Prevention

Using Visual Symbols to Fight Stigma and Advocate for Change

Visual imagery can be a powerful medium for mobilization and awareness around a specific issue. These depictions are especially potent if they utilize a consistent symbol, one that can capture the issue in a vivid and recognizable way. The Resource Centre for Gender Equality (ABAAD), established in 2011, has risen to considerable prominence for its annual “16 Days of Activism” campaigns, each with a different theme to address gender equity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Creating New Rituals to Replace Harmful Practices

Harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), are complex problems that are often tied to deep-rooted cultural and religious beliefs. As a result, combatting FGM requires a complex and multi-leveled process. In Guinea-Bissau, Plan International partnered with local NGOs and the European Commission to facilitate discussions and educational sessions about the dangers of FGM with various members of the community involved or impacted by FGM. These members include the women and girls at risk or victims of FGM, the local “cutter”, religious leaders, the village chief or mayor as well as medical professionals. This process of raising awareness has resulted in using public declarations to abandon the practice.

Creating a fake wedding company and exhibit booth to highlight issues surrounding celebratory gunfire

To combat the use of gun shows at weddings, the Permanent Peace Movement created a fake service company called "Eleguns" to be exhibited at the largest wedding fair in Beirut, Lebanon. The purpose of Eleguns is to create awareness on the lethality and illegality of having such celebratory gunfire.

Improving the Living Status of Society through Non-Formal Education and Recycling

The daily amount of waste in Cairo is estimated to be 14,000 tons. Cairo relies on non-official street cleaners to rid of the waste. There are six major neighborhoods in Cairo where its residents work in gathering waste and they recycle 80% of the waste. Those neighborhoods are considered slum areas. The biggest slum area is in Al-Mokattom. The slum’s residents are about 60,000 people and the area is known as Waste Cleaners City.

Protecting and encouraging endangered human rights activists through the presence of international volunteers

Peace Brigades International (PBI) sends international observers to accompany human rights activists who are threatened by the government or paramilitary organizations. If they witness abuse, observers alert authorities in the country, their own native government and activists around the world. Knowing they can expect an international response, abusers are deterred from their planned attacks. At the same time, the accompanied activists are empowered to continue and expand their work for human rights. PBI began its work in the 1980s and currently sustains over 80 volunteers on the ground in Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico and Guatemala.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

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