Tess Vanacker, Advocacy officer at Amref Flying Doctors and member of the Share-Net Netherlands Gender-Based Violence Community of Practice, describes how a little creativity and true authentic voices can turn a simple campaign into something beautiful.
Last year, the Share-Net Netherlands Community of Practice (CoP) on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) launched a social media campaign to mark the annual international 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign. During the 16 days, which begins with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and culminates on Human Rights Day, the GBV CoP used the global moment to highlight the theme of their campaign – how collaboration, solidarity and passion can end gender-based violence. The campaign collectivised voices from Share-Net members and their partners through, what they called, ‘Solidarity Narratives’.
Gathering many different voices to create a cohesive campaign that provokes you to want to join in the conversation is not an easy task. Giving space for authentic voices to shine through can be difficult to achieve in many campaigns. As Tess reflects, some organisations “tend to have these big fundraising campaign[s] with pre-defined narratives”. Working at an organisation that is led from the African continent, she recognizes the need, but oftentimes struggle, to bring authentic and diverse voices into advocacy and fundraising campaigns.
Yet, with the GBV CoP’s 16 days of Activism Against GBV campaign, Tess best described it as a campaign that was “very catchy and snippy and…really allowed for true voices, not just [a] perfectly organised fundraising campaign from the North.” As a Share-Net Netherlands member, she was able to contribute to the campaign and collaborate with members from all different types of backgrounds to create a series of narratives bringing forward unique aspects of the campaigns theme. With the support of the Share-Net secretariat, the GBV CoP were able to work with external consultants that provided the campaign with illustrations of each contributor. This was coupled with audio from each speaker to create a campaign where they each got to share their reflections and stories on the theme. While the visuals and audio series had a consistency that you could, as Tess puts, “recognise immediately”, the diversity in contributions and opinions still shone through.
Being part of this campaign with the GBV CoP was an experience Tess described as being something she found “really really nice” during the last year at Share-Net Netherlands! The campaign has inspired her to see how she can apply her experience and use a similar format to create a beautiful campaign where authentic voices can shine through at her organisation.
If you’re interested in the work our Community of Practice on Gender-Based Violence does, you can read more about them here.