Tools for Developing Strategy

Lessons from a successful media campaign

When I met Monia Mazigh in 2003, she was a dignified, immensely worried lone campaigner for her husband's release.

On September 25, 2002, Maher Arar left his wife Monia, their 5-year old daughter Barâa and 7-month baby son Houd in Tunisia, where they were vacationing on her side of the family. He had to return to work in Canada. The rest of the family would return later. They bade him farewell and he took a taxi to the airport.

This was the last time Monia and the kids saw him for over a year.

From Motivation to Solution: A Strategy Tool

How do you eradicate an age-old abusive practice so entrenched it has become woven into a people's identity?

What if the practice serves to assuage powerful, visceral fears? What if the practice also meets some real needs, such as for food, housework and sex?

Pretending for a minute you could even end the practice, how would you then prevent it from raising its ugly head again?

One of the leading promoters of human rights in Africa, Emile Francis Short must also be a master of strategy. In his tactic case study entitled Powerful Persuasion: Combating traditional practices that violate human rights, you can study the 10-year campaign he led in Ghana to free thousands of women and girls from religious enslavement.

It is a riveting story. I am especially grateful to Mr. Short for letting us in on the sophisticated design of his highly successful campaign. Somewhere in there, I got a glimpse of a powerful strategizing tool that could be more widely used. I'll call it the Motivation to Solution Strategy Tool.

8 Powerful Persuasion Tactics

In his tactic case study, Powerful Persuasion: Combating traditional practices that violate human rights, Emile Short describes a campaign that allowed many thousands of women and girls escape religious bondage. This being NewTactics, and a blog aimed at finding methods behind effective change, I latched on a few techniques used in this campaign to engage allies and opponents alike in the successful challenge of an unjust practice.

Here are 8 potent persuasion tactics. I believe their use to be of almost universal value. See if you can apply these to your current work.

  1. Have a plan. Yes, you can go all-out on a huge one-month Persuasion Offensive that will burn up in flames as it crashes against a wall of resistance. Or, you can build a methodical plan to gradually convince layers of your reluctant opposition over the course of a few years. Guess which approach is most likely to win. Making a dent in religious enslavement in Ghana took a decade.

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