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Review Communication Strategy of the

We Can End All Violence Against Women


Prepared by
Veerle Ver Loren van Themaat

Oxfam Novib

September 2009 (DRAFT VERSION)

Chapter 1: Introduction

The We Can End All Violence against Women Campaign or “We Can” is a campaign that aims to
make a fundamental shift in attitudes and beliefs that support violence and discrimination against
women and girls. The campaign mobilizes millions of individuals in South Asia to take a public stand
against violence against women and unites civil society organizations, communities, governments,
institutions, schools, and universities in the fight against violence against women. In 2004 the We Can
started in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Pakistan followed later and Afghanistan is making
a start at the moment. The campaign is originally developed by Oxfam GB in India in collaboration with
women’s organizations and other civil society organizations. Now, in
2009 the campaign has reached over 2.5 million changemakers and We Can End All Violence against Women
4000 organizations have joined the campaign in the South Asian Campaign, South Asia
The ‘We Can’ campaign seeks to trigger a
Its successful strategy of engaging other civil society organizations person-to-person chain reaction of change in
than women’s organizations in the fight against violence against attitudes and behavior, on a scale sufficient to
women and the focus on reaching ordinary men and women and generate a mass social movement to end
capacitating them to become change agents in their communities violence against women. People change when
have attracted Oxfam Novib to explore the possibility promote the they recognize something as their own
development of this type of campaigns in other regions. Currently the problem, and feel both that another way is
We Can campaign has been adapted and implemented in Kenya, possible and that they themselves are capable
Tanzania, Congo, Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Brazil, The Netherlands, of taking it. That process can be slow and
Canada and Indonesia. complicated. Someone who has been through
the same reflection and is making their own
This review is made to support the Indonesian We Can campaign. change can offer the best support and
Since 2007 Sam Perpenuan an Indonesia women’s organization example along that path. If enough individuals
network has been adapting the We Can framework to their local embark upon that change, and come together
context. Part of contextualizing the We Can framework is developing for mutual support and shared action, then a
a communication strategy. Sam Perpenuan has asked Oxfam Novib critical mass is attained that can influence and
to capacitate them on communication strategies and the transform the institutions, communities and
methodology that We Can South Asia applies. This review analyses society of which they are a part. Policy and
the communication strategy of the We Can, focuses on basic tips for legislative reforms may be indirect outcomes
developing communication materials, and gives recommendations of that process, and can often be
for the Indonesian organizations for the development of their adapted complementary, but they are not a direct
communication methodology. The report is accompanied with a DVD objective of ‘We Can’”.
that contains a variety of We Can materials that have been used and (
developed in different parts of the world.

1.1 The We Can campaign; its basics

The “We Can End All Violence against Women” (We Can) campaign,
is a campaign that wants to make a transformation in gender
inequitable social norms and practices because they are at the roots
of gender based violence. It asks people to make a public
commitment to promote gender equity within their own lives,
relationships and communities. It does so for two important objectives: all forms of violence against
women are unacceptable and violence against women is not a private but a public issue.
It wants to accomplish these two objectives by mobilizing ordinary men and women to demand
changes in their community’s en become agents of change; referred to as “changemakers”. The
campaign creates opportunities for these individuals or “changemakers” to question their own
assumptions and actions, to start their own transformation processes and to engage others in
discussions on gender equality and VAW. In South Asia a changemaker commits him or herself to
reach 10 other people to become a changemaker. It is hoped that We Can will generate a mass
movement which would eventually bring societies to a “tipping point”, when any form of violence
against women would be considered unacceptable.1 The strategy of using change agents to turn a
M. Raab We Can evaluation for Oxfam Novib, 2009.

private into a public matter – is facilitated by cross-sector alliances, standardized materials and
decentralized events.
The main features of the We Can campaign can be summed up as:

• raising mass awareness on the issue of gender bias and violence against women through a
host of conventional and unconventional methods making violence against women a visible
• bringing the issue of domestic violence from ‘private’ realms into the ‘public’ domain and
• Spreading two messages consistently: “Women are no less valuable than men” and “Violence
against women is unacceptable”.
• using Change Makers to challenge dominant stereotypes, male behavior patterns and gender
hierarchies and inequalities and also to provide alternate views of masculinity and
demonstrate more equal role models, behaviors and values
• engaging the community as a whole through mass mobilization programs to change norms
and practices that discriminate and perpetuate violence against women
• facilitating people to speak out, take a stand against violence against women and build
momentum for the campaign”

We Can has an integrated approach of combining (mass) media communication with community
mobilization to try to modify attitudes and beliefs that justify violence against women. This review will
show that We Can has developed reflective learning materials for individuals to analyze their
knowledge on gender issues and become aware of dominating attitudes and beliefs on existing gender
roles and stereotypes. The methodology of the communication material for the ‘changemakers’ is
explained in annex 2. Step by step the campaign takes the individual through a process of reflection to
make them capable of assisting others to undergo this similar “process of change” and become a
changemaker. However, an individual approach is not enough to modify and sustain changes in
attitudes and beliefs therefore the campaign uses mass media strategies such as; posters, radio
spots, soap opera, theater, and other cultural events. Mass media interventions strengthen the effect
of your campaign as research has shown that people are more likely to believe a message when they
hear it from more resources.2

While social change is a long term process, communication to educate and raise awareness are often
the first step in modifying attitudes and behaviors.3 Chapter 2 elaborates on how you can create
communication material to educate and raise awareness about violence against women. What are the
basics for developing good materials? How can you assure that your campaign develops catching
messages and that it accomplishes its goal? How can you prevent creating counterproductive
messages? What are basic ethics one should consider? To have this basic information and general
guidelines will help to understand the We Can’s communication strategy. It will also help other
organizations to analyze, adapt and improve if necessary the communication strategy to their local
context. Chapter 3 outlines We Can’s communication strategy, what kind of material and messages
they have developed and within which framework they developed educational material. Information
was gathered through interviews with key persons such as Santayan Sengupta director of
Thoughtshop Foundation, Malini Gupta We Can secretariat in Delhi and Carole Thiga, the Oxfam GB
We Can coordinator for Central Africa. Other information has been gathered through the We Can
website: Chapter 3 also captures lessons learnt about the communication
process; what are issues to consider when you start with your communication strategy? It will become
clear that there are many similarities between the campaigning approaches of chapter 2 and We Can.

Chapter 2 Tools for developing communication strategies and messages

There are a multitude of techniques of campaigning today. The campaigning handbook developed the
International Freedom of Expression Organization (IFEX) advises campaigners to go through the

UNIFEM, Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women. New York. 2003

UNIFEM, Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women. New York. 2003

steps of defining objectives, making a useful power analysis, developing a convincing communication
strategy and then using insights gained in this process to choose the activities that can best be used to
reach the objectives. IFEX emphasizes that developing a communication strategy is one of the most
important aspects of campaigning since all campaigning is about communicating and all
communication is about influencing (and being influenced) by other people. 4

This chapter summarizes some of the key components in developing communication strategies for
campaigning purposes. What are the basics requirements to build a communication strategy? How do
you develop communication material, what are the dos and don’ts and how can you make sure your
message reaches your audience? These issues will be discussed to gain a better understanding about
campaigning and position We Can within these frameworks to be able to adapt its communication
strategy to other local contexts.

2.1 Communication strategy

IFEX campaigning handbook emphasizes that before developing any communication strategy it is
important that four aspects are clear:5
1. What do you want to change?
2. Who has the power to make that change?
3. What can convince them to make that chance?
4. What should you do to convince them?

