Why are we gathering online?
At CIVICUS, we believe that this is the right time for civil society activists, organisations and social movements to engage in a collective process alongside donors, friends and supporters, to learn, unlearn and relearn ways to sustain and support people power for the long haul.
We invite you to engage in a year-long discussion, experimentation and learning process starting with a number of virtual events from April onwards.
ICSW #1 Supporting Youth-led Movements and Groups as Key Drivers of People Power
This online conversation hosted by the CIVICUS Youth Action Team focused on how youth-led movements and groups can balance power dynamics and create healthy, equitable relationships with donors and other allies to foster social transformation. Participants heard from several youth activists who will share their experiences, as well as creative exercises from the new ‘Resourcing Youth-led Movements and Groups’ playbook, which was launched Monday, 20 April 2020 by CIVICUS and Recrear.
This interactive 90-minute session provided space for discussion and inspiration for young activists looking for ideas and better partnerships to resource and sustain their work while staying true to their values and mission.
Date: 22 April - 2PM SA time, 7PM Bangkok time,
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Amanda Segnini, Brazil
Amanda Segnini is social entrepreneur and co-founder of the youth-led NGO Engajamundo. She is graduated in International Relations and is an Amani fellow of Social Innovation Management. At Engajamundo, she currently works to engage Brazilian youth to take action for their rights by spreading knowledge about youth participation in national and international process to be part of the solution the the issues they are facing. She was Deputy Organising Partner of Habitat 3 working group at UNMGCY (United Nations Major Groups for Children and Youth) and participated of the official delegation to the Habitat 3 conference. She also participated of COP-20 and COP21 with Engajamundo’s delegation. She loves to facilitate collaborative process, enabling minorities to be part of the decision-making processes.
Justin Francis Bionat, Philippines
Justin is a passionate human rights defender from the Philippines. He completed his Masters of Arts in Human Rights and Democratisation from the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand. He has had local, national and regional experience in human rights work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities. He currently works as executive director of Youth Voices Count (YVC), a regional network of young LGBTIQ persons in the Asia-Pacific region working on several sexual and reproductive health and human rights issues. He is presently leading the IGNITE! Empowerment grants of YVC, which is a small grant support mechanism for youth-led LGBTIQ organizations in the region. He brings together both field and academic experience in human rights.
Priscilla Nyaaba, Ghana
Priscilla Nyaaba is a passionate advocate for SRHR, Gender Equality, Women and Girls' Rights and Climate Change. I am the Executive Director of Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, a youth-focused Non-Governmental organization registered in Ghana. I am a Registered General Nurse by profession and holds a bachelor's degree in Public Health. I am one of the awardees of the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator and a voting member of CIVICUS. I have been involved in development work since 2003 as the President of the Youth Harvest Adolescent Health Club in Senior High School. I have worked as a youth volunteer promoting SRHR in schools and as a Board Member of the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana representing young people and contributing to programming that targets the development and empowerment of young people. I play a key role among a group of CSOs in Ghana that is advocating for the integration of adolescent reproductive health education into the school curriculum. I participated in developing recommendations on climate change and gender based violence during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly in a forum for Youth by Youth for ICPD+25 and Benjin+25. I also took part in the biggest global climate strike and was featured in ATTN media in New York. I am also an alumni of the Moth.
ICSW #2 Social Movements: Before, During & After COVID-19
The past year was defined by numerous demonstrations of people power, from activism on the climate crisis to mobilisations prompted by economic hardship and inequality and uprisings demanding more and better democracy. Many of these mobilisations were still taking place when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, bringing actions to a pause as societies were put under lockdown. In many countries lockdowns have brought increased restrictions on key freedoms, including on civic space, making it harder to voice opposition, scrutinise decision-makers and hold them accountable. Activism has had to continue online and civil society resources have been put under renewed pressure. But despite the challenges, civil society is continuing to mobilise, and a resurgence of collective action can be expected once restrictions are eased. The pandemic further exposed and exacerbated major existing economic, social and political problems, and civil society will lead the struggle for a socially just and rights-based recovery: one that does not return to old strategies but rather reinvents towards a new, different reality. This virtual conversation focused on sharing the lived experiences of activists engaged in some of the key issues raised in the last year, how they have responded to the pandemic and how they will renew their struggles after the immediate crisis has passed to advance demands for democratic freedoms, fairer economic policies, an end to inequality, action on the climate crisis and international political reform.
Date: 27 May 2020, 2PM SAST/CEST
Languages: English, Spanish, French
What did we speak about during the event
- Share impacts/success stories: Lessons learnt on impact/breakthrough?
