We believe that, in order for poor-led organizations build a movement to end poverty, they need access and the skills to use online technologies. Through these technologies, organizations can more effectively serve their communities, build capacity in their own organizations, and make connections between supporters and other organizations. Therefore, our main goal is to put the tools of online technology into the hands of anti-poverty organizations, through three main project areas:
- Internet Empowerment Training;
- The development of the University of the Poor Web site, and
Internet Empowerment Training
In this program, we train trainers in anti-poverty organizations in basic Internet skills, including Internet navigation, use of e-mail, Internet research skills, creation and maintenance of list-serves, and creation and maintenance of web pages. In addition, we train trainers in using online technologies for human rights documentation projects, web-based coverage of organizational activities, and the creation of online support networks. Through ths program, Human Rights Tech has been able to visit and train leaders in nearly a dozen poor people's organzations across the country. A few of these organizations include:
- Kensington Welfare Rights Union: The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) is a multi-racial organization of, by and for poor and homeless people. They believe that they have a right to thrive - not just barely survive. KWRU is dedicated to organizing of welfare recipients, the homeless, the working poor and all people concerned with economic justice.
- The Coalition of Immokalee Workers: The CIW is a community-based worker organization. Its members are largely Hispanic, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the Southwest Florida region. They strive to build their strength as a community on a basis of reflection and analysis, constant attention to coalition building across age-old ethnic divisions, and an ongoing investment in leadership development to help workers from the base continually develop their skills in community education and organization.
- The Deaf Committee for Universal Human Rights: The Deaf Committee on Universal Human Rights works to build the movement to gain equality, a respectful living environment and Human Rights for all deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind.
These are only a few of the organizations that Human Rights Tech has been able to serve through our Internet Empowerment Training project.
Development of the University of the Poor Website
Human Rights Tech is developing the website for the University of the Poor, a web-centered, community-based educational institution dedicated to training grassroots anti-poverty leaders. The University facilitates the exchange of educational materials and resources among grassroots anti-poverty organizations. This exchange includes curricula, program models, organization-building methods, fund-raising ideas, and original analysis of the socio-economic situation. More than that, the University provides a central web space for interaction and collaboration, through message boards, on-line classes, and an interactive calendar. The page was launched on July 30, 2000 at a forum at Temple University in Philadelphia, with a multi-media presentation attended by over 250 people. Developing the technological aspect of the University has been a major thrust of our work, and will continue to be so. See www.universityofthepoor.org
Human Rights Networking Centers
The focus of this project is to collaborate with grassroots organizations to create community technology centers in poor communities. In these centers, community leaders can both learn Information Technologies and spread them throughout their communities. They also can document and monitor the human rights violations occurring in their communities.