From those four questions only the third question is of importance in this review because that is your
communication strategy. Based on questions 1 and 2 you develop it. Once you know what you want to
change and who can make that change it is important to find ways to do that. According IFEX’s
handbook a communication strategy needs to be built with:

• The Key actors- identified in the power analysis

• The convincing message- the arguments you believe will be compelling enough so that you
target audience will make chance
• The platform- the mechanism with which you make your voice heard. Your organizations
reputation, its access to decision-makers and media, or eye-catching activities, are examples
of what can create a platform
• The Channel/Media- a description of what modes of communication will be used, e.g.
personal meetings, emails, advertisements, op-eds, etc
• Result/ Action- the communication needs to be very clear and precise about what type of
action you are expecting from each key actor.

All of these five components form an interconnected whole and there should be a certain level of
congruence between. They need to be developed together. 6
Result/ Action

The international freedom of expression exchange (IFEX), Campaigning for freedom of expression. A handbook
for advocates. p.9: 2005, Toronto. This handbook can be downloaded at:


The international freedom of expression exchange (IFEX) Campaigning for freedom of expression.
A handbook for advocates, Toronto, p.10-11: 2005.

Key actors Platform

Convincing Message Channels/Media

2.2 Materials and Messages

Once you have elaborated these five components, which will be quite similar for every We Can
campaign, your communication strategy is ready and you can develop your campaigning activities.
Campaigning activities should be developed out of the Communication Strategy so that they will be the
ones that show your message and bring it out to the public. Your message and the way how you show
it is crucial for your campaigns success and effectiveness. Knowing and understanding your audience
is the key to a successful communication. Famous sports brand like Nike and Adidas know exactly
who their publics are, what they like and how they can attract them. Knowing and understanding your
audience implies that you need to involve your audience in your communication development; from the
initial phase until the evaluation phase in order to understand what motivates them.

In 2003 UNIFEM developed a report on developing material and messages for violence against
women campaigns “Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women“.
The report identifies important lessons and elaborates on tips for organizations interested in designing
a campaign to stop violence against women. As paragraph 3.2 will demonstrate these tips and
guidelines are very similar to the ones applied by the We Can campaign.

UNIFEM identified the following basics for creating messages and slogans in campaigning against
violence against women7:

• Targeted for a specific group

• Focused on a specific problem
• Action-oriented
• Simple and to the point – less is more for ads and posters
• Appropriate to the target group and the actions you hope they will take/understanding they will
• Easy to understand – use local languages and common terms
• Attractive and interesting
• Prominently visible – people tend to remember more the first and last thing that they read, so
don’t bury the message in the middle of your materials
• Repetitive (research has shown that people are more likely to believe a message and
understand it if they hear it from more than one source)
• Reinforced through the use of a combination of media (i.e., a multiple channel, multimedia

Despite best intentions, the message people understand from a particular material is not
necessarily, or sometimes not at all, what you originally intended. Indeed, without consulting with
the intended audience, we run the risk not only that our materials will prove ineffective, but that
they might even offend or alienate particular groups. There are many stories that provide a clear
example of the unintended consequences of creating messages and materials, and how such
consequences can undermine your work. Symbols, colors, shapes, text and other design
elements of media and communications materials have the potential to evoke unintended feelings
UNIFEM. Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women. New York, p. 7:

and associations. However, there are simple, participatory ways of developing and pre-testing
materials so that intended messages come across loud and clear.

2.2.1 The necessity of pre-testing

Pre-testing can be done inexpensively by showing a draft version of the materials (for example, a
rough-cut of a television or video script) to the intended audience, and asking them questions to see if
they understand the concept and the message it was intended to convey. Materials with a substantial
amount of content, such as a long brochure or a book can be sent to colleagues interested in this kind
of work for their own purposes.
When people have an incentive to take the time to read the materials they are more likely to give
feedback. Sometimes, providing small incentives – copies of publications or written
acknowledgments– to reviewers can demonstrate appreciation as well as acknowledge the importance
of their feedback. Since We Can is built upon volunteerism small monetary payments are not in line
with their strategy, but trying to engage people and emphasizing their importance for the campaign
can also be stimulating incentives.

The purpose of pre-testing is to give you a sense of the different kinds of reactions people may have
towards your materials. Even if you don’t pre-test with many people, it is important to show your
materials to people from different backgrounds who may see very different things. Once you show
them to a variety of people and get a consensus from your audience, you should be able to stop.
There’s no need for ‘analysis paralysis’ when testing materials. 8

As explained in the previous paragraph for the success of your message it is crucial that you include
your audience in a participatory manner, since they are the ones that have to make a change. Pre-
testing We Can material can be done by men and women of different age, ethnicity and social-
economical background, but also community workers, NGO’s, service providers to abused women,
psychologist, etc. The material of the We Can campaign in South Asia is constantly tested and
adjusted. The engagement of changemakers in the designing and monitoring phase supports the
periodic sharing and analysis of materials, their function and effect in a participatory way. It also
includes field experiences. According UNIFEM, stakeholders as well as professional writers, artists
and technical specialists should be consulted in this process to help to create slogans and messages.
We Can South Asia emphasizes as well the importance to work with professional designers and
campaigners or with NGO’s that have prior experience in communication. They have the experience
and knowledge on designing and your organization has the knowledge on the public; you can than
jointly develop the message and materials.

Deciding on messages is a critical stage. In the case of We Can India some of the ideas on what
needs to be communicated followed from an elaborate exercise to evaluate the impact of the first
stage of the campaign. “The results were quite eye-opening for everyone involved and the evaluation
helped to identify subtler messages. But this was a very hard, time consuming process. In other
cases, messaging was largely decided based on the needs of various organizations. For example, a
lot of the content decisions on the urban kit followed from Thought shop Foundations own experiences
of working with young people. Periodic sharing and analysis of field experiences, and articulating
emerging communication needs is essential, so that produced material is more widely usable”.
(Santayan, Thoughtshop Foundation).

2.2.2 Designing and pre-testing materials9

Pre-testing print materials can be done in a simple, inexpensive manner by showing a version of them
(either a rough draft with text along with some examples of illustrations, or a typeset document with
rough graphics in place) to a sample of your intended audience before the final version is produced.

UNIFEM. Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women. New York. 2003.

This paragraph has been adapted from UNIFEM “Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End
Violence against Women. New York. P. 12-13: 2003.

When pre-testing, the most important issues to determine are audience comprehension of the
message, attraction to the product, its acceptability to them and their personal involvement with the

• Does the audience understand the key message of the material and what action they can take
to follow up?
• How suitable are the words used?
• What is the meaning or relationship of the visuals to the text?

• What kind of feelings does the material generate?
• Is it engaging, does it shock in a powerful but positive way, or is it a turnoff?
• What does your audience feel about the color and the layout?

• Is the material compatible with local culture or would it offend or put off the intended audience
in any way?
• Would the hairstyles, clothing, etc, of the people portrayed offend the audience?
• Is the depiction realistic?
• What is its personal relevance?
• Can the audience see themselves carrying out the actions called for in the materials?

In paragraph 3.2 we will see that We Can developed similar tools to interpret people’s reaction during

2.2.3 Focus group discussion

Focus group discussion can help to assure that your messages are effective and clear.
UNIFEM (2003:14) describes focus groups as carefully planned discussions designed to obtain
perceptions on a defined area of interest in a permissive, non-threatening environment. They can be
used for:

• Probing into people’s feelings, opinions, and perceptions of a topic or issue

• Indicating the range of a community’s beliefs, ideas and opinions
• Gaining baseline information
• Designing question guides for individual interviews and questions for structured interview
• Evaluating programs

Paragraph 3.2.2 elaborates how We Can uses this tool in South Asia. In developing story lines and
messages We Can used focus groups discussions to indicate existing attitudes and beliefs that justify
violence against women; what kind of practices people experience in daily life and how do they
respond to that. Understanding this, means involving the community, designers and organizations in
the development of the material. Community members and organizations can help the designers to
develop pictures that truly reflect daily circumstances and draw locations and personalities that are
real. Focus group discussions can be used as tool during the preparation and pre-testing period to
make sure you obtain the desired effect. 10

2.2.4 Distribution strategies

The We Can campaign has used the focus group discussions also for their baseline; this baseline is available
through the OGB office in Kenya.

Because this report just gives an overview of some of the campaign strategies and components that
can be used for the Oxfam Novib supported We Can campaigns in countries outside South Asia, I will
just quickly elaborate on the distributing aspects. People interested to read more about enrolling a
campaign are advised to check the full UNIFEM report, available at: or download the Amnesty
International campaigning manual, available at:

The UNIFEM report (2003) also elaborates on distributing strategies. For instance if you use print what
kind of mail or postal system does your country have, is it affordable and reliable? Since We Can
focuses on rural communities, Indonesia particular on fishing communities, you have to make sure
your products also reach audiences in remote and rural areas. This has to be included in your
communication strategy.
The We Can also uses mass media interventions, Bangladesh produced a soap opera and in India
they have developed a video clips promoting message of non violence. The We Can campaign in
Indonesia has planned various media channels to spread their message and also Latin America plans
to use mass media interventions. Within that context it is important to consider 11:

• Why are you making this video, who do you hope will see it and how will they see it?
• Do they have access to the proper equipment?
• What is the number of groups in your target audience and how many times do you expect
them to watch the video?
• How many copies will you make and do you plan to sell them or give them away? If, for
example, your audience is small and you expect they may only watch once or twice, video is
expensive and not necessarily the most practical way of getting your message across. 15

An important issue to think about when planning for television or radio distribution is the public service
policy of your particular country regarding free airtime. In some countries, television and radio stations
are required to devote a certain amount of airtime free of charge for public service issues. Determining
your country’s policy is critical since in many places paying for airtime is more expensive than paying
for the actual production of your show or public service announcement. However, it is also important to
understand the needs of the local media station. For example, you may ask the station for free airtime,
but the station may be struggling financially as well and may have difficulty complying. If the station
does comply, consider the usefulness of the timeslot that they offer you. Will your program or ad be
broadcast at a time in which your stakeholders will be actively watching or listening? 12 If your
organizations have no experience in using educational edutainment or other media interventions look
for organizations that have experience and they might be able to assist you. Even sometime
commercial agencies are willing to help local organizations in brand time as means of ‘corporate social

2.2.5 Ethical approaches

In its report UNIFEM, with contribution of women’s organizations, set out grounds rules that one
should bear in mind when developing a campaign against violence against women. For example,
raising awareness of women’s rights when corresponding services do not exist or are not adequate
can lead to frustration at best, increased danger at worst. Publicizing a woman’s experience without
properly concealing her identity may further increase her vulnerability, and must be done without
further violating or exploiting her in the process. The bullet points below provide a series of ethical
considerations when creating your materials:13

UNIFEM “Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women”. New York. 2003

UNIFEM “Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against Women”. New York. 2003

• Make the safety and well being of all women, individually and collectively, the first priority
• Recognize that gender inequality and discrimination lie at the heart of gender based violence
and must be addressed
• Be alert for unintended/intended consequences, e.g. prepare for the likelihood that survivors
will come forward seeking assistance, even if this was not an intended result of the strategy,
and be ready to assist them.
• Coordinate with local services to extend the possible
• Offer messages that demonstrate how gender equality and non-violence benefit the entire
• Find constructive and positive ways to involve men without jeopardizing women’s safety and
• Avoid simplistic analyses, e.g. that poverty, alcohol or low social status cause gender-based
• Offer direct messages and depictions but never use messages that exploit, stigmatize or
• Create materials that reflect positive role models, interactions and behaviors regarding
gender-based violence
• Be part of an ongoing effort rather than a ‘one off’ campaign

2.3 Best practices on behavioral change strategies

In 2007 The Latin America bureau of Oxfam Novib consulted Alessandra Guedes to document
lessons learnt on behavior change initiatives that address gender-based violence. The Latin
American bureau felt it necessary to integrate best practices on behavior change strategies in the
development of the We Can campaign in Latin America to ensure that the campaign will elaborate
on existing experiences. Nine initiatives based in LAC and three initiatives based in Africa were
profiled in that paper. The examples offer important lessons that may help future programs from
avoiding potential pitfalls inherent in this work (A. Guedes, 2007). 14 Table 1 summarizes possible
pitfalls and potential strategies to avoid those pitfalls. It is good that organizations consider them
when they are in the phase of adapting We Can to their country and/ or region. You will see that
these lessons have a considerable overlap with the checklist of UNIFEM, which strengthens the
importance of adhering or at least considering all these elements when developing programs or
campaigns that aim to change attitudes and practices to eliminate gender-based violence.

Table 1

Summary of possible pitfalls when employing behavior change approaches to address gender
violence and potential strategies to contemplate them.15

Possible pitfalls Potential strategies to avoid pitfalls

Implementing top down initiatives that are pre-  Involve the local community in identifying local
conceived without participation of local priorities and possible solutions
organizations and communities  Find out what has been done before to address
gender-violence in that particular location

 Find out who are the individuals and organizations

that have been active in this area and involve
them in ALL steps of the process (identifying and

UNIFEM. ibid

Guedes, Alessandra “Behavior change strategies for addressing gender-based violence in Latin America and
the Caribbean” 19-20: 2007, Oxfam Novib

Guedes, Alessandra “Behavior change strategies for addressing gender-based violence in Latin America and
the Caribbean” 19-20: 2007, Oxfam Novib

understanding GBV, devising interventions,
monitoring and evaluating change.

Transposing culturally inappropriate initiatives  Consider the need to adapt initiatives imported
that were successful in other settings from other settings
 Involve the local community in determining the
appropriateness of an intervention imported from
other contexts

 Involve the local community and organizations in

making the necessary adaptations
Imposing particular behaviors  Challenge existing norms and lead individuals and
communities to think through the consequences
these may have on their daily lives

 Equip them with the knowledge and capacity to

make informed choices
Overlooking the importance of involving men as  Invite the participation of men and boys and
allies organizations that work with men
 Address men and boys as part of the solution and
not part of the problem

 Do not vilify men

Creating a demand for services which the  Mobilize existing structures (health services,
community is unprepared to meet women’s groups, etc) and organizations in the
community to collaborate on providing a
comprehensive response to survivors.
Causing harm through the unexpected  Ensure the cultural relevance of initiatives
consequences of particular interventions  Engage local organizations and individuals in the
design and implementation of strategies
 Monitor and evaluate continuously

 Be willing to recognize mistakes, to re-direct

initiatives and to halt actions that may lead to
potential harm
Employing images and messages that are  Carry out formative research in the local
culturally inappropriate or irrelevant or that communities
reinforce existing stereotypes such as the
‘macho’ man or the woman ‘victim’.  Validate materials with members of the target
populations to avoid unintended interpretations
Possible pitfall Possible solution
Focusing on a narrow issue or on a single  Employ multiple strategies to change community
strategy that will reach a limited segment of the norms, including, but not limited to community
community involvement, local media and advocacy, local
activism, communication materials, etc.
Overlooking existing groups and initiatives in  Recognize that gender violence is intrinsically
related areas related to a number of other health and
developmental issues (HIV/AIDS, safe
motherhood, etc.)
 Identify actors involved in this work and establish
collaborative partnerships that enable the
implementation of integrated solutions

 Whenever possible, integrate these other issues
of concern within the same initiative
Underestimating the challenge and time  Make long-term investments and sustained efforts
required to promote greater gender equity that recognize the time required to change norms
and attitudes about gender and violence

