Introducing: HRMI Ambassadors

Collaboration is a key value for us here at HRMI.

The initiative, and each key strategic step, have been co-created by human rights experts around the world.

At our most recent co-design workshop, in Johannesburg in September 2018, we came away with dozens of ideas for improving our work and making more impact. One of the ideas we are now putting in place, based on participants’ suggestions, is the new HRMI Ambassador role.

Why do we need Ambassadors?

HRMI’s aim is to produce human rights measurements for all the countries in the world. Our economic and social rights data comes mostly from already available data, that we then put together, analyse, and present in a new way. We currently have economic and social rights data for around 160 countries on our data site.

The civil and political rights data, though, needs to be collected directly from human rights experts in each country we’re working in. In 2019 we’ll collect data from 21 countries, and within a couple of years, depending on funding, we hope to expand to at least 160 countries.

To do this, we work with local partners – people who are part of the local human rights community, who live and breathe the local language and customs, and whose values are aligned with ours. These people play an important role in connecting HRMI to the local human rights community, and helping us make the connections we need to ‘get the snowball started‘.

What is the ‘snowball’? This is the method we use for identifying human rights experts in each country. We ask our local partners in each country to give us the names of human rights experts in the country who are qualified to be part of the data collection. Then we ask each of those nominated people a) to participate and b) to recommend others. And so the snowball grows.

As we expand, we want to make our relationships with these first contacts a bit stronger and more clearly defined. We’re inviting people who want HRMI to come to their country to volunteer to be HRMI Ambassadors, to help find expert survey participants and make sure we collect good data.

What will Ambassadors do?

We’re getting ready, right now, to roll out the 2019 civil and political rights research collection.

Here’s a timeline of what’s involved in being an Ambassador:

November-December 2018

Help us recruit potential survey respondents for your country.

We will ask you to:

  • send us (by a secure encrypted means that we will provide), the names and contact details of people you think meet our criteria for being survey respondents (such as NGO researchers or advocates, human rights lawyers, and journalists reporting on human rights issues).
  • put some thought into how we can actively recruit for diversity among the pool of survey respondents. For example, we want to make sure we have experts with knowledge of different language and ethnic groups, and a range of expertise regarding specific human rights issues, including gender, disability, LGBTQIA+, economic and social rights, and so on.
  • let us know if you are happy for us to use your name in our emails to survey respondents (this is optional).
  • advise us on the best dates in late January-February for us to start sending out the expert survey, avoiding local holidays and so on.

January 2019

  • If your country has languages other than English in common use, we might ask you to help us review the translation of the expert survey, and the emails that we will be sending to survey respondents.We use professional translators to translate these documents, but it is good to have someone who knows our work check these before we send them out.

Late January/Early February

  • Get in touch with any potential survey respondents who you know, to tell them the survey will be coming soon and encourage them to participate in the survey. You can do this by sending them a personal email or text message or by talking to them in person.
  • If needed we may also ask you to remind people again in February or March.

Join us and make a difference in your country!

You can be part of producing robust, extensive data on your country’s human rights performance that you can use in your advocacy and that others will also use to help bring about real improvement for people’s lives.

What are the stories you want to be able to tell about human rights violations in your country? HRMI data can help.

If you would like HRMI to be able to produce data for your country, either in 2019 or beyond, please get in touch.

Which countries need Ambassadors?

We would love to appoint Ambassadors for every country in the civil and political rights research pool. We have several Ambassadors in place or considering the role right now, with more needed.

That means we definitely want Ambassadors for the 13 countries already part of the study:

New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
United Kingdom

In 2019 we hope to add eight more countries. If we can confirm Ambassadors for all of them, the new countries will be:

Democratic Republic of Congo
South Korea
United States


Tunisia or another relatively stable country in the Middle East/Northern Africa region
One of these four countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands.

(For more background on how we are choosing the participating countries, see this article.)

If you are in one of these countries and might be interested in being the Ambassador, please contact us. If you are in another country and want to make a case for including yours in the next expansion (or in 2019 if we can’t get Ambassadors for some of these new ones), we’d also love to hear from you.

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