What do we mean by visualising rights?

NGOs and rights advocates too often find that the information they want to communicate is buried in long reports full of professional jargon and statistics, overlooked in an endless stream of media releases or over-simplified in advertising-style campaigns.

The challenge they face is how to give the right people the right information in the best possible way.

Whether talking to the public, staff, donors or government officials, visual techniques such as mapping, information design, illustration and animation are powerful ways to communicate campaign messages and support advocacy.

Some examples of how we think campaigns related to women's rights issues have successfully used visual techniques are:

1. Amnesty International's campaign on female genital mutilation which creates a strong visual metaphor with striking photography and the ironic use of a typically feminine symbol, the rose. (read our blog post about this campaign)


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2. The Khede Khasra campaign from Lebanon uses a very powerful but simple visual technique to engage people in a much broader debate on women's participation in society (read our blog post and watch the video about this campaign)

3. The Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights who have been experimenting with using maps to report incidents of sexual harassment which occur in the streets of Cairo. (read our blog post)

4. Good Magazine, who used information design to show how despite the fact that half the world's population is female, only a small percentage of women are political leaders.

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In short visual techniques for advocacy can:

  • engage new or difficult to reach audiences
  • help advocates find a way through the overwhelming amount of information overload
  • explain an issue in a different or compelling way, giving the audience a new perspective
  • simplify and make a message more powerful
  • show patterns or relationships otherwise unnoticed

Tactical Tech's visualising rights work aims to help rights advocates make sense of data, focus its use on their issue, and produce clear, compelling and accurate visualisations which actually strengthen their campaigning. Read about our 'Reveal' programme to learn more. If you want to learn more about what information design is, take a look at our guide. If you would like to read more about how we are exploring visualising rights in this project, read more here or read our blog.