Why Fight for Transparency? Publish What You Pay Activists Tell their Story.

December 19th, 2012

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) has been mapping the stories of our activists, explore them here. Publish What You Pay is an international group of civil society coalitions that advocate for financial transparency in the extractive industries. 

nullFor some time, we at PWYP have been exploring new ways to talk about the need for transparency in the extractive sector.  Communications in this field isn’t always the most obvious thing. It can be tricky to present a complex – and sometimes dry – subject in an engaging and accessible manner. Behind the jargon and the polysyllabic words lies a genuine – and exciting – fight for justice. How do we express the scale of what is at stake?

We realised that finding out what drives our activists – day in and day out – to campaign on this issue would highlight the human side of our work and get to the stories behind the campaign. We often speak in rather abstract terms of accountability and transparency, but here we were able to create pictures illustrating the effects of opacity and what transparency can deliver, whether activists were discussing their visits to mines in Mauritania or protecting the environment in Mongolia.

Aside from the content itself, part of our role as an International Secretariat is to amplify the national and local work our members do. We want people to see the diversity of our members and learn more about the specific contexts in countries – from Niger to Tajikistan – that might not always get a lot of coverage. We wanted to offer our audiences meaningful and relatable snapshots of why transparency is so important all over the world. Another important corollary was giving our activists the chance to tell their story.

Over the past year, we have been collecting interviews with our activists – usually during a quick five minute coffee break at a workshop or regional consultation. (As you’ll see from the map, we have had a lot of recent contact with our francophone Africa colleagues!). Rather than simply put the interviews up on our site, we decided to map them in order to make the information more engaging.

Our strength as a coalition lies in our members, so we were glad of the opportunity to have the voices of our activists heard.

Visit the map on PWYP’s site.

Written by Alice Powell

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