 Employ multiple strategies that address these

changes at individual, relationships, community
and societal levels
Expecting easily quantifiable indicators within a  Have realistic expectations of what a program can
short amount of time achieve within different time frames
 Understand that this is a new field and that a lot
needs to be learned about how to promote and
measure change
 Understand that change is the result of multiple
efforts and that it may be difficult to attribute
causality to the effort of any single initiative

 Contribute to the field of knowledge in this area by

prioritize investments in rigorous, long-term
evaluations and in documenting success as much
as failure

Chapter 3 The We Can End All violence against women campaign (We

In the previous chapter important aspects of designing a campaign have been reviewed such as
developing a communication strategy, pre-testing material and ethical aspects in desging a campaign
against violence agianst women. Different studies show that a participatory approach, including your
audience in design and monitor and evaluation, mobilizing existing structures, engaging men and
boys, multisectorial interventions and developing clear messages are key elements in the success of
your campaign.
The following chapter will look at how the We Can campaign has developed their communication
strategy and whether this overlaps with what has been stated in chapter 2. What kinds of materials
have been developed, by whom and is that inline with the campaign? How does We Can uses group
discussions, how does can we test the material and what are important lessons when implementing
the campaign? Are their messages clear and do they mobilize existing structures?

3.1 The We Can Communication strategy

“Never forget that to ensure a consistently high standard; it is essential that the fundamental
communication principles of the campaign be fully understood by the creative teams developing the

The We Can campaign is a campaign directed at influencing attitudes and beliefs that justify violence
and discrimination against women. It does not advocate for juridical changes. The We Can campaign
targets ordinary men and women to take a public stand against violence against women. Based on
those premises We Can has developed two central messages: “women are no less valuable than
men” and “violence against women is unacceptable”. They are disseminated through centrally
developed communication materials. The materials attempt to capture a wide audience, raise
questions and stimulate critical reflection rather than providing standardized answers. Women are not
depicted as victims, but as individuals capable of making change. Men are not “blamed and shamed”,
but represented as capable of ending VAW. “The communications methods and materials are crucial
to the effectiveness of the Campaign, and are designed to
enable the kind of thinking about violence against women
which questions personal assumptions and socially Engaging Men and Boys
accepted positions.” (M. Raab, ON 2009, Evaluation ON and
we can). From its beginning We Can
has emphasized that it wants
to engage ordinary men and
Although the We Can campaign has a broad audience women, and that men play an
initially the material focused on poor rural and urban (slum) important role in the
communities but after a while there was a need to have tools campaign. Till today men
appropriate for urban, educated audiences, especially young make up to 40% of the
people. In order to attract a wider audience and have them changemakers. A. Guedes
critically analyze their own behavior, it wasUrban youth have recommends in her report
other interests, preoccupations, level of education, etc. that the involvement of men
Indian urban youth have internet and television therefore in behavioral change based
organizations developed a DVD, based on a famous programs should be in ways
television program in India “Who wants to be a millionaire”. that show men as being part
This DVD is a game that comes with a set of questions of the solution and not of the
about gender, violence and discrimination of women and problem. Their involvement
girls and forms of cultural practices that are discriminating can have a reverse effect as
against women and girls. We Can also develop other some alliances in Central
interactive material on dvd and uses other means such as Africa experienced when men
facebook to reach urban educated audiences. Especailly were taking over the
media and ICT are strong means. In general We Can does organisation of the campaign.
seem to appeal more to young people and they appear more Women felt overshadowed
receptive to change. Young people are creative advocates and became less involved.
for change and play an important role in achieving gender Unequal powerbalances
equality. between men and women
should therefore not be
3.1.1 The different phases of We Can underestimated but regularly
The We Can communication strategy aims to:

Engage individuals and communities’ in personal and collective processes of reflective and critical
thinking to inspire and encourage and enable positive change in attitudes and behaviors that
perpetuate gender discrimination and violence against women. So that men, women and children can
enjoy their right to live free of violence16

The We Can campaign is built upon the project of the Ugandan based organisation Raising Voices. In
the earlier stages Raising Voices framed the communication strategy for the We Can. 17The Raising
Voices Manual “Mobilising Communities to Prevent Domestic Violence. A resource guide for
M. Gupta, We Can secretariat, Oxfam GB India, Delhi.

organisations in East and Southern Africa” by L. Machau and D. Nakar is a very useful and informative
guide for organisations that want to understand the strategy of We Can. This paragraph explains how
We Can communication strategy has been constructed around Raising Voices’ model of change (see
picture below).

The We Can communication strategy is build upon the stages of

changes model. On a similar vein the campaign communication were planned in three phases. It starts
with a community assessment (pre-contemplation), which is followed by a period of awareness raising.
In this period campaigning material is being developed that name violence and educate people about
the different forms of violence against women. The second period consist of taking action, building
networks and material was being developed that should trial behavior, by challenging attitudes and
practices. In the third phase of the campaign, integrating action and consolidating efforts, material
should be developed that promoted sustained behavior.

The initial idea was that each phase would span roughly two years, with communication material
developed for that particular phase. Reviewing later the campaign did not keep such strict divisions
and produced material overlapped a bit. The phased communication strategy should provide
communication materials that support the different campaign phases and changemakers progression
through the different stages in the process of change. It is therefore important to identify key focus
messages for the different campaign phases and design materials that emphasize those messages.

3.2 Communication tools

The We Can Campaign communication tools to date fall into three main groups:

• Campaign identity materials (e.g. bumper stickers and rickshaw plates, t-shirts, branded change
maker bags, badges, pennants and wristbands) – these serve as conversation-openers, raise
campaign profile and provide a visible identity to change makers.
• Messages (e.g. billboards, murals and paintings on water tanks, songs, calendars, posters and
handbills) – these are primarily designed to raise awareness and make people think.
• Interactive learning materials (e.g. graphical discussion guides, story books, games, street theatre)
– these aid conscious understanding by provoking further reflection, providing additional information,
making links with inequality as the cause of VAW, and suggesting that there are things people can do
about it.

Common tools developed for use throughout the South Asia campaign to date have been the logo and
strap line, poster and videos, the campaign website and a newsletter, and change maker books
recounting stories of personal experiences. The We Can campaign has a specific logo and color that
is being used in all South Asian campaigns. Some of the African countries have kept the logo but
The poster, but the communication approach and the model of change applied by 'We Can' were developed on
the basis of the work by the Uganda-based organization Raising Voices (, with significant
adaptation and further innovation to meet the challenges of a mass campaign. More detail on the communication
principles and strategy is given in the South Asia campaign strategy paper, and advice and checklists are
available in the resource book published on the Raising Voices website and on the accompanying DVD (see
annex 1).

changed the color to purple to distinguish and create their own. Initially it was thought that this would
jeopardize the campaigns visibility and global connection but the African organizations emphasized
their need to increase the African identity to the campaign and changed the color. Other countries and
regions have their logo. In addition, national and local alliances have developed various products in all
three categories for their own use, often reflecting specific national issues and concerns (e.g. honor
killing in Pakistan, trafficking in Nepal). The strength of the We Can campaign is that it has developed
a set of standardized communication materials but that these can easily be adapted to local contexts.
Each country can have specific issues that they want to address. The campaign in South Asia has
adapted several materials originally developed by Raising Voices for use in East Africa. Similarly,
communication tools created for one South Asian country have repeatedly been replicated for use in
others, with the necessary adjustments of language, storyline and details of dress and setting, thereby
capitalizing on the considerable investment of time, funds and energy that goes into developing strong
materials. While adaptation is necessary to produce effective educational material, materials must
adhere to certain basics to maintain the campaigns visibility and global recognition, discussed in
chapter 3.2.1.

