We wanted to cause a big impact in the community of Serres for this campaign so although we had to do some online activities because of the pandemic we thought of ways of getting the message to more people without having to interact that much directly and in conformity with the restrictions. The resources we used for this campaign were: a big white textile-sheet and purple paint to create posters that we hung up at the Praxis office which is located in the center of Serres; purple ribbon to hand out to women from Serres and invite them to participate in the world campaign “Choose to Challenge”, in total we distributed 50 bracelets; we used cameras, tripods, and mobiles phones to report all of the activities we did; we used our computers to post everything on social media, edit the videos, the radio broadcast, write the article and for any kind of contacting.
For this campaign, we did different activities and most of them we did outside in different locations of Serres. Inside we created the poster. Although we wanted to do it outside to have a bigger impact, it was not possible because of the pandemic. We also had an All-Female Rave broadcast on the local radio.
Working method: This time, we decided that both of us would have the same responsibilities, so we coordinated all of the activities together.
Purpose: International Women’s Day is for us one of the most important campaigns we have worked on because we are aware of the inequalities that exist between women and men worldwide. This is why we chose this campaign.
We didn’t want the pandemic to take away the importance of this day and came up with creative ideas that would make this campaign have a big impact, especially at a local level.
To begin with, we wanted to spread the message about this day and its importance as much as possible. To achieve this, we created the posters, we interacted with the people from Serres, we posted daily on social media and we created a broadcast suitable to the music taste of the young people of Serres and encouraged them to listen to it.
Once we reached the people and spread the message, the next step was to invite the people to participate in this campaign. For this, we decided to hand out the purple ribbon and take pictures of women from Serres and post this content on our social media platforms. This was one of the most successful activities as we were able to reach many people. And also, it had a big impact on our social media platforms as our followers increased and our posts reached significantly more people. As the participants of the challenge were interested in the posts and most likely shared them with friends and family.
The aim of the campaign was not only to reach the people of Serres but also the team of Praxis. To encourage their participation, we came up with activities that we thought would be educational but also fun for them, such as painting the poster, participating in the Self-Defense workshop, being part of “Choose to Challenge” and asking them to spread the voice about all of our activities.
We started with brainstorming and organizing our thoughts and ideas, then established our working methods, set deadlines for each activity and distributed the tasks. When it was time to carry out all the activities, we documented everything from our activity.
Debriefing: For this campaign, we didn’t create questionnaires, something that we have used in many of our previous campaigns. But this campaign implicated a lot of direct interaction with people and also through social media. That is why we determined that the best evaluation for this campaign would be through the engagement of our social media platforms.
We made new connections with people by sharing our social media platforms where they could find themselves participating in the campaign. The interactions with our posts were multiplied and this is how we knew, we did have an impact.
Possible alternatives: We chose very carefully the activities we could carry out for this campaign. We were aware of the main difficulties we would face such as the restrictions of the pandemic, the unlikeliness to participate in the campaign of some people because it implied getting their picture taking and sharing it on social media, and so we planned the activities around these difficulties. However, some difficulties we did not expect and we had to improvise.
When it comes to the restrictions we had some difficulties. Our first idea for example was to paint the poster outside in the park so the pedestrians that walked by would see what we were working on. This was not possible so we chose to do it in the office.
For the distribution of the purple ribbons for “Choose to Challenge” and for the interviews, we did of the women who work or own business in Serres we decided to use our mobile phones and not our professional cameras because that way they wouldn’t feel so intimidated and feel more open to speaking to us. Some women were hesitant even though we recorded with a mobile phone because they didn’t want their image shared on social media.
Even though we faced some difficulties finding participants we were satisfied with the final result and it was very rewarding because most of the women were happy to participate and some shared their opinion on the topic and created a dialogue with us.
The main goal of our activities was to spread the message and bring awareness about the importance of this day. These activities are beneficial for our main target group, the women of Serres because it is important that they feel part of the change that directly will affect their lives in some way if the change comes. And we strongly believe that these activities at least made them reflect the issues we overcome as women.
We came up with these activities brainstorming but keeping in mind our real possibilities:
1. Posters in Greek with the definition of feminism, with the name of the campaign and the slogan: Will you be part of the change? We thought it would be good to create posters because the Praxis office is in the center of Serres and every day we see many people walk by and look at our posters.
2. “Choose to Challenge” was part of the global campaign of International Women’s Day. We thought that it would be a good way to invite the women of the community to be part of the campaign and also a way of interacting with the women and spreading the message. We decided to hand out purple ribbon because it's the color that represents this day and that way they could show their solidarity with the campaign.
3. All Female Rave broadcast; for all of the campaigns we work on we always have a broadcast. But for this one, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to focus on music created by women because in this industry women face many disadvantages.
We chose to do an electronic music broadcast because we asked the local people of Serres about their music tastes and we found this was the most popular. We wanted as many people as possible to listen, but not only from their homes. We asked the local businesses to put on the radio for many purposes: to promote International Women’s Day, have more listeners, give them a chance to promote their businesses through our social media and get more followers on our social media platforms.
4. The self-defense workshop was aimed only at the team of Praxis because of the restrictions of the pandemic. We came up with the idea because we thought it was important for the volunteers to have training that would be useful for themselves but also for them to share what they learned with others. Women experience many violent situations so we thought it would be good for the volunteers to learn self defense techniques so they could be able to confront these situations in case they ever have to but also to be able to give this same experience to others.
5. Interviews with the women who work/or own local businesses in Serres. In our daily errands around the city, we have observed many female workers. But we wanted to find out if they were owners or workers and we wanted to know their opinion about different topics related to the inequalities of women but partially focused on the disadvantages women suffer in working places. The purpose of these interviews was again to spread the voice to as many people as possible in a direct way and through our social media but also to have real statistics about women's importance in the economy of the local community.
6. Workshop with the Women’s Association of Serres. Not only is it important to know self-defense and be prepared for the unexpected. But also, we believe it is essential to know how to identify acts of discrimination, violence, or any injustice women may overcome in their daily lives.
Initially, we wanted the previously mentioned self-defense workshop to be organized by a women’s association and include a part, where one member of the association
would provide us with the background knowledge on why women need to be able to defend themselves and how gender predetermines your role in society, but we couldn’t find an association to provide this kind of workshop for us. That is why we split it in two and asked the instructor from the local Krav Maga Center to do the self defense workshop for us and contacted the Women’s Association Center for the workshop providing us with the background knowledge.
In our previous campaigns, we sometimes felt detached from the local community because we had to do most of our activities online or just between the volunteers. For this campaign, our main focus was to be able to interact with our target group within our real possibilities.
Inviting the target group to be part of the campaign is the best way to calculate the impact we have caused.
Originally, we planned social media posts about Greek mythology from a feminist perspective and how women didn’t get recognition for their paintings in the art scene. In the end, we didn’t post about these issues, because we decided that our main target group were the women in Serres. It felt like we build a small community, because every time we would run into one of the participants, they would ask when the post goes online or comment on the posts if they had already been posted. Through documenting our activities and involving the women in our social media posts, the local community was more interested in our posts and we garnered more attention.
This on the other hand increased our visibility online, because non-locals were interested in how we managed to involve people in our campaign and in the end, surprisingly, we had a bigger impact on social media than with our previous online campaigns.
Mirzana Bexheti and Lucila piedra harris
Mirzana and Lucila are volunteers in Praxis organisation involved in the International day for women's rights campaign.