365 days of Inspire Freedom have passed. It’s been one year since we launched the Community Action Guide for our work towards the elimination of alcohol-related gender based violence. Since then the campaign has travelled the world.
Inspire Freedom has seen Seoul, South Korea where we presented it at the Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC2013)and introduced low-cost and simple activities that start the discussion on alcohol-related violence and encourage simple actions to prevent it.
Inspire Freedom has travelled to New York and the Commission on the Status of Women and later it was presented to several NGOs and institutions in New York City that strive to mobilize local communities in prevention of violence against women and promote public health.
We could see alcohol-free drinks being mixed all over the world – from India to Poland.
For example, Active – sobriety, friendship and peace held a competition for the best recipe at the 2014 Summer Camp and Congress and awarded the best recipe the title: Official Magic Drink of the Summer Camp. Another example is our members in IOGT Poland who have prepared a video for a new Magic Drink almost every month.
In Uganda, UYDEL, another member organisation of IOGT International, made use of the campaign and the Community Action Guide to discuss alcohol-related violence in communities.
In the city Umeå, which is the 2014 European Capital of Culture, we had the iconic Inspire Freedom photographs present.
The Community Action Guide for the Inspire Freedom Campaign contains five separate community actions – that can be mixed and matched.
So you can see: In the first year of the Inspire Freedom campaign, we managed to test almost every single action and our members have really created momentum. We went out – despite freezing cold temperatures – and pasted posters using the platform of the “Inside Out Project” for highlighting such an important cause as this one.
CEM from Bosnia and Herzegovina connected photo session for the Inside Out Project with their theatre play on domestic violence that earned lots of recognition. I went to Iceland, too, for the TYCTEP seminar to educate our young members from all over Europe on the topic of gender-based violence and empower them to take action.
And more is yet to come. We have just started to get going and now we need to continue and build on the momentum.
The topic sounds controversial in some ears. There are many people who do not want to include alcohol in the discussions on prevention of gender-based violence. The worry is, that alcohol would become an excuse and it would distract the attention from the real problem – that is the perpetrator.
Alcohol is often used to excuse the behaviour and actions of the (male) perpetrator and to blame the (female) victim if she had used alcohol or dressed the wrong or…
There’s no excuse for abuse, rape or any other form of violence. As IOGT International we question an alcohol culture that gives people illogical and sometimes harmful advantages because of alcohol use. We work to change that culture.
Alcohol is a factor behind gender-based violence. That’s a fact. In some parts of the world alcohol is a factor in violence against women in up to 80% of the cases. Another important fact is that when alcohol use in a certain area declines, gender-based violence decreases as well. Brief interventions, structural changes and community actions that focus on the reduction of alcohol all do in fact contribute to the drop of violence rates.
It is overwhelming to see the social media on 25th of every month. Lots of campaign related pictures and videos appear on that day. The campaign has started to grow organically which is a great sign. People will take care of it their own way.
Happy birthday Inspire Freedom. Thank you for everything you have done so far and many great deeds to come. I wish you many great organizations that will invest their creativity and experience into your development. Cheers!