Picture 1 Poster adapted from Raising Voices that demonstrates the community engagement and is part of the
learning material.18

2.2.1 Elaboration of Material and Testing:

Considerable time and thought, and the efforts of communications experts, have gone into developing
clear and unambiguous messages and materials to avoid misinterpretation. Moreover, for the reasons
set out above, the campaign itself is careful not to prescribe courses of action or propose ready-made
answers to the problems of violence against women which might be misinterpreted. As a result, there
are no known instances of problems arising from a misreading of the campaign's intent (e.g. vigilante
action in the name of 'We Can' for instance the name We Can has been translated to all local
languages in South Asia, or a misrepresentation of campaign goals bringing 'We Can' into disrepute).

What will always be the case, on the other hand, is that people will relate the messages to their own
situation, experience and beliefs and come to their own conclusions. Their understanding will also
evolve over time. The role of 'We Can' can only be to inform, question and support. Some of the early
materials tended towards a dramatic representation that was visually powerful but offered no
possibility of change and placed women in the position of helpless victims. In the interim, the South
Asia campaign has combined commissioning artists who have worked on similar communication
materials elsewhere and establishing relationships with local artists over time.
An important lesson learnt is that assigning communications development to a specific resource
person at the national level can help to maintain consistency of approach.

Power point presentation Communication Strategy We Can, made by We Can secretariat, Oxfam
GB, India.





a positive
of violence in
Shows forms
broadly, is

sense of hope

Sense of

relate to the

want to know
Make them

the issue
Curious about

individuals and community to recognise, reflect and relate to their own

experiences and critically think of their beliefs and practice in the light of a new
• Recognise that individuals and communities will be willing to change if it feels that
change is positive and possible,
• Be attractive and clear in their message
• Present situations and characters people can identify with
• Ask questions and encourage people to think for themselves, rather than telling them
what to think or do
• Present ordinary women and men as capable of taking action to change their
• Avoid stereotypes and representations that demean women or men or present
women as powerless victims
• Recognise that domestic violence affects everyone- women, men and children.
• Believe that women and men are equally entitled to dignity, respect, freedom and
• Belief that society needs to recognise VAW as a violation of women’s basic rights.

3.2.2 Testing the materials: Framework for analyzing communication material

Since people respond and react in different manners Raising Voices has developed a framework for
analyzing communication material. These four blocks help you understand the reaction of testpersons
and redesign the material as necessary. One can broadly divide the audience response under the

• Feel: referring to the emotions that are aroused in the viewer

• See: refers to the visual impact on the viewer
• Think: refers to the thoughts/ reflections in the mind of the audience
• Do: practical action points that the audience / target group


Power point presentation We Can communication strategy, We Can secretariat, Oxfam GB, India

Start the process of self change
Question –
practices and Discuss the issue in my family
culture and circle of friends and
If men and
women are Seek more information and/or
equal, then support
why does
violence Following key ideas on creating
happen? communications materials on
violence against women
Does this emerged from the discussions:
happen in my
house/life, Maintain dignity of characters
have I done
Portray the positive
Help viewers engage
are possible –
question and
reflect upon Avoid blaming and accusations
the norm
Get people talking, encourage
them to think and feel

3.3 Interactive learning

The interactive learning materials are developed for individual users, “changemakers”, who use the
material for their own development and as tools during workshops and meetings to stimulate
discussion and engage new people with the campaign. Usually these materials are derived from the
changemaker’s KIT as an enlargement of a card or picture from the working book. The interactive
learning material questions cultural patterns, prescribed behavior and existing attitudes and beliefs
that support violence and discrimination against women and girls. It is educational material that should
promote and sustain changes made by changemakers.

3.3.1 Changemakers KIT

The Changemakers get a kit that contains educational communication material or interactive learning
material (e.g. graphical discussion guides, story books, games, street theatre). These materials aid
conscious understanding by provoking further reflection, providing additional information, making links
with inequality as the cause of VAW, and suggesting that there are things people can do about it. The
changemaker kit is developed by the Indian organization ThoughtShop Foundation, experienced in
developing communication material with youth development and gender issues, in close collaboration
with Oxfam GB. The kit contains 10 workbooks that follow a specific methodology, explained in Annex
2. The books are counted from 1 till 10 and each one addresses a specific issue. The success of these
working books resides in the methodology, the accessibility, clear images and the amount of self
determination; you do not need anyone to help you. The whole set reflects the theory of change; after
raising awareness comes reflection on behavior and attitudes and the last series give the reader tools
to change behavior.

While the working books make up an important part of the changemakers kit it also contains booklets
with story lines and posters that can be used in groups discussions. Each country can add material as
long as the production costs of the kit remains maximum one dollar; the equivalent of the production
costs of one changemaker kit in South Asia. This is incredibly low for what it contains; working books,
poster, campaign identity material like buttons and clip, and a bag to carry it. 20

The development process of the material for the changemakers kit began with field visits and
interactions with a range of rural men, women and fieldworkers at various levels of understanding and
engagement with gender issues. Subsequently, a team (comprising representatives from Oxfam
partner organizations from Jharkhand and Orissa) was created. Partners were involved all through the
development process – whetting the scenarios for the picture cards- adding and contributing details
that would help develop the situations. They also became the core group of trainers who took the work
forward. The entire process was over 8 months or so. And the participatory approach was very
effective. During the development process an important lesson learnt was that the campaign had to
use so many situations to establish that VAW exists –they felt the need to have at least some images
that challenged the situation. (Exercise 3 in the toolkit). These images illustrate cultural customs and
traditional roles for men and women in a reversed way. In India pictures show an old woman marrying
a young boy as an example of child marriage where young girls are married out to older men. Other
cards show a man doing the dishes and a woman sitting smoking a cigarette, in India smoking is a
masculine habit. This appeared to be very effective. Images that mirror situations add a humoristic
element and promote dialogue in an “open and light” way. The cards for the changemakers working
book were tested at regular intervals in the field to check the community response and interpretations
– since the entire tool was based on pictures – it was important that the pictures were interpreted with
intended meaning.21 (Santayan Sengupta, director Thoughtshop Foundation, Calcutta). The
methodology of this toolkit along with its images is explained in Annex 2.

The production cost of the Kenyan and Tanzanian changemakers kit are around 5$ and the estimated cost of
the kit in Latin America would be approximately 7$. These differences have their effect on budgets and on the
way the kit will be used. Both Latin America and Indonesia are developing a more profound role for the
changemakers that will reduce quantity.

The toolkit was initiatlly desginged for rural areas, these areas represent a high percentage of analphabetics
therefore material should be visually clear.

