16 Days Media Campaign Against Gender Violence Advisory Committee Meeting

Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary   19.03.02 – 20.03.02

Prepared by WomenAid International-Caucasus representative, Diana Tsirunova

16 Days Media Campaign Against Gender Violence Advisory Committee Meeting


Mercedes Sprouse         Media and Communications Consultant, Open Society Institute

Nebojsa Radic               Consultant, Open Society Institute

Eva Foldvari                   Program Manager, Network Women's Program, Open Society Institute

Anna Rapolti                  Program Coordinator, Network Women's Program, Open Society Institute

Gabriella Kiss                Program Assistant, Network Women's Program, Open Society Institute

Nikoletta Nagy               Program Coordinator, Network Media Program, Open Society Institute

Gwyneth Henderson       Open Society Institute, Board Member


Liudmila Gorovaya, Donetsk Regional League of Business and Professional Women, Ukraine

Sanja Sarnavka, B.a.B.e. Women's Human Rights Group Autonomous Women's House Zagreb

Center for War Victims, Croatia

Olga Pietruchova, Fenestra, Slovakia

Urszula, Women’s Rights Center, Poland

Diana Tsirunova, WomenAid International-Caucasus, Georgia

DAY 1: 19 March 2002

Nebojsa Radic welcomed all participants to OSI Budapest and invited each delegate to introduce herself and outline the activities of the organization represented.

Presentation of Nebojsa Radic:

Nebojsa Radic gave a general introduction to the OSI funded 16 Days media and advocacy campaigns against violence against women and presented the consolidated reports of 10 countries he worked with on evaluation of the 16 Days 2001 implemented projects: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine (Kiev), Serbia. A PowerPoint presentation outlined the OSI perception of strengths and weaknesses of each campaign.

In Azerbaijan an interesting message for slogan was chosen: …And why don’t you fight in the way of Allah and for those who are weak, and for women and children who say: ”God! Lead us out of this village, the habitants of which are tyrants, and give us a protector from You and give us an assistant from You”?  Koran, Sura 4, Women, Verse 77(75) They managed to secure a 10 minutes broadcast in BBC, as well as other media coverage. They were also able to use the same theme (broken mask), slogan and logo as Georgia as WomenAid International funded the PSA costs in Azerbaijan.

In Kazakhstan the media demanded payment (editors from journalists), and in Kyrgyzstan there was no print media at all.  Russia also had poor media participation - but activities were covered.  The identified weakness of the campaign was there was no focus on a single theme and too many messages caused confusion. In Tajikistan, funds were spent by NGO Bahtovar (Association of Independent Media) to pay for “free” media coverage.

In Ukraine two organizations received grants to implement a 16 Days Campaign 2001. One was Ukraine League of Women Voters 50/50, Kiev and the second was the Donetsk Regional League of Business and Professional Women. According to Liudmila Gorovaia (Donetsk), a day before the campaign started, the Parliament of Ukraine passed a law on domestic violence prevention – as a result of last year’s campaign.

Although the Domestic Violence PSA of Montenegro did not have a very clear message and was considered weak, another part of their strategy compensated as they had enrolled volleyball players as campaign messengers; and obtained free billboards and distributed envelopes with campaign information to almost every inhabitant of Montenegro.

In Serbia shelter funds don’t exist. The good idea was to prepare the PSA on domestic violence and rape issues in four languages. Art research station was a good production partner in Serbia.

Presentation of Mercedes Sprouse

Mercedes Sprouse introduced the evaluation of the 16 Days campaign implementation and results of countries including Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine (Donetsk), Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia.  She mentioned that there was extremely good coordination in Georgia and Ukraine as both countries had established country focal points.


The 2001 Campaign expanded the support base, and involved stakeholder- local government, teachers, department of education, target audience, youth, as well as NGOs in the planning and execution.

Ukraine effectively used the resources of western countries (for film production) and therefore at minimal cost produced a 40minutes video film. They obtained funds/contributions from three international sources and 10 regional sources. The campaign was nationwide involving 10 regions, 20 cities and 212 towns and villages. 13 regional Press club presentations to media focused on ways, means, methods of counteraction and prevention of violence.

Slovakia had a clear message: “Every fifth woman is abused. Do we care?” They used the slogan “Fifth Woman” everywhere (PSA, posters, billboards, web site) thus making the campaign more focused and effective. However they failed to secure free media coverage during the campaign period as during the approach to Christmas the media sells advertising, which is very expensive at that time. Slovakia therefore implemented the campaign in two steps: first step – 25 Nov.-10 Dec. 2001 - with their activities, lectures, hotlines, theater, prepared draft legislation; second step – January-February 2002 – free media coverage (100 free of charge billboards).

