Earlier this year 100 activists, NGO professionals and journalists gathered in Budapest for MEGAPHONE 2019 – a 2-day event which centred around collaborative discussions and peer-to-peer learning. Participants came from 28 countries in Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia to share their experiences from working on the issues such as the environment, women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, watchdogs, human rights, civic engagement and many more.
The greatest source of inspiration are other people, and the power is in networks and informal structures. (participant of MEGAPHONE 2019)
23 amazing session leaders carried out 18 workshops and 2 interactive sessions dedicated to (amongst other topics): community organizing in CEE, fighting apathy and engaging wider audiences, creating podcasts, using digital marketing in times of crisis or methods of carrying out constructive dialogue and even how improv can help activists to be better at their job (a detailed agenda can be found on the website).
This year’s edition of MEGAPHONE is focusing on 3 thematic threads:
- Countering disinformation – dis- and misinformation have become buzzwords. Although used mainly in the context of politics the phenomenon also affects civil society as one of its goals is to divide and polarize communities. We need to be fluent at recognizing the techniques through which disinformation narratives are created and distributed in order to successfully counter them.
- Mobilizing and Building Constituencies – We need to be better at responding to new forms of civic engagement that are emerging. While polarization and divisions are growing at the same time there are also truly grass-root, bottom-up activism coming to life. What tools and strategies can we use to mobilize our supporters to act, engage them for longer periods of time?
- Common response – A sense of togetherness and joint responsibility is something that appears to be missing in our day to day realities. Activists, journalists, experts, even influencers in different fields are working for the common good but often are not able to cross over siloes of their communities and peers. How can we bridge those gaps and build alliances that will allow us all to work more effectively?
MEGAPHONE is all about peer-to-peer learning, sharing ideas and inspirations so starting December 2019 we’ll be releasing a series of podcasts recorded with the session leaders from Budapest. In the New Year, we’re also preparing a series of webinars dedicated to using social media – stay tuned!
Skill and knowledge exchange is important but so is a sense of belonging to a community, group of people who are facing similar challenges and are together trying to overcome them. And hopefully, with MEGAPHONE we are also able to create a space where that can take place because as one of the participants said:
I realized, once again, that in CSOs people need tech, but, most of all, people need people. And this is something we should never forget.