Interesting organizations: WITNESS

While browsing today through some ICT4D related blogy, I came across a notice that the MIT sponsored journal “Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization” is free available until August 30th.

So I looked throught the current issue dealing with “Realizing Right” and found some articles on the organization WITNESS. I had heard about them before, as a partner of Global Voices Online and was planning already a while to find out more about them.

The project was started in 1992, co-founded by Peter Gabriel and their aim was initially to supply human rights avtivists with video cameras to increase the impact of their actions – a picture is worth a thousand words, as it is said.

In the mean time the internet developed and viceo cameras come with mobile phones, but still the mission of WITNESS remains the same. Thousands of hours of video material documenting human rights violations or witnesses testemonials have been uploaded and can be viewed online.

Additionally, they have founded a social network called “The Hub” to connect groups working in the field  on similar issues and give training in how to use a video camera and how to raise public awareness.

In the articles in “Innovation”, several people working in WITNESS describe the project from their point of view. Furthermore several fascinating examples are given, how filmed material on human right violations had severe impact.

I didn’t know before that the organization had such a long history and I am impressed of how big their reach is by now – they operate with partners in 70 countries and have already produced 40 documentations on various issues. As I am in Bulgaria right now I was amazed that they have several videos on the segregation of the Roma people in this country.

I think WITNESS is a great example on how to enable even activists with few financial or personal possibilites to generate a large impact in the public and to enforce changes. All you need is a camera handy and internet access to make the world watch.

If you’re interested – check out their website

Interesting organizations: WITNESS
was published on 31.07.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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