As I’m writing from a buzzing room in Nairobi, Kenya, there are five groups of women’s rightsGender justice advocates learn to use video advocacy at a WITNESS training in Nairobi activists editing interviews that they’ve conducted as part of a ten-day video advocacy training. Through WITNESS’ new partnership with Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, this is the second comprehensive training that we’ve conducted (see a video report from our first training with a group from Northern Uganda) to support a push for an end to gender-based violence.

The 17 activists and their groups are campaigning to reform Sudan’s oppressive Rape law; addressing systematic rape as a weapon of war in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic; calling for the government of Kyrgyzstan to implement existing laws to address bride kidnapping, which is happening at epidemic levels; and addressing gender based violence in Kawangware, a large settlement here in Nairobi. All of these situations are occurring with total impunity with state officials responsible. Most of these issues are being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Purpose and Design of the Training

Building on WITNESS’ Video Advocacy Institute model, this ten-day training is the most comprehensive training that WITNESS offers. The purpose of the training is to teach video advocacy to Women’s Initiative’s partners, helping them evaluate how to  integrate video into their advocacy campaigns. They are all activists and experts in their field. But this is the first time most of them have had the opportunity to explore how video can support their work and develop a plan to integrate it into their campaigns on gender-based violence.

The week began with ensuring the objectives of the video advocacy campaigns are strategic, the audiences are targeted and the desired impact is both clear and achievable. Sample audiences for these campaigns range from the prosecutors of the ICC to the leadership of the police department and officers in-training in Nairobi.

The activists here have worked with steadfast dedication to create strong video advocacy plans, further enhance their storytelling abilities, develop a variety of videomaking and editing skills, learn about safety and security issues around filming, and are now ready to implement plans to assess and mitigate their own risks as filmmakers and those that will participate in their videos – a major concern and challenge for many of them.

Participants in WITNESS video advocacy training practice filming on locationThey will go back home in a few days, some of them traveling nearly a week, to share their new-found skills with their allies and colleagues, conduct the needed research and begin setting up and filming interviews and shooting footage. They will go home as advocacy videomakers.

Their powerful stories and advocacy work will be used to impact decision makers locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.  Additionally, their stories and the brave voices of those affected in their communities will be amplified and further bolster the ever-growing movement for gender justice and its calls for urgent action against gender-based violence.

I’m going to get off this laptop and continue to learn from these inspiring, exceptional leaders and see what stories they’ve created and edited as part of their editing exercise. Follow the blog and our updates on the campaign to see the report-back video from the training and learn more about their work.


A special thank you to the members of Kibera Post Test Clubs Network (KIPOTEC), a network that provides a range of services and programs to people living with HIV and AIDS in Kibera, for inviting us into their community,  sharing their stories and supporting the training.

One thought on “Gender Justice Activists Integrate Video for Advocacy

  1. This is exciting for me. I studied “film” and that the technology has become so “user friendly” and inexpensive is amazing. I used video to “hook in” At Risk Youths for educational events in the early 90″s. My BA senior seminar was doing paralegal work and counseling for Women who were victims of domestic violence. I am/have been recovering from a broken back suffered while teaching as a bilingual teacher in East Oakland, and have very little money. I would like to know if there is other things that I can help with.

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