We were able to talk about one of the 'taboo? issues in our society by engaging a very diverse base of supporters and holding many different activities, as well as getting coverage in the media. Our supporters included scholars, legislators, the church, the media, professional people, other NGOs and members of the public. It included diverse activities, such as education and awareness events, protest events, media events lobbying and fundraising. Our strategy worked on three levels: it built awareness at the grassroots level; built support for legal changes; and gained support for the GOH. When people became aware of the problem of child prostitution they wanted a law to ban it, and they also supported the Garden of Hope.
How the Strategy Works:
Step 1: Build grassroots support First, we started with activities at grassroots level: speeches and education to community groups, churches, and clubs; street drama; local ?flea markets? with GOH merchandise and education activities such as the street dramas. We relied on help from volunteers to hold all these activities. These grassroots events built up our initial support base. Step 2: Offer a concrete goal and widen support Next, we conducted a study of the problem of child prostitution and drafted a law to ban child prostitution. We also lobbied legislators to support the law, thus widening our support base to scholars, legislators and their staff. We also held many different activities to engage as many people as possible, both small and large-scale. For example, we cooperated with 7-11 to organize a petition of 100,000 signatures and we gained approximately NT$10 million (US$310,000) in donations. Step 3: Develop a media strategy Then, to make our lobbying more effective, we developed a media strategy. We had no money for large media campaigns, so we planned events, which would receive media coverage. For example, we asked controversial questions such as, ?Should a prostitute's clients be punishedh promoted debate in the legislature. This meant more media coverage for the issue and the Garden of Hope. We organized more than 10 hearings on the law, and we kept up the pressure with press conferences, street dramas and skits performed by staff and volunteers. These were covered by the news media and in this way, our organization became well known and we gained more supporters. Step 4: Consider your supporters The biggest event was a jog through the red-light district of Taipei (the capital city), in which more than 15,000 people took part. The event was a protest against child prostitution, but some of our supporters would be reluctant to take part in a ?protest? activity, so we called it a ?jog? to maximize the turn-out for the event. There was even more media coverage for this event, which then generated more support. Step 5: Plan for follow-up Finally, an anti-child prostitution law was passed and it was based on our original draft. As a follow-up, we organized a ?watch-dog campaign? so that the law would be carried out. We invited members of the public to check local newspapers for prostitute recruitment ads and send a post card to public prosecutors to report such ads. This prompted the government to crack down on the ads, with prosecutors receiving as many as 200 post cards each day of the campaign. Results The result was that the Garden of Hope gained two major resources. We gained a legal basis to challenge child prostitution and we gained a large pool of supporters including volunteers, donors, scholars and close links with the media. How this can be replicated Other organizations could copy this model in other countries. It was very important for us to develop grassroots support. Then, we reached out to a very diverse base including scholars, the media and corporations (7-11), and this meant our public awareness campaign was very well developed. Also, we were sensitive to our supporters. When we became aware that many supporters would not like to take part in a ?protest? we changed the focus to a ?jog? through the red-light district. This ?flexible? approach would be very useful in many other situations and helped to unite supporters on the main goal.
Key Strategy Elements:
<ul><li class="entry-label">Mobilizing Citizen Support: <span class="entry-text">Building grassroots support for the issue was very important for our success. Also, we built a very diverse support base because of our public events. Our supporters included members of the media, scholars, members of other NGOs and the general public. By holding different kinds of events we were able to bring in new resources from many different supporters. We published articles written by our clients and social workers and this was very moving for supporters. After the law was passed, we involved police so that the law was enforced. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Establishing Relationships with Strategic Partnerships: <span class="entry-text">Our relationships included members of the media, corporations, legislators, scholars, and other NGOs. For example, when we cooperated with 7-11 on the petition we gained three benefits: public awareness; a petition signed by 100,000 people; and funds (more than US$300,000). Establishing a relationship with the media was one of the most important partnerships. Every article meant public attention and support. We planned events, which the media would cover (for free) ? press conferences, attending legislature hearings, and public events. Later, it was important to get help from legislators to make sure the law was passed, and then to build ties with the police so that the law was enforced. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Developing Information and Spreading the Message: <span class="entry-text">Child prostitution is a "taboo" so it was important to develop different types of information to reach the maximum number of people. We used the media as much as possible. We used flyers, street drama, and held ?flea markets? where we gave out information along with the charity sales. We also held campaigns to involve supporters directly: a mass petition, which was signed by 100,000 people, a post-card campaign in which around 200 cards per day were sent to prosecutors, and a mass ?jog? (street protest) of around 15,000 people. We also published several books of writings by our social workers and some of our clients. This way, the public was able to learn about their lives first-hand and get a better understanding of their experiences. </span></li></ul>