- Open discussion: Adaptive strategies on evolution of movements have evolved and new movements emerging
- Exchange of experiences on mobilisation: what does activism mean during and post COVID19
Civic Initiatives, Serbia
Moderator: Maja Stojanovic, Civic Initiatives, Serbia
Maja Stojanovic is a long-time activist for protection of human rights, and she is a member of Civic Initiatives since October, 2010. Before she became Executive Director in January 2014, she had worked for Civic Initiatives as a coordinator of Youth Program and as the Program director. She started working in the civil sector at the Students’ Union of Serbia (SUS) at the Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, after which she worked at the University of Nis and within the Board of Directors of the Students’ Union of Serbia. During five years, Maja worked at the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Nis, after which she started working in Belgrade as coordinator of youth program and executive director. Maja Stojanovic is the president of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights and Democracy House from Belgrade and a member of Europe Team, expert group for promotion of European integrations in Serbia.
Campaña Defender la Libertad, Colombia
Alexandra González, Campaña Defender la Libertad, Colombia
Political scientist and master in public policy from the National University of Colombia. Human rights defender, particularly victims of state violence, arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force in contexts of social protest. She is an investigator of the Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners and the technical secretary of the Campaign to Defend Liberty, a network of organizations that works against the criminalization of social protest.
Lublin Equality March Association, Poland
Bart Staszewski, Lublin Equality March Association, Poland
Bart Staszewski (born in Malmö, Sweden), grow up in Lublin, Poland. I am Polish LGBT activist and documentary film director. In 2017, I produced a documentary film - Article 18. It is the most important documentary to date on the LGBT struggle for equality in Poland. I am one of the organizers of the Equality March in Lublin, which was the first Pride march that take place in eastern Poland. I am also member of association "Love Does not Exclude" and one of funders of “Lublin Equality March Association“. My work for the LGBT community has been recognized internationally. In 2019, I was awarded the European Tolerantia Award. Together with a group of amazing lawyers, I managed to stop the distribution of homophobic stickers of Gazeta Polska "LGBT-free zone".
Hong Kong Civil Hub, Hong Kong
Johnson Yeung, Hong Kong Civil Hub, Hong Kong
Johnson Ching-Yin Yeung is a human right advocate and chairperson of the Hong Kong Civil Hub. The Hong Kong Civil Hub works to connect Hong Kong civil society with like-minded international stakeholders willing to help promote the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Hong Kong. He is also a board member of Amnesty International Hong Kong.
Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change & YES, Sudan
Nisreen Al Sayeem, Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change and Youth and Environment, Sudan
Nisreen Elsaim studied physics in her BSc. and MSc. in renewable energy. Started environmental work in 2012. after she volunteered in Sudanese Environment Conservation Society (SECS), first in project office then as program officer, till she became Youth and Environment committee coordinator in 2015.
During her volunteering in SECS she visited many places in Sudan and she saw how far climate change affecting people and our ecological systems, and Sudan’s high vulnerability to it, as the huge conflict in Dar-fur is about natural resources which was affected by climate change. In 2015 and during Nisreen’s work in youth and environment committee, it was very clear to her that youth of Sudan were working very hard but without organization that's why their efforts weren't clear and not sustained, so she came up with Youth and Environment - Sudan (YES) platform to give all environment working youth the networking they need.
Ms. Elsaim is the Chair of Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change (SYOCC) which youth led organization, and with 1348 members we are working on climate change awareness and youth capacity building for climate change adaptation. Recently, Nisreen is a junior negotiator with the African Group of Negotiators in technology transfer. focusing on the policies of countries regarding climate change and renewable energies she participated in a one year project and policy paper with other MENA region youth regarding clean energy.
Sarah Ali, HUMENA
Sarah is a Lebanese organizational development trainer and consultant and the Co-founder and Executive Director of Humena for Human Rights and Civic Engagement.
Humena came to light in April 2018 by a group of human rights experts and civil society actors and academicians from Middle East and North Africa.
Humena aims to advocate the adoption of human rights-based approach (RBA) through applying change to power relations, promoting accountability, non- discrimination, and partnerships among NGOs in the region.
Humena also supports Democracy and democratic transitions in Middle East and North Africa, and advocates protection of human rights and freedom of expression to create positive environment for civil activism and civic engagement throughout Middle East. Sarah was selected for the top 10 finalists list of the "Arab Youth Humanitarian Activism Award"-2018. She has been working in MENA region since 2010 on youth empowerment, peacebuilding, women’s rights, democratization, transitional justice, and human rights.
