Women’s World Banking

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Women's World Banking retained EqualShot to increase visibility for the innovative microfinance strategies used by member organizations throughout the world.


EqualShot provided journalists in the national and international media with timely and topical analysis of microloans as a means to help poor women start new businesses and, consequently, new lives.


EqualShot's efforts resulted in a series of four unprecedented editorials in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune on the role of microfinance as a global economic development tool.

 

 

Women's Link Worldwide: Gender Justice Uncovered

"Raping a worldly woman is less serious than raping an 18 year old virgin.Judge, Australi

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Around the world, judges present themselves as agents who are neutral, apolitical, and independent. However, a comprehensive study by Madrid-based Women's Link Worldwide brought to light many of these judicial myths.

Women's Link proposes a new vision of the courts - one that sees the courts as a political stage - and encourages civil society to strategically engage in a dialogue with the judiciary on how rights can and should be interpreted. But how to approach these seemingly intractable biases?

EqualShot led Women's Link through a strategic planning process which resulted in an innovative way to highlight the role of the judiciary in women's rights. Beginning in 2009, Women's Link has hosted the annual "Gender Justice Uncovered Awards" - giving credit to positive legal decisions in Latin America and Spain, and calling attention to abuses.

Follow this link too learn more about Gender Justice Uncovered and to see a short animation about the award.

Women's Link Worldwide

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When Colombian lawyer Monica Roa of Women's Link Worldwide decided to constitutionally challenge Colombia's abortion law - which prohibited the procedure without exception - she turned to EqualShot to develop an international communications plan.

EqualShot sought to change public opinion on abortion, taking it outside the domain of religious politics and proving once and for all that criminalizing abortion does not reduce abortion rates and only endangers the lives of women.

The results have been unprecedented: in an historic decision, Colombia’s high court voted to liberalize abortion, and national and international opinion fully endorsed the move.

EqualShot was able to gain placements in the New York Times (including a front-page placement), aNew York Times/International Herald Tribune editorial calling for abortion rights in Latin America, coverage on the BBC and in the Economist, Associated Press, Miami Herald,Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, among many others.

Witness

Witness is an international organization that supports human rights advocates using video in their campaigns.  

EqualShot founder Barbara Becker created Witness's first hands-on training program designed to promote the use of video in human rights documentation.  She represented Witness on missions to Egypt, Israel, Palestinian Territories and Cyprus.

Barbara also served as the organization’s spokeswoman and collaborated with Witness founder Peter Gabriel to popularize the project through VH1 music concerts and wide-spread media attention.  


Additionally, she developed an extensive human rights video archive in consultation with Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

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According to the United Nations, more than 1.5 billion people are between the ages of 10 and 25. This largest-ever generation of adolescents is approaching adulthood in a world their elders could not have imagined. Globalization, the AIDS pandemic, electronic communications and a changing climate have irrevocably shifted the landscape.

UNPFA reports that the scenario is mixed. As young people share ideas, values, music and symbols through mass media and electronic technology, a global youth culture has emerged. Many are organizing and networking themselves in both formal and informal ways.

But more than half of young people live in poverty, on less than $2 per day. Often they lack access to the technology and information. Many also face social inequality, poor schools, gender discrimination, unemployment and inadequate health systems. They deserve better. And investing in them is an investment in the future leaders of families, communities and nations.

In preparation for the launch of a global campaign for adolescent rights, UNFPA retained EqualShot to develop two important communications tools - an introductory brochure outlining the challenges facing adolescents in low-income countries and a handbook containing adolescent programming development tips. Currently, the documents are being distributed throughout the world to bring attention to issues specific to young people.

UN Interagency Task Force on Adolescent Girls

When six major United Nations agencies joined forces as “One UN” to tackle the problems facing adolescent girls worldwide, they called upon EqualShot to facilitate their strategic planning process.

EqualShot helped the Task Force develop a clear programming framework that will lead to activities in 20 countries by 2013. The resulting integrated approach will address multiple aspects of a girl’s life, including education, health, child marriage, livelihood, and economic opportunity.

