Innovative #civicstorytelling from RightsCon 2018

Innovative #civicstorytelling from RightsCon 2018

Innovation for Change and the CIVICUS Monitor co-hosted an event at #RightsCon2018 in Toronto, Canada this past 17 May 2018. Here, speakers from Afghanistan, Tanzania, and the Philippines came together to share their powerful stories about their fights against government, judicial harassment, imprisonment, and detainment – and more importantly, their resilience despite these challenges and the innovative tools they use to communicate their stories from the ground. Speakers included:

Omaid Sharifi


Omaid Sharifi, co-founder of Artlords, which is a grassroots movement of artists and volunteers that harnesses the power of street art in Afghanistan to convert the negative psychological impact of blast walls on the people of Kabul into a positive visual experience.


Gemma Mendozo


Gemma Mendozo, an author for Rappler, a citizen journalist platform that captures stories from other journalists operating out of the Philippines and Indonesia.




Maxcence Melo, founder of JamiiForums, the largest social networking platform in Tanzania, largest platform for the Swahili language, whistleblowing staple for the country and active promoter of media freedoms and freedom of expression.



Speakers concluded their session by sharing tips on how we can all improve our #civicstorytelling techniques:

  • Be strategic in your narrative when setting your agenda
  • Use normal citizens as your base, and make it clear why leaders should join
  • In terms of content, you need to have a good team to monitor quality and security
  • Making money isn’t easy, so consider using a subscriber model or advertising
  • Facebook and Twitter are excellent platforms to take advantage of, but also make use of the common social media platforms relevant to your community or region when cross-promoting
  • Protect yourself by making sure officials know what you are doing
  • Have a back up plan and make sure you have reliable partners
  • Make sure stories don’t just inform, but also have action points
  • Focus on human stories
  • Pivot off of new developments making headlines that are relevant to your story
  • Make use of art as it is a powerful tool, especially street art, and particularly in areas where education levels are low
  • Use visuals and urban art as a social cause for good
  • Engage, engage, engage! (your audiences)!

For more information, see the event description on the RightsCon program or follow the conversation using #civicstorytelling on Twitter.


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