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Hungary: SWAN at WITNESS Video Advocacy Institute and Strategic meeting in Budapest

March, 2010, Budapest – The beginning of March proved to be busy and full of events for some of SWAN members. SWAN representatives from Tais Plus (Kyrgyzstan), Legalife (Ukraine), Humanitarian Action (Russia) and the SWAN secretariat were invited to Budapest by the Open Society Institute to take part in an intensive 5-day hands-on training in creating advocacy films.

This Video Advocacy Institute 2010 training was organized and delivered by WITNESS (www.witness.org) in cooperation with Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (www.tasz.hu) and OSI.

The aim of bringing together 23 human rights activists from different parts of the world was to provide an effective advocacy tool that could be used to present unheard voices and opinions of communities who otherwise might not have a chance to speak out or to be heard. Participants committed to prepare their first short films to screen them at the International AIDS Conference (IAC 2010) in July in Vienna and to be able to bring international attention to the human rights and HIV issues in their countries. The videos will be also available on the Now More Than Ever website (http://hivhumanrightsnow.org/).

The training provided a good opportunity for active learning, the exchange of ideas and a chance for the participants to actively learn to:

  • plan for the strategic use of short form video
  • create compelling story-driven videos targeted for strong and immediate advocacy impact
  • make appropriate decisions on safety, security and consent;
  • distribute video to key audiences
  • use video as evidence

The four SWAN representatives are working on short films that would reflect the current situation with sex work in the SWAN region and also represent additional evidence to the SWAN report Arrest the Violence (http://swannet.org/node/1639), which was released in December 2009 and which represents accounts of more that 200 male, female and trans sex workers in 11 countries of Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia. All films produced by SWAN members will be available on SWAN website at www.swannet.org and at the IAC on Monday, July 19, 2010 in Vienna.

The Video Advocacy Institute session was followed by SWAN Strategic meeting which was organizes by SWAN working group. 3 more SWAN members from Siberian Initiative (Russia), JAZAS (Serbia) and HOPS (Macedonia) joined the group and SWAN secretariat. The final strategic plan is currently being developed and will be available on SWAN website at a later stage. What we can reveal right now is that SWAN is planning to expand the network and welcome more members and allies from Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia.