Mobilising support example:
Rescue and protection of a school
|Type||Network of interested parties|
SummaryA well-known girls' school in Colombo would have to move because the land was zoned for business. The students would be accommodated in another school building. The pupils of that school would then be distributed to other schools. Those affected revolted and eventually succeeded in getting the government to withdraw the plans.
A renowned girls' school in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, is located in a prime area. The issue was that a businessman was eying for this land, hence was trying to relocate the school out of Colombo into another school premises, by displacing the children attending that school to different schools. Thus two schools were in danger of losing their identity.
The action group considered the following questions:
Exactly what is the government policy?
What was the role of the businessman?
What was the local politicians role ?
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
a. Past pupils, teachers and principals
b. Some media institutions
Which stakeholders did you identify as neutral and how did you mobilise them?
c. Teachers and students - parents of the current students
d. School Development Society
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
The school principal
Past Pupils Association (PPA)
Businessman and those supporting him
Ministry of Education
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
We requested the Past Pupils Association to stand against this decision, but they were working with the principal who was in favour of the relocation. Thus we created a front and we worked on a plan to mobilise the past pupils, teachers and principals while the second school did the same. We mobilised various means and ways to highlight the situation on social media platforms and other media platforms. We analysed the project and its non-viability and demanded the opponents to produce project-related documents on feasibility of the project. Further we met with policy makers and leaders in decision making such as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education. We launched a Google petition to the president of the country. We created awareness among all past pupils and found a way to convey our concerns to the current students and teachers. We pressured the Past Pupils Association to hold a special general meeting as per the constitution but they delayed the process giving COVID as an excuse.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
We created a group called DBPF with a committee of 35 and 6 executive committee members.
We grouped ourselves into a few subcommittees, namely Fundraising, Media, Policy and Rules.
We launched the campaign in both Sinhala and English languages and the platforms.
April - June 2021
1. Not allowing the relocation of the school as a whole or in parts
2. Not allowing the second school to lose their identity.
3. Remove the past pupils association and change the constitution
1.The government stopped the project due to the pressure we created.
2. Both schools remained as it is and the past pupils are very active now as they have realized that the strength of their presence made the decision taken by the government look non-feasible.
3. We managed to hold a Special General Meeting and the President and two Vice-Presidents of the Campaign front became the President and Vice-Presidents of the PPA with the constitutional changes.
Description of preparatory activities
1. Mobilise the allies.
2. Study the situation.
3. Arrange a meeting with government decisionmakers.
Description of implementation
1. Social media campaign, through print and electronic media.
2. Demanded the project proposals, feasibility studies and the budget.
3. Meeting with the Prime Minister, Minister of Education, opposition leader and many others by whom we thought we could garner support.
The cost of the entire campaign was around Rs 300,000/, but as we all volunteered the funds raised were not used and have now been transferred to the PPA.
The activists involved now form the official PPA; thus we are keeping a close eye and demanding the government to issue a note to the cabinet to reverse the decision, although the project was officially stopped by the Ministry.