Tag: Orange the World

Savera UK CEO Afrah Qassim reflects on 2021 as “a small but mighty organisation”

Savera UK founder and CEO Afrah Qassim

“It feels like a long time since we celebrated the end of 2021 and welcomed 2022. Already we have lots to look forward to and I hope it’s the same for you. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on Savera UK’s 2021, including our achievements and obstacles. The beginning of 2021 brought new challenges from the outset, as the team were forced to work from home as a result of lockdown restrictions. Originally we thought we would be able to work from the office, but the lockdown forced us to pack up and organise homeworking in just one day after the Christmas holiday. At the time this news felt unbearable and to be honest I am not sure how I managed to keep calm and resilient, however we were able to support the team and ensure Savera UK continued to operate at its best regardless.

The challenges continued throughout the year with changes in staffing, recruitment and the increase of service demand while at one point operating with just a team of three. Despite the obstacles, the Savera UK team continued with business as usual.

Overcoming challenges and achieving our goals only happens when you have a strong team with excellent communication and more importantly the passion and commitment that the Savera UK team shows.

They never gave up and we supported one another to ensure our clients were given the best service. The organisation is fortunate enough to have a Chair and Board that continues to support us and guide me and the team every step of the way. As the CEO and founder of the organisation I am extremely grateful and proud of the team and the Board. As a small, but mighty organisation together we have highlighted ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices and made groundbreaking advances in how these cases are managed, including creating protocols here in Merseyside.

I want to thank our team from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank our funders, fundraisers and supporters in championing us and the work we do, we wouldn’t have come this far without you.

We achieved so much last year, but there are a few highlights from 2021 I want to share. Savera UK released its first Impact Report, which will now be delivered on an annual basis. Between June 2020 and June 2021 we reached over a 1,000 individuals via training and awareness and supported over 140 individuals that at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices. This may seem small to some, but to us it’s a huge change in seeing those at risk feel safe to come forward for help and support and to know that services finally understand the risk and call it to what it is. There is still a long way to go, but we have made an extraordinary change here in Merseyside and hope to achieve more here and other areas in the future.

While supporting clients Savera UK also delivered a number of events, including one developed and led by Savera UK Youth, who for the first time put together a Community Panel ‘Question Time’ style event. This came in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard and a rise in violence and abuse against women. Savera UK Youth felt they needed to see what our communities and faith leaders were doing to doing to address the issue and how they were working towards eradicating violence and abuse. All questions raised at the panel were sourced from young people.

Watch survivor stories from Savera UK clients (1200 x 150 px)

Savera UK has always strived to make International Women’s Day special and bring women from all backgrounds together with activities and partnerships. In 2021 unfortunately we weren’t able to host in-person events, but instead marked the day with a women only online event. The day was a great success with over 70 women from local communities attending. Alongside the event we created a community booklet magazine using the 2021 International Women’s Day them of ‘Choose to Challenge’, in which women from the community to wrote about their everyday activism. The booklet also shared recipes written by Savera UK clients to encourage families to discuss activism while bonding over the creation of a delicious dish.

Last year Savera UK launched the ‘One Chance Rule’ video, explaining the belief that there could only be one chance to save a life when a disclosure is made, and the importance to act on that. We also launched survivor videos after working with BBC Radio Producer Ngunan Adamu, who held sessions with our clients and encouraged them to bravely share their stories of what it’s like to be a survivor of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) as part of our ‘Orange the World’ campaign.

This is just a snapshot of the work Savera UK achieved in 2021, there is lots more information on our website which details all of our events, blogs and reports. We are so excited to see what 2022 will bring and where Savera UK be this time next year.

For now I want to thank you all again for your continuing support and championing our work and we welcome all the new supporters and partners to work together to keep this agenda moving and continue to break the silence.

Do speak out and challenge attitudes that consider harmful practices as their culture or norms to practice.”

Afrah Qassim

Founder & CEO  

ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London's Orange the World launch event

Savera UK and Zonta London join for Orange the World Toolkit launch event in Liverpool

ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London's Orange the World launch event
ACC Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police at Savera UK and Zonta London’s Orange the World launch event (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Yesterday (Thursday, 25th November) Savera UK and Zonta London (a member of Zonta International) hosted a launch event to mark the beginning of Orange the World 2021 and 16 Days of activism centred on ending gender-based violence.

