This Perspective was contributed by Emily Hutchinson, former New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager, who is now the Interim Vice President for Global Programs at the Center for Victims of Torture.
Adapting to Innovate. Empowerment. Collaboration. Inclusion. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a team of people inspired by these concepts?
Several years ago, the New Tactics in Human Rights team adopted them as our Guiding Principles. As the New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager for seven years, I had the privilege of seeing these principles in action every day because they are embodied by our incredible team and the amazing human rights activists that New Tactics supports:
Adapting to Innovate:
The New Tactics team is constantly on the lookout for ways to innovate. I’m particularly proud of the team’s work adapting in-person training exercises, tools, and concepts into a digital format. The creation of the New Tactics online Tactical Mapping Tool was one of the most exciting projects to be a part of. It involved the creativity and brainpower of the entire team and resulted in a tool that human rights activists can access safely and remotely to advance their important work. Using the Tactical Mapping Tool, the African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED) [EH1] was able to completely reimagine a planned in-person exhibition impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was a remarkable virtual experience that elevated the voices of those impacted by and fighting to end enforced disappearances and summary executions in The Gambia.
As a capacity development-focused program, ensuring team members and activists have access to resources, tools, and training opportunities to develop professionally is critical. It’s been exciting to watch colleagues grow in their work and advance to more senior positions within the program. In particular I’m thrilled that my talented teammate Noor Zada, who joined the New Tactics team almost a decade ago as a training manager in the New Tactics office in Jordan, has succeeded me as Interim Global Program Manager. It’s been equally exciting to witness the kind of empowerment that New Tactics training supports- one of my favorite memories is of an environmental activist in Jordan who developed and performed a wonderful play highlighting the negative impacts of deforestation on her community.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my day-to-day work on the New Tactics team was the eagerness amongst team members to brainstorm and problem solve together and with other CVT departments. When I joined New Tactics, we’d been receiving consistent feedback from activists that our training content, while very useful, needed to include a focus on monitoring and evaluating advocacy campaigns. Working with CVT’s Research and Evaluation department, we were able to develop an advocacy evaluation toolkit that is adaptable to different campaigns and contexts and designed to be usable by activists without technical expertise in evaluation. It was thrilling to be able to work collaboratively to address this specific need and it has been gratifying to see activists use the toolkit to track their own success advancing issues such as equitable access to public transportation for persons with disabilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Tactics team adopted the idea of inviting a team member to talk about their passion at the beginning of each team meeting. Learning about my colleagues’ interests and talents, ranging from art and cooking to gaming and interior design, was a great way to feel more connected while we were physically isolated from one another. I am also proud of the steps the team has taken to make New Tactics’ activities more accessible to human rights activists: adding sign language interpretation to online conversations and adapting training materials for visually impaired activists. Developing inclusive structures was also critical to the success of an advocacy campaign led by the Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society, as they sought to support victims of domestic violence in Basra. [EH2]
Adapting to Innovate. Empowerment. Collaboration. Inclusion. As I transition to a new role at CVT serving as the Interim Vice President for Global Programs, I’ll continue to draw inspiration from New Tactics’ guiding principles. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have led the New Tactics team and excited by the chance to infuse these principles into CVT’s work more broadly.
Emily Hutchinson, Interim Vice President for Global Programs at the Center for Victims of Torture.
Read more on New Tactics' Guiding Principles here.