Sarah has a solid knowledge about the conflict contexts in MENA region, and a deep understanding of the ethical challenges and dilemmas facing HRDs in conflict and post-conflict environment, since MENA region presents unique case to civil society and requires more nuanced guidelines and sensitive approaches.
ICSW #3 Why Positive Narratives are Critical to People Power
From disinformation to attacks on HRDs and movements: why positive narratives are critical to people power and the work of civil society, and how to build them together.
This online workshop led by the Innovation for Change network, brought together civic innovators, activists and organisations to look at:
- why positive narratives and public opinion are important to the success of people powered change and to civil society
- what approaches, tools and networks are working and what lessons can we take and use. How do we build solutions together?
Narratives are often shaped by those in power to galvanise different types of attacks on fundamental freedoms and civic space, whether through attacks on Human Rights Defenders directly, through restrictive NGO laws or the wider demonisation of civil society. How do we effectively counter these attacks? Why could hope be a powerful concept in re-shaping narratives? What are the lessons from weaponized disinformation campaigns?
This interactive 90-minute session provided space for the sharing of experiences of how narratives and public opinion can affect the issues we are working on and the tools, strategies and tactics that are proving effective in creating positive narratives about positive social changemakers. It was a practical session for people working on the frontlines of people power, in mobilising, communications, campaigning, advocacy and research, to network and exchange what’s working and the tough lessons learned, and to collaborate in sparking new ideas.
Date:10 June 2020, 2PM SAT
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Mouna Ben Garga, Innovation 4 Change Network Lead
- Omaid Sharifi, Art Lords
- Pang Khee Teik, I4C Hub East Asia
- Ana Patricia Munoz, I4C LAC
- Justin Murhula from the “Jeunes Nous Pouvons”
- Emaline Siale , Executive Director of Pacific Islands Association of NGOs
- Vadim Ni,chairs the “Socio-Ecological Fund”
- Rajae Boujnah, I4C Hub MENA
Thematic focus areas / breakout rooms:
ICSW #4 Artivism for inclusion
Art is a powerful medium for activism across the world, especially for traditionally excluded groups to express their experiences, deal with identity trauma and tell their stories. Artivism comes in many formats - visual images, songs, poetry, dance etc.
This 90 minute session hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion Group for Networking and Action (DIGNA) provided an opportunity to share our artivism globally with translation available in English, French and Spanish. The first 45 minutes were dedicated to a showcase of live performances of different kinds of artivism from poetry reciting, to singing, to art exhibition. The last 30-45 minutes offered a chance for informal discussions divided in groups based on language (EN, FR and SP). This gave participants a chance to chat with each other with support from DIGNA facilitators.
Date: 1 July 2020
Length: 90 minutes
Languages: English, Spanish, French
CIVICUS, South Africa
Tarryn Booysen, CIVICUS, South Africa
South African born Tarryn Booysen currently working with CIVICUS believes strongly in speaking up through whichever medium makes you feel most comfortable. Tarryn has found a way of expression through poetry and writing. The goal was always to help people and artivism has given her that opportunity. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
Ika Vantiani, Jakarta, Indonesia
Ika Vantiani is a self taught artist, curator and crafter. Mostly talk about women, media and consumption in her works, Ika uses collage as her main medium and public workshop as her engagement with the public to make art. She has exhibited her work inside and outside Indonesia, and curated some shows on youth, fashion and humanity. She lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Youth Voices Count, Philippines
Dave Gerapusco, Youth Voices Count, Philippines
Twitter: @GoleDave | @YVC_Official
He chose to perform “Rise Up” by Andra Day because it is powerful song. Andra was motivated to write and sing the song to spread the message of perseverance during difficult times. For instance, Day sings “All we need is hope…don’t forget we have each other.” The message has been used as a beacon of hope. Andra Day wanted the song to uplift, restore hope and encourage people who are living in a tumultuous period. Day considered the cultural and social factors that are facing the society. Day was brought up in a rough neighborhood in South East San Diego. Some of her classmates were involved in blood gang. As such, she needed to address some of these evils in the society through performing arts. Some of her childhood friends had lost hope. She believed that the song would encourage them to rise again. For instance, in the chorus she sings “all we need, all we need is hope…and for that, we have each other…and for that we have each other…we will rise…we will rise.” The lyrics are a beacon of hope to those who think that they have nothing to achieve in life. In spite of the difficulties of the day, people can still rise a thousand times and again to realize their dreams.
One Future Collective, India
OFC is a feminist, youth-led not for profit based in India, nurturing radical kindness in people, communities and organisations through the work we do on gender justice, feminist leadership and mental health. Our vision is a world built on social justice led by communities of care.
