WORKSHOP: CASE STUDY - Save the Children focuses on poverty

CLAIRE SAMES

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Background: Save the Children believes that it is wrong for child poverty to be considered a fact of life rather than a political issue.

Based on its experience of working with children around the world, Save the Children has set four "Beat Poverty

targets, which included a request for more long-term investment in basic health care and good quality education to give every child the best start in life. It also wants Governments to put the issue of child poverty at the top of their agendas.

The charity commissioned the market researcher MORI to undertake a study of the public's attitude to child poverty. The survey showed that 90 per cent of the population would be willing to help the fight against child poverty if asked by a charity.

The most popular ways of doing this were through supporting fair trade, charity shops and catalogues. But a significant one in five people said they would take an active part in a campaign, give their time or money, or lobby their MP if asked by an organisation.

Aims of the campaign: Save the Children intends to run the child poverty initiative for at least three years. It hopes to eradicate child poverty by lobbying governments to commit to tackling the issue on a global scale and by securing the support from international organisations and donors. The charity aims to recruit 100,000 supporters and 10,000 active campaigners by April 2003 to help fight for the cause.

The awareness push will be followed up with the first in a series of targeted campaigns set to begin this autumn. Under the child poverty banner, the first issue to be covered will focus on increasing the level of resources for basic health and education services.

How it worked: The campaign kicked off during Save the Children Week in April, a month before a United Nations Special Session in New York which planned to discuss how to tackle child poverty worldwide.

The awareness week was backed by TV ad, which formed part of an integrated ad campaign including press, cinema, online and radio, as well as postcards.

Using 3D animation, the ad features a central character playing the part of Poverty, with actor Christopher Lee providing the menacing voiceover.

Unlike many charity campaigns, the TV commercial was not designed to shock the viewer, but rather draw them into a fantasy story.

The 40-second ad, which took four months to produce, features the daily life of one family and the birth of a new baby, juxtaposed with the evil character's shadow heading towards their modest home to throw them in to darkness.

In the last frame, a child is seen reaching for the "glowing

Save the Children logo and radio presenter Lisa I'Anson delivers the following statement: "Poverty preys on young lives. Join Save the Children's campaign. And help Beat Poverty."

Results: The launch campaign has so far recruited 3,000 active supporters who have offered to write letters, attend vigils and liaise with their local MP to encourage more support for the initiative. The figure is looking likely to exceed its target of 10,000 campaigners by next year. The poster programme has managed to attract 7,000 supporters to date, a figure that excludes the results from the retail poster programme.

In response to media coverage about the campaign, Save the Children has been promised a grant by the Department for International Development to support street kids in Mongolia.

The charity believes the campaign has been seen by around 32 million people since its launch.

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