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WITNESS helps people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. With a cellphone camera, anyone can become a human rights defender and expose injustice, making it harder for perpetrators to hide or for systems of oppression to remain invisible. But using video for community organizing, justice and accountability can be dangerous – videos can put defenders (or those they film) at risk, can be used against communities in court or deceitfully discredited by tired old power narratives. Filming is almost never enough – for videos to make a difference they need to work alongside strong advocacy or legal strategies; they also need to be created, preserved and shared in ways that avoid creating more harm or trauma. And the actions of courageous individuals and communities at a grassroots level are conditioned by the structures and decisions of global technology platforms and emerging technologies that are distant and unaccountable to their needs. New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation and a global wave of rising authoritarianism. WITNESS pairs grassroots community support, and broad learning and sharing with advocacy at a systems level on challenges. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for human rights. When it comes to systemic challenges we are on the watch for both existing problems – like how large amounts of critical human rights footage are lost because of the arbitrary decisions of platforms – but also emerging threats and opportunities, such as those posed by ‘deepfakes’, new ways to manipulate media to make it look like someone said or did something they never did, or an event happened that never occurred. This is where you come in – you will be a critical team member within the group that works closely within the broader Program team to identify and respond to existing and emerging opportunities for systemic work to protect and enhance the use of video for human rights.
We are re-building the Technology Threats and Opportunities (TTO) Team to reflect WITNESS’s vision of a globally-distributed, diverse and empowered team focused on advancing human rights through video and technology. You will work alongside Regional Managers and regional social media consultants who are engaged with online and offline communities who use video and technology for good, and face the challenges. You will collaborate with the Program Director, Program Associate and other TTO team members who focus on specific project areas (for example, emerging forms of misinformation and disinformation, or supporting better preservation of critical videos on platforms).
The Program Coordinator for Technology Threats and Opportunities will work closely with regional teams in the regions where WITNESS operates (North America, Latin America, Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and Asia-Pacific), as well as cross-regional teams like Archiving and Video as Evidence in three work areas.
- Projects focused on effective, globally-grounded advocacy around current, large-scale problems experienced by communities/activists using video and technology for human rights: for example, preservation of critical video on platforms
- Projects focused on research and globally-grounded advocacy around emerging threats and opportunities (ETO) related to audiovisual media and related technology for witnessing: for example, emerging approaches to better validating the origins and manipulation of video
- Building a more regionally-focused incident response to support partners around platform decisions that impact their visibility, effectiveness and safety: for example, targeted takedowns/keep-ups of activists social media accounts and human rights content etc.
The Program Coordinator will be responsible for supporting (and where relevant, leading) on initiatives within the Technology Threats and Opportunities work of WITNESS. They will work on specific projects including research, listening and development; collaborate with other team members and consultants on organizing convenings and workshops to ensure WITNESS’s work is guided by the lived and practical experience of communities we work with; and develop and implement communications and advocacy around our work. They will collaborate to ensure our Technology Threats and Opportunities work is well-grounded in a diverse set of experiences of human rights and civic journalism globally. They will work with the broader regional WITNESS team in understanding critical incident response systems they need to tap into – for example, to support a partner organization to challenge the removal of critical human rights footage from a social media platform. WITNESS is strongly committed to challenging existing power structures in the technology world. Candidates from outside the US and those with practitioner and activist experience working closely with marginalized and vulnerable populations, or from communities facing technology-enabled rights abuses, are particularly encouraged to apply. Although we have a preference for candidates based in Africa and the Middle East this is not a regionally-focused position but one working across the WITNESS global team.
CONVENING, RESEARCH, ANALYSIS AND ADVOCACY
On designated areas of responsibility with current at-scaled problem areas, as well as emerging threats and opportunities, work with Regional and Thematic teams as well as the TTO team:
- Research and stay up-to-date on technical and commercial advances in emerging technology fields as identified by work-planning processes at WITNESS (for example, advances in AR/VR)
- Support designated regular check-ins with Regional and Thematic leads to assess critical ongoing and emerging threats and opportunities
- Update internal knowledge as needed via briefings and presentations
- Convene key stakeholders in our communities of activism and civic journalism as well as related fields to understand how to prioritize key threats and solutions around current, at-scale problems as well as emerging areas of opportunity and challenge.
- Project manage development of relevant materials including outreach, logistics, invitations, preparation, follow-up
- Work with other team members to engage in advocacy and organizing towards key technology platforms in one-on-one, small group, large group and public settings
SUPPORTING GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR RAPID RESPONSE TO PLATFORMS
- Support a series of relationships with company contacts to address content and account takedowns/keep-ups; track access to programs such as Trusted Flagger status, and ensure Regional Program team are familiar with these protocols.
COMMUNICATING AROUND KEY TTO PRIORITIES
- Develop relevant communications collateral for social media and other communications outreach around projects and priorities
- Develop relevant content including convening reports, research summaries, threat scenarios, op-eds, blogs on solutions, training materials
- Engage in online and offline spaces in targeted work around priorities and content outlined above – to include both written/video presentations as well as in-person talks or presentations
- Contribute to direct social media and media outreach around priorities
- Do relevant administrative work around activities above (NOTE: WITNESS does not have a large dedicated admin team and the expectation is that team-members will contribute to administrative work around activities)
- Do relevant internal financial and funder reporting
- Update and maintain Salesforce, Contacts and other applicable data or organizational records
- Maintain other existing systems that support our work in TTO area, including tracking spreadsheets and metrics
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE:
Experience: You should have 5+ years of related experience, including a track record of hard work. You have strong communication and project management skills. You need a deep intuitive and practical understanding of video and technology trends combined with experience of advocacy and organizing at a local, national or international level. You are a hands-on user of social media and video tools, not just an observer. Human Rights: Background in (or passion for) human rights; understands networks, grassroots organizing and how activists mobilize online. Understanding of the implications of current and emerging technologies for human rights, including the role of online platforms and current misinformation/disinformation and content moderation issues. Committed to social justice and WITNESS’ values/mission and to a global, human rights perspective. Languages: Fluent spoken and written English required to work with global team who uses this as shared language. Additional languages a plus. Native speaker of English not required.
Other Important Skills:
- Personal or professional experience using social media, video-sharing or meme platforms
- Proficiency w/Google worksuite as Gdocs, sheets, forms are heavily used across WITNESS.
- Strong digital communication skills, including creating visual messages and writing/editing for the web.
- Basic web publishing skills; knows basic HTML and CSS
Characteristics: Strong interpersonal skills and aptitude for cross-cultural communication. Team-minded. A doer. Is organized and follows through. Espouses good humor under pressure; inspires others. Also, is flexible – early morning or later evening calls will be needed as this job requires working with people in different time zones (this is offset in your weekly workload as work-life balance is a core value for WITNESS). Education: You can tell us about your degrees, but we’re more interested in what your passions are and what you can do. If your degrees are part of that story, great! (But no formal education required). Location: Strong preference for candidates located in Africa and the Middle East time-zones
To apply for this job please visit www.witness.org.