Young activists discuss 10 tactics at JAS10, Uruguay

10 tactics was screened to over 40 activists at the start of the first Latin American Camp for Young Social Activists.

JAS10 (Jovenes Activistas Sociales 2010), an activist camp held from March 18 to March 26 2010 funded by Open Society Institute and operated in partnership with the Argentinean NGO Fundacion SES, hosted 117 young activists with ages ranging from 20 to 30 years old. The camp participants are active in a wide range of areas including human rights, children, education, environment, youth groups, political activity, governance and technology, amongst others. The activists came from Latin American countries including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. Based on the Uruguayan coast Campamento Artigas, the six day camp included a wide variety of activities and workshops proposed by the activists themselves.

The many camp activities, technology-related workshops and the various gatherings were enhanced greatly by two renowned open-source activists from Central America, Norman García from Nicaraguay and Julio César González from Guatemala, and also, helped by their experience at the Tactical Tech info-activism camp, two former Tactical Tech India camp activists, pixel and Catalina.

The technology related part of the camp kicked-off with the 10 tactics screening and was followed by workshops on website building, using social networking websites as a communication tool, internet security, video use and open-source software. During a special session, technology activists set up a solutions forum in which any activists could ask for advice, solutions and techniques regarding their needs, activist activities and projects. All throughout the camp there was an intense technological involvement with many activists setting up Ubuntu on laptops, advising in the use of social web strategies for campaigning and answering doubts on open-culture key issues, such as open source software and Creative Commons licensing.

The film was introduced by Juan Manuel Cassanueva from REDDES. After the screening, the pixel and Catalina talked about their experience and strategies relating to info-activism. There was great interest by the audience to know more about the tools, techniques and cases that 10 tactics had illustrated. Many of the activists at the screening asked for toolkits and training guides in Spanish for video-related tools, mapping techniques, web site building and open-source software tools. Some of the participants contributed to the discussion about their own experiences using the tools. For example, an environmental activist from Bolivia explained how his organisation has gathered over 4,000 fans on Facebook. Others explained the methodologies that their organisations use to promote video and audio over the internet as a core activity to undertake campaigning and social inclusion in their communities.

During the camp and the workshops held, the 10 tactics film served as an inspiration for activists and highlighted the role of technology as a key factor for activism today. 15 Security in-a-box kits were handed out to activists involved in human rights advocacy, social communication and political activism activities. This toolkit became a valuable technical reference  throughout the camp. One young environmental activist from Bolivia even used the Security in-a-box software to help a fellow Paraguayan activist to restore mistakenly deleted photos in his memory card.

This screening was very successful in reaching-out to key young activists in Latin America. Over 40 copies of the film were distributed and many of those who received a copy now plan to host screenings with their organisations, local communities and countries. Further screenings in Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Uruguay will be scheduled in the following months. The participants also came up with new ideas to diversify the use of common digital technologies in the every day activities of Latin American activists and NGOs.

Story written by: Juan Cassaneuva

Images by Juan Cassaneuva, Top: The 10 tactics screening. Middle: A participant shares his info-activism experiences after the film.  Bottom: VJ pixel and Catalina Farias preparing for the screening.