The Growth of White Ribbon Campaigning in the UK
Six years ago, one of our DIrectors, Chris Green, was searching to do more work around developing alternative models of masculinity. He came across the WHite Ribbon CAmpaign site of Canada, and White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) UK was born.
In 2008 Amnesty International UK asked "Where are our projects about preventing and eliminating violence in the first place? There are a few projects in the UK, the work of the NGo's delivering white ribbon campaign in the UK in particular"
In 2009 the HM Government report "Together we can end Violence and Girls: A strategy" said One under exploited area of public education is encouraging men to challenge other men..... Much of the work in the UK is currently undertaken by the White Ribbon Campaign.
Despite the moral support of the last three Home Secretaries who have all been photographed wearing White Ribbons, WRC UK receives no public funding and yet has managed to expand its activities each year for the past 6 years.
One of our Directors has provided us with rent free accommodation and our 10 regular volunteers have developed detailed campaigns involving Music, Education, Sport and Local authorities.
WRC UK has developed accreditation schemes for Schools, Music venues and City councils, to encourage them to gain certification as White Ribbon approved venues. We are also working to develop the first English scheme for training male bystanders to intervene with other men. This will be based upon the Scotland Get SAVI scheme.
We also have a monthly newsletter produced by volunteers which goes to over 2,000 people who have signed the White Ribbon pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about Violence against Women.
The difficulites we have faced include the burn- out of volunteers, and having to train then retrain new volunteers to manage specific parts of the campaign. For example we have had 6 different co-ordinators for the Sports Campaign. This has also led to a much slower roll out of the campaign than we would have liked.
even so, 25 cities and towns have signed up as White Ribbon accredited, with a small registration fee going to us, and a commitment from the city to get many of the men in their city involved in campaigning.
We have turned one potential pitfall into an advantage by using the necessity to undertake fundraising as an opportunity to undertake awareness raising at the same time . Our merchandising of badges, posters, postcards, balloons and stickers has helped carry the message forward as well as paying the bills.
Much of the material from our campaign is downloadable free from the resources page of our website at www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk
Chris Green WRC UK Director