Want to get a free Flip camera for participating in the launch of WITNESS’ new Toolkit? Read on…
Video Action Plan Toolkit
Screenshot from videoplan.witness.org of the new Video Advocacy Planning Toolkit from WITNESS.

Are you using video to support your advocacy work, or are you thinking of using video? Fantastic. We are excited to share our newest training resource, which we think will help you – the Video Advocacy Planning Toolkit.

The Toolkit is a free, interactive, step-by-step training resource that has 12 chapters, 35 instructional videos, lots of video advocacy examples and essential questions to help you develop a plan to create the change you and your allies are seeking.

It incorporates our 20 years of experience on strategic advocacy, storytelling, videomaking and distribution that we have developed through partnering with over 300 groups in 80 countries, and training thousands of advocates and groups in how to use video to create change.

Simply, WITNESS’ video advocacy methodology works, and the Toolkit is the best way to incorporate these essential key principles, best practices and lessons as you use video.

We hope that you will explore it and give us feedback to help us make it an even better resource for activists who are using or want to use video to create change (more on how you can get that free Flip camera below).

You’re welcome to keep reading (frankly, I’m quite caffeinated and typing fast), but really, please take a tour and explore the Toolkit!

Or, if you want a break, you can watch this introductory video:

Why Did WITNESS Create the Toolkit?
The Toolkit is a significant part of our effort to better support individuals and groups that we cannot directly reach through trainings and our partnership program. We are inspired and motivated by the massive increase in video being used for advocacy, and are confident that the Toolkit will help activists not only safely and securely create more effective advocacy videos, but also save time, money and resources.

Who Should Use the Toolkit?
Anyone who wants to strategically plan how to effectively use video for advocacy, following the same methodology that we have used with thousands of activists around the world, will benefit from the Toolkit.

Who Built the Toolkit?
WITNESS’ current and former staff, partners and allies’ experiences and insights on safely and effectively using video are the foundation of the Toolkit. The methodology and content has been crystallized further from our book, Video for Change, comprehensive curriculum, training resources and blog and then creatively displayed in an interactive online and offline (coming soon!) Toolkit.

Last year, we hired Adam Rasmussen and UX Interactive to design and build the website you see today, which we’re pretty darn happy with. From the beginning of the project, we wanted to build the Toolkit in Drupal, an open-source, community-driven content management platform with hopes that Drupal developers and social change groups would remix the Toolkit code and modules to create useful, interactive resources to help support and promote human rights. We look forward to sharing more about our development process in the near future.

Thank You for Your Support!
We are deeply grateful to all of the supporters of the Toolkit who generously donated their time, resources and energy to ensure it grew from a seed of an idea scribbled on a whiteboard to the new resource we are happy to share today. A very special thanks to Hivos, The Fledgling Fund and the American Jewish World Service for their support and insights along the way.

In addition to my stellar WITNESS colleagues, I’d like to thank my dynamo interns and volunteers who have enhanced the project in a myriad of ways – Marisa Wong, Pam Bradshaw, Lucy Purdon, Janie Warnock, Carlos Cagin and Brian Redondo. You all are amazing. (If you would like to be part of enhancing the Toolkit in the months ahead, check out our internship program!)

Additionally, I’d like to thank all of the volunteers, especially those who participated in the user testing and gave us needed feedback as we developed the site. Lastly, a special thanks to our fantastic, volunteer copy editors and wordsmiths who were forced to deal with my passion for run-on sentences and sporadic punctuation. Mojgone Azemun and Leah Spigelman, one cannot undervalue your art of brevity and attention to grammar. Thank you.

Languages Now and Other Training Resources Coming Soon
We are launching this first version of the Toolkit in English, but after we incorporate feedback from you and others in Fall 2011, we will make it available in Arabic, French and Spanish, soon followed by Portuguese and Russian. If you are interested in testing or translating the Toolkit, please contact me.

Also, I’m pretty excited that we are going to be sharing our comprehensive curriculum on our new snazzy website very soon. If you want to start incorporating video advocacy sessions in your trainings, contact me so you can be the first to know!

Oh, Right, Would You Like a Free Camera?
We will be giving away Flip Video Cameras to some of the first Toolkit users and providers of in-depth feedback. Specifically, we are interested in feedback from users of the site who create and finalize a Video Advocacy Plan. If you are planning on using video or are using video currently for your advocacy work, and want to use the Toolkit from start to finish to plan your project, contact us via email at toolkit [@] witness [dot] org to learn more and be included in the camera give away.

Well, that’s all for now. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Toolkit and any ideas or feedback on how we can enhance it!

Hey, I’m on Twitter @WITNESSchris, are you? If so, let’s be friends and you may want to see #video4change and the good video advocacy examples shared there.

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