3.4 Group discussions

The booklets contain story lines. These stories are developed on basis of true stories gathered by field
researches. The desk review, previous to the field research, in East and Central Africa concluded that
across the three study countries, the views held of women and the traditional cultural practices
contribute to the magnitude of the problem of VAW in these countries. They used the findings from the
desk review to develop a uniform study protocol that guided the field study. The field study gathered
data through a combination of semi structured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The
communities and participants represented diverse socio-economic, political and demographic
backgrounds. While there were demographic similarities among the participants, the specific contexts
of their lives were disparate. In Uganda, participants included displaced people living in refugee camps
(here-after referred to as “camps”—specifically for internally displaced people-IDPs) and those living in
regular communities. Data collection in Tanzania was conducted in a semi-urban, fishing community
with selected key informants within that community chosen purposefully for interviews, and eventually
for the We can Alliance’s VAW campaign. In Kenya, the field work study took place in Mathare—in
Nairobi—the community where We Can Alliance was preparing to launch the VAW campaign. Overall,
Mathare represents a demographically diverse, cosmopolitan setting. It includes
sections/neighbourhoods with high poverty levels, as well as wealthier sections. In brief, the sample
for this field study comprised of IDPs displaced as a result of war and living in camps; people living in
regular communities; in school and out-of-school youth; single, married, and widowed women and
men; nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers; and community leaders. 22

Generally, respondents were selected based on their work in the community, level of influence in the
community, gender and age. Specifically, for the focus group discussions, study participants included
political aspirants, women leaders, community and social development officers, community based
organizations leaders, male and female youth, male youth out of school, men living with HIV, female
youth out of school, single mothers, married women, freelance journalists, male and female youth in
secondary school and female bar attendants. For the in-depth interviews, we purposely selected a
sample consisting of community leaders/perceived opinion leaders, and community activists. Thus, the
sample—for in-depth interviews—included a male elder, a city council social welfare officer, a women
leader, a male social activist, a religious leader, a proprietor of a school, a local chief and a free lance
journalist. 23

They way group discussions are organized differ per organization, person or situation. Some prefer
separate discussion groups for women and men others find it more effective to work with mixed
groups. Experiences with organizations addressing gender based violence usually find it more
productive to have separate groups for women and men and later on work with mixed groups. This is a
decision of every organization but organizations should be aware that not all women feel save to
discuss violence against women issues in the presence with men, and vice versa. Men and women
will present different issues as they experience discrimination and violence against women differently.
Men and boys have to adhere to dominating patriarchal structures in society that determine their
conducts and beliefs. For instance, a storyline from Kenya demonstrated that young girls feel obliged
to have sex with a boy when they go out and he pays for a drink. The boys considered this to be
normal but the girls in the groups indicated this as one of their major concerns. For them it felt like
rape, they had no choice of saying no, it was expected of them, and when they did not want to have
sex men violently forced themselves upon them. For the girls this was a daily experience of not
recognized form of gender based violence. The boys felt it was in their right. This example reflects
unequal power balances between young boys and girls growing up in poor urban communities, and
has been used as a storyline for campaigning material.

The individual stories that emerge during these group discussions can be very revealing, reflecting
daily life and the burden it carries for women and girls. Therefore the storylines are literally used in the
Interview with CaroleThiga and Stella Maranga, coordinators of the We Can campaign ECA, OGB Kenya Office
(Kampala, July, 2008).

Interview with CaroleThiga and Stella Maranga, coordinators of the We Can campaign ECA, OGB Kenya Office
(Kampala, July, 2008).

booklets; the essence is to develop material people can relate to. The stories, the setting, the clothing
and the language reflect the daily life of the people you want to reach and thus can create the impact
that you are aiming for. During the process of designing, the designer is always in contact with a test
group. A test group consists of people that will be engaged in the campaign such as young boys and
girls, parents, youth workers, religious leaders, etc. Thus, the test group doe not only exists of the
target group but also of other key actors.

When comparing We Can communication development consisting of field researches, group

discussion, testing and pretesting, we see a similar process of what is explained in 2.2. Including your
audiences in the production of campaigning material, knowing what affects them, what their daily
problems are and how they try to resolve it are all part of We Can’s strategy. These processes are
very thorough and therefore time consuming, but without proper preparation you run the risk of
developing material that has no appeal to people or worse, has the opposite effect on people. As a
recommendation to anyone interested in developing or adapting We Can in their region they should be
aware that these processes set out above are the key to your success. As one We Can employers told
me ‘it takes time and patience but the results are rewarding’. We could summarize the first steps to be
taken as:

Selecting your campaigning area conducting a (desk) baseline conducting a field

baseline trying to discover people feelings, opinions, perceptions and attitudes engaging
professional designers in the process selecting key informants group discussions
developing materials testing adjusting testing finalizing.

3.5 Messages and Campaign Identity

Besides the interactive learning material the We Can campaign has developed campaign identity
material to make the campaign visible and to raise awareness about Violence against women. When
designing a campaign it is crucial, in order for people to recognize your campaign, you consistently
use colors, logo and messages. The We Can campaign in South Asia makes in its communication
strategy a distinction between messages and campaign identity material:

“Campaign identity materials are bumper stickers and rickshaw plates, t-shirts, branded change maker
bags, badges, pennants and wristbands, these serve as conversation- openers, raise campaign profile
and provide a visible identity to change makers.
Messages are e.g. billboards, murals and paintings on water tanks, songs, calendars, posters and
handbills, these are primarily designed to raise awareness and make people think.” 24


3.6 Lessons learnt communication strategy of the We Can

For organizations that are starting We Can there are some lessons that We Can staff have shared,
guidelines that can help you through the communication process. The lessons sum up what has been
discussed throughout this review as in chapter 2 within the theory of some campaigning.

I. Adhere to the 5 essences when developing communication material: do not offend, picture in
a positive way, ask question that promote reflection, avoid stereotypes and make attractive
II. If we are saying that violence is not acceptable, then what is? If violent behaviour is not
acceptable, what are the behavior patterns that are acceptable? If we want a better society
what does this society look like? What do people in this society believe? It is important to
include those ideas when developing communication material. Show people alternative views,
believes and behaviours, but also what the benefits are of non violent behaviour.
III. Work with professional designers and engage them in the entire project. Make sure that they
will be in engaged in further stages so that they can develop new material and material for
other audiences. Working with the same people and organizations promotes continuity in the
design of the material, recognition of the campaign, and therefore increase the effectiveness
of your campaign.
IV. Appoint someone in the alliance for the communication material, he or she will be in a charge
of coordinating this process.
V. Work in a participatory process. This means involving the community, designers and
organizations in the development of the material. Community members and organizations can
help the designers to develop pictures that truly reflect daily circumstances and draw locations
and personalities that are real.
VI. It is essential that material is pre tested and tested by its future users before it will be

3.7 Mobilizing people for social change

One of the vital challenges within the We Can campaign is getting changemakers engaged. How can
you have them sign up? How can you reach so many people? How can you mobilize people for social

Though South Asia has a dense population making changemakers figures impressive the We Can
campaign has reached an enormous amount of people and organisations, producing its success to
backdonors. The looseness of the campaign and the informal structure make it possible to grow in
many fields and different directions, atracting a diverse range of people. Besides its loose structure the
campaign looks for new ways to make their campaign visible to the public, some examples are:
participation in art fares, mass rallies and debates, group discussions, sketching competitions on the
issue of violence against women, changemakers assembly, theatre, cultural events, public events, etc.
We Can is structured through multi sectorial alliances, the enagegment of organistions that have no
prior knowledge and/ or experience with gender brings in new groups of people and places to show
the campaign and its message. This also brings new ideas of mobilizing people. For instance the
involvment of a law firm opens up a new field of possible changemakers that use their own net work to
engage people. If your network is wide and diverse, your goal is clear and you give sufficient freedom
in creativity to individuals to find ways to engage audiences, the more chance of an icrease in
outreach. An important way to engage and mobilize people is through ICT, using facebook for instance
is an effective tool to mobilize people for a common goal. It has also demonstrated to be an effective
means of spreading informationto which comes across people as reliable.

