Designing the campaign with young people

What is wrong with our current food system? Who is responsible for it? What are the many areas directly affected by its functioning? What can we do to change this? These are, among many others, the numerous questions that the actors of the #GoEAThical project are asking themselves and that we wish to answer together with the young people.

On the 28th of September, MIJARC Europe, in collaboration with other organisations of the #GoEAThical project consortium, organised an online session with young people from all across Europe, in order to reflect with them on the development of the campaign that will be launched. 48 participants attended this session.

The #GoEAThical project foresees the holding of different YouthLabs (at national and international levels) so that young people can take part in the development of the campaign and the project. However, the sanitary circumstances we are experiencing have significantly slowed down and then prevented the holding of these YouthLabs. In order to ensure that young people can still have their say, we thought of this session.

Learn how to design a campaign with our expert Julius

Julius van de Laar is a campaign and strategy consultant with many years of international campaign experience. During Barack Obama’s presidential campaign of 2007 and 2008, Julius was a full-time US presidential campaigner for him.

Julius is therefore our advisor in the implementation of the campaign for the #GoEAThical project. He was of course invited to this session, in order to briefly introduce the participants to the basics of running a campaign. Among the many keys he gave, Julius explained that a good campaign should be like a good story: to arouse emotions in people. Using this metaphor, he invited participants to reflect among themselves on what stirs up emotions of anger and indignation in them about the way the current food system works. He then proposed to them to name the actors of this system who could be considered as the villains of the story, being largely responsible for the inequalities denounced by the participants.

Highly invested and creative participants

“It was great meeting, I learnt a lot, and not only about campaign but also about how to do a very good online meeting and discussion. Thank you a lot!” Here is one of the feedback we received after we proposed to the participants to give us their views on the session using an online survey.

And indeed, the participants who were divided into 8 groups through breakout sessions, were particularly productive, not only in naming the injustices and actors involved in maintaining this unfair system, but also in proposing solutions and tactics to change it.

You can take a look below at their many proposals, which they managed to formulate in a very short space of time as the session lasted only two hours.

Participants wrote down their ideas on a miroboard.

This session was of course only an outline, to reflect with young people on national, European and international issues concerning the food system and learning the basics of a large-scale campaign. But there will still be many steps in the design of the campaign and we look forward to continuing to work with young people, both those who attended this session and new ones, for further discussion and debate.

This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of MIJARC Europe and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

YouthLabs are participatory activities (online / offline format) to involve YOUNG Europeans in the design process of our pan-European campaign strategy.

MIJARC Europe is responsible for organizing, within its network, 3 National Level YouthLabs and 5 International Level YouthLabs.

The first national youth lab of our #GoEAThical project was carried out in online format, in Romania together, with our member organization Asociația Asistență și Programe pentru Dezvoltare Durabilă – Agenda 21.

The activity took place in online format on the 5th of June 2020. It lasted around three hours.

42 young people, were selected among the network of global education schools of APSD-Agenda 21. They worked together with Mr. Daniel Alexandru – head of the Laboratory on Agrometeorology– from the Romania National Institute of Meteorology, and our colleague Florina Potîrniche as facilitator.

Using the SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology, participants were able to go through different questions such as: What is climate change? // Is Earth’s Climate Changing? // What Is Causing Earth’s Climate to Change? // What Might Happen to Earth’s Climate? // How does it affect the production of food? // Conventional agriculture vs. Organic agriculture?

Later on, after summarizing the discussion and highlighting the interconnection of food production and climate change and the main impacts climate change has on different parts of the world, the participants analysed a case study, which was based on real facts –The impact of the El Niño drought in 2016 on one family in Lesotho

Through this case, participants were able to see how climate change affects the normal weather and climate patterns. The result was a severe drought that lasted since 2015 until 2016. This led to food supplies constantly decreasing, the price of food increasing and ultimately the poorest population not able to ensure they daily food. This led to poverty, hunger, the urgent need for humanitarian support and massive migration.

All the young participants could reflect on the negative impacts of climate change, and in different groups, they went into the ACT part. Divided in breakout rooms of 4-5 people they went through an exercise to design some elements for the #GoEAThical campaign. The youth participants participants discussed and created different proposals of messages for the campaign, topics for the campaign, as well as different activities to be carried out.

They produced really interesting ideas!

Here you can read some of the comments from the young participants gathered during the evaluation:

 I really liked that I interacted and came up with many different ideas. I learned new things about climate change and what we can do to make it better

I liked this lab because I learned a lot of new things. The most useful thing I found out is the connection between climate change and migration

Participating in this laboratory helped me to become more aware of why it is important for each of us to have a responsible attitude towards the environment and what are the consequences of reckless long-term actions on the climate and especially food production. Change begins with each of us!

Change for the better and  feel good about it”