Poland also had realistic goals and objectives in a campaign that challenged attitudes toward perpetrators of violence and questioned the reasons for public silence. The slogan used was “Zero tolerance on violence against women” – which provided a clear message to the target groups – policy makers, MPs and general public. Activities included a Tribunal on Violence Against Women. Another slogan “Violence is a crime that may end in murder” was considered strong but not so effective. Activities included preparation of a draft law, legislative lobbying, and organizing an exhibition in Parliament.

Georgia achieved excellent collaboration and cooperation across all sectors of society (NGO networks, Survivors, Media, Police, Educational institutions, Health institutions, Government, MPs). Planned and executed through a national coordination committee representing interests of 116 Georgian NGOs, associations, organizations country-wide and across sectors (law, education, health, police; Distribution through 16 Days Coordination Committee organizations not only in Tbilisi, but also in nine regions of Georgia; Youth of Georgia (students committees in Universities, colleges, secondary schools countrywide); Endorsement of leading government representatives; Citizens volunteer commitment (especially, Omar Sharia and staff of Abkhazian Ministry of Internal Affairs who distributed materials in Ministries of Internal Affairs, State Security Service, Prosecution Department of both Georgia and Abkhazia); Creation of a Network Platform and developed Caucasus-wide cooperation by establishing coordination committees in Armenia and Azerbaijan and sharing resources.


Notable Activities to communicate the campaign message:

  1. White Ribbon Campaign in Georgia. Involving men in the campaign activities, including the national rugby team as models.  Famous men of Georgia were invited to act as White Ribbon Campaign Ambassadors; Youth organizations of Georgia actively participated in all 16 Days evens (both young women and men). Male volunteers; Georgian businessman commitment in White Ribbon press conference. White Ribbon Ambassadors Institute attracted attention of Media, society of Georgia, Parliament Members. For instance, as a result of sufficient male participation in the campaign, recently an article-interview dedicated to one of the White Ribbon 2001 Ambassador was published on Women’s Day, 8 March.

  2. Mobile advocacy unit in Albania. Involved a youth NGO to reach target audience (girls). NGO organized “The Day of Youth 8 December”. On this day groups of young boys and girls got on vans and distributed all the materials produced for the campaign around city and in outlying villages within target area. The youth placed posters and stickers around the van, stopping frequently to speak to passers-by through microphone on issues of the campaign.

  3. Youth discotheque in Kazakhstan. Approx. 500 young men and women took part, 6 people participated in media interviews, approx.110 persons affixed their signatures on linen, 500 leaflets were distributed titled Safety: Yes and No

Mixed Messages/Activities

Lithuania: Organizers had too many messages for too many target groups and activities that did not necessarily communicate. Resources stretched too thinly; insufficient delegation of roles and responsibilities among partners; campaign can be said to have introduced the idea to each of 9 target audiences, but not fully making an impact. Confusion over target audience (“TV audience” target for “violence against women is crime/violation of human rights” objective instead of MPs/police).  Part of reason is the choice of participants when holding activities for target group (meeting with law students to gain support for legislation instead of MPs with topic “Who can protect women from violence”) and choice of topics that deviated from the central message (“Stop Violence – it’s a crime” message in a seminar on living with alcoholic husbands). Unclear aims and ineffective approaches (“The first blow must be the last” for creating network among crisis centers, social workers, police officers and women’s NGOs but activity included meeting with attorney/professor + viewing documentaries about violence against women). Ineffective overall by adding activities and not focusing more clearly on delivering specific results. Effective campaigning is achieved by not spreading too many ideas as this confuses the message and weakens the campaign.

Ethical Questions: In Indonesia the Coordinator paid self a salary and a speaker’s fee; Payments to journalists for coverage + essay competitions); Payments to experts being interviewed by media; Funding of organizational materials w/o campaign.

Screening of 2001 video clips and discussion on their strengths and weaknesses. 

Around 7 PSAs were screened by OSI and discussed by all participants to find out good and bad examples.

Two Good Examples:

Georgia, WomenAid International-Caucasus PSA: Clear and strong message: “If it were between countries, we’d call it a war. If it were a disease, we’d call it an epidemic. If it were an oil spill, we’d call it a disaster. But it’s happening to women, and it’s just an everyday affair. It is violence against women. – Michael Kaufman”

Croatia, B.a.B.e. PSA: Cartoon depicting various illustrations of violence narrated by 6-year-old girl who doesn’t understand why this happens. Professionally done, clear illustration of consequences and clear instructions; Appropriate to reach various sub-groups within general public target audience (survivors, abusers, witnesses)

Bad Examples: PSAs with no clear message; PSAs where only a child is shown as a victim of domestic violence, PSAs where alcoholism is shown as the main reason of domestic violence.

Presentation of National Campaigns by the Advisory Committee Members'


7 organisations worked together during campaign. Donors include: Open Society Institute, Open Society Foundation, UNIFEM, Canadian Embassy, ETP Slovakia and Ekopolis, Slovak Telecommunication, Budget: 28.654 USD Basic straights of campaign in Slovakia were: intensive preparatory stage - realistic goals and objectives; network of organizations and donors / 1st time in Slovakia; media interest Ü free media time; credible image of feminist NGOs. Basic weaknesses: the lack of experiences; problems with co-ordination and communication among organizations; the underestimating of some aspects; splitting in 2 parts.


WomenAid International-Caucasus, a registered Georgian NGO and regional partner of the WomenAid International Network Programme and project activities include: human rights advocacy, health and gender equity, trafficking and illegal migration, child rights and well-being, environmental issues and civil society development.

Three PowerPoint presentations, the Georgian 16 Days and the Georgian White Ribbon Campaigns as well as the Caucasus 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence were made on behalf of Georgia.

Background information included the history of the WomenAid initiative of successfully introducing to the Caucasus region both end violence global campaigns, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and the White Ribbon Campaign, establishment of a Georgian National 16 Days Coordination Committee and a Media Advocacy Group, that provided a basis for development in 2001 of a coordinated 16 Days Campaign in the Caucasus.  During 16 Days 2001 WomenAid developed both a countrywide Network in Georgia and Caucasus Region linkages that included establishing National Coordination Committees in Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Coordination Committee in Georgia expanded to 116 organisations with a Calendar of over 90 events during the 16 Days.  OSI staff and meeting delegates were fascinated with WomenAid’s effective networking method.

Strengths of the 16 Days 2001 Campaign in Georgia were:

  • A dedicated secretariat acting as the focal point to contact, encourage and facilitate involvement of all stakeholders in the campaign;

  • National distribution of campaign materials;

  • Appointment of Local Coordination Partners;

  • Web connectivity: documents and news bulletins on specially created website Caucasus 16 Days.

  • Special educational video film “Lost Lives” produced and distributed as special discussion seminars.

The Georgian Public Service Announcement (PSA) received compliments from OSI and all meeting participants for its idea, clear and strong message to target audience.  It was taken as an example for future 16 Days campaigns to be translated and used anywhere. 

Thanks to Canadian Government support WomenAid International-Caucasus also published 16 Days and White Ribbon leaflets (11,000) posters (9000) as well as 20,000 stickers.

The WAI-C presentation also stressed the weaknesses and constraints of the 16 Days campaign in Georgia:

  • lack of small funding for NGO partners to implement their 16 days activities;

  • media demanding payment for promotion, articles etc;

  • political situation tense and volatile;

  • utility services interrupted;

  • delayed confirmation of funding for publications from other donors.

Experience showed it would be really impossible to achieve national coordination and impact without a dedicated secretariat and personnel. It is essential to have a resourced ‘focal point’ with overview of campaign management to ensure objectives are met and schedules maintained plus translation services and technical assistance available to ensure dissemination of information and documents.

CROATIA: B.a.b.e. gave a verbal presentation. In 2001 they participated in “MEN SPEAK AGAINST VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN” regional campaign with Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, and Slovakia. They had free of charge a billboard on the main square for one day. Initiated activities all over Croatia through 53 members of Network of Women's NGOs. Exchanged information, local NGOs made contact with their local TV and radio stations to organize B.a.B.e’s video and radio clip to be broadcast. B.a.B.e. took part in network activities (round table in Pula and radio interview for local radio stations).

