MY FIRST WORDS
SAVE THE CHILDREN
Leading up to the general election in Sweden, the competition for attention for individual issues is fierce. As such, cutting through that noise and being heard is near impossible. Especially when the voice needing to be heard is that of poor and vulnerable children from war-torn regions.
For the organization Save the Children, something new and different was needed to reach through to the decisionmakers and get these issues firmly established as priorities on the political agenda. Something different from yet again showing suffering children. Because unfortunately, we’ve become too good at instinctively turning a blind eye to things that make us feel bad and guilty – especially things that happen far away.
So, we developed a children’s picture book. A child’s first words, literally – but targeted at us grownups. A book without teary eyes or dramatic photos of buildings destroyed by bombs, that raised the thought “what if…?”, and connected that reality to our own safe one. To our children. We then sent the children’s picture book to all Swedish members of parliament.
”My first words” quickly received a lot of attention and social media spread. The Save the Children organization was invited to national morning TV to talk about the picture book – and more importantly: the issue of the children living in war zones. And many politicians that didn’t already have a perspective on the subject matter were suddenly quickly made aware that people expected to hear their thoughts on solutions for how to help those children.
Since the campaign ran in Sweden, the book has been translated to a number of different languages – and even got its own speaking point on the agenda at a UN assembly meeting. Save the Children Italy used the book to drive opinion in a campaign that actually managed to stop their weapons export to Yemen. In Hong Kong the book has been leveraged towards corporate partners to help finance efforts for the Rohingya people. And in both Brussels, Denmark and Finland, work is actively in progress regarding how to best use the book to support the work of the Save the Children organization.