Though Astroturfing, political or private campaigns that seek to create the impression of being
spontaneous "grassroots" behavior, is seeking to create the impression of being grassroot and We

Can aims is to be grassroot, their strategy of mobilzing people is interesting and succesful.
Powermaps of influential people and the use of mass media and ICT to personally address and
engage people are renown through history. During his election campaign Barack Obama used this
approach as well. When mobilizing people you to have a good and clear website, simple and to the
point material, multi sectorial alliances, freedom for creativity and resources to make them happening.
As an alliance secretariat it is advisable to also look for partnerships within the corporate sector,
violence against women might be something they want to contribute to. They can sponsor publicity
cost, help to position the campaign in their network and mobilize others to contribute resources to the
We Can

Chapter 4 Conclusions

In the previous chapters I have outlined brieflty how you can build a communication stratgey for
campaigns on violence against women. The chapters showed basic rules on how you can develop
messages, materials and communication strategies. What are the do’s and don’ts, they emphasized
the importance of incorporating key actors in designing processes such as; the community, social
service employers, women’s organizations, community workers and professional campaigners. We
Can added an important element to that list and emphasizes the involvement of ordinary men and
women; try to discover their daily problems and circumstances and depict those stories in your
campaigning material. The report of UNIFEM mentions an important outcome of researches on
behavioral change referring to the effectiveness of repetitive messaging through different sources
thereby promoting multiple intervention strategies. People tend to be more triggered to change when
they hear the message from different sources. Chapter three elaborates that We Can campaign has
developed a multiple intervention strategy of addressing violence against women on individual,
community and society level using clear messages such as that violence against women is never
acceptable and that together as a society we can end it. The way how they address the different
actors and how they engage them in the campaign is quite diverse. We Can tries to mobilize people
trough integrating campaigning activities in daily life events or organises specific changemakers
events. Other means of mobilizing people are through special we can events, multimedia strategies
(facebook, internet, music clips, radio jiggles, soap, etc) and by the use of celebrities. All of these tools
are common strategies in campaigning work but nonetheless important to mention since We Can aims
to reach 50 million people. Creating a mass movement of such quantity means developing creative
and innovative ways of mobilizing and engaging people.

Individual/ community/ society

Changemakers KIT Events Theatre Multimedia celebrities

4.1 IFEX schedule of change

The previous two chapters have demonstrated that We Can uses similar ways of designing materials,
pre-testing and testing methodologies, and ethical approaches on communication as many other
precedents. The campaigns approach also adheres to potential strategies on developing behavioral
change based campaign and programs such as to challenge existing norms and lead individuals and
communities to think through the consequences these may have on their daily life. But it also
addresses men as part of the solution and not part of the problem. For organizations that are starting
to develop We Can it is important to develop campaign messages and activities that elaborate on

these behavioral change strategies, paragraph 2.3 explains potential strategies to avoid possibile

In paragraph 2.1 the IFEX handbook showed five components that form a communication strategy,
although the We Can not explicitly followed the schedule of IFEX on developing and planning a
campaign it can be explained accordingly. Using this schedule might help organizations to get a
structured overview of the steps to undertake when developing their communication strategy.

Result/ Action

Key actors Platform

Convincing Message Channels/Media

Key actors

A baseline desk review that maps actors for both the power analysis as the Platform might be the most
adequate tool to identify your key actors. A prescribed methodology helps you to structure potential
organizations and individuals for your alliance. You could interview decision makers within an
organization to explore their interest in cooperation and ways they can contribute to the alliance. Key
actors can also be individuals that on a personal basis want to be engaged with the campaign such as
celebrities, politicians or other professionals. There are various articles included in the DVD that
elaborate on powermapping and analysis.

Convincing Message:

Identify your core/ principal message. Do you want to use the same central messages as We Can:
women are no less valuable than men” and “violence against women is unacceptable”? Remember
that this message lies underneath all your material. Messages that relate to your campaigning material
and specific attitudes, practices and beliefs depend on the outcomes of extensive participatory field
researches within your selected communities. These field researches will identify the attitudes,
practices and beliefs you want your campaign changes. This is interconnected to your general
campaign message/ objective.

The platform

This is the mechanism with which you make your voice heard. A platform can be created by using your
organizations reputation, its access to decision-makers and media or eye-catching activities. Your
alliance can be seen as part of the campaigns platform. The alliance makes your voice heard it is
therefore important to develop multi-sectorial alliances because they can guarantee that your message
gets heard by people that normally find themselves outside the outreach of the women’s movement.
Think of labor unions, schools, youth groups, religious leaders, microfinance, rural committees, sport
clubs, etc.

Channel and Media

Identify what modes you are going to use. Are that personal meetings, emails, TV or radio? Research
has shown that people are more likely to believe a message and understand it if they hear it from more
than one source thus repetitive actions must be considered when identifying channels and media. The
extensive outreach of multi media strategies makes it a power and useful instrument. When deciding
to work with video/ radio or television make sure you work with profesionals that can help you develop
attractive, concise and inspiring material. When considering video and television make sure you look
into availability and bear in mind the questions on p.15:
• Why are you making this video, who do you, hope will see it and how will they see it?
• Do they have access to the proper equipment?
• What is the number of groups in your target audience and how many times do you expect
them to watch the video?
• How many copies will you make and do you plan to sell them or give them away? If, for
example, your audience is small and you expect they may only watch once or twice, video is
expensive and not necessarily the most practical way of getting your message across. 15

Result/ Action

What actors are involved in the campaign, what kind of action do you expect from them and how do all
the actions from your actors eventually lead to the desired objective? What do you expect from the
changemakers and from the alliances? What is the role of Oxfam and other stakeholders?

4.2 We Can basics

Once your communication strategy is in place you start to develop material. We can categorizes their
material in three groups:

1. Public awareness
2. Campaign identity
3. Reflective learning material

The material that you develop should be based on field reviews that reveal underlying attitudes and
ideas within your campaigning area. Whenever, based on these researches, you have identified the
focus of the materials and gathered stories you can use you simultaneously start developing your
material. One of We Can’s most important lessons is that campaigning messages and materials are
developed in close collaboration with professional designers who know how to develop attractive
messages and pictures. The following tips help you to develop successful campaigning materials:

• Targeted for a specific group

• Focused on a specific problem
• Recognize that individuals and communities will be willing to change if it feels that change is
positive and possible.
• Action-oriented
• Simple and to the point – less is more for ads and posters
• Appropriate to the target group and the actions you hope they will take/understanding they will
• Easy to understand with the use of local languages and common terms
• Attractive and interesting
• Prominently visible since people tend to remember more the first and last thing that they read,
so don’t bury the message in the middle of your materials
• Avoid stereotypes and representations that demean women as powerless victims.
• Present ordinary women and men as capable of taking action to change their circumstances
• Inspiring and engaging
• Targeted, Cost effective, Attractive

4.3 We Can Indonesia

The We Can campaign in Indonesia will focus on rural men and women, farmers, fishermen, migrant
workers and urban poor people. The campaign will give specific attention to sensitizing young women
and men to prevent them from becoming an actor or subject of violence but a role model in their
surrounding (family and campus). Similar to the We Can campaign in South Asia Indonesia is planning
to develop different types of sources of communication:

I. Information about the campaign (leaflets, posters, folders, films, picture etc)
II. Visibilization about the campaign
III. Information about being a changemaker
IV. Changemakers KIT

Just as the We Can in South Asia the campaign in Indonesia is determined by regional differences
consequently having different focuses (Sulawesi on fundamentalism, trafficking and domestic violence
while other focuses more commercialized sex of children). Given the different regions, local languages
and different cultural costumes play a crucial role in building the material

When reading through the WCC documents there are some questions the organisations should

1. Does the We Can Indonesia follow the We Can changemodel and uses that as bases for their
communication strategy. For example in South Asia the changemakers working books are
divided into 2 phases and they are set up according the model of change developed by
Raising Voices.
2. Is the KIT part of the changemaker capacity building or is that separate.
3. Is the campaign planning to develop distinct material for; men, women, migrants, young
people, urban, rural and poor?
4. How are you planning to use multi media strategies?
5. Have you contacted designers and/ or professional communication organizations to be
involved in developing your communication strategy?
6. What are the outcomes of the field researches on e.g. existing attitudes and beliefs that justify
violence against women?
7. Is the WCC going to use the We Can logo and color or is it developing its own logo (Latin
America and the Netherlands are developing their own and refer to the We Can logo as
means of inspiration).

