White Ribbon NZ’s Youth Ambassador Scheme

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White Ribbon’s approach

White Ribbon NZ promotes respectful relationships to prevent men’s violence against women.

An effective feature of White Ribbon’s strategy is to have Ambassadors, who are respected and influential role models, promoting White Ribbon messages to their network and community.

Ambassadors play a vital role in building support, visibility and promoting White Ribbon’s messages to new groups. They can keep the White Ribbon messages alive beyond the November campaign.

Increasingly White Ribbon is targeting young men to promote respectful behaviour in their relationships with women.

White Ribbon Youth Ambassadors

Over recent years the Counties Manukau’s White Ribbon coordinating committee has had a range of campaign activities involving local young people. This has encouraged the Salvation Army to develop a local Youth Ambassador Scheme (YAS).

This initiative has real merit that other regions can develop with their local young people.

There’s a range of benefits of a YAS:

  • It develops new messengers who are credible with local young people.
  • It spreads White Ribbon’s messages to many more young people, often with a local flavour they’ll respond to.
  • It involves new people in White Ribbon’s campaign, such as college staff and, of course, local young people.

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What makes a Youth Ambassador scheme effective

If your local violence prevention network is interested in establishing a local YAS you’ll benefit from considering these questions:

What do you know about local youth’s concerns about family and sexual violence? For example, were local young people involved in pushing for better sex education earlier in 2017.This is to determine young people’s support for the YAS and their receptiveness to White Ribbon respectful relationships messages.

  • What working relationships are in place now with supportive organisations, such as schools or local youth workers? This is to determine how you can efficiently connect with local youth and manage ambassador nominations.
  • How can you support youth ambassadors so they’re effective? This will help clarify how a local YAS might work and the commitment it will take from your network.
  • What benefits might a YAS give to local violence prevention work? This will help prioritise action and get you to think how a YAS can be integrated in to your local campaign.

You’ll find implementing a YAS will be easier when:

  • your network has working relationships with local colleges and youth services, who support preventing men’s violence locally.
  • local youth people are concerned about family and sexual violence and want to be involved in preventing it.
  • your network sees a YAS as worthwhile and your members are prepared and able to support youth ambassadors.
  • your YAS is integrated with other violence prevention initiatives in your community, including within colleges.

You might find it easier to build up to a YAS by starting with some youth event or activity as part of your annual White Ribbon campaign, and then finding ways to increasingly involve youth services and colleges until there’s sufficient practical support for youth ambassadors. This was how Counties Manukau developed their YAS.

White Ribbon NZ’s involvement

The national White Ribbon organisation can support your local network if you want to develop a YAS:

  • This document will help you implement a local YAS.
  • White Ribbon will continue to produce resources for young men, such as the Start With Respect
  • White Ribbon can put you in touch with other networks who’ve established a YAS.
  • The list of White Ribbon events on White Ribbon’s website (https://whiteribbon.org.nz/events/) will give ideas on the type of youth events you could run.
  • White Ribbon will provide youth ambassadors with access to the online training for all ambassadors.
  • NOTE – Like all ambassadors, any youth ambassadors will need to be vetted by their schools with a letter recommending nomination from the school. This process is not intended to be as intensive as an adult ambassador check which can be found at (https://whiteribbon.org.nz/act/ambassadors/).
  • Youth Ambassadorships conclude when the students leaves school.

Possible Process:

  • Draft up your YAS plan (using information from this document and other agencies)
  • Collate a list of all local schools and email the principal outlining the YAS
  • Ring each school to acquire the email address of counsellors and social workers
  • Organise school visits to drop off hard copies of programme to reception
    • Schools are very busy, so relationships with schools are very important. Multiple contacts are necessary and clear communications vital. Personal relationships go a long way.
  • Organise a training day
    • Organise a range of workshops with Ambassadors, social workers, police, lawyers, White Ribbon Riders.
    • Use the White Ribbon Toolboxes to lead discussions.
    • The purpose of the training day is to educate students while at the same time giving them a space where they can ask questions and take the learnings back into their school, sports and extra-curricular activities and circle of friends.
    • The day will also allow the youth ambassadors to get to know each other.
    • Ensure the students receive a pack of information, resources and appropriate White Ribbon badges.
  • The Youth Ambassadors will promote throughout their schools, the WR message (speaking at assemblies, lunch time discussion groups).
  • The Youth Ambassador with the support of the coordinators will plan and execute an event of their choosing at the school (mufti day, presentation, competitions).
  • The Youth Ambassadors will also commit where possible to help with other local WR events.
  • Each Youth Ambassador will get a pack with all relevant information, t-shirt, white ribbons and other promotional material.
  • Each Youth Ambassador will receive a badge with Ambassador on it.
  • Create a closed Facebook group for support and to share information.

Potential Training Day Activities:

  • 09:00   Students will arrive, register and receive packs
  • 09:15   Coordinators will welcome and give a brief overview of White Ribbon and the Ambassadors’ Programme
  • 09:30   Youth workers will run some ABL to get the group familiar with each other
  • 09:45   First workshop with questions to follow (White Ribbon Ambassador)
  • 10:45   Morning tea
  • 11:05   Second workshop with questions (Police/Lawyer)
  • 12:00   Recap (morning workshops)
  • 12:15   Lunch
  • 12:55   White Ribbon Riders’ presentation
  • 13:20   Third workshop with questions (Social Worker)
  • 13:55   Fourth session (Youth Ambassadors to brainstorm some potential projects)
  • 14:25   Final wrap up
  • 14:30   Students head back to school

Local Youth Activities:

table

High School Breakfast:  The South Auckland Breakfast has been running for six years. All schools in South Auckland are invited to send 4 four students to a breakfast where the WR messages are highlighted along with leadership role students can play to end the violence. It is held the Friday before the 25 November.

At each breakfast a survey of participants helps us to shape the following year’s activities. For example, the students said they wanted more workshop style sessions during the breakfast instead of keynote speakers. Table workshops were implemented where the students would rotate every 15 minutes. The tables were made up of Police, WR Ambassadors, WR Bike Riders, Lawyers and Social Workers. We got good feedback from this and will run this same set up again next year. The survey also demonstrates that the organisers are listening to the views of the students.

WR Poster comp

Spoken Word: The Spoken Word competition was created to give young people a voice where their thoughts on family harm and violence against women could be heard. This event has produced some amazing spoken word pieces with some going viral through Facebook. The Spoken Word is open to all high school aged young people, and has a maximum of three entries per school. This event has been widened to include song writing. Previous winners have been asked to perform at conferences and events which continue to spread the positive messages about violence prevention.

Yeah na

Yeah Nah Song Competition: The Eastern Bay of Plenty Family Safety Events Committee has held this competition for seven years now and it continues to engage youth, remaining fresh and vibrant. A project plan has been developed which includes terms and conditions, registration forms, media, Facebook and Youtube permissions. Like the spoken word competition, this event enables youth to hear their concerns about family violence reflected in a performance medium that is relevant to young people. For more how-to information contact White Ribbon.

Yeah Na poster

 

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