Five Steps to Tactical Innovation for Human Rights

Tavaana has partnered with the New Tactics in Human Rights Project for the "Five Steps to Tactical Innovation" course, with live instruction in English. New Tactics, an innovative project of the Center for Victims of Torture, has prior experience teaching this course and training human rights advocates on effective activism techniques for highly repressive contexts.

This course trains participants in a proven five-step process to improve their strategic thinking and tactical innovation. Students will analyze their situation and explore tested tactics for achieving change. Participants will ultimately be able to develop tailored human rights action plans based on their leadership strengths and the most appropriate tactics for their context.

 

Course Outline

This course takes civic activists working in grassroots networks through a five-step process to improve their strategic thinking and tactical innovation. Participants analyze their situation, explore tactics for achieving social and political change, and develop tailored human rights action plans based on their leadership strengths and the most appropriate tactics for their context. The curriculum is specially developed and taught for activists operating in repressive regime contexts such as Iran. Tavaana has partnered with the New Tactics in Human Rights Project, an innovative project of the Center for Victims of Torture, which has prior experience teaching this course.

Nancy Pearson is currently the New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager at the Center for Victims of Torture. She has provided capacity-building workshops to a range of groups: mental health and social service professionals; refugees living in refugee camps; and human rights advocates throughout the world. Prior to joining the staff of the Center for Victims of Torture in 1999, Ms. Pearson lived and worked in the Philippines for eight years. During her final years there (1997-98), she collaborated on a book for women survivors of torture: Recipes for Healing: Gender-Sensitive Care for Women Survivors of Torture.

Lecture 1 – Introduction to Strategy and Tactics

  • Introduction to the Five Steps to Tactical Innovation  
  • Sun Tzu’s The Art of War tells us that planning without action is futile and action without planning is fatal.
  • Assignment 1: Read Douglas A. Johnson’s The Need for New Tactics,which discusses how activists can make their work more effective.

Lesson 2: "Know Yourself" - Defining Your Problem and Vision

  • Practice identifying problems and goals from case examples of human rights struggles.
  • Choose a key issue to work on as you practice the steps involved in tactical innovation.
  • Assignment 1: Read “Self Care: Caring for your Most Valuable Resource” from the New Tactics Book.
  • Assignment 2: Develop a self-care plan of your own.

Lesson 3: "Know Your Terrain" - Introducing and Using the Tactical Map Tool

  • Learn how to use a tactical map tool to visualize the people, groups, institutions, and the nature of relationships involved in a chosen problem.
  • Identify targets for action on a problem using a tactical map.
  • Assignment 1: Read the Tactical Mapping Instructions and create a Tactical Map using your own problem and goal example.

Lesson 4: "Know the Terrain, Know Yourself and Know Your Opponent" - Introducing and Using the Spectrum of Allies Tool

  • Learn how to identify and arrange stakeholders involved in an issue along a continuum of active opponents to active allies using a Spectrum of Allies.
  • Choose tactics, based on the theory of shifting actors toward the support side of the spectrum.
  • Assignment 1: Using the tactical map that you created for your problem, create your own Spectrum of Allies.

Lesson 5: Explore and Select Tactics

  • Learn how others have used the Spectrum of Allies to develop tactics designed to increase support for their goal and to decrease the power of the those opposing them.
  • Observe the process of creating a tactic from the examples provided, using a Spectrum of Allies analysis.
  • Assignment 1: Read “How to Explore and Select Tactics” and “Adapting Tactics” from the New Tactics Book.
  • Assignment 2: Use the Spectrum of Allies and Tactical Map analysis to identify a target and several tactics for your problem and goal.

Lesson 6: Step Five - Creating an Action Plan, Applying Strategy and Tactics

  • Practice the process of adapting a tactic from a different problem to your problem and context.
  • Outline the elements of a tactical Plan of Action, the final step of the five steps to tactical innovation.
  • Observe how to set specific milestones in a Plan of Action that can be celebrated in order to keep momentum during a long campaign.
  • Assignment 1: Complete the Strategy and Tactics Summary Form.

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Attribution  List "The Center for Victims of Torture - New Tactics in Human Rights Project" as the source for any information used in this document as well as any original attribution provided in this document.

Noncommercial  The information is not to be used for profit.

Share Alike  If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license. And share your alterations, etc with CVT-New Tactics to continue to build the body of knowledge.

 

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