Isis International Feminist Activist School
Communication for Social Change
The Isis International Feminist Activist School provides capacity building in using media and communications for advocacy, social change and women’s rights. The capacity building can take the form of in-house or onsite training workshops, seminars, roundtable discussions, and study tours.
Whatever the form, the School aims to:
- strengthen social movements and advocacies through the strategic use of media and information and communication technologies (ICTs);
- enhance women's skills and knowledge in communication technologies; and
- create a network of international women communicators.
The Isis International Activist School partners with women’s groups, social justice groups and individual feminists and women activists globally. It brings together grassroots women, activists working on the ground, and women leaders who are immersed in and directly affected by the issues that they are advocating and working on.
Since its launch in 2010, the Activist School has raised the voices of marginalized women and groups and strengthened their cause-oriented advocacies including: addressing gender-based violence; peace building; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues; engendering climate justice, migrant rights; citizen journalism; and other human rights issues.
The Activist School builds on the capacity building that Isis International has undertaken through the years, in particular the Community radio trainings conducted in partnership with other organizations, especially AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters.
The Activist School takes a multidimensional holistic approach that starts from the self to the larger transformation of social issues. Each Activist School includes all or some of these aspects:
- inner awareness and consciousness of self, motivations and values and self care;
- relationship of self with organization/community and questions of sustainability of their movement/advocacy;
- feminist consciousness raising;
- feminist frameworks of analysis including new theorizing on gender, power dynamics framework and women human rights defenders issues;
- skills in strategizing for communication and advocacy and new information and communications technology tools; and,
- understanding of organisations, networks and movements including on line networks and campaigns.
Announcements and calls for applications for each Isis International Activist School will be available on the Isis International website and Facebook page.
Ever since its creation in 1974, Isis International has been committed to achieving women's human rights and empowerment by increasing their participation and access to media and information and communication technologies (ICTs). Hand in hand with this, Isis facilitates networking and information sharing of women's movements in recognition of the fact that the development of new media and information and communication technologies has drastically changed the way of social mobilization and organizing, as well as movement building and advocacy.
In 2008, Isis concluded a three-year five-country (India, Thailand, Philippines, Fiji and Papua New Guinea) research project called “People's Communications for Development” (PC4D) in the Asia-Pacific region. The purpose of the research project was (a) to uncover how intermediary groups used new ICTs and traditional communication tools in interacting with grassroots women; and, (b) to determine the most effective communication tools for grassroots women's empowerment. Results from PC4D show that the most effective communication tools to reach grassroots women are radio, followed by theatre, film and face-to-face communication. The research also brought to light demands from women's groups on the convergence of traditional and new media and communication technologies. It was this research that underscored the role of Isis International to further develop a programmatic approach towards the need for capacity building and information sharing in gender, media and communications. Isis gave birth to the Isis International Activist School to systematize and institutionalize feminist communication for activism and advocacy work towards human rights.