Tactical Mapping: How Nonprofits Can Identify the Levers of Change

Johnson, Douglas A.  & Nancy L. Pearson, Tactical Mapping: How Nonprofits Can Identify the Levers of Change, The Nonprofit Quarterly 92 (2009)

Human rights tactical mapping is a method of visualizing the relationships and institutions that surround, receive benefit from, and sustain human-rights abuses. Mapping helps human rights advocates to plan possible intervention methods and to decide on the target audience. The main argument is that since multiple groups can use the tactical map for their target audiences and interventions the tactical map becomes a coordinating tool that is more comprehensive than when groups work independently. The article then outlines how the tactical mapping technique developed through a project by the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT). Tactical mapping helps human rights defenders to understand the complexity of relationships involved, potential targets for intervention, and potential allies and opponents. The article also outlines how to map relationships with simple tools at the grassroots level such as a paper with coloured pens and Post-its. Development in technological tools has made it easier to map the relationship between institutions and individuals. The tactical map provides not only a means to visualize the web of relationships in which human-rights abuses occur but also concrete new tactics to combat these violations.

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