Five Steps to Tactical Innovation for Human Rights: Lesson 3

Lesson 3:
Step Three:  “Know Your Terrain” - Tactical Map Tool


 Five Steps to Tactical Innovation

 1.    Identify the problem
2.    Build a common vision and goal
3.    Define the terrain (Using Tactical Map and Spectrum of Allies tools)
Identify relationships around the identified social problem
Identify allies and opponents on a continuum
4.    Explore and select tactics
5.    Develop a plan of action for implementation


Learner Objectives

1. Use a tactical map tool to visualize the people, groups, institutions, and the nature of relationships involved in a chosen problem.

 In this lesson you will learn how to use the tool Tactical Mapping as a way to create innovative tactics related to a problem you would like to impact.  The tool helps you to analyze

 Who is involved?

  • How are they connected?
  • Where can we find help?
  • Who can help us?
  • What tactics are currently being used?

It starts by defining the problem as a relationship between two forces — the Center Relationship — that you want to change. We then analyze how a particular tactic might influence that center relationship, either directly or indirectly, by looking at all the relationships surrounding and influencing the center relationship.

What is a center relationship in a social problem? Here are some examples:

Problem Center relationship
Wife beating Husband - Wife
Torture Torturer - Victim
Government corruption Official - Briber
Toxic pollution in coastal waters      Toxic waste producer - Fisherman
Exploitative rates for loans Moneylender – Poor farmer
Your problem ???

During the webinar you will see the tool demonstrated, and then you will practice using the tool with the problem you have chosen.

2. Identify targets for action on a problem using a tactical map.

Once you have created your tactical map, this objective teaches you how to use it to decide where to focus your tactics. This is called the Target.

Target – is the intended individual, group, institution, or segment of society where your tactical action is directed. It is important to clearly define, analyze and evaluate the appropriateness of the intended tactic on the target and potential consequences before the final decision to carry out the tactic.

Then Lesson 4 will take the tactical map and targets and show you a tool to understand more deeply who might support your goal, who might be convinced through action to support your goal, who will not try to interfere, and who will oppose your change.


Lesson 3 Syllabus

1.    Introduction to Lesson 3
2.    Tools for Achieving Your Goal

Pre-Webinar Assignment
1.    Read Age 10 and Divorced: Nujood Ali and the Fight Against Child Brides in Yemen and answer the following questions about the case:

  • What is the Center Relationship?
  • Identify and list the Direct contact relationships?
  • Identify and list the Indirect contact relationships? Start with local, then national and international levels)

2.    Come to the webinar with your answers to these questions.

Date and time: Wed. Feb. 16, 2011, 8pm Tehran time
Nancy Pearson:  Step 3: “Know Your Terrain”: Introducing and Using the Tactical Map Tool

Post Webinar Assignment
Practice tactical mapping, using your own problem and goal example.

1.    Read Tactical Mapping Instructions.
2.    Create your own tactical map, using colored markers, if you have them, to indicate the nature of the relationships you have identified.
3.    Identify a target for action, based on your map, using the Tactical Map Target form.

  • Why do you think it is a good target?
  • What would be your goal for affecting this target?

4.    Send this completed form to Nancy Pearson for review at




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.




Get it on Google Play

If you do not have access to Google Play download the Android APK file below ( Android 4.2.2 and higher). 



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