A Story of Success: The Campaign to Ban Torture and the Accountability Coalition

The United States’ use of torture and cruelty in post-9/11 counterterrorism operations spurred U.S. human rights and civil liberties organizations to form powerful coalitions that fought for a reversal of this misguided policy. The New Tactics in Human Rights Strategic Effectiveness method was one tool used to by these groups to collectively move their work forward. 

Principles of Persuasion: The Social Psychology Behind Change

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Ideas, and how they are expressed, define efforts to move causes forward, create change, and build consensus of opinion. Effectively influencing public opinion is a key component to successful social movements. Tomorrow's world is shaped by those who are most adept at impacting what people think and subsequently how they behave. But how do you influence people's opinions, mindsets, and preconceived notions?

Social psychology is the science of why people make choices and provides insights into how messaging shapes people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Understanding the science behind influence leads to more effective and lasting change. In this conversation, New Tactics In Human Rights explored the principles of persuasion politics; the development of messaging strategy; how mentality change occurs; and frames and values.

Using village strengths to combat child labour and other exploitative practices: Building Child Friendly Villages

Combating child labour requires programme interventions that are comprehensive with a holistic approach that not only targets children, but also their families and communities, the recruiters, traffickers and exploiters, government officials, and society at large. There are millions of out-of-school children who have the potential to join the soaring numbers of child labourers. Efforts need to be made to prevent the entry of the non-child labourer into the labour market which fuels illiteracy, unemployment and poverty.

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.

Powerful Persuasion: Combating Traditional Practices that Violate Human Rights

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Thank you for joining the New Tactics online community for a conversation on Powerful Persuasion: Combating Traditional Practices that Violate Human Rights from August 19 to 23, 2013.

Traditions and rituals are often supported by strongly held cultural beliefs.  The deep roots of traditional cultural practices can make it very difficult to change behaviors that are harmful and violate the human rights of a community or individual. Often, the key to this kind of cultural shift is respectful, patient, community-led persuasion to create movements for change.

Powerful Persuasion: Combating traditional practices that violate human rights

Participants of a workshopTrokosi, in Ghana, is a system of servitude that meets the community need for justice and the material and sexual needs of fetish priests. Customary or traditional practices based on deep-seated beliefs, such as Trokosi, are often the more difficult human rights violations to eradicate.  Trokosi is when women and young girls are brought and kept in fetish shrines to atone for sins or crimes allegedly committed by one of their relatives. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) recognized that legislation outlawing such practices may not be effective and may, in some cases, result in driving a customary practice further underground.

A Mock Tribunal to Advance Change: The National Tribunal on Violence Against Women in Nigeria

A woman testifying with a veilBAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, in collaboration with the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), highlighted violations of women’s rights in Nigeria that were viewed by the public as normal or even justifiable abuse.  They used a mock tribunal to change public perceptions and beliefs regarding violations against women, and changed public policy and law.


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