At Lovelocks Coffee Shop in Liverpool city centre yesterday we were joined by speakers who discussed why we must tackle violence against women and girls and what can be done to support the organisations doing this work.

Savera UK Chair Aislinn O'Dwyer at Orange the World 2021 launch event
Savera UK Chair Aislinn O’Dwyer (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Savera UK Chair Aislinn O’Dwyer chaired yesterday’s panel and explained as we start the 16 Days of activism for Orange The World, we want to raise awareness of the fight against gender-based violence and abuse, which includes harmful practices such as forced marriage and child marriage, ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Mary Rasmussen led a moment of silence for those who have been lost to male violence before discussing sobering statistics including how globally, 137 women each day are killed by a member of their own family. The Lord Mayor urged people to continue working together to raise awareness, and ended her speech by saying “All do what you can. We have got to keep going.”

A member of Savera UK Youth read two moving poems, one titled ‘Honour’ and a second titled ‘A Woman’s Mind’.

Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim at the launch event for Orange the World 2021
Savera UK Founder and CEO Afrah Qassim at the launch event for Orange the World 2021 (Image credit: Gary Lambert)

Savera UK Founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, explained the 16 Days of activism toolkit was this year created in partnership with Zonta London in response to feedback last year from organisations and activists who wanted to get involved but didn’t know how.

Our toolkit centres each day on a theme, with actions people can take to get involved. You can find the Orange the World toolkit here.

Assistant Chief Constable Ngaire Waine of Merseyside Police explained the force receives 250 reports of sexual offences every month and outlined the work the force is doing to tackle gender-based violence. She said the force takes domestic violence “very seriously”.

Unfortunately, Merseyside Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell was unable to attend the event but shared a video message in which she explained the scale of the issues we face, including that every minute the UK police are called to an incident of domestic abuse.

The PCC said: “The reality is that gender-based violence and abuse does not occur in a vacuum. It is part of a society that allows misogyny and patriarchal attitudes to fester that leads to these types of behaviours going unpunished. If we don’t address these daily occurrences of harassment and abuse and call it out for what it is, we will never seriously change things in our society for the better.” You can watch the video message in full here.

Finally, Dianne Jeans of Zonta London discussed the important campaigning their organisation does to raise awareness of issues surrounding gender-based violence. She explained day two of the 16 Days of activism, (Friday 26th November), was themed on envisioning, and asked people to share the futures they envision for women and girls by writing them on tags provided and hanging them on the envisioning tree.

Savera UK was deeply saddened to hear later that same evening two murder investigations were launched following the deaths of 12-year-old Ava White and a 47-year-old woman who has not been named.

The events that happened in Liverpool last night do not reflect the world that we want. The world that we envision – and the one that we will continue to fight to create – is one where all women are free to live and thrive without fear of abuse, violence or death.

Our thoughts remain with the victims’ families at this tragic time.

Liverpool Town Hall will be illuminated orange to raise awareness of gender-based violence

Liverpool City Region landmarks to be lit orange to support global call to end gender-based violence

Liverpool Town Hall will be illuminated orange to raise awareness of gender-based violence
Liverpool Town Hall will be illuminated orange to raise awareness of gender-based violence

Iconic buildings and landmarks across the Liverpool City Region will be illuminated bright orange from this evening (Thursday 25th November), as part of a campaign aimed at ending gender-based violence.

For the second consecutive year, Savera UK has joined forces with Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) to support the global ‘Orange The World’ campaign.

We are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world, through a series of events and initiatives that will take place during the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism, which run from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November to Human Rights Day on 10th December.

The campaign will begin with the illumination of landmarks in the Liverpool City Region and beyond in memory of all those lost to male violence, but also as a symbol of hope for a brighter future free of fear. Landmarks being illuminated include Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Cunard Building, World Museum Liverpool, Merseyside Police Headquarters, Rose Hill and its Canning Place offices, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Wallasey Town Hall in Wirral. Everton FC will support the campaign by illuminating Goodison Park in solidarity, while Sefton Council will be “lighting up digitally” on 25th November to mark the start of the 16 days of the campaign. Outside of the city region, the Library of Birmingham will also illuminate in support of the campaign and individuals across the UK are also being invited to light an orange candle or light at home after sunset and place it in a window, as a mark of remembrance and symbol of hope.

