Info-Activists One Year Later


In 2009 we brought together 130 people working on rights issues in different spheres – from activism, design, technology and development – to learn, share skills and ideas and imagine new ways of doing advocacy work using digital technologies. The week-long Info-Activism camp was held 50 kilometers from the city of Bangalore in India at a quiet resort re-purposed by Tactical Tech to suit the event.


Our aim was to enable advocates to creatively implement digital advocacy tools and tactics by sharing strategies and experiences, connecting them with others facing similar challenges, showcasing success stories and by giving the participants hard-skills to implement their ideas.



One year after the event we found many of these participants had interesting stories to share about what this event meant for them and what it had inspired them to achieve.


As part of camp evaluation, we conducted research to document the event's outcomes and to reflect on participants' experiences and learning. Alongside a survey completed by all camp participants, we selected a group of 10 participants to follow over a one year period as the basis for more in-depth case studies. This research finds that most camp participants used the skills they gained to develop new or existing projects while many campers (more than 40) have since worked together on new projects or have provided support for one another's projects.


We have condensed the participant case studies into shorter stories and will be uploading one each week over the next few weeks as a way to celebrate the participants' successes and reflect on the project.


Info-Activist: Oswaldo Adolfo Rada



Since attending Tactical Tech's camp, Oswaldo has become something of “a standard-bearer” for info-activism in Colombia. He applied to this event aiming to support his organisation’s efforts to advance health, particularly HIV/AIDS and rights in Colombia. At the time, his organisation, the Social Mechanism of Support and Monitoring on HIV (MSCAVCO) was only using some basic organisational web tools but have since, under Oswaldo's guidance, adopted some key digital strategies for their information management.


For Oswaldo: “The greatest experience [of the camp] was to share with people that feel very passionate about what they do, and to learn how they have been successful, not because they had luck, but because of their constant work and strategic thinking." He returned to his colleagues at MSCAVCO full of ideas on how video, social networking, mapping, SMS messaging and relationship management tools could be used to enhance their work. He shared Tactical Tech's toolkits and guides with them and showed them where they could find the content online.


Subsequently MSCAVCO created a new website and they now communicate with a wider audience of activists than they had done previously, using SMS. Recently they have initiated a project, using Tactical Tech's Maps for Advocacy guide which Oswaldo translated for the rest of the team involved, to map the 77 organisations working on HIV/Aids in the country.


Oswaldo has now also partnered with Tactical Tech on the 10 Tactics film, which was produced from the stories documented at the camp. In 2010 he presented the film at the Global Village, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. He also coordinated a screening of the film to 28 local and regional rights organisations in Cali.


Now, together with some of the organisations and activists he connected with at this event, Oswaldo is planning a project to provide training in the use of digital tools for advocacy to groups in the area. He is certain that this local training network will benefit from his position in the global network cultivated by the camp. He says that he still gets a lot out of this community; for example he recently attended the Latin American Camp for Social Activists which was organised by fellow-camper Herman Bonomo in Uruguay.


Oswaldo has retained the enthusiasm he developed at the camp about the possibilities of using information and digital tools for health advocacy. Now in conjunction to his job at MSCAVCO, Oswaldo explains that he has another important role to play in Colombia:


"I have become a source of information for other people interested in info-activism. I am now very eager, and looking forward to have other Colombian groups and organisations learning about technology ... I have become like a standard-bearer, because when people get together to talk about communication, they often have my name in mind.”


43-year-old Oswaldo hopes that the new synergy taking place in Latin America around info-activism will attract funding to train and assist more people in the use of strategic technology to advance their causes. He envisions a training event like the Info-Activist Camp happening in Latin America in the near future.


Images from top: Participants working at the Info-Activism Camp (photo by petitpor); the camp outcomes as shown in our Annual Review 2009; Oswaldo listening to other participants during one of the camp sessions (by Genner Llanes-Ortiz). 


Other info-activist camp particiant stories: