A quick update from the WITNESS training in Mexico City in association with the Habitat International Coalition (HIC)- Latin America. We’ve been holed-up for nine days solid in a convent (cheap, good food, peaceful atmosphere, nightly curfew) training a range of human rights defenders either from or working with communities whose rights are being compromised or violated by dam mega-projects.
We have groups here from communities affected by the La Parota Dam, working on the Paso de la Reyna project, the town of Temaca affected by the El Zapotillo Dam, as well as activists who are working on the health impacts of industrial pollution into the Rio Santiago.
Today we finalized our VAPs (Video Action Plans) addressing strategies to use video with a range of potential audiences. Like all WITNESS trainings, our focus is on helping participants integrate video into their advocacy in a systematic, strategic way.
So, here participants have been looking at their campaign objectives and identifying which ones are best served by incorporating video, then understanding audiences (from their own communities, to local leaders, to state and national level, to UN Special Rapporteurs, to solidarity activists pressuring abroad), messaging, and how to use the power of storytelling to ground each of their messages in compelling material that will shame, motivate, or engage their audiences.
And of course, we’ve spent time discussing strategic distribution – which doesn’t mean sending someone a DVD…
This is the first of a series of kick-off trainings we’re doing in association with allies of HIC. Stay tuned for more information on further trainings taking place in Brazil and India, the videos that come out of the trainings, and of course, the impact they have in protecting and promoting human rights.