Media For Social Change -- One World Social Innovation
As I have been letting you know, the biggest international Human Rights Film Festival -- One World -- in Prague, Czech Republic runs a competition for projects that use new media for social change. Even though the Festival officially closed last night, the One World Social Innovation Gala took place last Monday (March 12), and the “tech for good” projects have been submitted, analyzed and rewarded. I have been there.
Social Is Not About The Medium
It was last year when One World, a prestigious and renowned Film Festival has decided to dedicate an entire section to new media driven projects -- The Social Innovation module “aims to further develop the festival’s basic mission, which is to relay information on breaches of human rights and to acquaint viewers with extraordinary life stories, which are often overlooked by media news services” says the One World Social Innovation Coordinator Jaroslav Valuch. This is why this year, for the second time, One World brought together the best examples of how NGOs, local initiatives, government initiatives and activists – to name a few – are using technology, social media, and mobile communication to make a genuine positive impact.
The competition’s gala was proceeded by a series of ignite talks (called Tech Share) during which one could learn a lot about regional and local technology based social projects. One of my favourites was a Development Cafe project -- a series of informal meetings that help development and humanitarian NGOs share their experiences, a concept really close to the NetSquared Local one. I myself gave a presentation too -- it was on social innovation and community organizing, and I have been proud of drawing it with my own hands, and scanning it afterwards. The ignite format gives you just enough time (with 15 seconds for each of the 20 slides) to make your audience interested and point out simple things. Putting too many words on a slide is never a good thing, and so I decided to use simple hand-drawn infographics. I guess it was visually pleasant, and innovative, and hence caught people’s eye. Or at least that is the feedback I got. You can see the slides here, and I will gladly upload the video once it is forwarded to me.
And The Award Goes To...
Finally, last but not least -- the One World Social Innovation winner, picked by the following jury members:
- Gregory Asmolov -- a a doctoral student at “New media, innovation and literacy” program at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and (among other things) a blogger for Global Voices
- Camilla Hawthorne -- a manager of Digital Media Initiatives at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
- Ondrej Zapletal -- a director of Vodafone Czech Republic Foundation which focuses primarily on the capacity building of Czech NGOs
The winner, a Russian project Liza Alert, won with 22 projects (among them MapKibera and StandbyTaskForce) that you can see featured in the Competition’s Projects Gallery. The winning project represents the network of volunteers activated by means of new media during searches for missing children, effectively standing in for the incompetent agencies charged with doing so. In the justification of the selected winner jury claimed that the Liza Alert “fulfilled, with excellence, the main competition criteria. First, it´s the only case among all the nominees when we know that the project saved lives. Secondly, it is able to mobilize people in real time through a range of tools including web and SMS. And most importantly, it pushes the responsible bodies to take action.” In other words Liza Alert resulted to be a project with the most measurable and undeniable social impact. When technology really helps the cause, it can be a powerful weapon.
One Year After The Revolution
The evening ended with an amazing presentation from Noha Atef, Egyptian activist behind the project Tortureinegypt.net and the screening of the Zero Silence documentary depicting the Egyptian Revolution. One World Social Innovation marks a very important tendency in the world of NGOs and media. I am very glad that I could be a part of it.
- See my presentation
- Check out the 2012 Competition's Projects Gallery
- Watch an interview with Noha Atef
- Read More about the Social Innovation Competition
- Visit the One World Festival’s website