Project Description

Intro CAMPAIGN Anger has controlled me for too long. I will not let it make me a bad person. APRIL - DECEMBER 2020
MENTORS: 16
PEOPLE SEEKING HELP: APROX 11,853
BRAVEST
THING
-Spidjo

AS A RESULT OF COVID AND THE INITIAL ‘HARD LOCKDOWN” IMPLEMENTED BY GOVERNMENT ALL OF THE CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE EVENTS PLANNED FOR 2020 HAD TO BE POSTPONED INDEFINITELY.

Led by Arne Rust, CBL decided to launch a campaign called the Bravest Thing to provide a helpline for men and women who were either victims of abuse or perpetrators / potential perpetrators. A WhatsApp number was set up which anyone who was either a victim of abuse or abuser or potential abuser could use to reach out silently and anonymously for help. 

There were two options for people reaching out for help through the WhatsApp number, the first for people who were victims of abuse or fearful of becoming a victim and the second for men in distress (who may themselves be an abuser or potential abuser) to reach out to a brother. The first option was routed to the Helpline and the second routed to one of the FAN mentors via Foneworx.

0
Mentors
0
People seeking help

Each mentor would receive numbers without any names which they responded to by sending an introductory WhatsApp message.

This would lead to either a WhatsApp interaction or telephonic discussions or both.  Where appropriate the mentors would send links to #NOEXCUSE material, the e-format booklets and the 6-Pack video clips.

Although the 16 mentors were initially contracted for six months to run three cycles of Champion Conversations, we extended their contracts to handle the calls that were coming through. We kept 16 mentors on board until the end of September and thereafter reduced the number to 10 active mentors who have remained on board into 2021.

Each mentor would receive numbers without any names which they responded to by sending an introductory WhatsApp message.

This would lead to either a WhatsApp interaction or telephonic discussions or both.  Where appropriate the mentors would send links to #NOEXCUSE material, the e-format booklets and the 6-Pack video clips.

Although the 16 mentors were initially contracted for six months to run three cycles of Champion Conversations, we extended their contracts to handle the calls that were coming through. We kept 16 mentors on board until the end of September and thereafter reduced the number to 10 active mentors who have remained on board into 2021.

MOTIVATION MIX:

For the period 14 April to 31 December 11,853 people reached out via the WhatsApp Bravest thing number. In early September when the numbers were sitting at 9,564, we analysed the motivation for people responding to the campaign and found the following mix:

60%

Men in distress needing assistance:

Approximately 60%. Their issues ranged from being abusers, abused, stress, suicidal, angry, depressed, addictions, cheating, unemployed, witnesses of GBV and those who want clarity about GBV.

14%

No response:

Approximately 15%. Didn’t respond to messages or when called just went to voice mail (this figure may have been skewed by the delayed response to the messages caused by a failure in the Foneworx system).

11%

Women:

Approximately 11%. Most were referred to Lifeline. In the event they were calling on behalf of their partners, the mentors made an attempt to counsel the men through the women.

10%

Not serious:

Approximately 10%. These individuals either denied having sent a WhatsApp, claimed it was sent by someone else, never called back when they said they would or wanted information about completely unrelated matters.

4%

Seeking connection:

Approximately 4%. These responders called to compliment the program, get guidance on how to be a benefit to their communities or simply just connect.

BREAKDOWN OF NUMBERS BY MONTH:

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Total

I want my kids to see a father when I enter my house, I don’t want them to see a monster. I want them to always trust me and talk to me.

– Anonymous

CHALLENGES:

  • As a result of the number of callers fluctuating enormously over the period, the mentors were at times overwhelmed with numbers to respond to and at other times the volume was very manageable. Having in place the optimal number of mentors to deal with the flow of calls is something we need to consider carefully. At certain times when the volumes were too high for the mentors to handle, we called in volunteers to assist and got the two supervisors, Robert Nohamba and Zizipho involved in responding.

  • The ability of the mentors to provide the level and depth of assistance needed by some of the callers. This is due in part to the time and resources necessary to assist in depth (at times the ratio of men calling to mentors was very high) and the skills levels of the mentors. The mentors were selected for their ability to mentor and hold conversations with groups of men and none of them are trained psychologists or counsellors. There was simply not the manpower to engage with all of the men reaching out for any length of time.

  • One particular challenge was when Foneworx was receiving messages but for a 6-week period didn’t pass the numbers onto our mentors because the number they were using to send the information had run down to a zero balance. Unfortunately this was during a period of high volume and our mentors had to catch up thousands of callers. They rallied, pulled in the support of other men in their communities and called day and night to catch up the backlog.

