With social media and video becoming an ever more important tool for education and advocacy, participants from 20 national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the region have learned practical skills in making digital stories to support their work.

As part of a three-day meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which I facilitated, members of the APF Communications Network learned the basic elements of video production, including how to edit interviews filmed on a smart phone, add overlay footage and mix in music.

By the end of the session, all participants had created a short video on what gender equality means to women and girls in their respective countries.

The meeting was also an opportunity for participants to share experiences, ask questions and identify a shared sense of purpose and possibilities.

The workshop included presentations on:

  • How the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights has sought to build public support for its work at a time when respect for human rights is under grave threat
  • A ground-breaking national inquiry into family violence by the Ombudsman of Samoa and the pivotal role storytelling has played in building community engagement on this sensitive topic, especially among men
  • The steps the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has taken to integrate human rights into the education curriculum, in order to break a decades-long culture of war and conflict
  • The efforts of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh to monitor the situation of Rohingya refugees arriving from Myanmar and advocating for their rights
  • Social media campaigns to counter racism in the community, developed by the NHRIs of New Zealand and Australia.

There were also practical sessions on strategies for engaging with the media on sensitive issues, as well as planning the key elements of an effective social media campaign.

“The collegiality that James has established within this incredibly diverse group is exceptional.”