REDDES leads info-activism network in Latin America

The Ibero-American Network for Sustainable Development (REDDES), an ICT for Development NGO, are creating their own affiliate 10 tactics project in Spanish to explore and sustain information-activism in Latin America. Juan M. Casanueva tells Tactical Tech all about it.

REDDES concentrates on capacity-building for NGOs who work on environmental, educational and community development in Mexico. They produce and distribute Open Source multimedia-production toolkits and run trainings for educators and NGO-workers, equipping them with the tools and know-how to apply technology effectively to their work. Currently most of their efforts go into their biggest project: capacity building for students, professors and NGOs in multimedia production for education. The project has previously been based in the state of Veracruz and is, this year, expanding across Mexico with a special focus on promoting the decentralisation of multimedia production for education in indigenous communities.

Juan M. Casanueva from REDDES, says that he and his colleagues first realised an affinity with Tactical Tech last year when they came across Message in-a-box and NGO in-a-box toolkits. They instantly knew how useful these resources would be for their capacity-building work and, how many NGOs in Latin America would love to have such material in Spanish. They subsequently based some of their toolkits on multimedia production for education on Message in-a-box.

Later, when 10 tactics was released, Juan explains: “We immediately wanted to participate. We saw in that project what we wanted to do in five years.” Even though the film explores examples of rights advocacy, REDDES knew it would be illuminating for a lot of the people they work with too, so they immediately set about organising screenings in Mexico. Juan says: “Since we don't deal directly with advocacy, by screening 10 tactics, we found that it gave us another point of view on how technology could be used and it gave us and all the partners we have in Mexico a lot of ideas about what else could be done with technology,” he says.

The 400 people who attended the various 10 tactics screenings around Mexico, ranged from new media students, educators, NGO-workers, rights advocates and development practitioners. Juan says that the overwhelming response to the film was one of excitement and inspiration and many were eager to learn new techniques using digital technology. However, two questions kept being repeated by audience members, says Juan: “why are there no Latin-American examples in the film?” and “where can we get the support and training to do these things ourselves?”

Based on these responses, REDDES have decided to use 10 tactics as a vehicle to research the current state of digital technology use by rights advocates in Latin America and to create a network with organisations doing such work. REDDES, with the support of Tactical Tech, is creating a Spanish version of the 10 tactics website which will host all the 10 tactics material in this language. They will also be collecting and documenting case studies from Latin America and promoting and supporting more 10 tactics screenings and events in the region.

When asked whether REDDES plans to produce their own info-activism documentary, Juan says this is definitely a dream for them but for now “the key strategy is to have a direct link with interesting organisations who are doing projects with technology around Latin America and to inspire - we've found that 10 tactics is a great asset to inspire others to start doing things."