The realities of their environment compel many human rights organisations to be reactive and use their full capacity for countering immediate threats to rather than work organised along the lines of a long-term strategy. There is not enough room for reflection, planning, learning and joint long-term strategy development.
“The human rights community has not been that good over time at strategising and at looking forward. The community has always been trying to work ad hoc ... hit an run.”Pepijn Gerrits
Member of the steering group, RARE programme
Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Netherlands
RARE creates a forum for European human rights defenders, allowing them to develop a joint vision and to come up with a cross-border strategy that can build on their impressive pool of experience, resources and expertise represented within the group. During an intensive three-day workshop in Athens led by strategic forecasting expert Oliver Gnad, participants familiarised themselves with techniques for the systematic exploration and definition of future scenarios around the human rights issues they focus on.
Part of that journey was to carefully identify the key assumptions and eventual biases underlying their approaches in order to avoid self-limitation in strategic planning from the start. In working groups, participants explored various analytical tools for identifying relevant trends and key drivers within their respective areas of human rights work. Mapping all actors with a plausible influence on future developments in these fields but also approaching the strategic planning process from a design thinking perspective, helped the group to narrow down their approach for a joint advocacy project.
Going towards a common agenda: How can we shift from reactive to proactive?
What role does long-term strategy play in human rights organisations?
We believe that strategic planning is one of the key skills human rights defenders need today. In this video, Krzysztof Izdebski (ePaństwo Foundation, Poland) and Federica Brioschi (Antigone, European Prison Observatory, Italy) share their impressions from the first workshop on strategic forecasting and design thinking in March 2021.
Also, Márta Pardavi, Pepijn Gerrits and Bernhard Knoll -Tudor of the project steering group share experiences with strategic plannning in the human rights scene and explain why this topic is prioritised in the RARE programme.