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Amplify Mobilise Change

Amplify Mobilise Change is a project initiated by DGMT to help South African civil society shift its thinking and develop more creative, impactful and efficient online communication and technology practices.

The disconnect

This explains why the project exists

Online communication is becoming increasingly important for more sustainable and impactful work. Civil society needs the motivation, tools and knowledge to use it effectively. Despite the rapid innovations being made, many civil society organisations in South Africa have yet to capitalise fully on the opportunities available through online technology and digital transformation.

Our recent needs analysis case study (with more than 170 participants from almost 120 different organisations across the country) indicates that this is due to several limiting factors within organisational culture and operations:

  • Capacity issues – Not enough staff to manage more than core communication outputs, such as internal communications and reports;
  • Limited budgets – No real communication budgets, which limit output and campaign opportunities;
  • Lack of skills – The lack of knowledge of online communication and technology within organisations;
  • Brand messaging – Prioritised organisation-centric content production and framing, instead of nuanced audience-centric content that uses creativity and storytelling to build connection and participation from core audiences;
  • Resistance to change – Slow buy-in from the leaders of an organisation or from funders, donors or the organisation’s board;
  • Poor publicity – Lack of contact with media outlets, or confidence in producing and engaging with public media environments;
  • Lack of communication – Online communication is not seen as an organisation’s core focus; and
  • Fear of public rejection – The fear that incorrect, misplaced or untested communication will result in negative reactions from the public, media or funders/donors/supporters.


For practitioners or organisations looking to overcome these constraints, there are few affordable learning opportunities readily available that give civil society change-makers a high-quality and interactive chance to upskill while fulfilling their day-to-day roles and responsibilities.

There are also few formal, focused, affordable or free courses currently available in South Africa for civil society practitioners. These courses should cover the full spectrum of online communication relevant to our local context and also address the communication needs of local organisations within the context of advocacy, activism and social change.

projects_disconnect

The majority of South Africans are stuck in an inequality trap with wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. Most are stuck in intergenerational loops of exclusion with few chances to escape. Breaking this cycle requires a fundamental change in life trajectories, starting in the womb.

Think of a Möbius strip – just one twist in the circle allows you to trace a completely different pattern. Instead of being stuck on the inside of a loop, you emerge on the outside. In the same way, escaping the inequality trap requires a fundamental twist to set South Africa on a new path.

The twist in thinking

This explains how the project approaches problems
Amplify Mobilise Change saw an opportunity to create a movement of change in the area of online communication amongst South African civil society. Our programme is unique and accessible and our offerings are dynamic and highly beneficial – building technical, content development and strategy skills, as well as confidence, creativity and a sense of connection among practitioners:
  • Our content and approaches are powerful, insightful and local-specific, using local ideas, case studies and communities of practitioners to build knowledge and skills for local communication needs within civil society.
  • Our learning products are free, low on data, rigorous and high in quality yet accessible, creative and easy to engage with. Our core learning programme is a solutions-oriented, free, robust and exciting environment.
  • Our team, content and workshop contributors are dynamic with specialists from local civil society, tech and design, academia, education, publishing and activism. They bring their nuanced knowledge of local systems into every aspect of our teaching.
  • We bring together an online community of like-minded peers to share ideas, solve issues and co-create.
  • We have opened up ways for participants to share and solve immediate needs related to online communication and its use for building sustainable, impactful organisations, campaigns and projects.
  • Our methods, templates, materials and ideas can all be used in various settings. They are open to share and re-use.
  • Participants and communities develop a stronger relationship in understanding how to plan, strategise and fundraise for communication. This is a vital, integrated resource for achieving outcomes.

The trajectory change

This explains what the project is doing to make a difference

This explains what the project is doing to make a difference

  • Since 2019, over 120 South African organisations and 170 communication change-makers have participated in our programme.
  • All our alumni report immediate and meaningful improvements to their online communication work and feel better equipped to lead change.
  • Our Open Technical Series community has more than 100 organisations joining in workshops and solutions-based sessions on a monthly basis.
  • We intend to bring our broader network together for a two-day summit where civil society can brainstorm ideas and solutions to some of the constraints they face.
  • We are also gathering data and intend to conduct a sector-wide digital and online communication needs analysis, and initiate a Digital Code of Practice to guide civil society in online communication transformation.

Visit the Amplify Mobilise Change website to participate

Trying to change life trajectories is ambitious and profound. It requires us to radically influence the lives of individuals and to be part of changing the circumstances in which they live.

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