Women’s rights in Afghanistan – let’s take action!

Creative campaigning that gets results – a  guide for activists

Your actions are at the heart of Amnesty campaign successes. It’s your amazingly creative activism and events and the hours you put in meeting your MPs and gathering signatures on the streets that make a real difference.  

Later this year we’re holding a parliamentary event in Westminster as part of our campaign supporting women’s rights in Afghanistan, where we’ll showcase some of the most creative and inspiring campaigning activities you’ve come up with.

This is a fantastic opportunity to show MPs the work you do in their constituency to proactively support human rights in all sorts of ways. Think of it as a visual documentation of your campaign to support Afghan women’s rights and a chance to showcase your creativity!

So we’ve put together a few tips to build creative campaigns that look good and have impact. Maybe your work will make it to parliament!

Ideas for creative actions

  • Members of Amnesty's York University group take action for women in AfghanistanWater fights, flash mobs, cakes, Pride, silliness, waving your arms manically - check out some great ideas from our student groups
  • Not to be outdone, local groups have organised everything from comedy nights, to pub quizzes to flash dances. See the York group’s excellent flash dance
  • Remember – any way you can engage your local MP and local media will help our campaign. Get them involved!
  • Also, remember the importance of the purple finger image – our favourite use of this so far is Kent Uni’s ‘dare to wear a purple finger’ idea (above)

Ideas for documenting your activism

  • Create a film diary or a photo diary showing the campaign develop from conception stage to final action
  • Collect all of your communications and/or promotional materials to include in a ‘portfolio’ so you can showcase your campaign later
  • Write a campaign diary

How to take a great photograph

Set up

  • Your camera needs to be set up simply so you don’t need to worry about it and concentrate instead on taking a great image.
  • Pick your spot carefully and eliminate any background distractions.
  • Get the light right. Make sure there’s plenty of natural light and if not, go outside. This is especially important if you are not using a professional camera. Turn off the flash.

Craft a memorable photo

  • Get closer to your subject rather than using a zoom, the photograph will be of much better quality. As Robert Capa said: ‘If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough’
  • Think about your composition. Try moving your camera so your subject is in different areas of the picture – left, right, centre etc. Try different angles and move around. Shoot them all then decide which one you like best later!
  • You don’t need a large number of people to get a powerful photograph. Even one person holding a placard, looking directly at the camera, will create a beautiful picture
  • Always make sure your picture tells a story and sends a strong message

You could also get in touch with ‘Eyes on Rights’, a group of Amnesty activists with a particular interest in photography: eyesonrights.amnestyevents@gmail.com

Meeting your MP

Recently Heidi Alexander MP very kindly shared some tips around meeting your MP at an activism skillshare on women in Afghanistan.

  • Do your homework on the person you’re meeting – do they already know a lot about the issue? Have they asked parliamentary questions about it?
  • Be very clear in your own mind what you’re asking your MP to do – download and read the campaign briefing fully (PDF).
  • Most MPs are on Twitter now. Find your MP at Tweetminster
  • Heidi said she is tweeted at many times a day. Begin tweets to your MP with ‘I am your constituent’ and you’re more likely to get a response – MPs need to address the needs of their constituents above all else.
  • You can just turn up to see your MP at a surgery or even in Westminster, but it’ll be a much more effective meeting if you give advance notice and arrange a meeting with them. Find out your MP's surgery hours and how to contact them on Parliament’s website
  • MPs have busy schedules. Occasionally it will be impossible for them to meet with you, but don’t take this as a sign of disinterest: keep them posted on your campaign progress by email or letter.
  • Think about something that has visual appeal then take photos for the local press
  • Don’t give up!

Reminder of actions to support the rights of women in Afghanistan

Petition:

Meet your MP. Ask them to

  • Write to Baroness Warsi to prioritise women and girls, especially violence against women, in the UK Foreign Office’s work on Afghanistan
  • Sign the pledge card (PDF) or put their purple fingerprint on it – remember to take a photo!

Take part in a creative action:

  • Think of creative campaign ideas to engage the local community, media and your MP perhaps using the purple finger image

Document your campaigning using our tips above and send it to activism@amnesty.org.uk

You can also download our template press release (WORD) and send it to your local paper!

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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