A handbook for those seeking to work with others to change the world - from Crisis Action

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The international organisation Crisis Action works 'behind the scenes' to support a diverse range of partners to campaign against conflict and for the protection of civilians. They "aim to amplify the impact of collective campaigning and enhance partners’ efforts to avert conflict, prevent human rights abuses and ensure governments fulfil their obligations to protect civilians".

Drawing on these experiences, Crisis Actions have been developing methods and models for clever coalition building - now shared in a new handbook guide.

The handbook gives constructive advice on how to work well together with those in your network, overcome vested interests and spark innovation to unlock effective collective action and systems change. 

Throughout the handbook Crisis Action shares examples of how they have used this model of organising for impact so that people living in active war zones such as Syria, Sudan, and the Central African Republic got the protection they desperately needed.

Below is the introduction blurb. Download a PDF version of the full interactive Creative Coalitions Handbook via this link.

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There’s a social problem you want to see fixed, an injustice you want stopped, or a leap in quality of living you want to inspire...

You know the change is possible – after all, experience across time and examples around the world show the power of smart collective action. Injustices result from human choices, so they can be addressed through human action.

But for all the energy that you and your allies are putting in, the change you need isn’t coming.

You might be trying to take on climate change or inequality or failures in the education system. Or maybe you want to improve community cohesion or promote sustainable development. It can be anything.

You’ve tried the traditional means of organising and they’re not working.

We must ask ourselves: WHY IS CHANGE NOT HAPPENING? Well, do any of these statements resonate with you and your situation?

  • You face a collective action problem. The change you’re seeking requires action from many and often dispersed players, and existing modes of organising aren’t producing unity of purpose.

  • You face vested interests. You know who you’re trying to hold to account, but they have an interest in the status quo which you haven’t been able to muster the external pressure to overcome.

  • Innovation is being stifled. Traditional decision-making and funding structures may be too rigid or centralised to encourage experimentation, even when the old approaches aren’t working.

  • Traditional structures aren’t providing a basis for legitimacy: they’re not building or nurturing the breadth or quality of connections necessary to demonstrate a constituency for political action.

If challenges like these are stopping you from having the impact needed, the response can’t be to continue with business as usual. Every drop of effort invested in a model that doesn’t work is effort stolen from those people seeking change.

Something must change in the way we organise.

This Handbook describes a new way to organise for impact. It sets out a unique model for organising powerful, clever coalitions. Crisis Action has developed the model - and proven its value - in campaigning for civilians to be safer from harm in war zones.

Now we want to share it to help you and your network achieve even greater impact.

PRACTICE, GLOBALISTSpat kane