary sessions” designed to involve the entire group in discussion and learning around evidence-based campaigning. These covered finding, accessing and using data in campaign work and critical thinking about examples of visual campaigns and why they work. For example the “Visual Gallery” exercise got participants, in groups, to look at a selection of strong visual campaigns on a range of rights issues and analyse the components of strategy behind them.

The afternoons were devoted to small 'learning lab' group sessions in three tracks: imaging and animation, information design and mapping. The tracks were intensive hands-on practice sessions in the use of either geographical mapping, information design or imaging and animation techniques for campaigning. The facilitators for these tracks included: Tactical Tech's co-founders Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski leading Information Design, Southern African animator and social scientist, Tessa Lewin, and Egyptian art-activist, Sarah Rifaat, on imaging and animation, and mappers, Sandra Sudhoff from the German NGO, CartONG and, Abdelrahman, a blogger and techie from Egypt. Read more about the tracks and the facilitators here (link to tracks page).

We find that the evening activities at these events have an integral role to play in fostering a good group dynamic and allowing participants a chance to get to know each other and have discussions in their own time. The first night involved introductions and an ice-breaker game before everyone packed off to bed after a long day of travelling. On the second night, participants could mingle and set up a “stall” at the “bazaar” in the outdoor Bedouin tent to present their campaign ideas to each other. The last night was spent doing a sunset hike and watching documentaries. The award-winning feature, Budrus, which highlights women’s role in the unarmed popular resistance movement in town by the same name in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was screened along with The Kingdom of Women produced by a Lebanese filmmaker, Dahna Abourahme, and Tactical Tech's 10 tactics for turning information into action. If participants did not take part in these activities, they organised themselves with singing, live music and light photography. 

At the end of the three days, participants presented what they had been working on in their tracks at the Show and Tell. Read more about this on the tracks page

Photos by Samah Arafat.

See all the photos from the workshop on our Flickr page.

Applications

APPLICATIONS TO ATTEND THE WORKSHOP ARE NOW CLOSED. 

Download the application form (word document)

We welcome participants working on women's rights issues from across the Arab world.

The event focuses on women's rights advocates working on issues of violence against women, the impact and role of women in political and violent conflict and women's participation and leadership in public life. More specific regional topics will include; honour crimes, rights of the girl child, migrant workers, citizenship and family law.

We also welcome those working with women's right advocates who are communications specialists, designers, artists, illustrators, or technologists working with mapping techniques or data. However, these applicants will have to demonstrate their commitment and experience working with women's rights issues.

We only currently have scholarships available for those working on issues related to women's rights in Palestine, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. (see information on scholarships)

WHO SHOULD APPLY?

If you want to take part in this project, you should be:

  • Working on women's rights, particularly addressing violence against women, the impact of political conflict on women, and supporting women's participation in public and community life and have a track record of working on these issues. OR, be organisations working on design, filmmaking, animation, information design and visualisation with a demonstrated commitment and sensitivity to these issues. We are keen to include those who can share these skills and techniques with rights advocates and are committed to such projects going forward.
  • Working on issues of women in the Arab World. We have specific scholarships for participants from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. So, for example, an organisation in Jordan campaigning for the rights of women in Gaza, or supporting refugees from Iraq would be eligible to apply for a scholarship. Priority will be given to applicants situated in the Arab world. If you are working in another country in the Arab world or regionally and would like to attend, we welcome you to apply for the event, but you will have to cover your own costs. (See more information about this below)
  • Committed to using visual advocacy tools and information-activism in their existing and new campaigns.
  • Willing to support at least one individual from their organisation to attend the workshop, and then have them become the focal person for the process over the six month period.
  • Willing to work with other women's rights organisations in the region, or in their own countries, to develop campaigns, depending on how many groups are selected across the region, and based on the similarity of campaign ideas.
  • Have an existing campaign to work on further between December 2010-and mid 2011 and a clear commitment to enabling implementation of ideas generated/skills gained at the workshop
  • Capable of working with local groups/individuals who will provide support in web hosting, design, graphics and multimedia, depending on what the campaign requires.

As organisations prepare their applications, they also need to identify one member of staff who will represent them and become the focal person for the process. This individual should:

  • Have a good working knowledge of English, although the workshop will be conducted in English with parts in Arabic. We are sorry that as this is a hands-on workshop and translation can not be provided.
  • Be comfortable using a PC or laptop, and be familiar with using the internet and popular media platforms like social networking sites (Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, etc), Google maps, YouTube, blogs etc. You don't need the technical skills to create content for these sites but we will expect you to have user level knowledge.
  • Attend the entire duration of the workshop in Jordan, and commit to taking the process forward within her organisation or projects. We can not accept any participants who can not stay for the entire duration of the workshop
  • Be involved in advocacy and campaign work in her organisation or as a committed individual.
  • Have at least two years' experience of working in any of the following areas: women's rights; addressing violence against women; women's participation and leadership.
  • Be at a programme manager or coordinator level with hands-on responsibilities and some decision-making in project implementation. This workshop will not be geared towards organisational directors, junior staff or interns. Those who lead advocacy work and are engaged in strategy, planning and implementation of initiatives should attend.
  • Look forward to dedicating themselves to the project and engaging in a fun and challenging experience!

We are also looking forward to receiving applications from independent digital activists, graphic designers, animators and filmmakers from the region who must have some NGO or campaigning experience and are committed to supporting NGOs to develop their campaigns.

We only have funding for people working in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. If you are from/working in another country in the arab region and are able to cover your own costs (with a grant, training money or similar), you are welcome to apply.  

HOW TO APPLY

 1. Please fill in the application form where you'll have to share personal and organisational details, and your ideas for a campaign your organisation would like to work on

2. Get your organisation's director to sign off on your application to verify that both you and the organisation are interested in being a part of the project

3. Email your completed applications to visualrights@tacticaltech.org. 

Application forms only filled out in part will not be considered. This is a competitive process. Tactical Tech and their partners will be looking to choose applicants who have a demonstrable commitment to the issues identified in the project outline and the proven ability to implement what they learn at the event within a campaign in the following six month period.

Please note the deadline for submitting appications is the 14th October 2010

SELECTION

There are 35-40 places available for the workshop. 

The applications will be pooled and reviewed by an independent advisory group. The selection committee will consist of Tactical Tech staff, trainers and members of the advisory group.

Selected participants will be notified two weeks after their application deadline and will be sent more information about how to prepare and plan for the workshop.

The workshop will begin December 5th and run until December 8th, 2010.

SCHOLARSHIPS

We currently have full scholarships available for those who are working on issues related to women's rights issues in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Preference will be given to those who are actually situated in the Arab world too. So, for example, an organisation in Jordan campaigning for the rights of women in Gaza, or supporting refugees from Iraq would be eligible to apply for a scholarship.

What the scholarship covers:    

  • return travel (by air, or overland) from the home country to Jordan
  • meals and three nights accommodation at the Feynan Eco Lodge
  • tuition for the workshop

If you don't qualify for a scholarship 

If you are working in another country in the Arab world or regionally and would like to attend, we welcome you to apply for the event but you will have to cover your own costs.This includes your travel and visa which you will need to arrange yourself and a participation fee of 400 USD to cover three nights accommodation, meals and drinks, transportation from Amman to Feynan and back again, and tuition. We have 15 places available for people in this position. 

We know that NGOs are used to having costs of events covered, and we have tried where possible to work with donors to make some scholarships available, however these are relatively limited.

Here are some suggestions for how you can cover your costs:

  • Do you have a training budget for your organisation that you can use? 
  • Can you include this event in your campaign budget? 
  • Can you work with one of your existing funders, or a new local funder to cover your costs of participation? 
  • Do you know a funder who may be interested in supporting a few women's organisations from the region to attend? can Tactical Tech help with this in any way?

Download the application form (word document)