  • Tracking the responses and the results. For the programme to be truly effective and for us to be able to measure and track its efficacy we would need to develop a system to accurately monitor calls and responses.

SUCCESSES:

  • The campaign enabled us to reach men throughout the country and not just in selected communities.

  • It opened our eyes to the potential of impacting and connecting men virtually, without any physical contact or event.

  • It connected men from different communities around the country via WhatsApp groups.

  • It provided a lifeline for many men who were greatly assisted by the mentors and by extension their partners and loved ones too. No doubt lives have been saved and many cases of abuse have been prevented by this intervention.

  • One surprising development was the formation of WhatsApp groups of men connecting with each other. Some of these groups lasted for months and others only a few weeks but they became useful secondary support platforms for the men who had reached out for help. At the height of the call volumes there were 56 groups with an average of about 10 men in each. This number fluctuates with the volume of men reaching out.

STORIES

So many lives have been positively impacted by the Bravest Thing Campaign and here are just a few of their stories. Names have mostly been left out to respect confidentiality.

Quotes from WhatsApp Brave Line:

We have been complacent for too long. We need to fight for our daughters, mother and sisters.

We need to call each other out as men and we need to protect our women.

Ayanda Dloms

Sharing is good, it helped me create a better relationship with my son.

Mxolisi Thungwaongiseni

I’m done letting people hold the pen and write my life story, I will now write my own life story and a good one.

I’m done making excuses and blaming people for things that I’m responsible for.

I will not use my strength to do wrong, I will use my strength to build myself.

I want my kids to see a father when I enter my house, I don’t want them to see a monster. I want them to always trust me and talk to me.

I will no longer let what my father did to my mother affect how affect how I see and treat women.

I will now get a mentor and look up to people that do good in my community, not thugs.

Anger has controlled me for too long. I will not let it make me a bad person.

Spidjo

STORIES

So many lives have been positively impacted by the Bravest Thing Campaign and here are just a few of their stories. Names have mostly been left out to respect confidentiality.

Quotes from WhatsApp Brave Line:

We have been complacent for too long. We need to fight for our daughters, mother and sisters.

We need to call each other out as men and we need to protect our women.

Ayanda Dloms

Sharing is good, it helped me create a better relationship with my son.

Mxolisi Thungwaongiseni

I’m done letting people hold the pen and write my life story, I will now write my own life story and a good one.

I’m done making excuses and blaming people for things that I’m responsible for.

I will not use my strength to do wrong, I will use my strength to build myself.

I want my kids to see a father when I enter my house, I don’t want them to see a monster. I want them to always trust me and talk to me.

I will no longer let what my father did to my mother affect how affect how I see and treat women.

I will now get a mentor and look up to people that do good in my community, not thugs.

Anger has controlled me for too long. I will not let it make me a bad person.

Spidjo

COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEMES:

  • How can I control my anger towards other people?

  • How do I call myself a man with no job?

  • How are you a provider when you are jobless?
  • Being unemployed creates huge tension between me and my partner, how can I fix this?
  • How can I stop abusing my partner?
  • How can I deal with family and community pressure?
  • How can I help when I see abuse happening?
  • How do I become a good father?
  • How can I start being a father to my children when I have not been present in their lives?
  • How do I stop alcohol from making me take bad decisions?
  • How do I move on from someone I love but that is not good for me?
  • What do I do when I sense my wife is sleeping with another man?
  • How do I know that I am a toxic man?
  • Why are men feeling like we are less than women?
  • Why don’t men have many organisations like women’s?
  • If my wife is beating me what must I do?
  • I don’t feel like a man at my house, what do I do?
  • I hate my father; how do I change that?
  • Am I wrong if I beat a woman who is provoking me?
  • How do I become a better man?

COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEMES:

  • How can I control my anger towards other people?

  • How do I call myself a man with no job?

  • How are you a provider when you are jobless?
  • Being unemployed creates huge tension between me and my partner, how can I fix this?
  • How can I stop abusing my partner?
  • How can I deal with family and community pressure?
  • How can I help when I see abuse happening?
  • How do I become a good father?
  • How can I start being a father to my children when I have not been present in their lives?
  • How do I stop alcohol from making me take bad decisions?
  • How do I move on from someone I love but that is not good for me?
  • What do I do when I sense my wife is sleeping with another man?
  • How do I know that I am a toxic man?
  • Why are men feeling like we are less than women?
  • Why don’t men have many organisations like women’s?
  • If my wife is beating me what must I do?
  • I don’t feel like a man at my house, what do I do?
  • I hate my father; how do I change that?
  • Am I wrong if I beat a woman who is provoking me?
  • How do I become a better man?