Our campaign also features an activism toolkit that will make it easier for people to participate in and engage with the 16 days of activism. The toolkit addresses themes such as allyship, advocacy and knowledge, and includes a bank of resources including social media assets and fact sheets, information about local and national organisations tackling gender-based violence, and events  that people can attend to learn more.

The campaign will culminate in an online panel discussion on Thursday 9th December (4pm – 6pm), Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse, which will tackle the harmful ways that culture is wrongly conflated with human rights abuses against women and girls.

Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim and Britt Gustawsson of Zonta International will be joined by a panel including Mansi Mehta, Deputy Director, Global Cause Partnerships from UNICEF USA, Dr Elham Manea from Zurich University, a political scientist specialised on the Arab Middle East, Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Prosecutor for the North West (UK) and Savera UK patron, and Dr Leyla Hussein OBE, a psychotherapist, specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse.

This year’s campaign ‘Orange the World’ campaign is more vital than ever, as violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive in our society. In the 28 weeks following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3rd March this year, 81 other women were killed in circumstances where the suspect is a man.

A recently-released government survey also found that 97% of 18–24 year-old women have been sexually harassed, while 80% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.                           

Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The statistics about gender-based violence are shocking yet, sadly, no longer surprising. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women – around 736 million – will be subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.

“It has never been more important for people to take action against gender-based violence. Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as educating yourself about different forms of abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact. Our Orange the World toolkit provides a starting point for people to enact change.”

Zonta Club London President, Anne-Li Stjernholm, said: “As organisations Savera UK and Zonta Club London are very much aligned on our aim to promote a world without violence against women and girls and this partnership is very valuable for us. We hope it will last for many years to come and that we can expand our reach. Speaking with one voice makes our message so much stronger.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “We know there are women and girls – relatives, neighbours, friends and colleagues – who are suffering gender-based abuse and violence in our communities every single day.

“Today, and over the next 16 days, we want to make it clear that there is no excuse for abuse. This campaign is about demonstrating our shared commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls.  By lighting up some of Merseyside’s most iconic building in orange, we are sending out a visible message that are determined to create a brighter future for women and girls, free from violence and abuse.

“I would urge any woman or girl who is experiencing abuse to please reach out for help. There are many fantastic organisations on hand to offer care and support across Merseyside, please visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for more information.”

Merseyside Police ACC, Ngaire Waine, said: “As a society we all need to take a strong stance against attacks on women and girls, who should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse.

“Alongside our partners we are committed to making the streets, homes and environments across Merseyside safer for women and girls so they can enjoy their lives to the full without fear.

“Merseyside Police will continue to target perpetrators of this abhorrent abuse and we will support and work with women and girls who are subjected to stalking or harassment, violence, domestic abuse, honour-based abuse or any other crimes based on their gender, so we can identify offenders and put them before the courts.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said: “Women and girls are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence and abuse, and tackling it is a priority. I am proud of the vital work being done by frontline organisations across the city, providing much-needed specialist support to survivors. The Orange the World campaign raises awareness and understanding of the issue and symbolises our city’s commitment to eliminating all forms of violence.”

To find out more about the Orange the World 2021 campaign and download the toolkit, visit: https://www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-2021/ 

Buildings Illumination Details

Mersey Gateway Bridge – Lighting orange November 25 and December 10

World Museum – Lighting orange November 25 and December 10

Liverpool Town Hall – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10 (except Dec 3)   

St George’s Hall – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10 (except Dec 4)        

Cunard Building – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10 (except Dec 5)        

Goodison Park – Staying illuminated on November 25

Wallasey Town Hall – Lighting orange November 25 to December 10      

Merseyside Police Rose Hill and Canning Place – Lighting orange November 25

Greystone Footbridge – Lighting orange November 25

 

The Library of Birmingham – Lighting orange from November 25

Orange The World Toolkit

Savera UK and Zonta Club London Launch “Orange the World 2021” Toolkit

Orange The World Toolkit

Savera UK, a leading charity that tackles culturally-specific abuse such as ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), has joined forces with Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) to create an activism toolkit to support the global ‘Orange the World’ campaign.