Publicizing news forbidden in Russia

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EqualShot principal Barbara Becker had the honor of working with Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist whose dispatches from the war in Chechnya famously led to death threats and poisoning.

As Anna knew from experience, much of her writing would never appear in Russia, where reporting on democracy efforts is forbidden. For a country of 145 million, there is only one independent radio station and two independent newspapers.

EqualShot was able to gain high-visibility in the U.S. for Anna's latest findings about government-fabricated "Islamic terrorism" cases targeting innocent civilians.

But Anna's story has a tragic ending. Anna Politkovskaya was shot to death in the elevator of her Moscow apartment on Oct 7, 2006, in what many call a politically motivated attempt to further squelch freedom of the press in Russia. In the days before her death, Politkovskaya had been working on a story about torture in Chechnya.

The former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev called her killing "a savage crime." "It is a blow to the entire democratic, independent press," he told the Interfax news agency. "It is a grave crime against the country, against all of us."

Train Foundation: Guiding North Korean Refugees to Freedom

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Conditions in North Korea and Eastern China have been widely characterized as a humanitarian disaster. As many as 500,000 North Koreans facing hunger and starvation have crossed the border and gone into China.

China, contrary to international law, tracks down and repatriates refugees. Since Pyongyang deems it a crime to leave the country, the refugees returned by China are treated as criminals, and are subject to imprisonment, torture and possible death. China persecutes those who aid refugees, as well.

This is where an unassuming pastor from North Korea comes into play.

The Reverend Phillip Jun Buck created an "underground railroad," guiding over one hundred North Korean refugees out of China and ultimately to safety in South Korea.

Additionally, he has sheltered and fed more than 1,000 refugees stranded in Eastern China while fleeing Kim Jong Il's regime. Convicted of the crime of helping illegal immigrants, he spent 15 months in a Chinese prison where he suffered from malnutrition, intense interrogation and sleep deprivation.

In 2007, he was awarded the Civil Courage Prize, and EqualShot designed a public affairs strategy for the pastor, escorting him to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress, non-governmental organizations and the media.

The Wall Street Journal heralded Pastor Buck in an editorial called "Not Nobel Prize Winners," saying that men and women including Pastor Buck "put their own lives and livelihoods at risk by working to rid the world of violence and oppression. Let us hope they survive the coming year so that the Nobel Prize Committee might consider them for [a future] award."

Train Foundation: Fostering Understanding between Arabs and Israelis

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When the well-known Egyptian author and satirist Ali Salem took a car trip across the Sinai desert to visit Israel and document his journey, he never anticipated the outrage that would ensue.

While his book about his travels, "My Drive to Israel," became a national best-seller, he was expelled from the country's Writers Union and subject to threats and censorship.

Today, the 72-year-old author and Civil Courage Prize winner is an outspoken advocate for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and an isolated voice for tolerance in the region.

EqualShot teamed up with Mr. Salem to further publicize his outspoken denunciation of Islamic radicalism, garnering media attention throughout the Middle East and in such respected outlets as the International Herald Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

Writes Mr. Salem, "My first trip to Israel wasn't a love trip, but a serious attempt to get rid of hate. Hatred prevents us from knowing reality as it is. It divides, and ultimately destroys, people. That is why I have argued, and will continue to argue, for tolerance and understanding between Arabs and Israelis, and a peaceful solution to our conflicts. These arguments must be heard and debated; the cycle of hatred cannot continue. I hope that more people will add their voices to the debate, and that understanding will finally prevail."

Train Foundation: Political Dissidents in Burma

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Civil Courage Prize award winner Min Ko Naing, is one of the most well-known political dissidents in Burma (Myanmar). A prominent student leader of the 1988 peaceful uprising against Burma's dictatorship, Min Ko Naing was imprisoned, held in solitary confinement and tortured for much of the next 15 years.

When he was released from prison in 2004, he was under constant surveillance and was unable to attend the Train Foundation's Civil Courage Prize ceremony in his honor.

