BAAG social media campaign and upcoming exhibition
This autumn, BAAG has been busy working on two exciting initiatives as part of the Media4Development programme. In September, we ran a successful social media campaign aimed at combating myths about overseas development aid. In November and December we are looking forward to launching exhibitions in both London and Dublin, featuring the winners of our journalism competition last year.
In early October, the Afghan government and international community met in Brussels to re-affirm long-term commitment and financial support to the country for the next four years. As official partners with the EC for coordinating the participation and voice of civil society at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, we wanted to use the event as an opportunity to combat a common public myth about overseas development aid – namely, that aid makes people ‘lazy’ or dependent. Our social media campaign therefore was created on the basis of a core positive message that development aid empowers Afghans and enables them to take control of their own futures.
We collaborated closely with many of our member and partner organisations currently running projects in Afghanistan, bringing together 13 eye-catching photos and videos to show a side of the country you don’t often get to see in the media. We were also happy to see engagement from one of our M4D partners, Mondo, who translated several of our Facebook posts into Estonian for their own audiences.
On Twitter – where we have our largest audience – our posts were seen over 18,000 times during the course of the week. In fact, the average reach per #M4Dproject tweet was an impressive 48% increase on our regular content. It was great to see so much interaction with the campaign, with many of our posts being retweeted and shared widely with others. The whole campaign helped create great momentum in the lead-up to the Brussels Conference, where we were also pleased to see greater than expected aid pledges to a country still so in need of such international support.
Here are two of the images we posted
To see the campaign in full, check out our Storify page: https://storify.com/BAAG/m4dproject or follow us over on Twitter/Facebook (@AfghanAgencies).
Alongside the social media campaign we have been working on plans for our photojournalism exhibition. Based on the work of our Afghanistan Journalism Competition winner, Magda Rakita, ‘My liver is bleeding’ will help raise public awareness of the impact of conflict and violence on the mental health of the Afghan population. It also highlights the impressive work of dedicated Afghan medical staff at two clinics in Mazar-e-Sharif.
We have secured exhibition space in the London School of Economics, a public space through which over 9,600 students and 3,000 staff pass each month. The exhibition will run from November 28th to December 9th 2016, before we relocate it to the European Public Space in Dublin, within the EC Representatives Office in the centre of the city. The Ireland exhibition will run until 6th January.
We’ve been working hard with Magda and an experienced exhibition designer to prepare the materials and design the layout. We’re developing a guest list for receptions at both venues and will be contacting the local media and listings sites to ensure coverage and promotion of the exhibition.