For the second consecutive year, the two organisations are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world. The toolkit provides individuals and organisations with resources and downloadable assets to participate in the UN’s annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.

With themes for each day ranging from remembrance, allyship and knowledge, to inclusion, advocacy and action and a bank of resources including social media assets, links to local and national charities and support services and a calendar of local events, the organisations hope that the toolkit will encourage and make it easier for even more people to engage with the campaign later this month.

Both charities highlight that this year’s campaign is more vital than ever, as violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive in our society. In the 28 weeks following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3rd March this year, 81 other women were killed in circumstances where the suspect is a man. A recently-released government survey also found that 97% of 18–24 year-old women have been sexually harassed, while 80% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.

Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The statistics about gender-based violence are shocking yet, sadly, no longer surprising. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women – around 736 million – will be subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.

“It has never been more important for people to take action against gender-based violence. However, last year, we realised that people wanted to engage and support the Orange the World campaign, but didn’t always know how to or perhaps couldn’t find the resources they needed.

“Our Orange the World 2021 toolkit is a starting point for people. A place where they can find information and ideas for ways that they can take action to tackle gender-based violence and abuse. We have worked with our partners, Zonta Club London, Liverpool City Council and a range of other city partners to highlight the work being done in the city region and beyond and how people can get involved.

“Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as learning about certain forms of gender-based abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact.”

Zonta Club London President, Anne-Li Stjernholm, said: “As organisations Savera UK and Zonta Club London are very much aligned on our aim to promote a world without violence against women and girls and this partnership is very valuable for us. We hope it will last for many years to come and that we can expand our reach. Speaking with one voice makes our message so much stronger.”

Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women President, Sharon Langenbeck, added: “As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of gender-based violence are on the rise. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we work together to end violence against women and girls.

“Through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, Zonta clubs around the world are uniting to raise their voices to bring awareness to this issue and advocate on behalf of gender-based violence survivors.”

As part of the campaign, civic buildings and iconic landmarks across the Liverpool City Region and beyond will also once again illuminate orange as part of the campaign, to highlight the issue of gender-based violence/abuse and as a symbol of hope for a future without fear of abuse or harassment for women and girls.

Last year, partners in the city region united to illuminate civic buildings and iconic landmarks including Liverpool Town Hall, Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Merseyside Police Headquarters, while Premier League football team, Everton FC, also lit Goodison Park stadium in solidarity with the campaign.

The Orange the World campaign takes place between Thursday 25th November 2021 and 10th December 2021. To download the toolkit and see how you can get involved, download the PDF from www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-2021/

Resources on gender-based violence2

Resources to educate yourself on gender-based violence

Resources on gender-based violence2

As part of Orange The World 2021, Savera UK is joining forces with Zonta Club London for 16 days of activism.

From Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December, we’re #SpeakingOut against domestic violence, rape and harassment, as well as hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

We want to rally people to take action to ensure our towns, cities and homes are safe spaces where everyone can live without fear of violence, abuse or harassment. There is no excuse for abuse.

Throughout the 16 days, we’ll be using themes to represent ways in which we can all become better activists, and on Day 13 we’re encouraging you to discuss important resources with your community.

To help aid these discussions, Savera UK and Zonta Club London have included a list of great resources you can start with below.

The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts

This memoir was written by multi-award-winning journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts, whose career spanned four decades. Each chapter explores the lives of women living in different and the atrocities they face. In the book Sue, who died shortly after writing it, explores Ireland, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, covering topics including FGM and forced marriage.

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I found it a really useful snapshot into how far women have come but more importantly, the journey many countries and communities need to make. It was very well-written, easy to follow and gave a good brief insight into different ways women are oppressed.”

The Prosecutor by Nazir Afzal

Nazir Afzal OBE
The Prosecutor by Savera UK Patron Nazir Afzal OBE explores the inner workings of the criminal justice system

This book by Savera UK patron Nazir Afzal OBE offers readers a look into the workings of the criminal justice system and his experience of prosecuting complex and harrowing cases. Nazir is the former Chief Prosecutor for North West England and an expert in de-radicalisation. He campaigns on issues around child sexual exploitation and gender-based violence. His book is described as a “searing insight into the justice system and a powerful story of one man’s pursuit of the truth”.

