105 participants from 26 countries, 66% women, grass-roots activists and representants of NGOs attending 21 workshops – these are numbers of MEGAPHONE 2018, activists’ response to shrinking civic spaces.
Facing a global pushback and struggling in the era of misinformation and social media algorithms, we, the changemakers need to find the ways how to strengthen our narratives, get people involved in the causes, and use technology as a megaphone for engagement.
We organised MEGAPHONE 2018 [Cluj-Napoca, Romania (13-15 November 2018)] as a space to find the answers for activists, action groups, and NGOs fighting for freedom of expression, accountable government, clean earth or promote justice and equality in CEE region.
Understanding Propaganda and Finding Ways to Get Our Voice Heard in the Mainstream
During two days of the event, activists tried to understand propaganda, disinformation and find ways of reacting to it. In every time slot, they could choose one of three workshops. Participants could demystify AI, understand fake news and propaganda production, discuss displays of hate speech and hate crime online. We discussed the role of civil society organizations not only as human right defenders but also as a possible target of hatred.
“Wow, how easily we can use apps to visualize our stories!” – you could hear on the corridor after practical workshops on data visualisation and storytelling workshops where we learnt how to use apps to present stories & data in a persuasive way. An interesting part was a workshop on communication through humour, irony, and sarcasm where we created our own memes!
— TechSoup Europe (@TechSoupEurope) 15 November 2018
📣Behaviour change requires change of ATTITUDES, but we all tend to focus too much on knowlege/information 🙇🏻♂️🤯 instead of appealing to peoples emotions 💜 thanks @RNW for inspiring workshops at #MEGAPHONE2018 pic.twitter.com/iaTd1l7bFp
— Karo Wysocka (@KaroWysocka) 15 November 2018
Common Response and Community Mobilization
We strongly believe in the network power and we support community building in the region. Because activists should not act alone, we invited successful ones to share their stories and ways to involve large groups of citizens in their campaigns. Activists from Armenia, Poland, Romania shared their stories on how they mobilized local communities to support their cause.
Self-Care Within Community: Strategies to Survive in an Era of Burnout
“To prevent burnout and take care of folks long-term, leaders and teams must cultivate a culture of well-being.” – says Susan Comfort, leader of www.NonprofitWellness.org
Since activists must support each other through our difficult, stressful and/or life-threatening activism, we were sharing tools and tips on how to build connection and camaraderie within teams. An unconference spirit of the event was also a great time to build new and strengthen the existing networks.
— Anna Sienicka (@aksienicka) 14 November 2018
“Don’t think what you can do. Think what your community can do and offer them easy ways to get engaged. And dare doing crazy stuff”
– such feedback after MEGAPHONE2018 encourages us to think about the next year edition!
— Aleksandra Kamińska (@alekaminska) 19 November 2018
#MEGAPHONE2018 📣 sessions are inspiring and strengthening us for how to make a change in nonprofits activities. I will think&work on them, try to adopt methods to my activities in @stgmdernegi and @techsoupturkiye. 👨💼
Thanks to @TechSoupEurope and all supporters. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/GqcsMeCyqX
— Özgür Mehmet Kütküt (@ozgurmehmetk) 14 November 2018
MEGAPHONE 2018 was possible thanks to generous support from: