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Info-activism resources localised for and in the Arab world

In March 2013 Tactical Tech met with five organisations in Beirut to brainstorm ways in which our range of info-activism resources could be adapted for use by activists in the Arab region. Our partners on this project were DawlatySMEX, and Alt City all based in Lebanon, 7iber in Jordan and the Development House in Yemen. We wanted to go beyond straight-up translations because we felt that these partners had a lot to contribute in terms of their own ideas and experiences, so we suggested that they either translate, customise or 'remix' our materials in a way that they thought would be useful to their communities and their own interests.

The result is a suite of new, locally contextualised self-learning materials in Arabic on digital activism, campaigning and working with data and evidence in advocacy.  Each organisation chose one or more of our pre-existing info-activism resources - 10 Tactics Unstitched, Drawing by Numbers, the Data & Design Notes . Each one took a different approach; so Alt City organised 'T-Fests' or 'Translation Fests' where individiuals volunteered their time to translate materials into Arabic; SMEX worked the structure and materials from our new online resource, How-To Info-Activism, into an existing project whereas Development House translated it; Dawlaty sought inspiration from 10 Tactics and created a first of it's kind booklet about info-activism in Syria and 7iber customised and translated our data resources and design notes.

These initiatives took three months to complete and all projects are now in the final stages of their planned outreach. Our partners have used the Arabic version of the banner designed below on their material so the five initiatives are easily identifiable as part of the same initiative. We are proud to showcase our partners' guides, booklets, websites and learning resources. 

 English customised badge


Dawlaty choose to showcase the work of groups of info-activists currently in Syria and released a booklet collecting 51 case studies entitled Tactics used in the Syrian Revolution Movement. This is the first publication of its kind in Arabic that compiles and categorises info-activism in Syria. The booklet features 49 case studies, including some that were originally illustrated in 10 Tactics Remixed10 Tactics Unstitched and the printed 10 Tactics Arabic pack, and organises the case studies by using the same framework as 10 Tactics Unstitched. It is available online and can be viewed via PDF through Dawlaty's website. It is also available offline as Dawlaty has printed and will distribute 2,000 copies by the end of 2013. Click here for a more in-depth look at some of the case-studies showcased in the guide. 

Image from Dawlaty Guide


SMEX's online learning platform, Nethawwal, trains English and Arabic speakers on skills needed to leverage digital and social media for advocacy. Currently have five different characters, such as Community Coach and Citizen Storyteller, each of who presents a series of tutorials on different types of tools and tactics for activists.

The newest persona to be added to the gang is the Techy Tactician (pictured below)a character based on material adapted from Tactical Tech's Info-Activism How-To Guide and 10 Tactics Unstitched website (also available in Arabic). Each character represents a skill set to be learnt and the course takes, on average, an hour a day over the course of a week to complete. At the end of the course the participant earns a badge or a certificate after passing all quizzes and the final exercise at the end of the skill set. 

The Techy Tactician is in its final stages of development and will be launched in the coming month. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the content behind the character after its release. 


7iber translated and localised content from Tactical Tech's Drawing by Numbers and our course A Gentle Introduction to Data Cleaning on School of Data. They then launched the site, a website dedicated to Arab data users offering an introduction to data visualisation for activists, journalists, students and civil society organizations. The site contains the translated Tactical Tech content on finding data and data cleaning and also examples of advocacy campaigns in the Arab region that have used data and visualisations. In the future 7iber hopes to keep updating the site with new examples and resources.

7iber has created an attractive website and have designed new illustrations for their website and translated some of the graphics on the Drawing by Numbers site. The site has been promoted through 7iber’s networks and in the coming months they will host a series of events detailing how to use the site. 



Development House identified that the lack of resources on info-activism and new media available in Arabic was limiting people’s ability to take advantage of such material. They decided that the best way to spread Tactical Tech's material in Yemen was to translate the new Info-Activism How-To Guide into Arabic and to make it available offline in the form of a printed guide. You can download the Guide here on ISSUU or on Dropbox

The DH has printed 1000 copies of this 80-page Guide and have distributed it to NGOs, donors and to be used in trainings in Yemen in the coming months. The official launch of the Guide took place at a conference in late October 2013 as part of a project supported by Freedom House named Jodraan (meaning walls). This training conference brought together 30 activists and journalists working on human rights issues from Sana'a, Aden and Taiz focusing on the right to expression and access to information. 


AltCity, with help from Global Voices, translated content from our Drawing by Numbers project aimed to help activists understand the world of data visualisation. This was achieved by organising three T-Fests, or translation events, in Beirut and Cairo that brought together translators and Arabic language enthusiasts from various sectors in order to develop Arabic content for web users.

The pages translated from Drawing by Numbers were: ‘Tools and Resources’ (click here for the Arabic version, the tools themselves have not been translated) and Be Safe, Be Smart (click here for the Arabic version). Along with promoting these translations online they will also be used in future trainings and as educational material by Alt City to compliment their already established training on digital activism.

The result of these T-Fests is not only that Alt City will be able to use the translated content in trainings but the project also served as a pilot for T-Fests. The T-Fests have led to an establishment of a network of groups working on translation and Arabic online content promotion. This initiative has helped to build up a core group of translators and editors in Lebanon and also has connected and developed a network of translators in the region with a similar passion for developing Arabic content on the web.   



For further information on any of these projects please email Tactical Tech here