On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose

Another recommendation from Zonta Club London is On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose which asks ‘Why has violence, and especially gender-based violence become so much more prominent and visible across the world?’ The book tracks the multiple forms of today’s violence – historic and intimate, public and private – as they spread throughout our social fabric, offering a new, provocative account of violence in our time.

See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill

Dianne from Zonta Club London also recommends picking up this book by investigative journalist Jess Hill, who is seeking to change the question from ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ to ‘Why does he do it?’ In the book, she unpacks power, control and domestic violence while putting perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse in the spotlight.

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

Gypsy Boy is a memoir by Mikey Walsh, who grew up in the culture of Romany Gypsies. This book, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, explores gender roles and expectations and ‘honour’-based abuse. It also covers the perception of sexuality being detrimental to one’s ‘honour’.

‘The Community Safety Podcast’ by Jim Nixon

In this podcast host Jim Nixon, a community safety professional and former police officer, interviews various guests and discusses ways in which communities can be made safer. In one episode, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, he speaks with Caroline Goode, a former Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police who worked on the investigation into the ‘honour’-killing of Banaz Mahmod.

In the episode, which lasts for one hour and a half, Caroline discusses the police failures in the case and what efforts she personally made to see justice brought.

‘Honour’ ITV Programme

This two-part series portrays the investigation into the murder of Banaz Mahmod, who was the victim of an ‘honour’-killing. Keeley Hawes plays DCI Caroline Goode (mentioned above) and the series offers an insight into the complex nature of ‘honour’ killings. You can watch this on ITV Hub here.

Payzee Mahmod discusses her own experience of child marriage in a moving TED Talk

‘A Survivor’s Plea to End Child Marriage’ by Payzee Mahmod

Sister of ‘honour’-killing victim Banaz Mahmod and Savera UK Ambassador, Payzee Mahmod delivers a powerful TED talk in which she explains her own experience of child marriage at the age of just 16.

Payzee details the tragic marriage, which prompted her to self-harm, and her small acts of rebellion in efforts to escape before her divorce at the age of 18, which she underwent while arranging her sister’s funeral.

You can watch the TED Talk in full here.

‘Unorthodox’ Netflix Miniseries

Unorthodox is a series on Netflix which examines the intricacies of forced marriage and gender roles in the Hasidic Jewish community through the eyes of an Orthodox Jewish woman who flees to start a new life abroad.

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I think this is very important because it shows HBA in a community that most people wouldn’t affiliate it with so it offers a counter-narrative.

“I find counter-narratives important to prevent prejudice and racist narratives as people often associate HBA with specific cultures when it actually transcends many different communities in different ways.”

‘Empower a girl, transform a community’ by Kakenya Ntaiya

This TED talk sees Kakenya discuss her work empowering vulnerable girls to bring an end to harmful traditional practices in Kenya. You can watch the talk in full here.

‘End Violence against children for a better future for us all’ by Howard Taylor

In this 10 minute TED Talk Howard Taylor discusses the huge numbers of children who experience violence at home, at school, online or in their communities. Taylor talks about why we have an unprecedented opportunity to end this violence and create a better future for every child. Watch the TED talk here.

Works by Jasvinder Sanghera

Both Savera UK and Zonta Club London recommend taking a look at various pieces of work by Jasvinder Sanghera, an ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage survivor and campaigner.

The first is Shame, a true story in which Jasvinder, founder of charity Karma Nirvana, explains her experience of ‘honour’-based abuse. When she was fourteen her parents told her she would be married and when she refused they disowned her. This autobiography is the story of what happened after she ran away from home to escape from a world where ‘honour’ was paramount.

Savera UK support worker Emma said: “It’s interesting because the perpetrator is her mother so it offers a narrative that many people wouldn’t expect.”

Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London also recommends Jasvinder’s works Daughters of Shame and Shame Travels.  Jasvinder’s charity, Karma Nirvana, works to fight HBA and has helped establish refuge centres for South Asian men and women fleeing forced marriages. To learn more about the work Jasvinder does you can watch her TED Talk on “Fighting forced marriages and ‘honour’-based abuse” by clicking here.

We would love to hear the resources you have come across, send them to @SaveraUK on social media and we may include them here.

