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Program Manager – Technology, Threats and Opportunities

THE NEED:

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.

 

THE TEAM:

 

We are building up 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 Coordinator, 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 ROLE:

 


WITNESS seeks a strong communicator and advocate deeply grounded in the current realities of social media, video and technology as they impact vulnerable and marginalized communities and human rights defenders globally, and a strong interest in proactive work to avert emerging threats and advance emerging opportunities.

 

The Program Manager 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 thematic 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 Manager will be responsible for leading particular initiatives within the Technology Threats and Opportunities work of WITNESS, working closely with other members of the TTO team and with other WITNESS team members.

 

Grounded in a deep understanding of the current dynamics of platform accountability and governance, technology trends and how technology is developed they will focus particularly on advocacy and engagement around how emerging areas of audiovisual and social media technology relate to existing harms and challenges – for example, how increased algorithmic transparency relates to community demands for increased understanding of human rights abuses; or how increasing investment in VR and AR will impact vulnerable communities increasingly using these tools in consumer apps.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES:

 

Research, Convening and Analysis

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 critical developments in the field of platform accountability and social media governance

      Stay current on relevant technical and commercial advances in emerging technology fields as identified by work-planning processes at WITNESS (for example, advances in AR/VR)

      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

 

Advocacy and Peer Networking

      Lead (in collaboration with other team members) advocacy and organizing towards key technology platforms in one-on-one, small group, large group and public settings

      Support key relationships with others in civil society, industry and government working at intersection of digital rights, technology human rights, and platform accountability

      Contribute to coalition advocacy alongside other groups on key legislative proposals

 

 

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

      Act as a public spokesperson for WITNESS on key issues, and engage in press outreach

 

Fundraising and Admin

      Do relevant internal financial and funder reporting

      With support from Program Associate, limited 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)

      With support from Program Associate, update to relevant tracking spreadsheets and metrics

 

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE:

 

Experience: You should have 8+  years of related experience, including a track record of hard work. You have strong advocacy, communication and project management skills. You’ll 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, and existing contacts and relationships in the technology advocacy ecosystem. You are a hands-on user of social media and video tools, not just an observer. You don’t view the problems and opportunities of video and technology as abstract or academic, but real-world and biased in their realities and impacts.

 

Human Rights: Background in (or passion for) human rights; understands networks, grassroots organizing and how activists mobilize online. Strong knowledge and advocacy experience with 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.

Communications: Strong communicator and advocate, in written and spoken contexts; with a strong capability for simplifying and presenting issues, including in video formats online

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, Middle East, Latin America, and South/Southeast Asia, but the position is open globally. 

 

The position description is a guide to the critical duties and essential functions of the job, not an all-inclusive list of responsibilities, qualifications, physical demands and work environment conditions. 

 

HOW TO APPLY:

 

To apply, send your cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references to jobs@witness.org with the subject line “Program Manager – TTO” [Your name]”.

Please include a cover letter. We are interested in hearing about what you’ve done, what you can do, and what you want to do at WITNESS.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Applications accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled; early applications encouraged. Please note that due to the volume anticipated, we will not be able to respond individually to each applicant.  We kindly ask that you do not send duplicate applications via mail or email, and no phone calls.

 

WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer. People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply. Authorization to work in the U.S. is not required.

 

Thank you.

 

http://www.witness.org

 



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