We are a global human rights organization, a collective of passionate human rights activists with (mostly remote) team members all over the world. WITNESS’ mission is to help people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. We are a 35-person multi-disciplinary team with staff based across 5 continents. While we’re legally a non-profit that is registered as a 501(c)3 in the U.S, we are a global collective: our staff members (as well as consultants, interns, fellows and a vast community of partners and collaborators) are based around the world and reflect a group of activists with diverse skills and backgrounds.
WHAT WE DO
**WITNESS pairs grassroots community support with advocacy at a systems level. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for 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.
New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation and a global wave of rising authoritarianism.
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.
ABOUT THE TEAM
We are building up the “Technology Threats and Opportunities” (TTO) Program to reflect WITNESS’s vision of a globally-distributed, diverse and empowered team focused on how existing and emerging technologies impact WITNESS’s work. Supporting the Program Director, you will play a leadership role in developing and growing an ambitious team and lead the day-to-day management of that team and of projects. The team currently includes a Program Coordinator, Program Associate, Media Technologist and other TTO collaborators who focus on specific project areas (for example, emerging forms of misinformation and disinformation, or supporting better preservation of critical videos on platforms). You will work in collaboration with Regional Managers and regional social media consultants who are engaged with online and offline communities who face growing opportunities and challenges in the use of video and technology for good.
WITNESS seeks a strong people and project manager, 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 with a strong interest in proactive work to avert emerging threats and advance emerging opportunities. You will be a deputy to the Program Director, who leads this Program.
You will be responsible for leading the day-to-day TTO team and projects, reporting to the Program Director. You will work closely with other members of the TTO team and other WITNESS team-members to design and implement projects and work plans that meet the TTO initiative’s ambitious vision for change. These projects fall into these categories:
- Effective, globally-grounded advocacy around current, large-scale problems experienced by communities/activists using video and technology for human rights: for example, ensuring preservation of critical video that is otherwise removed and lost from social media platforms
- Research and globally-grounded advocacy around emerging threats and opportunities related to audiovisual media and related technology for witnessing: for example, ensuring human rights-centered approaches to validating the origins and manipulation of video
You will work with the Program Director to prioritize and then manage projects involving TTO team members as well as consultants hired to work on specific projects.
You will also collaborate 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.
The successful candidate will have a deep understanding of technology, tech development and the current dynamics of platform accountability and governance. This will include a solid analysis of existing and emerging threats and opportunities and how to ensure that responses to these areas (ranging from misinformation and disinformation to AR/VR) are human rights-centered. Your advocacy experience, management and project leadership will ensure that WITNESS’s work is guided by the lived and practical experience of communities we work with; and 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 U.S and Europe 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.
Management – Team and Projects
Act as the primary day-to-day Manager for others on the team as well as consultants, providing supervision and leadership on key projects within the TTO portfolio
- Provide supervision and management to 2-3 additional TTO team-members such as the Program Associate, Program Coordinator and Media Technologist
- Manage 1-2 consultants working on key TTO projects
- Report-in to the WITNESS Program Director
- Project manage activities on key TTO priorities
- Identify and implement key strategic and management decisions to ensure team effectiveness
Research, Foresight, Convening and Analysis
Work with Regional and Thematic teams as well as the TTO team to:
- Ensure team stays up-to-date on critical developments in the field of platform accountability and social media governance as well as relevant technical and commercial advances in emerging technology fields as identified by work-planning processes at WITNESS (for example, advances in AR/VR)
- Collaborate on conceptualization of a foresight strategy that engages both the broader WITNESS team but also diverse, global stakeholders typically not part of such processes
- On relevant areas, collaborate with TTO team and other WITNESS teams to 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
- Support key relationships with others in civil society, industry and government working at intersection of digital rights, technology human rights, and platform accountability
- Conduct advocacy and organizing towards key technology platforms and/or legislative proposals in one-on-one, small group, large group and public settings
Communicating around key TTO priorities
- Do targeted comms 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 select funder engagement in-person, via email and virtually
- 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. First and foremost you have strong people and project management skills. You have experience in advocacy, communication and human rights. 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. You’ll have existing contacts and relationships relevant to the technology advocacy ecosystem though these need not be Silicon-Valley centric or traditional stakeholders. 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.
Management: A capable and experienced manager of projects and people, used to work in a distributed global team, and securing the best from your team
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 a global team who uses this as a shared language. Additional languages are a plus. Native speaker of English is not required.
Other Desirable Areas:
- Experience with foresight techniques
- 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, 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, your broader experience and background, 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, and Latin America but the position is open globally and is flexible provided some overlap of working hours with the rest of the team can be ensured. WITNESS is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the state of New York, USA, and currently retains an office in New York City. However, since 2020, its staff is currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compensation: WITNESS offers a range of benefits, depending on the location of the individual, and 15 days of paid annual leave in addition to public holidays and end of year leave.
WITNESS also offers additional monthly “reading days” where employees may request one day in the month to do reading/further study related to WITNESS work.
WITNESS also offers competitive and robust medical benefits that cover an individual at 100%.
WITNESS recognizes that flexible working arrangements are key to equity and inclusion in the workplace, so we are happy to talk about the type of flexible arrangements that might work best for you.
Reports to: Program Director
Start Date: As soon as possible
Principle Relationships: Program Director, Program Associate and Program Coordinator- TTO, Media Technologist, Archives Team, Regional Managers
Title: Senior Program Manager – TTO
How to apply
To apply, send your cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references to [email protected] with the subject line “Job” [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.
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