A campaign is a relatively sophisticated tool, requiring much thought, resources and energy to be effective. In the example given below, you can see how the members of one organisation put together their thoughts to come to conclusions about such central questions as: why? how? who for? who with? with what?, etc.

In 1990, Service Civil International (SCI) members drove a UNIMOG truck around Europe as part of a solidarity campaign for the liberation of Namibia, then still under the control of South Africa. This is only an excerpt from their Campaign Handbook which goes on to describe different ways of organising street theatre and solidarity workcamps.


We don't intend to present you a theoretical explanation about actions. We only give you a short introduction on some points you should keep in mind if you plan or prepare some kind of action.

1. Aim of the campaign
2. Planning procedures
3. Types of actions
4. Resources
5. Evaluation

1. Aim of the campaign

The ultimate purpose of our campaign is to contribute to the liberation of Namibia. Of course we cannot succeed with only one action or even with a campaign of two years! We have to be aware of this!

In Strasbourg we have discussed about sub-aims, about what is realistic to obtain with the campaign. Maybe some of us have also already discussed this in their branches.

These sub-aims are:

• Raise consciousness about the relationship between Western Europe and the Apartheid system;

• Highlight the fact that military equipment produced in Europe is used by the Apartheid regime to suppress the Namibian people;

• Mobilise political, moral and material support for the liberation of the Namibian people;

• Make the public aware of the situation of Namibian refugees, mostly women and children, who are in exile in the refugee camps in Angola;

• Publicise the role that women are playing in the struggle for freedom;

• Demand an end to all military, diplomatic and economic collaboration of the Western countries with the Apartheid system.

• We want to organise a positive and as far as possible emotional experience.

• We want to create broad public solidarity.

• We want to give factual information to the public.

• We try to avoid creating feelings of compassion and simple appeals.

We want to develop in the public:

• emotional identification,

• basic information,

• action.

2. Planning procedures

a) Target groups

Define the target group and your concrete aims in the campaign before planning the activity.

Examples of target groups: young people, students, house wives, labourers,...

The style of approach will differ for the respective target group:

• What is informative, emotional?

• How do you publish facts and figures?

• How do you tell an illustrative story?

b) Realistic planning

An action should be planned long enough in advance. All the points mentioned above should be discussed and after all this is clear you can go on with the more technical aspects of the planning:

• location of the action

• production or purchase of material

• permits (from the local government or police)

• publicity material: leaflets, posters, contact with the press, personal publicity, contact with other organisations, ...

• experts

• financial support

• films, slides,..., about the subject

• It is necessary to make a script: "What will be done by whom and when?". Make a timetable and assess your capabilities realistically. You will find examples of how much time you need for what at the end of this handbook.

c) Cooperation

In our struggle against racism and oppression we are not alone.We should cooperate with other organisations whenever it is possible. You can get support, ideas and information from, and you can cooperate with for example:

• solidarity movements and Third World groups

• anti-racist and anti-Apartheid groups

• students and other people of the country for which you are campaigning

• representatives of their respective political/liberation organisations

• local and national committees of the United Nations


• Amnesty International

• member governments of the EC

• the local government

• churches

• trade unions

• national aid services (i.e. Red Cross, Oxfam,...)

• business, i.e. Third World shops

• If you start a cooperation, then these organisations should be involved in the preparation of the campaign in your country, or at least of the activities in which they are involved. Take care you make good appointments about who is responsible for what.

Try also to cooperate with or make use of

• VIPs like artists, politicians, scientists, sports people

• black members of parliament

• events of great interest taking place during the campaign

• other political or cultural events

3.Types of actions

There are different kinds of actions. We will describe some in this paragraph. It is very important to present the public possibilities to act. After you have given the information they might be willing to express their solidarity in one or the other way. This can be financial support or, what is better, they might be willing to do something concrete (sign a petition, not buying South African fruit, participate in the campaign,...)

You should try to avoid to organise an action with too many different aims. This is the same as trying to say too many different things in one sentence. The result is that it is not clear anymore. The aims of the action have to be clear in advance.

a) Possible types of action to raise public interest

• to perform health-checks near or in the truck (measuring blood pressure, first aid courses,...)

• to coordinate a "truck convoy" in coordination with other aid service organisations

• street theatre

• a drawing competition (i.e. posters made by pupils)

• a run for solidarity or other sports and games

• a treasure hunt for children.

b) Informative activities

are aimed at informing the public about the situation in Cuanza Sul and in Namibia, and at informing them about the many links between Western Europe and the Apartheid regime.

c) Political pressure

You can force members of your local or national government to take a stance:

• put pressure on your members of parliament

• organise petitions

• demonstrate.

d) Boycotts (South African fruit or other products)

These actions can take place in front of shops or on market places. The best way to convince a shop keeper to stop selling South African products is to convince the customer. This is also a good example for presenting the public a possibility to act themselves very concretely: they can stop themselves buying South African products and they can put pressure on the shop keeper to stop selling these products (petition).

e) Actions in front of businesses supplying weapons, or banks cooperating with South Africa

One possibility is to involve trade unions and to organise a public debate about the conversion of military factories into more peaceful ones.

f) Possible action combined with fundraising

Fundraising should always be in combination with information!

There are different possibilities:

• The easiest way to raise funds is to sell a product, make sure it is a useful product;

• plasters (this will be coordinated by the international campaign coordination),

• small UNIMOG trucks (informative and symbolic value)

• T-shirts

• badges.

Each country will have the opportunity to paint a part of the truck. A possibility is to invite important politicians, as well as the press to paint a small part of the truck.
People sympathising with the campaign and with SWAPO can be asked to pay a contribution for the gasoline for the truck. The international coordination will deliver you shares which you can sell.

4. Resources

To organise an action it is not enough to sit around the table and discuss. We explain to you what we understand by resources.

a) People

To organise activities you need people to prepare and people to do the activity. It must be clear in advance how many people you need for the activity you undertake.

There are different kinds of participants. Some people are 100% involved, those who prepare, take part in and evaluate the action, others take part in only some aspects of it, or support it morally and materially.

b) Money, facilities and material

A lot of people are not aware of the financial implications of an action. Most actions cost some amount of money, only a few raise funds. It is very important, although it is rather technical and sometimes tiresome, to make a budget. How much will an action cost and where will the money come from?

E.g. material, phonecalls, stamps, travel costs, make up, special clothes, gasoline, printing of leaflets, the rent of a meeting room...

c) Knowledge

Don't try to explain something you don't understand yourself. If there is nobody in the group who knows something about Southern Africa and Namibia you should contact somebody who does have some knowledge about it.

To give you some information about the campaigning and about Namibia and the SWAPO we produced a booklet about the campaign. It will be published very soon. Please read it!

5. Evaluation

Something which is often forgotten is to make an evaluation of what happened. This is very important. You can learn a lot by making an evaluation which you can use for future activities.

You should evaluate all aspects of the campaign: the preparation, the results, the way you have been cooperating with each other, the material aspects, reactions of the public, financial aspects,...

Either if the activities have been successful or otherwise you should evaluate all this.

Campaign Handbook, Service Civil International, 1990


If you are searching for other ideas for helping with campaigning and other actions, Compass has an excellent section called Taking Action which could prove useful.

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