Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Coming together to #END Violence against Children

See what Saykoson Sanoubane, our communication officer, had to say about a recent creative workshop for UNICEF's #END Violence campaign which took place in Vientiane, Lao PDR:

A participant explains some group ideas
Ideas have the power to change, but finding that one idea that can inspire thousands, or even millions, to think differently is a big challenge. We began a process in Lao PDR to find this bright idea for a campaign to help stop violence against children, working with Government and civil society.

Like everywhere else in the world, violence against children is a real problem in Lao PDR where we recently discovered that three out of every four children experience a method of violent discipline. So our challenge was to find the idea that could help make people throughout the country understand that violence against children need not be the social norm and can and should be stopped.
I was fortunate enough to take part in a UNICEF creative workshop to start the process of building a joint campaign with people from many different backgrounds: we had dozens of people from international NGOs, women’s unions, youth associations, Government ministries, UN agencies and even embassies. Crucially, we also had a lot of young, energetic participants eager to give their creative input.

What was really important was ensuring that this was a Lao campaign, not a campaign designed by people outside Lao PDR for Lao people. Our aim was to adapt the UNICEF global #END Violence campaign to the local context. It had to make sense in Lao culture, it had to reflect Lao life. That’s why UNICEF held all of the group sessions in Lao language, and the outcomes were really impressive.

The workshop aimed to gather basic messages and slogan ideas for a campaign to stop violence against children, and after day one I could see the different groups bursting with creative ideas.

Sayksoson, right, discusses ideas with his group

I was facilitating a group of seven people from all different sectors. Having these people from different fields and backgrounds working together was a really exciting challenge. The discussions were lively and also helped us see some of the different viewpoints when it comes to tackling violence in homes.

As I stood next to our flip-chart with marker pen in hand it quickly became clear that there would be no shortage of ideas. In the first session I had to scribble down lines and lines of potential campaign names, slogans and messages. It was obvious to me that stopping violence against children is something everyone was passionate about.

What was also interesting was how each of the six different working groups had very different ideas and approaches. This was so valuable to the creative process because it gives everyone a wider view of different ways to communicate issues. We also had plenty of space to discuss the ideas between the different groups, reflect on what was good, what wasn’t so good, and even how we could borrow ideas from each other.

A participant draws characters for a potential media campaign

The two day workshop ended with some great campaign ideas. Each group narrowed their ideas down and the next steps will be to test them with the public to see what works, with the hope of ultimately forming a national campaign backed by UNICEF, international NGOs and the Lao Government. 

After the two days it was quite clear to me that many people in Lao PDR are ready to help end violence against children.

More photos can be seen on this slideshow:

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