Identifying local issues

Selecting a cause

Starting a campaign

Sensitization

“The time is always right to do what is right” – Martin Luther King Jr. (African-American civil rights activist)

Before you can start an awareness campaign, you need to know what is happening around you. What are the local issues, problems or difficulties people around you are dealing with? These local issues can cover a lot of different topics, such as lack of health services, lack of quality education, food security issues, gender based violence, poverty, corruption, lack of meaningful youth participation.

You practice!

To identify these local issues, you can follow a few strategies:

  • Brainstorm session: Organize a brainstorm session, with friends or on your own, and write down as many ideas about local issues as you can on a big sheet of paper. Don’t feel limited to only think about big issues; small issues also need to receive attention!
  • (Informal) Interviews or discussions: If you really want to know what’s on people’s minds, then you can start interviewing a few people in your community. Ask them what they see as an important issue in the community, how it is affecting them directly and what they would like to see changed.
  • Observations: Go out in your neighbourhood, in your community and observe what the difficulties for people might be. Do you see corruption in the street? Do you see women getting hit by their husbands? Do you miss a health facility which is youth friendly? Map your observations and write down everything you notice!
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What are the local issues in your community?

How would you like to see things changed in your community?

You practice!

Map the local issues in your community, by asking your friends, relatives, peers what they think are important issues. Try to make a top 5 list of priority issues that people around you would like to see solved or addressed.

Discuss these questions and share your tips and ideas for a good advocacy campaign in our Facebook community!

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quiz

Can you identify the themes of the issues below? Let’s find it out and drag them to the right box!

 

Drag and Drop words to the right box!

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama (President of the United States of America)

Once you have made an overview of the local issues in your community, then you can choose the problem you want to address. But how do you select a cause, if there are many causes to choose from? And how do you know what you would really want to change in your community?

  • Select the cause that YOU find most important. There are different reasons why you can find a cause or issue important; because you or someone close to you experienced it personally, because it touches you emotionally, because you think no one else will do something about it… If you select a cause that you find important, then it will also motivate you more to really try and make a change!
  • Select the cause that people around you identified as important. Sometimes it might be difficult to decide on these important things on your own, or you might be afraid to prioritize issues of other people. Don’t worry, you can select a cause to work on by consulting friends or experts. If you are selecting a cause with your organization, you can discuss all the issues first, and then vote on the most pressing issue.
  • You can also decide on a cause which is already high on the political agenda, for example gender equality. This might make it easier to find allies and people to support your cause!

You practice!
Fill in this worksheet to think about the issue or cause you find most important!

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What issues do you find most important to change in your community?
What are your selection criteria to decide on the issue you want to address?
Discuss about this and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Write down a top 3 of the issues you want to change in your community. Next to each issue, write down why you find it important and how it affect you in your daily life.

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quiz

Can you link the words below to the right issue? Try it out!

Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop words to the right box!

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“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” – Scott Adams (American cartoonist and satirist)

Great that you are thinking about starting a campaign! Once you have selected the cause you want to address, you can start your own campaign!

Here are some things you need to think about first:
  • Identify your objectives. What is it exactly that you want to reach with a campaign? What do you want to achieve? Make sure your objectives are SMART
    • Specific – know exactly what you want to achieve.
    • Measurable – a goal should be measurable so you can follow your progress and see when you’re finished.
    • Achievable – some goals are out of reach, no matter how hard you try.
    • Relevant – Ask yourself if this is something that needs to be improved or changed in your context.
    • Time bound – give yourself a time-frame to finish.


  • Who will be the target audience of your campaign? Once you’ve decided on your objectives, you can decide on what is the most appropriate audience to reach your campaign objectives. Campaigns can be directed towards young people, elderly people or authority figures, whole communities...
  • Think about what activities you will set out with your campaign. You can think about
    • Informing people
    • Creating understanding
    • Motivating people to take action

When deciding on activities, consider also the lessons that have been learned from other projects or campaigns, or successful campaigns in other countries. You could look through the internet for these, ask someone at your local youth centre, visit an NGO in your neighbourhood, or even speak to an activist in your community.

  • Good planning! When possible, organize your campaign with other organizations who have experience or a good link with your target group. Also, don’t forget to involve young people from the beginning of the campaign and let them meaningfully participate in every phase of the process. Don’t forget to plan the budget you have for your campaign!
You practice!

Now write a campaigning plan considering each of the elements discussed above:

  • What are your objectives
  • Who is your audience
  • What are your activities
  • Who are your allies
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Do you have experience starting a campaign in your own community?
Share your experiences in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Make a list of DO’s and DON’Ts when starting a campaign. You can ask for help with your peers who have experience, have a look in the Facebook community or do a quick internet search.

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quiz

Are you ready to start preparing your own campaign? Let’s do the quiz below to see if you can distinguish the different elements of organizing a campaign.

Choose if the statement shows one of the following elements; Planning – audience – objectives – activities.

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela (South African anti-apartheid revolutionary)

Sensitization literally means making people ‘sensitive’ about an issue. This is the core of awareness raising and is what you ideally want to achieve – that people become aware and react to certain issues.

What are the different strategies to sensitize people around you?
  • Improving knowledge. This means that you want to inform people about an issue and make sure that they have the correct information to truly understand the issue. You want your target audience to think critically about the issue and actively process information.
  • Changing attitudes. This means that you want to change people’s behaviour or attitudes towards the issue. You need to explain to them how new behaviours and attitudes will have an impact and maybe even change cultural norms and beliefs.
  • Focus on skills. Make sure people have the skills to go with their changed behaviour and attitudes.
  • Building social support. People you are sensitizing should know where they can get support, or give support, to other people facing the same issue.



You practice!

Here are some tips to put the information you read above into practice;

  • Sensitize through interaction and discussion
  • Sensitize by challenging myths and correcting misconceptions
  • Sensitize with convincing arguments
  • Sensitize through skills building activities, such as role play or other capacity building trainings
  • Sensitize through encouraging your audience to build a social support network

Try one of these sensitizing strategies with one of your friends to see how it works!

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Stories

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Reflection

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Why is sensitization important for young people?
What is the most important part about sensitization for you?
Discuss about these and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Make a poster in which you explain the best practices to sensitize people around you! Hang it on the wall in your room, so that you remember precisely how you can make change happen!

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quiz

How would you sensitize your environment about an issue you find important? Make your strategy now by writing in the text boxes.

Write in box

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