After this review I hope that the communication strategy of We Can has been made more clear to
organizations interested in adapting it. The DVD that comes along with this review can help
organizations study We Can communication material and see whether that can be contextualized to
local circumstances or if it needs to develop new material. The intention of writing this review is to help
organisations to start up the process and be aware of potential pitfalls and challenges on the way.

Annex 1. Guidelines DVD Handout

The DVD contains material from the South Asian, Central African and Canadian We Can campaigns
and supports the review by demonstrating all the material that has been produced to inspire new
alliances to develop their own materials. Besides the regional campaign material the DVD contains
background papers that are used in this review and can support alliances when developing
communication strategies as best practices.

1. The South Asian section:

• Changemakers kit: Interactive learning materials

• Large picture cards: Selected activities from the Changemakers Workbooks are conducted
with large picture cards to make them usable with larger groups.
• Urban toolkit
• Posters: are used in community group workshops, for campaign visibility
• Video: The DVD does not contain any movies but you can look it up on you tube:
• M&E: impact assessment powerpoint, final version impact assessment We Can South Asia

2. The Central Africa section

A. Materials
• Congo
• Kenya
• Tanzania
B. Background Information
• Regional review reports
• Field Baseline
• Desk Baseline
• Regional meeting Uganda

3. The Canadian section contains material from the workbook of the changemakers

4. Raising Voices Manual: This is the original manual of Raising Voices from Uganda on which
the We Can campaign is developed.

5. General Background Articles:

• UNIFEM Making a difference: Strategic Communications to End Violence against
Women. New York. 2003
• The international freedom of expression exchange (IFEX) Campaigning for freedom of
expression. A handbook for advocates, Toronto, 2005.
• Amnesty International, Amnesty International Campaigning Manual.
• Report Workshop Creative campaigning for the Desa Sejahtera Campaign alliance,
Jakarta, January 26-28, 2009
• Stakeholder influence mapping, Power tools, 2005
• Making Change happen. Concepts for revising power for justice, equality and peace,

Annex 2. Methodology Changemakers Toolkit

The Changemakers KIT “Step by Step”

The kit is meant to be used to start a

Oxfam GB EOI partnered with Thought shop process of dialogue at the community
Foundation to develop a strategy and level – to help the community begin to
methodology to introduce basic gender concepts; understand concepts of gender and
challenge violence against women at the violence against women at a basic level.
grassroots level. It is designed for use with men and
Thought shop Foundation interacted with several women (especially women belonging to
women’s pressure groups and tried to identify pressure groups) in Jharkhand and Oriss
development milestones. While new groups were but the methodology of this kit is also
at a stage where they had not yet accepted applied for the development of the
gender based violence as a real issue, older Changemakers kit.25
groups had evolved well knit strategies to prevent
gender based violence at the household level.

The kit uses a non-confrontational approach and sees men and women as partners working together
to bring change. The tool uses pictures and simple activities and is based on a participatory
methodology which requires active involvement of the group. This encourages the group to share
their views and opinions irrespective of their age, sex or educational background and helps build
their self esteem and sense of responsibility. It also helps the group learn from and respect one

What the Kit Contains

This training kit comprises a training manual and a set of 100 picture cards.
The manual is meant to help the community worker in discussing gender and violence against women
issues at the community level. The picture cards are to be used with men and women from rural
The picture cards are used in 10 activities (10 cards per activity). Each activity begins with a question
and builds consensus towards the answer.

Section 3 : Exploring alternatives

Activity 8
What does being a man really mean?
A man can be gentle and nurturing and still be
considered manly.
Activity 9
Can men and women share responsibilities?
Men’s actions can help restore the well being of
the family.


Activity 10
What can men and women do to prevent
Men and women can work together to end
violence against women.

The Changemakers Workbook uses simple pictorial activities to raise questions about gender,
patriarchy and violence. The activities are graded in 10 sequential stages. Unlike its counterpart, the
workbooks have been re-designed for self-use. The activities have been adapted and condensed into
10 reusable cards. Each workbook begins with a question, which serves to focus on a specific issue.
This is followed by step by step instructions for simple activities like sorting, matching and pairing.
These activities are to be done with the set of pictures inside the cards. It helps the user explore
the background and answers to the issue. The
picture page is laminated so that color pencils or
sketch pens can be used, and then wiped off.
This helps a changemaker to use the same tool to
reach out and involve other people in discussions
around gender and violence.

Answers, explanations and additional information

are provided at the back. Each workbook ends
with a changemakers pledge around the issue of
focus. The activities are distributed in two
booklets of 20 pages each. Volume I has activities
1 to 5, and volume II has activities 6 to10.

Annex 3. Posters used in We Can South Asia

The We Can campaign in South Asia has also developed posters for the purpose of workshops,
community meetings, peer to peer education, youth events, etc. They serve as material to discuss the

different forms of violence so that people are able to identify these types as forms of violence against

"You’ve been ill for many days. Have you been to

a doctor ?"
"No. I’ll get well on my own"

"Who told you so?"

"He said there’s no need for a doctor..."

"...Besides, he keeps the money"

"If you are not given money for your needs,
it’s violence!"

Everyone has the right to a life free of


"I can’t go to the meeting. He doesn’t like it"

"Do you want to go?"

"Yes, but he’ll get very angry"

"He knows what’s best for me"

"If you are not allowed to move freely, it’s


Everyone has the right to a life free of violence

"Move aside! I don’t have to tell you where I go"

"...But I only pushed her, She didn’t get hurt"


Everyone has the right to a life free of violence

"Give me the money!"
"...But women know nothing about managing

Everyone has the right to a life free of violence

"You shall not go out"

"...But I know what’s good for her"


Everyone has the right to a life free of


"Let it go! These things happen all the time"

"Just because it happens does not make it right"

Everyone has the right to a life free of



Amnesty International (1997) Campaiging Handbook Blackmore Ltd, Dorset,

United Kingdom

Chan, G and Kay, R. (2005) Campaiging for Freedom of Expression. Handbook for
Advocates IFEX, Toronto, Canada

Drezin, J. and Lloyd-Laney, M. (2003) Making A Difference. Strategic

communication to End Violence against Women UNIFEM, New York, USA

Guedes , A. (2007) Behavioral Change Strategies for addressing Gender Based

Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Hague: Oxfam Novib.

Miller, V et all (2006) Making change happen. Concepts for revising power Justice,
Equality and Peace. Just Associates

Oxfam Novib (2009) Report Workshop Creative campaigning for the Desa
Sejahtera Campaign alliance, Jakarta, January 26-28, 2009.

Oxfam GB (2003) We Can strategy paper, We Can Secretariat, Delhi, India

Oxfam GB (2004) We Can Frequently Asked Questions, We Can Secretariat, Delhi,


Oxfam GB (2006) We Can Guiding Principles, We Can Secretariat, Delhi, India

Proposal we can campaign Indonesia (2008), Sam Perpenuan, Jakarta, Indonesia

Raab, Michaela (2009) The We Can End All Violence against Women Campaign in
Policy and Practice. Evaluation report.

We Can Indonesia Toolbox Appraisal (2008) Oxfam Novib, The Hague


SantayanSengupta,co-director Thought Shop Foundation, Calcutta, India

Carole Thiga, We Can coordinator, Oxfam GB regional office, Nairobi, Kenya

Stella Maranga, previous We Can coordinator, Oxfam GB regional office, Nairobi,


Malini Gupta, We Can secretariat, Oxfam GB, Delhi, India

Mira Chowdhury, Program Officer East and Central Africa bureau, Oxfam Novib,
The Netherlands

Babeth Lefur, Program Officer South East Asia bureau, Oxfam Novib, the