As a result, EqualShot used its network to contact the Voice of America in Burma, which was able to evade government censors and reach him by telephone during the ceremony, enabling audiences throughout Burma to hear his thoughts on democracy for the first time in over a decade via VOA's live radio broadcast.

UPDATE: Min Ko Naing and several other ’88 student leaders have been released from prison and are now charting the path for a "new Burma."  

Train Foundation: Honor Crimes in Pakistan

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“Honor crimes” - acts of violence committed by male family members against female relatives, who are thought to have brought dishonor upon the family – are tragically common in Pakistan and twenty other countries around the world. The victims, usually women without resources or connections, are set on fire or burned with acid to avenge perceived wrongs.

EqualShot has worked directly with Civil Courage Prize winner Shahnaz Bukhari, founder of the Progressive Women’s Association of Pakistan, to bring awareness of these attacks to a larger international audience including members of the media, academics and activists.

Follow this link to read a New York Times column about honor crimes and the work of the Progressive Women’s Association.

Also, see Barbara's Huffington Post feature about acid attacks portrayed in the 2012 Academy Award-winning documentary "Saving Face."

Train Foundation: Democracy Building in Iran

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Emadeddin Baghi is a prominent Iranian rights activist and a renowned journalist. He is the founder of the Committee for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights in Iran and author of twenty books, six of which have been banned.

In 2000, Baghi was imprisoned in connection with his expose writings on the serial murders of Iranian dissident intellectuals, and served two years. According to his family and lawyers, Baghi has been summoned to court 23 times since his release in 2003. He has also had his passport confiscated, his newspaper closed, and suspended prison sentences passed against his wife and daughter.

EqualShot leveraged global interest in Iran's nuclear capabilities to highlight the work of Emadeddin Baghi when he was awarded the 2004 Civil Courage Prize, including a highly visible op-ed placement in the Washington Post.

When Mr. Baghi was detained by Iranian authorities as he was leaving to accept the award, EqualShot immediately alerted the international media and worked with contacts at the U.S. State Department, which subsequently condemned Iran's actions.

Train Foundation: "Blood Diamonds" in Angola

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Diamonds are meant to be a symbol of love and enduring commitment, but for the people living in Angola’s diamond-rich provinces, they are more often associated with grave human rights abuse.

Using the release of the Hollywood film "Blood Diamond" as a hook, EqualShot assisted Angolan activist Rafael Marques in writing an op-ed about the current situation in Angola's Lundas region and placed it prominently in the Washington Post.

EqualShot also managed Rafael’s visit to the United States, arranging high-level meetings with the State Department, the Senate Subcommittee on African Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard Law School's human rights program. Follow this link to read Mr. Marques's op-ed.

StoryCorps

When StoryCorps, the Peabody Award winning oral history project, sought to expand its archive of moving first-person accounts by Americans, founder Dave Isay called upon EqualShot to create a strategy for a "National Day of Listening."

After three months of hard work and quick maneuvering, StoryCorps launched the first annual National Day of Listening on November 28, 2008 to great success.

On a day more typically known as Black Friday for the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush, 30,000 families set aside time to interview loved ones. Teachers and librarians downloaded free do-it-yourself guides, thousands of bloggers blogged about it, and hundreds of papers, television and radio stations reported on it.

NPR hosts, correspondents and commentators also interviewed family and friends, StoryCorps-style. Even the president and first lady of the United States recorded a personal interview, kicking off the Day.

The National Day of Listening is certain to continue well into the future.

To listen to StoryCorps' weekly 3-minute featured story, please click on the box below:

Storytelling is one of the most useful tools in a communicator’s toolbox – a quick and colorful way to get to the heart of any issue. When applied by teachers, the art of storytelling can take on powerful, even life-changing, dimensions for students. Click here to read EqualShot’s "The Power of Storytelling in Education," appearing in the Penguin Group’s guide to the New York Times bestseller "Listening Is an Act of Love."

