Civil society is critical in ensuring good governance and promoting public awareness of any abuse of power. Civil society actors advocate for access to information and freedom of expression from non-governmental organizations to independent media outlets, universities, and social groups. However, despite their crucial role in society, civil society organizations (CSOs) still face challenges that need to be addressed.
To celebrate and support the work of human rights groups and media outlets advocating for education, environment, and gender equality, the “We Act Together” campaign was launched. This campaign aims to enable CSOs and human rights activists from different parts of the MENA region to share their experiences, learn from each other, and demonstrate the significant contribution that civil society can make to social development.
As part of the “We Act Together” campaign, in partnership with the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) ,the Innovation for Change MENA Hub initiated a “Media portrayal Analysis report” in June 2020. The project focuses on the portrayal of human rights defenders, CSOs, journalists, and activists working for change in society in Iraq, Morocco, and Bahrain. The project aims to uncover the media’s role in shaping the perception of civil society in the region through research, including desk reviews, case studies, and interviews.
To further support human rights defenders and CSOs in the MENA region, the I4C MENA Hub launched an online Campaigning Lab on the I4C platform. This secure digital space allows members to collaborate on planning and delivering campaigns, particularly those addressing the risks faced by CSOs and HRDs in the region. The MENA hub campaigning lab aims to strengthen the regional community of human rights defenders by organizing monthly advocacy webinars and peer-to-peer online conversations to provide members with a space to connect, share knowledge, and ask questions.
Through the “We Act Together” campaign, the success stories of 12 CSOs and human rights defenders covering different fields and areas of work have been documented. The campaign sheds light on the media’s role in shaping the perception of civil society and empowers activists and campaigners to create positive change in the MENA region. By celebrating the crucial role of civil society in advocating for access to information and ensuring good governance, the campaign aims to create a positive impact on society and promote freedom of expression.
In conclusion, the “We Act Together” campaign and the initiatives launched in partnership with GCHR aim to strengthen the regional community of human rights defenders and provide a secure digital space for collaboration and knowledge-sharing will positively impact society and empower activists and campaigners in the MENA region.