FemJustice Haikus is a collection of poems co-created on the 17 August 2019 at the launch of One Future Collective's FemJustice Legal Centre in Mumbai, India. On this occasion, the audience was asked to co-write haikus about their idea of gender justice, gender-based violence and feminism. They did this by each writing one line before passing it on to another person. We have chosen to share some of the haikus we found most striking, through this booklet. Illustrations by Jerin Jacob, words by many.
Human Rights Lawyer, Philippines
Maria Sol Taule, Human Rights Lawyer, Philippines
I am Maria Sol Taule, 34, and working as a human rights lawyer in the Philippines. I currently serve as the legal counsel of Karapatan Alliance, a non-government organization working for the promotion and defense of human rights in the Philippines. I also moonlights as a visual artist who uses watercolor and acrylic as my main medium.
La Múcura (www.lamucura.org), is youth led organization focused on exploring the relationship between the arts and social transformation in South America. For the last seven years, their activism has taken them across Latin America threading a powerful network of community leaders, artists, and activists. Their research and art seeks to understand, feel and celebrate the complex and empowering relationship between music, social movements and community realities. The best way to get to know them is through their music. This is their most recent CD titled, it represents a diverse, creative and fragmented, yet deeply resilient, South America: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZSVVONriVo&t=1232s
Lasisi, Babatunde Damilare (b. 1994).
His artistic practice is based on the exploration and synergy of various materials as a tool for social commentary in addressing various issues in my environment and society, which he reimagines and recreates with the use of charcoal, newsprints, and pigment. The objects collected in his works are an integral part of his conversation.
He is a graduate of the School of Arts, Design, and Printing, Yabatech with a specialization in Painting. He is a pioneering member of Arts in Medicine Fellowship and has continued to inspire new AIM fellows through teamwork, civic engagement, volunteerism, collaboration, and exemplary leadership.
He has participated in quite a number of group exhibitions, art workshops and a solo exhibition.
Paraísos Invisibles is a Colombian band that seeks to give new meaning to their Caribbean essence, finding inspiration in global electronics and elegant pop.
The duo is formed by Andrea Roa and José Castillo, guitarist from Bomba Estéreo, a band with whom they have toured the world, playing in the most important festivals.
After the success of their first two singles, Paraísos Invisibles and Champeta En Vinilo, the Barranquilleros released their first EP "Los Corales", made up of five original tracks, in November 2019.
CIVICUS, South Africa
Mawethu Nkosana is an queer urban creative and LGBTI rights activist working in the Advocacy space . They curate the recently started podcasts “Living, Loving Freedom” and has written, worked intensively on the themes of human rights, race, love and gender . Amongst many other things, Mawethu is working on, they are in the final stages of compiling their debut poetry collection
ICSW #6 "We the Peoples...": Reimagining global governance on the eve of the UNs 75th Anniversary
The 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN is not only an occasion for celebration of its achievements, particularly in enshrining human rights norms, but also an opportunity for civil society reflection on how the UN should change to better serve a world that is very different from that of 1945. This event will focus on thinking more boldly, assessing prospects for change and responding to the challenges involved in building a more open, inclusive and democratic UN.
During the course of the event, participants will engage with critical perspectives on the concrete actions needed to strengthen the ability of the UN to advance human rights and social justice through its engagement of civil society and people’s movements and the promotion of civic freedoms.
Date: 14 September 2020
Length: 90 Minutes
Languages: English, Spanish
Oli Henman (UK), Action for Sustainable Development
- Alessandra Nilo, Gestos (Brazil)
- Annie Namala, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion (India)
- Shehara Natalie Samarasinghe, United Nations
- Yolette Etienne, ActionAid (Haiti)
- Memory Kachambwa, Femnet (Kenya),
- Beverly Longid, Civil Society Partnership (Philippines)
- Fergus Watt, UN 2020 (Canada)
- John Romana, TAP (US)
- Daniela Vancic, Democracy International (Germany)
- Layan Al-Dani, Access Center for Human Rights (Lebanon)
ICSW #7 Experiential workshop: Self and collective care for a transformational change
Have you ever felt anxious, exhausted, upset, pressured, or sad in your circles of activism? Changing the world, saving the planet, or fighting for human rights is an empowering, exciting, and motivating mission, but it can also burn us out.
In recognition of World Mental Health Day, CIVICUS and Greenpeace International will host an ICSW/virtual event focused on sustainable activism and avoiding burnout through collective care.
In this event, we will build care and resilience strategies, and through experiential exercises, we will guide participants through a collective journey of discovery and healing for the mind, body, and soul.
Date: 21 October 2020
Languages: English, Spanish, French