POLAND: Women’s Rights Center published good leaflets and organized a tribunal. They had single focus on the relationship between on-going domestic violence and spousal murder; Rational relationship between that focus and tribunal/exhibition; awareness of Christmas as an increase period of violence. Interagency cooperation: Joint organization of Tribunal on Violence against Women with Women's Parliamentary Caucus.  Visited women’s prisoners and prison personnel to assess efficiency of criminal justice system in intervening before domestic violence ended in murder. Included testimonials of spouse murderers and families of victims. MP commentators. Minister for Social Affairs supported and participated. Presented draft law and secured commitments for its sponsorship. New government Plenipotentiary on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men pledged support. Director of WRC invited to be Advisor on issue before new commission and parliament work on amendments to family law.

UKRAINE: Donetsk Regional League of Business and Professional Women questioned NGOs in the regions before the campaign about the target audience and languages for publications. In Donetsk alone the population is 5,5 million so to achieve national coverage is difficult and clearly more organizations must take part in conducting a Ukrainian campaign as the country is too big.  Implemented training for organizations, exchange experience of work.

Nebojsa Radic - Evaluation of the Seminar on Media Advocacy 2001 and identifying further needs for training.

This Seminar considered the process and outcome, tools and resources provided, aims and requirements of the 2001 campaign to identify areas for improvement in 2002.

In general discussion it was felt that campaigns are more successful thanks to trainings of OSI, and the focus on NGO activities, not just on the media. Trainings should be conducted in regions, not in Budapest, with contributions from regional representatives experienced on how to work effectively on a regional basis. NGOs with such experience will be invited as partners for regional training in 2003 as there is lack of time to arrange this in 2002.  24 project proposals were approved in 2001 by OSI.

All agreed there is a clear need for national ‘focal points’ to organise campaign meetings & discussions and set schedules.

Planning of 2002 Campaign

All participants were involved in discussion and drafting of the 2002 Campaign Grant Competition Guidelines.

DAY 2: 20 March 2002

The main focus of discussion on the second day was on Regional Campaign planning and Regional Campaign presentations were delivered by the following NGOs:

CROATIA:  The NGO B.a.b.e. made a PowerPoint Presentation of “Men Speak Against Violence Against Women” a regional campaign involving Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, and Slovakia.

GEORGIA:  WomenAid International-Caucasus, Georgia: PowerPoint presentation of the Caucasus 16 Days 2001.

The aim of a Caucasus 16 Days Regional Campaign: public awareness raising; increasing Government commitment; strengthening of civil society - by ‘broadening and deepening’ regional civil society activities in a volatile region. Key Point: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an ‘organising strategy’ promoting activities that raise awareness and support development of strategies combating violence against women. WomenAid established National Coordination Committees in all three countries; appointed one national coordinating partner NGO in each country; secured funds for partner NGOs; held planning meetings in each country. Established a common theme ‘Violence in the Home, Violence in Society’, slogan ‘Only men and women working together can end violence against women’, logo and timetable for press launch & concluding conferences, in three countries.

Strengths of the regional campaign:

  • Clarity of strategic overview;

  • Focal Point Secretariat funded by WomenAid International (WAI) ;

  • Assistance, guidance and monitoring from international partner organization, WAI;

  • Enthusiasm and commitment of large number of NGOs in all three countries;

  • Increased support of government representatives.

Weaknesses and constraints:

  • Lack of funding for one country;

  • Donor refusal to liaise with Focal Point team writing project proposals for partner NGOs in other countries;

  • Lack of adequate planning time;

  • Need for a regional pre-planning meeting involving all three coordination committee representatives.

OSI and Advisory Committee Members were very impressed with the Caucasus 16 Days outcomes (500 + participating organisations; 160 + events; 130 + PSA broadcasts; 3 Human Rights Day Concluding Conferences in Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan; National, regional and international press/media coverage).

WomenAid strategic development 2002:

  • A Caucasus 16 Days planning and coordination seminar (will be held in April-May 2002 and is already funded by Canadian Government);

  • Increase the core membership of the coordination committees, especially in Armenia;

  • Plan media involvement 6 months in advance;

  • Extend the White Ribbon Campaign and creation of Ambassadors into Azerbaijan and Armenia;

  • Approach donors (foundations and companies) for funding support as soon as possible;

The lead taken by NGOs in the South Caucasus region by participating in this WomenAid initiative is clearly recognized by donors and other NGOs in the CIS and East Europe.  An excellent basis for further extensive networking in the CIS region has been established.


The Georgian as well as the Caucasus 16 Days Campaign were considered as excellent examples of successful campaigning.  OSI plans to conduct regional campaign only in 2003 and asked WomenAid to share its experience in developing a Regional Campaign.

CIS 16 Days ~ CaucasusNOW

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