MobLab Dispatch

MobLab Dispatch | 24 July 2018
Dispatch tracks innovations in people powered campaigning, training opportunities and mobilisation jobs around the globe. Get it in your inbox and catch up on past Dispatches.

Social media leaps across an urban/rural divide. The Clean Energy Now campaign took on Kenya’s national elections–and pervasive energy reliability problems–to successfully nationalise a message about clean energy and get candidates to address it in their campaigns. Oh, did we mention social media influencers and a cross-country bicycling caravan? [Jamie Woolley | MobLab]

26 JULY: The if, how and why of Blockchain for social change

Have questions about blockchain? So do we. Join a MobLab Live discussion on Thursday to better understand what a blockchain is and sort hype from potential. We’ll be joined by experts and activists working at the intersection of blockchain and social good projects.

Where should we hold the next Campaign Accelerator training? Our Campaign Accelerator facilitators are looking at hosting an open training in Kuala Lumpur or Mexico City in late November. Let us know if one of these sounds doable–or if there’s another location we should look into.


#DancingIsNotACrime responds to Iran’s Instagram crackdown. After 19-year-old Maedeh Hojabri was arrested and forced to confess to the “crime” of dancing, Iranians uploaded videos of themselves dancing and published messages criticizing the government’s actions. Instagram is the only Western social media platform available in Iran, following Telegram’s block in April. [Thomas Erdbrink | The New York Times

To talk about climate change…address systems of oppression. The Zero Hour campaign is led by youth, mostly teenagers. Kibiriti Majuto, a Zero Hour member who immigrated to the U.S. from Democratic Republic of Congo, explains the campaign’s focus on those most impacted by climate change. [Greta Jochem | Grist]

Georgia’s #raveolution learns hard lessons on sustaining motivation. Vague government promises of drug policy reform and the threat of violence from counter-protesters took the steam out of the White Noise movement. “[W]hen the ruling party says ‘ok, we can meet, discuss, come to an agreement a week later, a month later’. This way they really neutralize the energy…the mobilization of the people,” says NGO worker Sopho Verdzeuli. [William Dunbar | The Calvert Journal]

Brazilian trucker strike “the largest mobilization ever carried out via WhatsApp.”The platform allowed the highly decentralized movement to communicate in real-time and coordinate their messaging so successfully that they won several concessions from the government. [Michael Fox | TruthOut]

How #WomenToFollow was born. Campaign creators gave people a way to create news (instead of sharing a news tory) by having them name women to follow on social media. [Rose Horowitz | Gender Avenger]


How information empowers people.Feedback Labs, Global Giving and Omidyar Network have a new report examining how and why information helped people engage in movements like Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter.Why is WhatsApp widely used in Global South campaigning? The messaging platform allows campaigners in countries like Brazil, Kenya and Malaysia to establish personal contact with people in otherwise unreachable rural communities–but increases the domination of Facebook. [Tactical Tech]

Why is WhatsApp widely used in Global South campaigning? The messaging platform allows campaigners in countries like Brazil, Kenya and Malaysia to establish personal contact with people in otherwise unreachable rural communities–but increases the domination of Facebook. [Tactical Tech]


When workers lead. Electronics Watch is giving Thai workers ways to monitor labour standards and report concerns directly to an independent body as they arise. It has helped free migrant workers in Thailand from debt bondage. But companies and state authorities are hesitant to permit investigations or negotiations. [Annie Pickering | Open Democracy]


“Digital authoritarianism” powered by artificial intelligence is here. And it promises to reshape the global order by providing authoritarians a plausible alternative to liberal democracy. Unmentioned in the piece: but should more NGOs level up their ability to assess and advocate around AI, machine learning, privacy and security? [Nicholas Wright | Foreign Affairs]

Is personalised content unethical? Perhaps the whole idea of giving people content, advertising and services based on big data is wrong and can’t be made right. Not so far-fetched a notion and raises questions for campaigners. [Mark Baker]

Facebook doesn’t need to listen to your calls to creep you out. “What people don’t seem to understand is that there’s a lot of other tracking in daily life that doesn’t involve your phone’s camera or microphone that give a third party just as comprehensive a view of you.” [Kashmir Hill | Gizmodo]

The role of tech companies in curbing state-sponsored trolling. Governments spread disinformation so people will harass their critics. A new report from the Institute for the Future recommends that social media platforms be required under international human rights law to detect and, in some cases, remove disinformation and hate speech in a transparent and accountable way.

Want to know how intertwined with Google you are? Try getting rid of it. Nithin Coca, a frequent MobLab contributor, documents the long path he took to stop using Google apps. And the tools he’s using instead. Fascinating look at how little we know about how reliant we are on tech and data.

Can you reimagine democracy for International Youth Day? Offer your creative and authentic perspective on diversity, culture and society, economic justice or unsilenced youth. Share your poem, short film, story or art work with CIVICUS by 27 July.

How we design technology is all backwards. And that’s compromising security, promoting tech addiction and optimising for propaganda instead of solutions. We’ll agree that starting with people’s abilities and needs is a good idea. [Don Norman | Fast Company]

Internet of Things is more than sensors and instant gratification. Check out takeaways from last week’s conversation about NGOs, people and the soon to be 100 billion internet connected devices. [Internet Society + Digital Impact]

Digital design tools! A handy (and lovely) user-generated listing of apps and tools for designers, content creators and design thinking teams. ht @AlanSoon [Justin Schueler]


Interesting conferences, events and trainings across our global network.


Looking to create change (or make a change)? Scan these open roles in campaigning, digital innovation and social change leadership. Have a job to share? Send us a link!

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