Welcome to Tavaana’s introductory course on civic activism!
This course will give you the skills to develop your personal plan for civic activism.
In this lesson, you’ll turn your dream into a guiding vision statement for your activism. As you continue, you will:
• Break down your vision and decide on attainable goals and objectives.
• Examine your civic environment and determine openings for safe and sustainable activism.
• Expand your leadership abilities as you are inspired by the experiences of other civic activists and civic movements around the world.
• Learn the components of an effective message and develop a message targeted to your audience.
• Develop an outreach strategy to build networks and partnerships and deliver your message.
You already have knowledge and passion about the issue that drives you. This course will build on that to give you a roadmap to make a difference. At the end of this course, you will have a plan laying out the specific steps you’ll take to achieve your goals.
1.2 Your Activism Plan
You’ll find that some activists pursue their vision by advocating changes to laws and policies, while others try to change cultural attitudes, practices, and assumptions. Some work at a local, micro level, while others push issues on the national and even international levels.
Yet successful activists—regardless of their background, their issue or their context—share key approaches with one another. In this course, you’ll be introduced to those key approaches and the basic components of effective activism.
Activists are good people like you who take the initiative to bring positive change to their communities
As you get to know these activists and explore the essential building blocks for effective civic activism, you’ll develop your personalized Activism Plan by editing a Word document that you will download to your computer. Please keep your personal security in mind when saving or printing documents!
1.3 Who is an Activist?
• When you think of activism, what are some words that come to mind?
• What do activists do?
• Is there an activist or civic movement that inspires you? Why? How did they succeed?
Now let’s get to know some activists from around the world and see what inspired them to take action. Watch the relevant parts of these interview with Ivan Marovic, Rana Husseini, and Yang Jianli.
1.4 Your Vision
Successful activists of all kinds and in all places are guided by a vision they hold passionately within themselves. Your vision statement answers the question, “If you could change one thing about your community or the world around you, what would it be?”
A clear vision can give you a sense of purpose and sustain you during hard times. It can also provide unity that will bring you and your supporters together. Although some people may not believe change is possible, a compelling vision can motivate supporters to action. As you develop your vision, imagine the world you want your children or grandchildren to live in, and think about what you can do today to help bring about that world.
Some examples of activist vision statements—big and small—include:
“To ensure gender equality in my country’s laws.”
“To gain full and unfettered access to the internet.”
“To end government corruption.”
“To make my neighborhood safer, cleaner and more beautiful.”
“To teach adults to read.”
“To help children learn about their rights.”
“To reform divorce laws in my country.”
“To reform my country’s judiciary.”
“To end ethnic discrimination and injustice in my country.”
“To foster respect for the rights of the handicapped in my village.”
“To heal drug-addicted youth in my city.”
“To foster freedom of association for all civic groups in my country.”
“To reform the electoral laws in my country.”
“To feed the homeless and hungry in my city.”
“To support the freedom of bloggers from my university.”
When developing your vision, think about the following questions:
• If the changes I see become a reality, what would be different? Whose lives would be improved? How?
• Will the solutions I suggest help to create this world? How?
• What can we do now to begin to create this world on a smaller scale – in our personal relationships, families, communities, organizations, and/or civil society?
Try to encapsulate the vision for your activism in just one or two sentences. Don’t be afraid to embrace a broad, ambitious vision for change. Through your activism plan, you will develop a specific roadmap to help you work towards your vision, no matter how large or small.
Now you can download the Activism Plan template and enter your vision statement in this section. You may edit and change your vision statement at any time. When you have completed the ”Write Your Vision” section of the plan, you can move on to the next part of the course, in which you will determine your Goals and Objectives.