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Tip Sheet on How Technology Can Support Democratic Participation and Human Rights

Mobilizing for political transformation requires engaged individuals and groups with the right tools to organize, participate, contribute, and hold their governments accountable. It is crucial for areas with constraints on platforms for action to be equipped with resources that can help better design and develop activities of community involvement, educational content, human rights trainings and more. 

Equitas’ Rawabet Initiative*, aimed to empower marginalized groups through human rights education and the engagement in community actions in support of the respect for human rights, implemented in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia from 2017 to 2021. 

Through the contribution of Rawabet participants, a tip sheet was developed for community action based on the collective experience of the involved youth, women, and persons living with a disability after these four years. 

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The tipsheet is available in English, French and Arabic.

In integrating a human rights-based approach to community mobilization activities, the tips revolve around leveraging technology to reinforce the approach’s 5 pillars:

  • Participation & inclusion
  • Non-discrimination & Equality
  • Accountability
  • Empowerment
  • Link to human rights’ norms, standards & principles 

Participation & Inclusion

Accessible technologies close the digital divide, allowing more people to communicate with others, take courses, or attend meetings without having to travel. This is highly helpful for those with disabilities or other family and work commitments. 

TIP: How can you guarantee people can come to your community event?

Make sure you consult everyone before deciding on the time of the meeting, hence ensuring the participation of a wide diversity of people. Consider online survey tools such  as Doodle, to find a time that is convenient for everyone. 

Non-discrimination & Equality

TIP: Are you sure the content you are creating is accessible to everyone?

Make sure to consult accessibility guidelines and integrate them for every new piece of content you create. You can ensure that the content is accessible to people with a wide range of abilities. This step is essential for people with disabilities including: blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, and limited movement, among others. It is also useful for all individuals accessing your web site. For more information about strategies, standards and  resources related to digital accessibility, visit: https://www.w3.org/ 

The availability to the necessary technology resources is crucial to better addressing barriers in meaningful and respective ways. These can be through providing access to secure and functioning Internet, connection to the electricity grid, training to develop the necessary know-how to use the technology. 

 

Accountability

Electronic appeals developed through community petition platforms are effective in creating pressure on authorities as well as informing and involving the media.

TIP: How can you maximize the reach of an ongoing appeal

In parallel to the online appeal, you can use multiple platforms and tools to maximize your outreach. Before selecting which ones to employ, carry out some research to ensure that the tools you are using are compatible with the target groups you want to involve or influence. 

 

Empowerment

TIP: Transparency in the process supports empowerment!

Using online files and files hosting platforms facilitate group work and organizing.
Being transparent with everyone regarding what is happening, who is doing what and what still needs to be done promotes the empowerment of all team members. 

Access to technology allows for the sharing of information and awareness. Digital tools can empower community members to deliver and benefit from training programs, facilitating the production of their own learning materials specific to the rights holders and duty-bearers in their communities.

Link to Human Rights Standards

Linking programming and actions to international human rights instruments provides a legally binding framework to engage with duty bearers at all levels and helps to focus program objectives by defining the minimum obligations against which duty bearers can be held accountable. 

TIP: How can you learn more about the human rights issues in your country?

You can check the online platforms of international human rights bodies such as the Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review and the OHCHR to find recent updates and reports regarding human rights status and human rights violations in your region. This can help you get up to date with the efforts made internationally towards promoting human rights in your country. It can also help you develop a good baseline for mapping human rights violations in the community you are working with. 

Technology offers new opportunities for the promotion of human rights education it’s enable overcoming some of the traditional obstacles to mainstreaming and accessing human rights education. Effective human rights education must go beyond sharing of information about human rights and should teach individuals how to implement and claim their rights. 

The importance of accessible technological platforms and services is undeniable.

To read the full tip sheet and learn more good practices in leveraging technology to reinforce a human rights-based approach, click here.

* Rawabet Initiative – Technological Bridges for Citizen Engagement implemented in partnership with : CVT – New Tactics, Centre, Tunisien Méditerranéen – TuMed (Tunisia), Ruwwad (Jordan), Association marocaine pour l’éducation de la Jeunesse – AMEJ Fes (Morocco), Horus Foundation for Development and Training (Egypt) with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.