 

Shambala Meditation Center of New York

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In Bhutan, one of the last sovereign Buddhist kingdoms, ancient ritual dances and traditional arts are handed down through generations, representing hundreds of years of knowledge and spiritual practice.

When six monks from Thimphu Tashi Chodzong Monastery located in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, made an unprecedented trip to the West to bring attention to the culture and artistry of the kingdom, their hosts, the Shambhala Center in conjunction with the Asia Society, called upon EqualShot for an outreach and communications plan.

EqualShot was able to successfully draw media attention (and crowds) to the visit, including lectures, sacred dances, a ritual sand mandala demonstration, and teachings by His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche, considered to be the highest reincarnated Buddhist lama in Bhutan

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International Women's Health Coalition

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When illness and attrition diminished the capacity of their communications department, IWHC retained EqualShot to manage the “Hidden Face of AIDS” initiative.

EqualShot developed a communications strategy, pitched contacts in the media, and penned speeches and op-eds that brought global attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on women in Latin America and South Asia, particularly married women in monogamous relationships.

One of the published op-eds -- written for IWHC president Adrienne Germain -- appeared in papers across the U.S. begins:  “On a recent trip to India and Bangladesh, I looked into the face of AIDS in Asia, which is increasingly adolescent and female. I saw the face of Kamla, a young girl from a remote village in Rajasthan, India, married to a boy from a neighboring village who did not tell her he had AIDS. Not long after their 16-month-old child died of unknown causes, her husband died. Just 15 days before his death, the child was diagnosed HIV-positive. Now Kamla is a widow and HIV-positive. She will suffer not only the stigma of HIV/AIDS but also severe isolation as a widowed, childless woman."

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

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The International HIV/AIDS Conferences are the largest international meetings on HIV, where every two years 25,000 participants representing all stakeholders in the global response to HIV meet to assess progress, renew important scientific research and identify future priorities.

When the XV Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand, the Kaiser Family Foundation called upon EqualShot to develop a massive educational outreach strategy to establish KaiserNetwork.org as the preeminent source of news emanating from the conference.

Using both traditional and online tools, EqualShot introduced KaiserNetwork.org's news service to NGOs, colleges and universities, national and international media outlets, government departments of public health and pharmaceuticals throughout the world.

Over 5,000 organizations and individuals in 140 countries linked to, syndicated, or subscribed to the Kaiser coverage.

EqualShot's Bangkok strategy forms the basis of KaiserNetwork's outreach still in use today. The Wall Street Journal has lauded: "A prize for some of the best coverage of the International AIDS ... should go to the non-profit health-care policy organization, kaisernetwork.org."

Grameen Bank

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While living in Bangladesh and studying microfinance with the Grameen Bank, EqualShot founder Barbara Becker served as executive producer of the documentary "Credit: An Agent of Change," featuring poverty alleviation programs on behalf of Women's World Banking and the International Coalition on Women and Credit.

She also created video profiles of Nepalese and Bangladeshi development programs for the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

Global Justice Center

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In the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) was created to prosecute crimes committed by the regime between 1968 and 2003. The Anfal opinion, released on June 24, 2007, held six of the highest officials responsible for the genocidal campaign against Iraqi Kurds.

When the historic decision came down, a legal team from international women's rights organization the Global Justice Center combed through the 900 page document and revealed that the Anfal trail also represented an incredible achievement for women's rights in the region by recognizing rape as a form of both torture and genocide.

At the Global Justice Center’s arrangement, the IHT justices met with members of the U.S. Supreme Court on a subsequent study tour in Washington, DC. EqualShot was on hand to ensure that the work of the Iraqi justices was recognized by the international community.

Follow this link to read the resulting Newsweek interview - a moving account of the work of the Tribunal and its historic position on women.

Global Health Partners

Global Health Partners hired EqualShot on the day it received its IRS non-profit designation to create an organizational brand identity, including development of its mission statement, objectives, strategies and core values.

The new logo, print materials and website communicate GHP's position as an important health care resource in Latin America and the Caribbean.

EqualShot provided ongoing communications, development and management counsel to the growing organization.