Savera UK’s tips on writing a good opinion piece

This year, from Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December, Savera UK is joining forces with Zonta Club London to raise awareness of violence against women and girls in our Orange the World 2021 campaign.

We are speaking out about; domestic abuse, rape, harassment and hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

As we explore different themes throughout 16 days of activism, we are asking you to think about what you can personally do to help make small changes in your corner of the world.

One way to inspire and ignite conversation is to write your own opinion piece.

This can prompt others to share their own thoughts and not only discuss the topic but create an online community of people who want to see change happen.

You don’t have to be an award-winning journalist to write a powerful opinion piece; you can simply share it on your own blog or pitch your idea to other bloggers with similar values.

With that in mind, we have pulled together some tips on how you can create an effective and heartfelt opinion piece that will resonate with your readers and encourage action.

Have something to say

Writing about a topic where you don’t have much to say will be obvious to your readers.

Your chosen subject needs to be an issue you care deeply about, and where you want to have an impact in bringing about change.

When you know what cause you are passionate about, you can start considering what specifically you think needs to be remedied – and how that differs or aligns with other people’s opinions.

Make your voice stand out from the crowd

While you might have sparked the activist in you and be inspired to create change, you need to make sure you don’t get lost in a sea of voices.

Think about how you can bring your own personal experiences to the opinion piece in a way that you are comfortable doing.

By sharing your own story, or bringing a unique perspective to an issue, you will create a distinctive voice that can cut through the noise and get straight to the heart of why change is needed.

Keep it simple

Avoid trying to impress your readers with fancy words and dense language.

You can alienate your audience if you try to over-complicate things by throwing in too many unnecessary points that take away from your message.

Instead, choose to focus on getting your message across as clearly as you can. By doing so your story will resonate with more people, and your opinion piece will be more accessible.

Encourage conversation

Once you have shared your own thoughts and experiences, encourage your readers to have a frank conversation around the realities of the issue.

A simple prompt or question at the end of your piece creates a way for readers to start a debate without having to immediately divulge their own experience, creating space for safe and open conversation.

It’s these discussions that lead to ideas, collaboration and action within the community.

Savera UK invites you to write your own opinion piece around the subject of violence against women and prompt vital debate to help create change within your community.

St George's Hall lit up orange for the last Orange the World campaign

Savera UK partner with Zonta London for Orange the World 2021

For the second year, Savera UK and Zonta London are joining forces for Orange the World 2021.

The campaign will see landmark structures lit orange to mark 16 days of activism from Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December. During the 16 days, we will raise awareness of violence against women and girls in the UK and around the world.

St George's Hall lit up orange for the last Orange the World campaign
St George’s Hall lit up orange for the last Orange the World campaign (Image credit: Jennifer Bruce)

We are speaking out against domestic violence, rape and harassment, as well as more hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. We want to rally people to take action that will ensure that our towns, cities and homes are places where women and girls can live without fear of violence, abuse or harassment. There is no excuse for abuse.

To help you get involved in the 16 days of activism, this year we are releasing a toolkit with themes, activities and events you can participate in. We will also include information on the services available to those at risk.

To be the first to receive the toolkit and find out more about the event, please register your interest here.

Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse panel event

Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse
The Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse panel event will take place on Thursday, 9th December 2021 between 4pm and 6pm.

During the Orange the World campaign Savera UK and Zonta International will host a powerful online panel event titled Culture is Beautiful: No Excuse for Abuse.

On Thursday, 9th December between 4pm and 6pm, an exciting and influential international panel will come together to discuss how cultures and cultural beliefs, including religion, are used as an excuse for male violence against women/girls and harmful practices.

They will also highlight the misinformation that perpetuates this belief and how such harmful practices are in fact a violation of human rights that need to be tackled. The panel will also discuss how we can work together to end harmful traditional practices.

Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim and a representative of Zonta International will be joined by a panel including; Mansi Mehta, Deputy Director, Global Cause Partnerships from UNICEF USA, Dr Elham Manea from Zurich University, a political scientist specialised on the Arab Middle East, Nazir Afzal, former Chief Prosecutor for the North West (UK) and Savera UK patron, as well as other speakers yet to be confirmed.

The event will share the voices of survivors and attendees will be able to put their questions to the panel in a Q&A session. If you would like to attend the free, online event, you can register here.